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Thursday, 20 March 2014

Twenty Questions with... Reet Singh

I had the pleasure of 'meeting' todays' #TwentyQuestions guest in an author group on Facebook so I am delighted to be able to introduce you all to Reet Singh, author of Scorched by His Fire released last month by Harlequin India...

ACT ONE – all about you…


Reet Singh, a medical professional, has a romantic soul. Most of it is probably inherited from parents who have loved each other dearly forever, but a lot is attributable to the romantic fiction she devours by the kilo. When she's not doctoring people, and when she is not writing, she watches romantic comedies, does creative things with wool and a crochet hook, or struggles with the daily crossword or with online Scrabble. 

Occasionally, she can be found in the kitchen putting together her 'world-famous' one-pot meals – world famous because family scattered all across the face of the earth has, at one point or the other in their lives, encountered a meal that they couldn't guess the constituents of, but found finger-licking good nevertheless. 

Married for nearly three decades, her tall, handsome, and sensitive alpha-husband still makes her heart skip a beat. Writing about love and happy endings feeds her romantic soul and brings to a full circle her love affair with romances, from reading them ardently to writing them. 


1) Have you always been a writer or is it something you fell into?

Aurelia, I'm delighted to be here; thank you!

I have always been a story-teller, in the nicest sense of course! I was sandwiched between a younger sibling who needed entertaining, and an older sibling who had directorial qualities. We ended up enacting make believe stories, and so it was inevitable, I suppose, that I would someday write.

2) Do you have a particular writing style or ritual?

Linear writing, that's what works for me. I tried, with my second romance -  tentatively called 'One Memorable Night in His Bed' - to do some scene structuring, but I floundered, because I could never predict what my characters would do two chapters down the line! Extremely slippery main characters can be sometimes. Even with book one -Scorched by His Fire - once I had fleshed out Mita and Tanay, they took over; for example, I had not planned for a detour to Dubai, but M & T wanted some fun, so off they went before I could say no! That brought home to me that I had better stick to linear writing and not write in bits and pieces, because in the end the pieces mightn't fit. I start from the beginning and carry on stoically to the end. 

As far as ritual is concerned, I have to finish everything, every other chore, before I can sit down and write, so writing is usually the last thing I do every night. I follow this ritual until the deadline is so close I can feel its hot breath on the back of my neck - then I ignore everything else and only write!

3) Is there a book or an author that has influenced you in your writing?

I adore PG Wodehouse, Victoria Holt, Georgette Heyer, and Margaret Way, each excelling with their own unique style. I really wouldn't be surprised if they have surreptitiously crept into my writing.

4) Is there one piece of writing (or life?) advice that has stuck with you, or that you would like to share?
“Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” ― Anton Chekhov 
Show, don't tell! This is one mantra of good writing that I struggle to obey because it makes perfect sense. The reader has to invest something to stay interested even in a good story; you engage better with your reader if you 'show' her by painting a picture with your words, thereby letting her interpret scenes in her own way.

5) Can you tell us three things about yourself that we probably don’t already know?

Ha, I sure can!

1. I am a medical teacher and I love interacting with and growing because of my students. The questions that students ask are incredible tools for my own learning!

2. I have nominal aphasia, which literally means I forget names of people and objects. For inanimate objects, I can get by by saying 'thingy'. As far as animate objects are concerned, people are often compelled to throw thingies at me when I forget people's names (a teensy bit of an exaggeration here, but what the heck - literary license!)

3. I have an irreverent fondness for the ridiculous that sometimes results in foot-in-the-mouth disease!

6) What five luxury items or gadgets would you hate to be without?

My Dell laptop with its internet dongle; cellphone with its whatsapp; the microwave oven; my Kindle White; my my-time (you did say 'luxury' item!)


ACT TWO – all about your new release…

.
Convenient boyfriend, inconvenient attraction!
Mita Ramphul can’t face another family set-up with a ‘nice young man’. What she needs is to divert her family’s attention… so introducing the devastatingly handsome Tanay Devkumar as her new boyfriend is a stroke of brilliance! Until Tanay’s blazing hot kisses threaten to shatter her plans for the perfect pretend date… 
He might drive her crazy, yet spending time with Tanay sparks a passion Mita never knew she had. It’s only meant to be temporary, but when Tanay looks at her with that smouldering fire in his ebony eyes, Mita can’t help but surrender to the temptation of her fake boyfriend…!

7) Congratulations on your recent release of Scorched by His Fire; what was your inspiration for writing Mita and Tanay's story?

Thank you Aurelia! I've always enjoyed reading about tempestuous heroines and the brave, strong men who cannot resist them. Naturally then, Mita and Tanay had to be true to that. A work-related trip to Mauritius; a chance encounter with the tail end of a cyclone; a news story about Kolkata – these inspired the settings for Mita and Tanay to first resist, and then succumb to, the scorching fire of love!

8) Did the story flow from your finger tips or did some scenes take a bit of cajoling?

Some days the words just flew off the keyboard. When they didn't, I would have a little chat with Mita and Tanay before I went to bed; that helped! What also helped was that I worked away inside my head during the long commute to and from work, so that by the time I got home, I would have enough to type up a storm.

9) I see Scorched by His Fire is your debut; how long did it take for the initial spark of the story to make it onto the page and then onto the publisher’s desk?

I started writing it with the long-term goal to send it in some day to Harlequin®; but then, suddenly, Harlequin® India announced their 'Passions' contest for romance writers from India. I sent in an excerpt, was short listed in the final five, and finally won the contest. What followed was a fairytale two-book contract!

10) Do you have a favourite paragraph or sentence from your story that you would like to tantalise us with?

Sure! 
“For  a  moment an  angry  pair  of  eyes  duelled  with  a  cruelly  determined pair. Mita’s heart thundered in her rib cage. For the tiniest moment she felt fear. Tanay could hurt her if he wished. But he didn’t; he broke eye contact, his gaze drawn to her mouth where a pink tongue had emerged to moisten lips  that  were  suddenly  dry.  As  his  eyes  followed  the movement of her tongue, Mita felt her breath catch. She  felt  exquisitely  sensitive;  to  the  feel  of  her  breasts crushed against hard muscle; to his minty breath, warm on her face; the masculine scent of his skin; his ebony eyes, hooded now, but speculative a second ago. 
Tanay was every bit as captivated as Mita. What was it about this woman that got under his skin? He only had to touch her for him to forget his resolve to teach her a lesson. He drew in a sharp breath of air, and drew back, regretfully letting go of her.”

11) Over to you, what can you tell us about Scorched by His Fire, to make us rush out and buy it?

I'll let reader reviews do the talking; my particular favourites are up on Goodreads:
“A modern Lucy Walker - (Ms Walker piqued our interest in Australia) - Reet Singh wants us to see Mauritius as she sees it. The story line is gripping and you cannot put down the book till the last page is read.”
 and
“Set in balmy Mauritius, Reet gives us a wonderful bird’s view of life on the island and skillfully weaves in different and scenic locations that immediately pulled this reader in. And the lead characters’ interactions from the opening scene are, to say the least, explosive. Tanay and Mita do not get along at all, and yet are thrown together through very interesting circumstances.”

12) What can we expect from you next? Is there something you are working on right now?

My second romance for Harlequin® India is about a quarter done; I've tentatively called it ' One Memorable Night in His Bed'. Simi, an almost-ready-to-graduate medical student from India, and Rudy, a surgeon, meet up in New York, and carry the sparks-that-fly all the way to India. I'm excited about this one too and hope to have it on bookshelves later this year.


QUICK FIRE ROUND – it’s pop quiz time…


13) Plotter or pantser?

Pantser; I seriously tried my hand at plotting for book two, but was all at sea; also, I felt that  it would involve a ton of editing later, so went back to living life on the edge!

14) Digital books or print books?

Print books, but am rapidly falling in love with digital. Did I mention I have published one of each? My Kindle Direct book is The Zaken Takeover. It is all about aliens and abductions and is understandably for children, although adults looking for a short read may also try it.

15) Tea or coffee?

Tea first thing when I wake; coffee (only if it is Indian filter coffee) for elevenses.

16) Extrovert or introvert?

Extrovert.

17) Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook; I still don't get how twitter works, although I'm a twitterati too.

18) Christmas or birthday?

Birthdays.

19) Morning person or night owl?

Morning, any day!

20) Sweet or savoury? 

Sweet, definitely, but don't tell my dentist!

And that’s a wrap!

Thank you so much for taking part, Reet; I wish you every success with your new release.

To discover even more about Reet Singh, and to keep up with her latest projects and shenanigans, you can visit her at http://reetsingh.in.

She would love to hear from you, so write in at reetsingh.author@gmail.com or tweet to her at @AuthorReet.


Buy it now…


Add to Goodreads
ISBN: 9789351063742
Released: 1 February 2014

HQN India
Amazon India
Flipkart
Crossword
Infibeam

(not yet available internationally)

2 comments:

  1. What an interesting read!
    I wonder: Do you forget your protagonists' names, too?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Devika, thanks....yes, absolutely I do! I just got the three chapters of book-two back from my editor....and she pointed out where I had mis-named my main character in one place!

    ReplyDelete