What can be more fun than bringing together the Bollywood style romance and the chick-lit variety where love and friendship, woes about dating, dresses and those drop-dead shoes find play.
Growing up in Bombay you can’t escape the world of Bollywood. The capital of India’s film industry which is best known for its two-hour-plus song and dance sagas. The blend of traditional family values, changing mindsets, and romance makes for a unique Asian-style of romance which unfolds through music and drama.
Neither can you escape the books that bring in the romance cultures of the West. The Mills & Boon variety, where love blooms between a reluctant hero and a feisty heroine, runs its conflict-ridden course before the happily ever after. I spent many many blissful hours devouring the books by Penny Jordan, Nora Roberts, Anne Mather and many others.
More recently, there has been an uptick in the chick-lit genre where stories about single women and their adventures/misadventures in the dating world are told with a generous sprinkling of humour. Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding’s fun spin to the romance genre made have brought me hours of reading pleasure.
Given my exposure to such different strains of ‘romance culture’, I have often wondered what it would be like to mix and match the much loved aspects of Bollywood romance with the popular tropes of Mills & Boon’s and the Sophie Kinsella or Helen Fielding variety of humour writing.
This thought was at the back of my mind as I started writing ‘Trouble Has A New Name’. Rayna Dutt is a heroine who is very much a girl of her times. A young, ambitious model is a firm believer of Murphy’s Laws, which she calls Rayna’s Book of Immutable Laws (RBIL). More often than not these laws come to bite her in the butt. Here’s a sneak peek:
RBIL #3 Turbulence, emotional turmoil and tequila make for a lethal combination.
She leaped out of her seat, hand clamped hard against her mouth and dashed for the washroom. But one of her flip-flops caught the back of the seat and she flailed her arms to grab something—anything. Just then the stewardess emerged, balancing a tray containing a pitcher of orange juice and savoury snacks. Rayna clutched at the hostess’s arm as she desperately tried to save herself from hitting the floor of the plane face first and throwing up at the same time. But the pitcher had no such luck. It headed southwards and Rayna cringed as its contents splashed all over Mr. Deductive Logic. She heard him mutter a savage curse and then felt his strong arm steady her. Breaking free, she made it to her destination and threw up into the toilet bowl in the nick of time. Hey Bhagwan! (Oh God!) She was living her worst nightmare ever!
Having created my heroine and hero, I decided to add a dash of Bollywood glitz, glamour and colour. What better than setting the story at a big fat Indian wedding? After all, Indian weddings are the perfect occasion for a lot of song and dance and family drama as well. What’s more, it provided me with the perfect opportunity to add in one of my favourite M&B romance tropes—the fake fiancé setup. Ta-da…I had the premise of my story: Flying to the Andaman Islands for her best friend’s big fat wedding couldn’t happen at a worse time for recently-dumped Rayna Dutt. Perhaps the handsome hotelier Neel Arora can come to her rescue?
Writing this mix-and-match romance is one of the most fun things I have done. I hope you will enjoy the book as much as I enjoyed writing it!
Trouble Has A New Name is currently available as an ebook worldwide. It is being released in North America in March 2015 as a Harlequin Special Release (digital version).