Friday, March 17, 2017

Love makes the world go round

In a tete-a-tete with romance novelist and fashion stylist Nikita Singh about her new book Every Time It Rains.

Bruised and abused Laila carries a lot of baggage. But she is no wilting violet and a real badass when it comes to running her bakery. She’s the present-day heroine of Harlequin romances. And, unlike the typical romance fiction, the hero here is goofy, fun with very life-affirming traits. That’s how Every Time It Rains, pans out.

Nikita Singh, who has penned her 10th novel, was impelled to carry forward Laila’s story from her previous novel Like a Love Song. Singh, who was in Pune for the launch of her latest, Every Time... says, “In my previous book, Like a Love Song, Maahi was the central character, and Laila was her friend. We see her from Maahi’s perspective and then a thought popped in my mind — What Laila does when she’s not with Maahi? I had this whole back story of hers, but there wasn’t space in Like a Love Song to justify it, so that’s how the initial idea of this book came about.”

The book doesn’t fall into ‘romance-romance’ genre, but is a well-rounded story about every aspect of a girl’s life, including love, points out the author, who revels in writing romances.

While her characters have defined careers and certain Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCDs), Singh has dabbled in several things while continuing to write. She wrote her first novel for Penguin Publishers when she was a third year student of Pharmacy. She also worked briefly with Wisdom Tree Publishers which brought out lists on religious, spiritual and historical titles. Later, she went to Manhattan to complete her grad school. On campus, she was handling the social media account of an art gallery and after graduation, she took up the job of a fashion stylist. “Why keep doing the same thing?” she says with a smile.

When it comes to her writing, Singh lets the idea, plot and characters simmer in her head for about six or seven months. And, then she sits down to write the novel in three months flat. “All I have got is a sheet in which I list down chapters 1 to 21. Sometimes not even that. First, I write three chapters and then the fourth automatically follows and so on. Sometimes, I take a break while writing,” she adds.

Over the years, she has seen a change in the way she develops her plotline. “My writing has become more atmospheric. I am showing people what I am seeing — how my characters dress, where they are going. I sort of spread out the details throughout the book so that the complete picture of the character is formed,” explains Singh.

In fact, she knows her characters better than anything else in the book. “I can visualuse them, how they will react to certain things, how they will change their expressions and so on. So while Laila is calm, reserved and driven, I wanted someone who could complete her. So there’s JD, who is goofy, boisterous, very positive and happy. As soon as JD enters, the book becomes so romantic, especially the first scene between them, where the health-conscious JD is eating his food. I knew he would eat some fruit or the other. So I thought of orange and the way he offers it to Laila, is quite funny,” she adds.

The romance writer has two books up her alley. “One is about Maahi and Siddhant’s story, this time told from the latter’s point of view. And, one of Sarthak’s story, who is Maahi’s brother,” informs Singh.

And, what about Laila and JD? “Well, they are in a good space right now. Their story might unfold parallel to Maahi and Siddhant’s,” she adds.

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