Debut author Adite Banerjie has quite the amazing story of how she is becoming a published author – read on!
Accidents happen and I simply love them. Wait a minute. Before you decide I’m some kind of adrenaline junkie who jumps in front of speeding trains to get her daily risk fix, stop right there. I don’t mean the nasty, depressing, life-changing kind of accidents but the happy, inspiring, life-changing ones.
One such accident happened to me eighteen months ago when I found my name listed as one of three winners of the Harlequin Mills & Boon author auditions contest. Believe me, it wasn’t meant to happen. For one, I’d never ever won a contest in my life. Seriously. Not even a stupid key ring in one of those scratch-and-win-a-gift thingys that are routinely doled out at the shopping mall. Second, I never dared enter a writing contest for fear of losing. Yep, that’s how the cookie crumbles with this intrepid writer. Third, and most importantly, even hoping that my story – which I had bashed out in five days flat after wasting precious time on the to-contest-or-not question – would make it to the finals was like an ant’s wishful desire of surviving a Delhi downpour.
So, I have no clue as to how my story got selected. Perhaps, the Writing Goddess was smiling down on me? Maybe this was Karma’s way of rewarding me for some heroic deed in a previous life? Or, it simply came down to the fact that it was an accident!
I spent a week going around in a daze trying to convince myself that it was not just wishful thinking on my part. That, I actually had a shot at becoming a published Harlequin Mills & Boon author. The very same M&B that I had devoured all through my teenage years!
But after it had sunk in and I finally descended from cloud nine it was time for a reality check. A 50,000 word novel was waiting to be written and my inner self mocked me, ‘So, you think you can write an M&B?’ I tried to quell that sinking feeling with a spiffy comeback: how difficult can it be? All you need is a drool-worthy TDH (tall-dark-and-handsome) hero, a feisty heroine, loads of sexual tension and plenty of conflict. Ta-da! Easy-peasy! But now that the contest was done and dusted, it was time to deliver on that I-can-do-it-blindfolded claim. Phew! The pressure was killing me.
After wallowing in that unhappy, unconfident morass for a bit, my writer self finally surfaced and kicked my butt. I needed a plan to turn my short story into a full length novel. I sat myself down and jotted down everything that I loved about my favourite M&Bs. A billionaire hero to die for, sizzling chemistry between H & h, a revenge trope, sexy banter, twists and turns leading to a love-conquers-all HEA ending.
For more inspiration I turned to the other great love of my life – Bollywood movies. (For the uninitiated, Bollywood is India’s film industry which churns out a humungous number of escapist, mushy, song-and-dance, three-hour feel-good romances.) And that’s when it all started to come together. My novel would be an M&B-meets-Bollywood romance that would combine the best loved aspects of both.
Now that I had a plan I was off and running. In true Bollywood style, the hero and heroine meet at a party where they set the dance floor on fire with their sizzling moves. I recalled all those passion-fires-up-in-a-snowbound-log-cabin M&B moments and went in for a Bollywood tweak: a steamy love scene set in a quaint Himalayan cottage with the lovers lost in each other’s arms as the rain beats out a magical love song on the rooftop. Delhi’s raging summer storms provided the perfect backdrop for an angsty heroine. I nearly added the mandatory heroine-in-a-wet-sari-rain-dance cliché but pulled back at the last minute – too kitschy! I found myself turning to themes of revenge and forgiveness, broken promises and childhood fears that have been favored by both M&B authors and Indian screenwriters. Most of all, I enjoyed dressing up my heroine in gorgeous lehnga-skirts, sequinned Asian harem pants and backless choli-blouses with all that lovely bling that would make reigning Bollywood divas go green with envy.
I was having so much fun that my fears faded away and I immersed myself in the world of my characters. I was writing an M&B that I’d always wanted to read: a happy-ever-after M&B story with the sweeping larger than life romantic moments of a Bollywood movie. Happily for me, my editor approved of this mix-and-match romance (she particularly loved the henna tattoos of my heroine as part of her wedding makeover!) and before I knew it the book had been approved for publication and I was offered a two-book contract.
And it all happened…thanks to one happy accident!
Have you had a “happy accident” or an “aha moment” that has transformed you as a writer?
DELECTABLE, DEVILISH, DREAMY, DRAT…with Laurie Schnebly Campbell on Friday, September 13th.
Bio:Adite Banerjie has been writing professionally ever since she graduated from college. After an exciting and fulfilling career as a business journalist she turned to freelance writing, crunched numbers and wrote reports about consumer behaviour and social development issues. Somewhere along the way she got on to the screenwriting bandwagon. One of her movie scripts is currently in pre-production. When she penned her first romantic short story she won the 2012 Harlequin Mills & Boon Aspiring Authors Contest. Her debut novel, based on the winning short story entry, ‘The Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal’, releases in India in September 2013 and will be available as an e-book on amazon.com soon. She lives in a suburb of New Delhi with her husband, mother and an Irish Setter who is the uncrowned king of all doggy beggars.
She loves to connect with readers and writers.
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