Before I start chatting with Aarti, let me say that she is one of the best writers and storytellers that I have read in her genre. I had the pleasure of meeting her at the Noida Lit Fest last year and realised that this writer gal is a fantastic moderator and speaker too. Let’s learn more about Aarti.
A note: This interview took place soon after Aarti’s last release, STILL NOT OVER YOU. At the time of publication, Aarti has another new release out called CROSSING LINES.
Sue: It’s good to see you back with a new book. What have you been doing during this hiatus?
Aarti: I have been working a lot. (laughs). And writing really bad stories whose first drafts have only been read by my most trusted, non-judgey pals. Ok, serious answer. I was seriously burnt out for a long time and the writing bug lay dormant for ages. I
have been very afraid for years, I am afraid now that I have written for the last time.
It was only after my last birthday that I sat down and took a long hard look at what I want from my life and my writing. And first on the list was to share my old stories and lots of new ones with my readers *if they would have me* Luckily, my romance reader friends still loved me enough to welcome me back with open arms and open wallets!
Sue: So tell us about your new release. What inspired its creation?
Aarti: STILL NOT OVER YOU is first in the Geeks of Caltech, a series of steamy contemporary romances about complex South Asian millennials in a global setting. And it has recently crossed 100,000 KENP reads on Amazon Kindle Unlimited! As I mention in the author’s note for the book, Still Not Over You began as Second Chance – a dark love
story about two star-crossed lovers torn apart by the death of a friend. It was actually a way for me to deal with the death of my friend, in 2012. He was my first friend when I transferred to my school in the third grade and we had drifted apart by the time we all graduated in the tenth. But it was still a blow to hear of his passing and the only way I could process it was by writing about it. An epic, sad romance about a Juliet who sends her Romeo away and learns to live without him. Until she is forced to bring him back.
Of course, that draft was too sentimental and Dev had yet to meet his pals Kit, Shiv, Ro and Nico. Now, though, I cannot imagine one Geek without the other and the preternaturally empathetic and strong women who love them. And I am raring to tell each of their stories!
Sue: As a fellow writer and avid reader, I’ve observed that you’re great at what we call ‘character development’. So how do you manage to do it so well each time?
Aarti: HAHA! Sue, we spend so much time chatting everyday. You know how exhausting this process is for me. But, thank you for the kind words. I spend a lot of time figuring out how and what my characters would act in the real world in the most authentic manner. One of the main ways to do it is to imagine a real-life personality walking and talking like the character. For instance, when I was writing Crossing Lines, Book 2 of Geeks of Caltech, I totally imagined a brown Stephen Amell (Oliver Queen in Arrow) as Shiv, a prodigally smart, mysterious man who had secrets and who would do anything to protect the people he cared about. He was not above bending the law when it
suited him and a true geek in a lot of ways. He was also very tired of the way he was living his life and it reflected in the ways he tried to change himself.
Once a character appears that firmly in my head, it then becomes a matter of course to write how he would act and react in every situation in the most authentic way possible. As for the women, I simply imagine all the strong women I am privileged to call friend, mother, sister, aunt and how they would handle these often idiotic, overbearing men they love. But, mostly what I try and bring about through my stories is to answer this one question: Who am I and how can I become better than what I was yesterday? Hopefully, I manage to entertain the reader in the process too.
Sue: You’re known to write huge word counts in a short span of time. What’s your writing routine like?
Aarti: Getting the first few scenes right, aka the First Act slump is always a task. Once that is done, I can knock off a draft in a week or so. But getting those first few scenes right is like climbing Mount Everest each time, I kid you not. I can write continuously once it all gets going and I have chapter goals so it’s a fairly fast process once I get
through the initial slump. I also create a specific music playlist for each of my stories which definitely helps set the mood for the characters to become as real as possible. Max Richter’s score for Miss Sloane was my jam for the ten days that I wrote this story.
Sue: OK. Quick fire round time.
Your favourite romance authors
Aarti: Nalini Singh, Nora Roberts, Tessa Dare, Sarah Maclean, Diana Palmer,
Sandra Marton, Sara Craven, Stacey Reid, Lisa Kleypas. Recently, I have started bingeing on Priscilla Oliveras, KM Jackson, and a lot of young adult romances.
Sue: Your favourite genre to read
Aarti: LOL. Romance. And Young Adult.
Sue: Your favourite fictional hero
Aarti: Kaleb Krychek. He hasn’t been dethroned since he stormed into my heart
with Heart of Obsidian!
Sue: Wow. My TBR pile just grew. So what is your message to your readers?
Aarti: Thank you so much for supporting romance writers, in particular. It’s your love that makes our world go round. Keep reading and loving us and DO NOT underestimate the power of a single-line review. It’s often the difference between your favorite author giving up on the business of writing books and plodding on on
this often cold and lonely journey. Thank you so much for accepting a little portion of my heart each time you read one of my stories.
Thank you, Sue. For being a friend. A champion. A lodestar during dark times and so much more everyday.
Sue: My pleasure! Thanks for joining us here today 🙂
Grab Aarti’s latest sexy romance here: https://www.amazon.in/Crossing-Lines-Book-Geeks-Caltech-ebook/dp/B07CBR5QG1