Download, share or listen online to Sundari Venkatraman as she recalls her journey to becoming an author.
Even as a kid, I absolutely loved the ‘lived happily ever after’ syndrome. I grew up reading all the fairy tales I could lay my hands on, Phantom comics, Mandrake comics and the like. It was always about good triumphing over evil and a happy end.
In my teens, I switched my attention from fairy tales to Mills & Boon. While I loved reading both of these, I always wondered what would have happened if there were similar situations happening in India; to a local hero and heroine. My imagination took flight and I have lived in a rosy cocoon of romance over the years.
Then came the writing—a true bolt out of the blue! I could barely string two sentences together when I was younger. While my spoken English had always been excellent—thanks to my grandfather—I could not write to save my life. I was bad at writing essays in both school and college. Later, when it was time to teach my kids, I could manage everything from science to mathematics and history & geography. When it came to writing compositions, my kids found me of no help at all.
All this changed suddenly one fine day in 2000. I had just quit my job at a school’s office and did not know what to do with my life. I was saturated with reading books. When I came home one evening after my walk, I took some sheets of paper and began writing. It was like I was watching a movie that was running in my head and I just had to put it into words. It was as simple as that and my first novel—The Malhotra Bride—was born.
It has taken me 13 years to get published. Being a commerce graduate with no writing background, I struggled to find a publisher—in India as well as abroad—who would show an interest in my novels. Yes, novels, in the plural. I have written a number of full-fledged novels that never got to see the light of day.
Then Rizwan Tufail and Naheed Hassan contacted me about writing a romance novella for Indireads.
And Double Jeopardy was born! As they say, the rest is history.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of identical twins. While we have a number of Bollywood films that portray twins who were separated in childhood finding each other as adults, I had been toying with the idea of twins growing up together—physically identical men with different characters.
This thought process gave birth to Arth and Ansh Sharma. There is only one heroine—Sanya. She can’t be in love with both the guys. My book begins with Sanya being fascinated with her childhood crush Arth, but being physically attracted to the hot and sexy Ansh. She feels torn between the two guys. Arth’s memory insists that she remain loyal to him while Ansh’s physical pull makes her forget the very existence of Arth. Who will Sanya settle with forms the rest of the story.
Mumbai is a metropolis where you will find both kinds of people—conservative as well as liberal. I have lived in Mumbai for more than 28 years. I felt this urban set-up is just perfect for a family with a modern outlook. Ratna and Shantanu Sharma—the twins’ parents—are extremely easy-going people who follow the maxim of ‘live and let live’. This is obviously the best place for the confused Sanya to find herself.
Zeenat Mahal tells us a little bit about herself… Download, share or listen online to this small audio clip.