Sundari Venkatraman is a prolific romance author. With her latest release The Madras Affair–whose cover I simply love!–Sundari has made her first foray into traditional publishing. Another noteworthy first is the manner in which she has tackled the very sensitive issue of widow remarriage and the taboos in our society that still surround it. So when I asked her whether she worried if the serious theme of her book would gel with the romantic nuances, this is what she had to say….And don’t forget to check out the fun ‘selfie’ contest!
Romance means “a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love” says the dictionary. Oh, this genre has excited me no end from the moment I became aware of it. Reading romances where I used to bite my nails wondering if the hero and heroine will get together was what I used to live for during my teens. Even when I knew that Mills & Boon novels ended in “Happily Ever After”, I still found them too much fun.
Recreating this excitement and mystery in my books is even better is what I discovered when I began writing.
Yes, Sangita being a widow was not the easiest subject to deal with; not in a romance, especially set in Madras. But she was insistent that her story be told.
Sangita’s marriage to Giridhar made her believe that she hated her own body and this duty called “sex” that she had to live through. She is unaware of her passionate nature as her physical association with Giridhar brought her nothing but shame.
I found this combination lethal – fiery passion embedded under layers of ice that she projects to the world; to herself too. Dr. Sukumar at Trilok Hospital where Sangita works – offers to bed her out of pity (the two-faced snake) since she’s a young widow – believes she’s frigid.
Now, weaving the circumstances into a story that would be acceptable to readers without stepping on delicate toes was not easy. But the more I postponed writing this, the more Gautam and Sangita disturbed my sleep. They woke me up in the middle of most of the nights and insisted on being heard. They wanted me to put their thoughts and emotions on paper. Yeah, in those days (I wrote this in 2001 actually) I used to write in a long, ruled notebook with a pen. I have spent many sleepless nights listening to both of them.
They allowed me to rest in peace (no pun intended) only after I wrote THE END to the manuscript.
Okay, by then it was like consuming my favouritest flavours of ice-cream – butterscotch, black currant & strawberry – thrown in with some exotic fruit salad. Not too difficult, eh?
Thank you Sundari…I do agree with you. Characters do tend to give you sleepless nights! 😀 Wish you much success for #TMA…
Blurb: The Madras Affair