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Updated: July 22, 2012 17:25 IST

Mush in the monsoon

Akshat Chopra
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Shoma Narayanan.
The Hindu Shoma Narayanan.

Banker Shoma Narayanan turns author with a Mills & Boon title

A pretty, perfect girl will meet a tall, dark and handsome man. Sparks will fly and they’ll go beyond just dalliance. Mills & Boon (M&B) novels have, for long, enthralled women young and old.

Shoma Narayanan, who’s emerged the second runners-up in the Harlequin Mills & Boon’s ‘Passions’ aspiring authors auditions, now becomes the first Indian to author an M&B novel globally with Monsoon Wedding Fever. A mother of two, she narrates her experience.

The beginning

“When I saw an ad in a bookstore about Mills & Boon auditions, I hastily went home and spent the weekend writing a short story for the ‘Passions’ contest. It was exciting when the story made it to the top three ,” recalls Shoma. The Mumbai-based banking professional had submitted a 2,000-word story about a couple who part ways after college and meet years later, only to realise that they are still in love.

Shoma, who met her future husband while pursuing MBA from Jamshedpur, wrote short stories when her kids were asleep. Her story, ‘Second Time Around’, made it to the top three entries that were selected from a total of 1,000 sent to the competition.

The book

Talking about the book, she says, “Penning down Monsoon Wedding Fever has been the most interesting experience I’ve ever had. Riya is the kind of captivating but slightly mixed-up person that I’ve always wanted to narrate about. But Dhruv doesn’t believe in love. Both run into each other at a monsoon wedding and Riya starts to hope that the wedding fever gets contagious. At one point I was so immersed in my characters’ lives that I almost lost track.”

There has been a spurt in readership for erotic novels like Fifty Shades of Grey. Shoma, however, maintains that it is the ‘love’ genre that attracts women. “Only the emotion matters. Unpredictable love sets the tale, and boy-meets-girl stories are a delight to read,” she opines.

There must be something about bankers and writing, given the likes of Chetan Bhagat and Ravi Subramanian. “That might be true. See, MBA graduates need to go through a strong quantitative and verbal comprehension section. They need to have a decent grasp over the language. This could be the reason,” she laughs.

A tale for all

Shoma explains, “My work can’t be classified as erotic because it’s very simple. But I have noticed that people actually accept writings that explore forbidden desires and love. My story is set in India and it should surely connect to Indian readers.”

While different cultures might narrate a love story differently, according to her, love as such doesn’t undergo changes across boundaries. Shoma says, “There are so many differences in culture, but a good romance will transcend these differences. The basic emotions and degrees of love are common in every culture. Also, love can be rekindled at any age as all it demands is a spark. The book will appeal to Indian and international audiences equally.”

The latest M&B offering is priced at Rs.125. “Now I’m chalking down another book, which will come out by next year. It’s crazy juggling between being a wife, mother, banker and, now, an author. But I love every part of it,” Shoma signs off.

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