Divya Anand says her latest book is not another workplace romance

Conspiratorial colleagues, a fickle boss, looming deadlines, departmental rivalries — a few chapters in, and one could be forgiven for assuming Divya Anand’s latest book, Written in the Stars, is a workplace romance.

However, the Bengaluru-based Anand makes it clear the office is not just a setting for this particular love story; it is where the protagonist comes into her own as a career-driven professional.

Divya Anand says her latest book is not another workplace romance

“I wanted to have these women characters who are ambitious and unabashed about what they want to get out of their career. Ultimately, however close you are with friends at the workplace, everybody is worried about their own promotion and ongoing projects. I wanted to put that out there,” says Anand, who feels that in most office romance novels, ambition gets lost as the focus is on the budding relationship.

“The character shouldn’t be so caught up with the romance that she forgoes her promotion. I have seen many women face these struggles and I hope this aspect will resonate with them.”

There is another reason Anand made the protagonist a woman — to throw light on some of the challenges women face at the workplace. “Irrespective of the sector, there are people constantly trying to mansplain, manipulate and overlook a woman’s contributions.”

“While addressing these issues, I also wanted it to go the ‘comedy-of-errors’ route for a light-hearted reading — something we did not have a lot of during the pandemic. I also hoped it would cheer up people who were missing the office.”

Divya Anand says her latest book is not another workplace romance

Written in the Stars, Anand’s third book, revolves around a product manager frustrated with the decisions of her astrology-app obsessed marketing head. “It is unlikely for those working in tech, product management or marketing, to rely on astrological guidance. It got me thinking how easy it would be to manipulate work choices if one had access to personal details.”

Set in present day Bengaluru, Written in the Stars highlights some of the best-loved and as well as cringe-worthy aspects of the city. From hideous traffic, unpredictable weather and a temperamental cab service to pubs, IT hubs and quizzing culture, Anand not only brings out the multi-faceted nature of the city, but also specific areas every true blue Bengalurean would have frequented.

Trivia lovers will enjoy the pop culture references that Anand, as a quizzing enthusiast herself, has woven into the story. “Arguments with the host, second guessing your opponent and a chummy-rivalry with other teams are a given among the fraternity. After a while you share a nodding acquaintance with others on the circuit,” she says, having aptly captured similar scenarios for Written.

Anand who works as a product manager herself, admits she stumbled into writing by chance. Her next work, a middle grade children’s book is in finishing stages.

“I am constantly doodling and on a whim I signed up for a picture book writing workshop. At the end of the session we actually had to write a manuscript. That is how I found myself mailing publishers and receiving a bunch of rejections.”

Published by Penguin, Written in the Stars (₹ 299) the third book by Divya Anand is available online and in bookstores.

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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 12:00:04 AM |

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