When did you first fall in love with romance as a genre? The first romance I ever read was Silhouette in high school in Mumbai. One of my friend’s aunt had written it under a super-secret pseudonym. This friend had one copy that we all shared in secret. It was actually really good, but the story itself was overshadowed by the illicit joy of being part of something clandestine.
Who are some of your authorly inspirations? Vikram Seth's Suitable Boy is my own private MFA in a book. Jodi Picoult turns words directly into emotion in the simplest possible way. JK Rowling created a world so familiar and comforting I can return to it anytime. Lisa Kleypas has the perfect emotional pitch for romance and it makes me slurp up her stories from the very first word. Susan Elizabeth Philips creates the most real, the most irredeemable characters and redeems them like no one else can. Kristan Higgins creates families and communities I want to crawl into and never leave. Nalini Singh for the sheer intensity and sweetness of her romantic connections and Sherry Thomas for the complex intricacies of not just her language but of her characters.
Fill in the blank: romance is a genre for those who believe in love and the human capacity for happiness (and know that they’re one and the same thing)
Tell us about your newest book? A Change of Heart is a story about what happens after your happily ever after falls apart. It explores hope, healing and the journey to building something new on the remains of the past. Nikhil Joshi has lost his wife to a violent crime while working in a Mumbai slum two years ago. He works on a cruise ship, haunted by his memories, when he meets Jess Koirala, a Bollywood chorus dancer, who tells him that she received his dead wife’s heart in a transplant and that she comes with a message from her. The story follows Nikhil as he crawls out of darkness to uncover the truth that could bring his wife’s killers to justice.
Describe your dream date (and your dream partner). Henry Cavill. Kidding. Okay, not entirely kidding. Coming back to reality. I’m not much of a date person— they’re too orchestrated for me. The things I find insanely romantic are serendipitous. A conversation on a bench in the middle of a walk, sneaking out to grab a drink or see a movie when an unexpected free moment miraculously shows up in the middle of our crazy schedules, and, my favorite, us being in the kitchen and dancing to the perfect song in the middle of cooking.
Speaking of dates, if you could choose anyone, living or dead to have a coffee with, who would you choose? President Barack Obama