Talk with Adite Banerjie
FWBA and SipNRead had the opprotunity to interview Adite Banerjie (Mills and Boon author). She has written two romantic novels The Indian Tycoon's Marriage Deal(2003)and Trouble Has a New Name(2004). She turned Harlequin author after winning the 2012 Passions Aspiring Authors Contest. She is also a screenplay-writer.
Q:: What made you choose 'Trouble has a new name' as the title?
Anite:: As it happened the title was chosen by Harlequin. But I loved it, because it fits the mood of the story and the character of Rayna beautifully. She keeps getting into all sorts of trouble.
Q:: what is the editorial process of Harlequin? What kind of manuscripts do they look for and any specific examples of how they reworked or edited your manuscript?
Adite:: Harlequin has changed hands. It's now under Harper Collins. So frankly I don't know whether their selection process has changed or not. ...they have a pretty fixed format. Happy ending is mandatory, and the characters have to be likeable...But there is more than enough flexibility in terms of how you tell your story. If you are planning to submit to them, it would be best to check out their guidelines.
Q:: You come from a "Filmic " background, so is there any "Silvery Touch" of Bollywood in your book ?
Adite:: It does have the Bollywood touch. You got to read it to find out more!
Q:: Do you think you have shades of Rayna in your own persona? Or is she modeled on anyone you know?
Adite:: Well I guess she is a bit like me and some friends that I know but please don't ask me to name names!
Q:: What's the difference between writing romance for M&B and otherwise? Have you ever felt embarrassed in telling people that you write romance?
Adite:: I have only written in romance genre. And I opted for it because I was most comfortable with it. I think when I tell people I write romances (especially if they are not the romance reading types) I think they are more embarrassed than me!
Q:: Tell us about your third book.
Adite:: Third book will be released in May....it's a romantic thriller called No Safe Zone.
Q:: How do you take negative reviews ? Are you able to digest them easily?
Adite:: Very badly! It takes me a few days to get over it! No kidding!
Q:: How did you build the character Rayna? Did you have a plot before writing or you made it up as you wrote?
Adite:: Rayna's character took off for me when I came across an article about how breakups are happening via text messages. Immediately I began to visualise what a girl would experience if she got a breakup message via SMS.
Q:: How important do you think marketing is? And with so much stress on marketing, do you think authors are sacrificing a bit on the quality of writing?
Adite:: Marketing is a whole different ballgame. If you are interested, you could check out my blog where I recently interviewed a veteran publishing executive about book marketing.
Q:: What advice would you give to a newbie romance writer who wished to be published by Harlequin? Are there any popular magazines that publish romantic fiction?
Adite:: I would say, please read as many Mills and Boon as you can. The M&B format was originally that of a magazine. That’s why they still release about 15-20 books a month (at least the foreign ones). But now that you ask about it, online romantic magazine would be a new idea!
Q:: What do you prefer getting the "best seller tag" or winning the readers heart?
Adite:: Readers come first always!
Q:: When you write romance, is your average reader in your mind male or female? Or, to rephrase, do you write with a male or female audience in mind?
Adite:: I never realised till the day my book was out that guys actually read romances! Serious! So when I am writing, I always think it will be a girl/woman who will be reading it. I guess I am a bit old fashioned that way. But now-a-days, a lot of guys read romance, though they don't go public about it. See the popularity of Bollywood romance movies. Everyone watches. But don't know why there's a stigma when it comes to literature.
Q:: Tell us about you hero in no safe zone - are we going to love him as much as we did ' Mr Trouble'?
Adite:: As for how fast I wrote, I remember when I was writing Trouble I had written the first 4 chapters in 4 weeks. And then the next 4 gave me sooooo much trouble! Pun totally unintended!
Q:: How fast do you write? Are plotter or pantster?
Adite:: I am totally a plotter!
Q:: What helps you decide which story are you going to work on? You must be having many ideas? What it is clincher that helps you decide to move ahead?
Adite:: I typically fuss over a couple of ideas. Make notes about the characters and plots and then somehow one overtakes the other and I start visualising the scenes. When that happens I know I have to write it or these characters won't let me live in peace!
Q:: We definitely need more authors like you to juice out the Bollywood in books. How do you select your locations? For romance you need a beautiful place too.
Adite:: Location is everything for a romance. With Trouble... I knew it was going to be a destination wedding...so I needed a really unique place and Andaman Islands, I thought, would be ideal.
Q:: What is the one thing that you think is very overrated in a romance novel?
Adite:: Well, the one thing that romance novels in general can do without is the Big "misunderstanding" scene between the Hero and Heroine. This is basically a device to keep them apart that just doesn't work.
Q:: What do you feel makes a novel interesting? A story peppered with dialogues, or a fast paced straightforward narrative? Do you feel the butterflies in your stomach when you write the mushy bits?
Adite:: In my view, the pacing has to be right. A balance of narrative and dialogues... I do a pretty detailed character sketch of my protagonists before I actually start writing. I try and figure out the key moments in their lives and how those experiences would have shaped them. ! I am terrified of writing the mushy scenes, They take me forever to write!
Q:: Do you write daily according to a time-table? What is your typical word count, 40-50,000? How many times did you edit your book before you thought it was finally ready?
Adite:: I don't have a set routine. I know. I know. I am supposed to write every day. But believe me, it doesn't happen. And I feel forever guilty about it! Completing a first draft takes me at about 4-5 months. Because I have this irritating habit of editing as I go along. I normally don't outline my full story. I have a basic plot in mind and a few key scenes but during the writing I have often strayed from the original. The writer knows her characters and her story. So I would say she should first trust her instinct before showing it to anyone else. I have written 3 books so far. 50K words each.
Q:: Would you like to try your hand at other genre?
Adite:: My third book is a romantic suspense/thriller...so it's not really a pure romance. But yes, I would love to write pure thrillers someday.
Q:: It would be great if you could tell the world about that famous 'first call of acceptance' from Harlequin? Did you scream and jump? What all did it take for you to adopt the delicate-sensuality, the subtle-sexuality, and the wild-abrasiveness, typical of an M&B into Indian context?
Adite:: The Harlequin call was one of the most memorable moments of my life! I didn't jump or scream...I was totally dumb founded....because this call was happening over Skype. And right when my editor (Pippa) said those words...the line went dead! Yes, right! I thought I had gone deaf or something!
Q:: Do you think beta readers are required if one already has a deal with the publishers?
Adite:: I am not comfortable with sharing my raw manuscript with anyone. I am a little strange that way. I prefer to give it to beta readers after I have done several drafts.
Q:: What helps you focus on your writing? Or is it just the story keeps you going, since writing a novel is a long task.
Adite:: I am a procrastinator at heart, only deadlines can keep me glued to my writing.
About the blogger
Love to read books and explore the world of reading. Also like to meet new people.