Manuscript help, book reviews and author interviews
Reet Dhaliwal says, “Writing about love and happy endings feeds my romantic soul.” ‘Scorched by His Fire’ is her first published piece of romantic fiction, and is courtesy of Mills and Boon® India’s Passions Contest which she won in 2013. ‘The Cure was Love’, also from Mills and Boon® India, released in November 2014.
tgbc: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Reet: From real life mostly; it helps that I am a romantic who is also imaginative and likes inventing things off the top of her head. Sometimes, even when I am not looking for inspiration, I find it in the oddest of places – like in a documentary on trams, for example, or during a random conversation with a stranger.
tgbc: How do you do your research?
Reet: I read. Google helps – it is great to be able to discover anything you want to know with the click of a button. The online thesaurus is a boon. Then there are sites that tell you names for characters that belong to regions you may never have visited. I’m sure it is much easier now than when there was no internet, and I’m glad that I have such a fabulous resource.
tgbc: Who is your favorite character in your book/books?
Reet: Rudy Bhatnagar, whom you’ll meet in “The Cure was Love”.
Rudy is both my best and my favorite…so far. He is a surgeon, slightly damaged, but is sexy and sensitive, considerate and passionate; he can cook; loves animals – quite the complete package.
tgbc: Difference between love and lust?
Reet: It is love when your heart sings – when you adore both the body and the soul, and all that is good. When the one that makes your toes curl also lights up your life – that’s love. Also, when there are clouds, and imperfections, and through the bad – if your heart still sings – that, most certainly, is love.
In lust, too, you adore – but you worship without really engaging with every sense and every emotion.
tgbc: Does Tall, Dark and Handsome work for India? Or would it be Tall, Fair and Handsome?
Reet: TDH certainly works for me. Having said that, I must confess that I don’t dwell on that aspect so much in my books. It is more important that my hero should be fit – certainly, when he takes his shirt off it should be clear to the meanest eye that he looks after his body. In their respective stories both my heroes, Tanay and Rudy, do disrobe and the ladies are not disappointed!
tgbc: Your favorite M&B author or a memorable one you read years ago!
Reet: Margaret Way – simply love her storytelling and her characters.
tgbc: In what way (apart from the Indian characters and Indian setting) are the Indian Harlequin/M&B’s different from their western counterparts?
Reet: Harlequin/M&B’s Indian romances are imbued with the quintessential masala of our culture– there are colorful, noisy weddings, nosy relatives, joint families (with all the drama that entails), old royalty, a hundred festivals, fasts and gods and goddesses – a veritable pot pouri of all that is so central to life in this country – stuff that a Westerner may find most intriguing. That being said, our heroines are independent and talented, our heroes suave and successful – they could easily be transported to fit in anywhere in the world.
tgbc: The nicest gift you have received from a loved one!
Reet: The gift of time!
tgbc: What would you cook up for a romantic dinner?
Reet: Um….singed kebabs and over-crisp garlic bread.
You’d be correct in inferring that I get distracted – there is so much else going on at the same time that my dinners often suffer – luckily, since it is a romantic dinner, the wine and the candle-light and the billing and cooing would hopefully camouflage all the rest.
tgbc: On a date – would it be a chiffon sari and bindi, or a long sexy gown?
Reet: Between the two, I would go with the sari. But given a free hand, I would opt for a lovely chiffon kurta with a Patiala salwar. Saris and I are not good friends – we tend to go our separate ways after an hour or two – an event likely to embarrass me, although I suspect the date would be delighted.
tgbc: Your favorite fragrance.
Reet: My husband’s aftershave, whatever that be.