Hello again! It's not often that I do two posts in one day but today gets to be an exception. I love doing author interviews and am very excited to have Shilpa Mudiganti here to answer a few questions. Shilpa has written a romance novella called Always You which will be released on March 6. Welcome Shilpa!
1. Before we get to the bookish questions, it would be nice to get to know you a little better. Can you tell us your pet peeve and your greatest passion?
Hey Dana, What a way to start! Let me start with my passion. Passion is undoubtedly, books. Nothing is more satisfying than a good book or a good hour of writing. And my pet peeve is, please don’t laugh, is having to cook while reading a book. I feel cooking is the biggest waste of time when I am with a good book. Why can’t I just not feel hungry? :D
That is so funny to me. My kids have a rule that I'm not allowed to read and cook at the same time because I burn things and they go hungry ;) OK - moving on, What book (or books) do you think everyone should read?
Hmm. I think every one has different tastes. But if I know of a fantasy fiction fan, then I think Harry Potter is a must-read.
Good choice. Let's move on to your book. Tell us a little about Always You.
Always You is a contemporary romance novella. It is about Lyla and Alex who, though in love with each other, are blinded by prejudice and guilt. The book is about how they rediscover their past and finally accept their love for each other. There is a lot of jet-setting in the book and the story takes place in two most romantic cities – New York and Paris. The book has lot of intense moments along with a wonderful connection between Alex and Lyla.
How long did the story that became Always You float around in your brain before you decided to put it to paper and what spurred you to write it?
It floated in my brain for about 30 mins I think but it took me nearly a year to write it. It was a long weekend of too many romance books that inspired me to write one. Books do that to me. I read one and pop! – a story. Sometimes I wish the thoughts just convert to words!
Do you have a favourite character or scene from the book?
My favourite character is Alex. He is a tortured soul but we do not realise it for long. I almost feel like petting him and talking him out of it. Of course, that’s me who talks to my characters!
My favourite scene is where Lyla finally realises and admits to herself that she still loves Alex. I would love to share it with you the scene:
”He stood in front of her resigned, taking in the lovely face he’d hurt deeply. He watched as another big tear rolled down her cheek, leaving a trail of gleam on her smooth skin. He instinctively caught the tear midway with his thumb and first finger.
Lyla shivered lightly with shock from his touch on her face. She didn’t stop him when he came closer, feeling his body touching hers. She ached to put her head in his chest and cry, begging him to undo Alex put his hands lightly on her neck, touching the soft skin. By all means, Lyla should’ve walked away, jilted by his touch. Yet she stood there riveted, watching the intensity of love in his eyes. He bent over her face and Lyla's lips parted in accord but he touched her tears, on her cheek, kissing them, hoping to take away her pain with him.
He continued kissing all her tears away, moving along her jaw line, to her ears, up her cheekbones and finally resting on her tired, closed eyes. Her tears rolled faster and small sobs shook the small body of Lyla, hurting within for Alex, for her inability to accept the man who she now knew that she was irrevocably in love with.”
What a sweet scene. In my mind (never having written anything longer than a blog post) I think the hardest part of a book for me to write would be the ending. Which part of Always You was the hardest for you to write?
I wanted to give them a good ending and it was. I did struggle just before the ending where Lyla comes to know the truth. Somehow it was emotionally challenging for me to write what Lyla went through after that.
1. I hear you have another book, a fantasy story, I think, coming down the pike. That sounds very different from Always You, which is a romance. Did you find one or the other easier to write?
I actually write fantasy. I love fantasy and I would like to think that is my forte. I am so excited about it to share it with every one. But I have to have patience because I am still making changes to it.
I never thought I would write romance. It was more of an accident but I enjoyed it. It was a great learning experience as well. I feel writing romance is difficult considering it has a lot to do with people’s feeling. In fantasy, the focus is on the supernatural elements but romance is about people. Hope I have done a decent job in Always You.
The release date for Always You is March 6. Do you have special plans to celebrate?
It is my birthday as well! So, yes I have special plans. I am forcing my husband to make it special for me. :D I intend to do nothing on that day but squeal.
What a great birthday gift. I hope it's a great day for you. Is there someplace that readers can find you so they can keep up with your writing and books?
I would to have my readers on my blog www.smmirza.blogspot.com. I try to keep it updated thought been very bad since last few weeks considering all the work that came with publishing (Seriously, why doesn’t anyone talk about it?). But if they want to contact me, blog is the best place!
It's been great having you here Shilpa. Thanks so much for answering my questions and good luck with Always You.
Thank you Dana for having me here. I enjoyed this interview thoroughly and hope to get to know you more!
Shilpa Mudiganti Mirza grew up making up stories in her head. Starting with innocent babbling, genre of her stories changed with lessons growing up teaches us all. She thought life would be all about her stories until she completed her technical degree. Security of an IT job lured her leaving her stories to continue brew up in her head. Yet soon she had to fall in step with what fate had planned for her and she penned her first romance novella, Always You to be published by Inkspell Publishing. There has been no looking back since then. Juggling her day job as an IT geek, she has penned down her pet project, an exciting fantasy story of lions and wolves which, to her utter delight, is going to see the light of the day early next year. She says you would fall in love with her wonderful hero and heroine. When she has time to breathe, she spends time blogging, connecting with her readers and spending time with her loving husband. She lives at Ridgefield Park, New Jersey.