It all s̶t̶a̶r̶t̶e̶d̶ ended with that box…
The year 2000 and Aashi’s life was all set. New Millennium ,exciting beginnings, new life. Or so she thought.
Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after. But then Aashi found the empty condom box… Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged. Old images erased, new beginnings to explore. And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…
When and where do you prefer to write?
Quite honestly, given the slight craziness of my life, whenever I get a chance, is when I write. It isn’t easy as a full-time teacher, in a management role, to write as and when I please, and with the added pressure of teenage kids who need ferrying around or feeding constantly, I must take the opportunities when I can. I tend to pencil in blocks of time around the school holidays, early in the day while the rest are still asleep. I have my office set up which is where I love to sit and write, as I have everything I need around me, and my planner board so I can see what I am meant to be doing.
Do you need peace and quiet when you are writing?
Relative peace and quiet would be great but is not easily found. Thankfully we live in a quiet area, so when I am in my office, I can only hear the birds singing. I have tried to write with music on, but I find I get distracted and end up singing along to the songs, instead, so I try not to have anything on around me.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
What a fantastic question! I would love to co-write a book with one of my all-time favourite authors, Amanda Prowse. She is a fantastic author, and to have my name next to hers on a book would be a dream come true!
Say someone asks if they can use your name in a book. Would you rather be the ‘good one’ or the ‘bad one’?
I wouldn’t mind either if I’m honest. I have spent most of my life being the ‘good one’, so maybe being the ‘bad one’ would be an interesting change!
Who would you like/have liked to interview?
This is one of those questions where you sit back and really root through your mind to find an intelligent answer, but whenever I get asked something like this, or even the ‘who would you invite to a dinner party’, my answer is always my grandparents, from both sides. I never met my paternal grandparents as they passed away when my Pops was young. And my grandfather on my maternal side passed away when I was six. The stories I hear about him, and what he did for the disadvantaged in Kenya makes me want to have that time to ask him all sorts of questions. I did know my maternal grandmother, but she lived in a different country to me, so to be able to sit and talk to her about her own life would just be magical.
Where can I find you when you are reading?
I could be anywhere. My Kindle is with me all the time. But preferably curled up in bed with a pind of ice cream to keep me going, or in my reading nook in my office, with a cup of tea, or on my egg chair in my garden, on a sunny day, with a nice cooling drink! More often than not, on the weekends, I am sat by the side of a cricket pitch, pretending to watch my son play cricket, when I am actually reading!
Where can I find you when you are not writing/reading?
I am either doing housework, or in the kitchen, cooking. You may find me watching sone binge-worthy series on the TV, or I might just be visiting my family in Birmingham, because I am a true family person, and love being with everyone, even the extended family… and there are plenty of them!
What goes through your mind when you hold your new book in your hands for the first time?
The feeling of holding that book baby for the first time, is almost indescribable. Utter disbelief was the first thing that I felt when I first held a book with my name on the cover. And that feeling is there every time. It’s very emotional, especially when you know you have poured your blood, sweat and tears into the contents of those pages. And then scary when you realise it is going out into the real world!
How do you come up with a title for your book?
Sometimes a title just settles in my mind, and I know. With my debut, Marriage Unarranged, it was actually Wedded Stress, which morphed when I finished my first draft and had a couple of readers suggest I think of a more powerful title. The second book, I knew without any prompting, what I wanted to call it, and I am pretty sure it is staying! But I do bandy ideas about with other folk, so whatever I settle on is deemed a good choice. I have a holder title for book three too, but that could still change, depending on how we feel about it.
How do you pick a cover for your book?
I have an idea in my mind for covers, then I do research on similar genres, before submitting ideas to the cover designer. I think it is important to be able to work together with a designer to get the look you want, just right. For Marriage Unarranged I had a choice of two, and I even did some blind research in a shopping centre, asking strangers which they preferred! But, ultimately, it’s gut instinct.
About the Author
Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but of Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her. From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing! Ritu also writes a blog, http://www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards and Best Book Blog in 2019.
Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.
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