Welcome to the Duty and Desire Blog Tour stop! Check out the excerpt below and a guest post from author Anju Gattani about researching your novel. She has some good info and tips in her post so check it out!
Series: Winds of Fire #1
Author: Anju Gattani
Genre: Family Saga
Publisher: Greenbrier Book Co.
How Can Happiness Survive When Duty Clashes With Desire?
Sheetal Prasad has it all: youth, beauty, wealth and education. But when this modern Indian woman surrenders love for honor and marries into India’s most glamorous ‘royal family’, these very advantages turn against her and she is stripped of her freedom.
Meet the Dhanrajs — a powerful family bound together by a web of lies where infidelity, greed, secrets and hidden identities lurk beneath the lush tapestry. The Dhanrajs have plenty to hide and will do what it takes to mask the truth from the world.
As Sheetal peels back the layers of deceit, she confronts a haunting reality and is threatened by the blazes of passion she ignites.Guest Post:
Ever wonder what goes into the research of a book?
And I didn’t find out until after I wrote one myself.
The initial draft of ‘Duty and Desire’ took 1.5 years to pound out… after which I learned, from attending chapter meetings and talking to professionals, that it wasn’t 1 book but 1 story.
The story was equivalent to 2 books and many more to follow in my ‘Winds of Fire’ series.
The plot, the characters, the setting, locale and world-building (Raigun, fictitious city in India) were all in place. I’m not saying the work was perfect. It was barely legible. There were still 25+ rewrites to follow and a huge, HUGE, learning curve ahead. (Thank goodness I’m one of those people who miss the elephant in the room, don’t have the foresight to notice the elephant poop I’m about to step in, and notice the speck on the wall instead… or I’d given up long ago.)
I had done the research for my protagonist, Sheetal, an oil painter/artist by profession. I had also done the medical research (a portion of) for the book (there was more to come & I appreciate my blindness and younger Dr.Sister). But I knew something was missing. Something HUGE. What?
I looked at my characters, examined my story with a microscope and realized it wall all black and white. Sure, Raigun had color. Lots of color. The grass was green. The sky was blue. The earth was… you get the idea. But the characters were colorless and lifeless. Learning how to flesh out my characters took care of the latter (several years). But how was I supposed to breathe color in them?
My super-wealthy and flamboyant characters, Sheetal and Sanjeet, needed someone to dress them up… and who better than real fashion designers? I contacted the editor of New Woman magazine, India, (a wonderful friend who I had the privilege of working with and freelancing for) and explained my fictional plight. She put me in touch with 2 of India’s leading fashion designers Anita Dongre http://www.anitadongre.com and Arjun Khanna http://www.arjunkhanna.com. These industry pros designed the wedding attires and ensembles (throughout the story) for Sheetal (leading female) and Sanjeet (leading male) in ‘Duty and Desire’.
Then came lifestyles of the rich and famous. How would someone like Sheetal achieve major weight loss? Anita presented a choice of Tai-Chi or Pilates. Bingo – Pilates! This led me to familiar territory (the gym) but unfamiliar turf – the Pilates studio. Not only did I sit through Pilates sessions and understand the special apparatus used, I began practicing Pilates as well.
One Pilates session and I was embedded in bed the next morning. I couldn’t move. I could, however, feel muscles and body parts I’d never known existed before, through pain. I continued
practicing Pilates, being empowered, learning with each rewrite and research, numerous themes underlying the story… discovering layer after layer to each character (including secondary ones) and watched the story evolve over 9 years, into a book.
Now I ask myself, if I’d known how much research goes into a book what difference would it have made? Would I have given up?
Probably. Which is why I consider myself blessed. You see, I still miss seeing the elephant in the room. I still don’t have the foresight to avoid stepping in elephant poop. I still notice the speck on the wall instead.
Look! It’s a fly!
*Squelch* Oh dear! Think I’ll have to wash my feet. I didn’t realize my head was already in the third book.
“She loved him. She reached out to touch him and soothe his anger. “I risked everything just coming here to be with you.”
“Not to be with me. To tell me. You came to tell me you’re marrying someone else. And you expect me to do nothing?” That’s exactly what she did expect, because society required a woman to marry the man her parents chose for her.
Arvind grabbed Sheetal by the shoulders and gazed into her eyes. “Do you understand how much I love you?”
She understood. “I have no choice, Arvind.” Sheetal took a long, deep breath and clasped her fingers together. “Love isn’t enough for my father. Money, reputation, class and status. That’s what matters to him.” Until now she had ignored the imitation suede shoes on his feet and the ripped, beige, front pocket of his shirt; things she would have never have noticed if her mother hadn’t brought them to her attention a while back. “My father wants me,”—she bit her lip, knowing her words would hurt him—“well taken care of.”
About the Author
Anju was born in India but grew up in Hong Kong. Her Indian upbringing and British education worked together to strongly influence her writing.
Anju’s fiction explores how the distinct mindsets and traditions of different cultures permanently shape people’s values, thinking, and behavior patterns—for both good and evil—despite the “leveling” effects of 21st century communications and travel.
Anju earned a Bachelors degree in English Literature in India and a teaching degree in the United Kingdom. She has also studied creative writing.
Anju has lived in Singapore, Australia, India, New Jersey and Connecticut. She now makes her home in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two kids. Anju is a columnist for a multicultural magazine in the USA. She is also an avid guest blogger, who loves to share her experiences in health and fitness, food, self-empowerment and great fiction reads.
Duty and Desire is her first novel.
Visit Anju at http://www.anjugattani.com
This tour was put together by FMB Blog Tours