Chai pe bulaiya (part 1) : Meet Falguni Kothari, author of Bootie and the Beast

Introducing a new segment on the blog called Chai pe Bulaiya.. featuring writers and authors , their books , their writing processes, their pet-peeves and much more…  
Today’s rendezvous is with Author Falguni Kothari , who has penned two books, It’s Your Move, Wordfreak and the recently released Bootie and the Beast. Intriguing titles, right? Let’s get  to know the lady more..
1.       Tell us a little bit about yourself. Also include some pet peeves, crazy/fun stuff about yourself.
Hello! I am a woman and I write books. Fun, flirty romance novels that will leave you with a happy buzz at the end of the read. I have dabbled in urban fantasy and have a series in mind with one manuscript ready and waiting to be considered. So, yeah, I write books. J
Pet peeves: kitty parties with non-compatible guest-lists who won’t shut up and idiots who don’t fan SRK. That brings us to my craziness…I am a die-hard fan-girl. I get seriously star-struck by some actors/writers/certain famous personalities. I have been known to go completely cuckoo over Shah RukhKhan, Gerard Butler, Diana Gabaldon, Tom Hiddleston and Benedict Cumberbatch. What can I say? I love stories and the people who bring them to life.
2.       Tell us about your book/books

My new romance, BOOTIE AND THE BEAST is a Harlequin Mills and Boon release and as you can guess with its title, it’s a nod to the traditional fairytale. The heroine, nicknamed Beauty, is not a village Belle in my story but rather a super famous supermodel and is in super trouble. She is ordered by her father to hide in shame in the hero and longtime family friend’s lair, for a week or two until the gossip about her dies down. The hero, Krish “the Beast” Menon, has been denying his feelings for Diya for a long time and is forced to confront them, living in close proximity as they are. It’s a story about family, expectations, denial and how the past can affect your present and the present your future if you don’t have the guts to face it.

Watch trailer of Bootie and the Beast..


Buy Bootie and the Beast here

She’s having a giveaway that ends in a few days.. Go sign up soon! 

Both Diya and Krish debuted in my debut romance, IT’S YOUR MOVE, WORDFREAK!, as secondary characters. They made such an impression that even before I finished writing Wordfreak I knew I would tell Diya and Krish’s story too.
3.       What inspired you to become a novelist?
I am a voracious reader. So, when a few years ago—at a time in my life when I had more and more time to myself with my children both while not fully grown, but independent enough that I did not need to run after them—my mother kind of pushed me to get off my un-ambitious butt and do something, I decided to take some online classes in literature. What I ended up taking was a short course on writing a romance novel. It was amazing and fun and so fulfilling that I continued writing until I had a full-length manuscript in my hands. I don’t think I ever intended to become an author. I just did. It’s as if I tripped over a soccer ball and fell down the writer’s rabbit hole.
4.       Is any character from your books based on anyone in your real life?
Not really. Though I might bring in some experiences or ideas from real-life situations in the novel.
5.       Who are some of your favorite authors?
I have many, many authors to thank for the wonderful worlds they’ve shown me: Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Diana Gabaldon, J.D Robb/ Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. R Ward, George R R Martin, Megan Hart, InduSunderesan, ChitraDivakaruni, DevduttPattanaik. I love many more but these are ones who have touched my heart the most.
6.       What are the best and the worst parts about being an author?
The best: that I can stay in bed and work in my pajamas for life.
Worst: my eyes straining and burning and sleepless nights when the plot or character refuses to leave my head and find its own lodgings far, far away.
7.       Tell us about your writing / editing process. When do you normally write? Any lucky charms that you believe make you write better? 😉  
Try as I might, I can’t write a chapter without editing it after. It slows down my writing speed, I know, but I can’t seem to break myself of the habit. I have to have a pretty smooth chapter before I can go on to the next. Research and editing I usually do during the day. But my creative writing happens early in the morning. I’ll wake anytime after midnight, because the damn plot or character will not allow me to sleep, and write till dawn.No charms. I write on my bed the best with my dog sleeping by my side J
8.       How do you unwind after a rigorous writing session?
Sleep. Go out with family and friends and have an actual conversation. Get my hair done. Get my nails done.
9.       How did you feel when you received the author’s copy to your first book?
I squeed! It was better than holding my children for the first time as there was no physical pain involved in the delivery.
     What pointers would you like to give to aspiring authors? How easy or difficult was getting published for you?
Sit down. Write. Write. Write. Even if its rubbish for a while. You can edit rubbish. You cannot edit a blank page. (It’s advice I got from another author and it’s so true.)It was easier than most for me to get published for my two romances. I think my fantasy will be the one that will test my patience and endurance. But I am determined to get that story told, one way or another.
1    What’s on the menu next?
I have just started writing a story about three soul mates. First time that I’m using first person POV, so it’s a new challenge. It’s a love story too, but I’m not sure if it will have a happy ending. We’ll see what the characters want from their lives J

Thank you so much for dropping by for tea, Falguni. Wishing you loads of luck for your new book and looking forward to reading it. Looking forward to your book shelf pics too 🙂  

Here’s an excerpt from Bootie and the Beast

Bootie Mathur: Fairytale or Flirty-tale?
The digitally manipulated picture beneath the headline was hideous. The pose and the burlap were the only two things true to the original Pomp Adore cover. In this pic, her hair looked unwashed and unkempt, her eyes wild and scary. Her blood-red lips were peeled apart in a facsimile of vampire fangs about to rip into the bow-tied, fungus-ridden bootie in her hand. Her abdomen was no longer defined, as she was extremely pregnant in the picture. The rose tattoo had been colored black and vicious-looking thorns grew out of the stalk, digging maliciously into the green-veined skin of her distended stomach.
 DiyaMathur swallowed the panic threatening to choke her ever since she’d lost her mind and completely demolished her already notorious reputation to save a dude in distress. That she wasn’t a knight-in-shining-armor and that Hasaan was more than capable of saving his own skin was of no consequence. Her quixotic goodwill had reared up, mixed in with a teensy bit of guilt—after all, she was partly to blame for the fiasco—and thrown itself in front of the mega merger about to put a dampner on Hasaan’s carefree life. But even knowing she’d done the right thing didn’t stop Diya’s stomach from churning like the giant cement mixer she spotted on a construction site by the road. She prayed she wouldn’t really have to use the stupid vomit bags the Beast had planted as a joke.
            Fairytales will ruin you, Dadimahad said in a dour tone supplemented by a dire shake of her head, when Diya was only six and had refused to wear anything but her glittery-blue Sleeping Beauty costume forever or until Prince Charming arrived bearing new clothes. Diya hadn’t believed her cantankerous old grandmother then and she wouldn’t believe it now, even with the public disapproval of her fake pregnancy looming over her head. Fairytales were her lucky charms, her survival mantras. They could never harm her. In fact, they helped put life in perspective.
            Example: the Sleeping Beauty phase, which she’d pretty much passed in a haze of denial waiting for Prince Charming—aka the Beast—to grow up. It had ended the night of her twenty-first birthday when she’d realized the magnitude of her self-delusion. Soon after the figurative eye-opener, she’d announced to the world of her ambition to be a fashion model. Actually, she’d only announced it to her best friend, Alisha Menon—sorry, Chawla, now that Lee-sha was married to Mr. Hunk Charming, Aryan Chawla. Anyway, Diya had whispered her plans in Lee-sha’s ears only because she’d been mortally afraid of what her dentist parents—Kamal and LubnaMathur—and gynecologist sister—PriyaShroffnéeMathur—would say about another vocation switch—her one hundred and eighth one. Soon-to-be-advocate Lee-sha hadn’t laughed at the proclamation nor acknowledged it. She’d simply hung up the phone.
            Not at all put off by her BFF’s rudeness, Diya traipsed forth in her new plans and more or less parked her size-two bottom at Mumbai’s Lips Inc modeling agency until they took notice of her. It hadn’t taken them long to notice. Really.What was there not to notice about five-feet-nine-inches of sleek limbs, flawless skin and picture-perfect features? Diya knew what she looked like and knew there wasn’t a man, woman, child or animal in the world who overlooked her. (Not even the Beast, though he did try, poor knave.) Anyway, Rocky Currimbhoy, co-founder of Lips Inc, had rocket-launched her career in a matter of weeks, much like how Cinderella’s fairy godmother had swirled a magic wand about and transformed the dowdy cinder-sweeper into the belle of the ballroom. Not that there’d been any dowdiness to begin with in Diya, just a bit of naiveté she’d scrubbed off since.
            Fast-forward eight years and Beauty Mathur honest-to-goodness loved to strike a pose. Any pose. Even the ones that made one’s muscles scream in protest or blood rush to the brain causing a migraine. Her super busy model’s life suited her, incredibly perfectly, unlike some of the other vocations she’d tried—and (sigh) failed at—in her many years of being an adult. Beauty was her thing. Fashion was her passion. And she was damn good at it. If she weren’t, HasaanJabbir would never want her for Scheherazade.
            For years, she’d been a Rapunzel trapped in the tower of professional ignominy, surrounded by an impossible wall of overachievers—case in point, the Beast on her left. But unlike the incarcerated, longhaired princess, Diya had quit waiting for a princely rescue. She’d scaled the wall herself, waved her tresses about and changed the course of her life.
            It had been either that or enforced domestic blah with one of the men her family had paraded in front of her like a clichéd bachelorette reality show.
            An arranged marriage was a fate worse than death. A fate soon to be realized for poor Hasaan, Diya thought. For her too, if her “situation” didn’t get sorted out soon and to her family’s satisfaction. Her father had called last night, yelling his head off at her gullibility. When she’d tried to explain her knightly reasons, instead of being pacified and calling her a heroine, he’d started his matrimonial threatening and blackmailing again. And this time, her mother and sister had chimed in like some horrible squeaky chorus. The sparkly fairytale was rapidly losing its glamour—not for her, for them.
            Almighty gods in heaven! Are any of you listening? Help me out of this, please!
            “Stop browsing through rubbish, Diya. You’ll give yourself an ulcer,” said Krish, without looking at her as he maneuvered the SUV through a light patch of traffic.
            With a last pout at her nightmare version, Diya shut the tablet, closed its pink leather cover and slid the device back into her rose-pink handbag.
            The Beast was behaving himself. It was both a shock and a relief to her. Apart from the two mildly sarcastic sentences he’d barked out in front of Hasaan, the derogatory nickname and comment about morning sickness, he’d been quiet, maybe a bit broody. But that was Krish. He was a brooder. He brooded on a daily basis with no provocation what-so-ever.
            He dropped his hand to the gearshift when they stalled at a signal, loosely capping the stick. His hand was broad, dark and capable-looking, the back of it lightly dusted with hair. A sexy little vein pushed up from his middle knuckle and ran all the way up his arm, bare beneath his pushed-up sleeves. Diya dragged her eyes away from the flexed bicep to his face.
            “Talk to me.” His grim, laser-beam gaze made her tingle even through his shades.
            The sunglasses would be prescription. They were aviator-style with thin metal frames and sat well on his broad-boned face. She could make out the general shape of his eyes behind the dark glass. Krish had the Menon eyes, large and brown and soulful. His eyebrows slashed, thick and straight above the metal frames and as Diya stared at him, they rose high in question. She regularly nagged him to get Lasik done or at least wear contacts. He ignored the advice just like he ignored every other fashion tip she gave him—totally his loss in her humble opinion.
            The traffic began to move and Krish turned his attention to the road with a low growl of irritation, giving Diya further opportunity to study his profile. He was a tall man. And was dark—his skin well hydrated and blemish-free. He had a really sexy jawline and a noble-sized nose. Even so, no one in the fashion world would call Krish good-looking. They would vote him as average or having a face infused with character—a really polite way of saying he was nothing much to look at. But did that stop the shivers of undiluted attraction rippling through her whenever he looked at her? NO!
            Thank heavens the Beast had no clue he affected her this way. Thank heavens he lived thousands of miles away or her retarded shivering would’ve surely given her away. Thank heavens no one in either of their families suspected she hadn’t at all got over the crush she’d had on him since forever. If they found out, they would pity her. If Krish found out, he would pity her and it would make things even more awkward than it sometimes was between them. Worse, he’d think it was his duty to see her happily settled in a relationship and like he’d done once before at her father’s behest, either propose to her himself or introduce her to his wonderful and eligible friends.
            It might come to that anyway, what with the marriage madness afflicting her father. Daddy behaved as if turning thirty—which she would in August—without a husband and toddler to tend was a crime fit for the Record Book of Disgraced Mathurs.It wasn’t her fault she was unlucky in the love and wedded bliss departments. Unlike her parents, her sister and her BFF, some people like Hasaan and herself…
            “Diya?” Krish prodded again, gently squeezing her hand this time.
            She sighed. She had to confess some time, didn’t she?
            “It all started with the stupid bootie,” she began and quickly laid out the whole silly story in sequence.
Connect with Falguni 

Stay tuned to the next author profile in a few days! 

It’s your move, Wordfreak by Falguni Kothari : Book Review

Book name : It’s yourmove, wordfreak
Author : Falgunu Kothari
Publisher : Rupa
Genre : Romance
Other details : Debut novel of the author
Source of book: Blogadda’s Review program

Synopsis from Goodreads

Wordfreak and Worddiva hit it off right from their first online Scrabble game. Playing game after game every night leads to fun and flirty chats and a cerebral attraction so potent that it sizzles the broadband connection between them. The Scrabble-crazy duo cultivate their perfect relationship a virtual one. A bond where the past doesn’t matter and neither do their names. A bond forged by cheesy words and raucous laughs.

But this simple and uncomplicated equation is shaken when Alisha Menon, parental-divorce survivor and successful divorce lawyer meets Aryan Save-the-Planet Chawla on a blind date. As reality intrudes on their online idyll, the rules of the game change forever. Soon, the two realise that some words cannot be taken lightly. Can the real Wordfreak and Worddiva spell love in capital letters or is the game of life a deal-breaker for them?

My thoughts: 

I jumped at the chance to review this book when blogadda put up the announcement simply because I am a scrabble addict. Though I don’t read  romance novels these days and have ‘zero free’ time to read books thanks to the beanie’s ‘non-schedule’ , the prospect of reading a book that revolved around a game that i love and possibly involved a lot of word play excited me. However, the book disappointed me in the respect that it starts from the point where Worddiva aka Alisha Menon and Wordfreak aka Aryan Chawla meet for the first time after getting to know each other through the scrabble games.  

Alisha is a down to earth , no- nonsense lawyer  and Aryan is a flashy , page-3 gracing  successful architect who builds green homes. Things go smoothly for the duo  after they meet each other and they feel that they’ve found soul mates in each other. Add to these two a zesty Diya (Alisha’s best friend) and some saccharine sweet characters like Uncle Sam( Aryan’s uncle), Nanu (Aryan’s grandma) , MT ( Alisha’s boss) and Alisha’s mommy , and you have a recipe for a cosy romantic,a albeit candy-flossed read. I found the storyline standard M&B fare with loads of sex thrown in liberally.Though I am no prude,I just thought the ‘many’ sexual encounters were just superfluous and unnecessary. Upto 120 odd pages the book was quite simply yawwn.  Especially since beanie had her vaccination and was extremely fussy during this period, i found the book excruciatingly boring and difficult to continue. 

Thankfully, it started gettimg better after that. I started enjoying the book after Alisha and Aryan have a blow out and stop talking to each other. Alisha goes out of her way to get Aryan back. The scene shifts from Mumbai to London where Alisha visits Aryan’s family and gets to know about some of his ‘secrets’.Will they get together or let their mean words get in between them? You’ll have to read the book to figure that out 😉

 I thought that the main reason why they duo quarrel in the first place was a little to trite and silly.  Especially considering the fact that Alisha is  portrayed as a very practical girl. What I did like about the book is Falguni’s effortless writing that flows very well. The story is contemporary and  could relate to a lot of thoughts and concerns voiced by Aryan and Alisha.  I also liked the way Alisha’s character was drawn out  (more than Aryans). Despite all these positive aspects, the book was just a ‘Good read’ and not an ‘Awesome read’ for me. Pick  it up if you want a breezy read to kill a lazy sunday afternoon. 

My rating : 3/5 

Thanks to  Blogadda for letting me take a few more days than the normal 7 days to review this book. 
This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

Next post :  Book Review of Meddling Mooli and the Blue legged alien by Asha Nehemiah