Hailing from Hyderabad, Sonia Kundra Singh believes that her city has nurtured the writer in her. An IELTS trainer and holding a masters in English literature, Sonia has authored three successful romance novels, ‘Love Me In The End, Hopelessly in Love and A soldier’s Love Story. She has her short story featured in an anthology Moonlit Matinee and also contributed for children’s magazine Chandamama.
Sonia blogs here and world book reviews. Married to someone in the army, she is passionate about travel and exploring new places which is an inspiration and is also part of Simply Give Foundation where she promotes awareness for autism. In this blog interview, the author speaks about her love for writing and novels crafted, the inspiration behind the romance stories.
Why do you write and what keeps you going in sketching characters?
Writing is the only way to keep me sane from the drudgery of everyday life. Creativity has always been a big part of my life because I was always a voracious reader and as I started to scribble stories at the back of my notebooks in college, I knew I had to sit down and write it out or go berserk. I still cherish the typewriter my mom got me and the days it took for me to type it all down.
Obviously, characters make or break the novel. And since I write romance, my heroes tend to get a little alpha on the heroines. Yet, I want to create independent heroines who want more from life than marriage and with that I just carry on.
Having seen army life from close quarters, was it the inspiration to create ‘A Soldier’s Love Story’?
When I wrote A Soldier’s Love Story, I had a faint idea of what army is since I had been married only a few years into the organization. But the army life was not going to be the main setting of the novel. Rather, I choose the village in Punjab that was so close to where my husband was posted. There are a few scenes portraying the characteristics of an army man but nothing more. The heroine has a traumatic experience, which makes the bulk of what the story is about and how a man of honor helps her deal with it.
Your first book ‘Love Me in the End’ was youthful and jazzy where you tapped into complexity of love and conflict between your characters that ultimately discovered each other. To what extent, it was inspired by real life characters?
When I wrote ‘Love Me In The End’, it was going to be entirely based on the mind-set of a rich business family that wanted to settle their daughter. It’s not a fictional story but I know many people who have to go through the nuances of an arranged marriage with no intention of ever falling for the man chosen by their parents. Then I created this hero, obviously good-looking and rich, who didn’t want to be tied down but his business takes priority and he falls for the girl along the way. Of course I love the concept of two interfering parents who love to match-make because all they want is best for their child.
As an author, what keeps you going and what has the combination of civil and army life played on the stories weaved?
A Soldier’s Love Story was the only novel that was created with an army officer as the main hero of the novel. And since I come from a civil background, I play with my characters who are completely opposite of that. Business-class heroes are some of my favourite because they have traits that you could love and hate. Caged Birds Do Not Sing, my new novel, has focused on this super rich guy with a meddling mother- a combination that ultimately helps me builds the story. Hopelessly In Love also has a hero hailing from the business class who has trust issues and chooses to escape than face the situation. The heroine is strong and self sufficient no matter what and I need to do that because I believe that a woman who fends for herself and can make decisions is someone you can fall in love with.
You are among the budding authors and how do you view the way books has evolved over the years?
The time I published Love Me In The End, the publishing industry was at its peak. The smaller publishers were looking for writers and thriving on romances and ‘Chetan Bhagat’ like novels. Now, there are more writers than publishing houses and vanity publishing has become the ‘in’ thing now in India. However, I am fortunate enough to have my books well received despite everything. Writers are aware of their market and how to reach it. Hence talking about it has become easier than it used to be. Readers want to interact with writers and even have live chat with them once in while. This is great for publicity and I am glad that I am a writer of this era.
How often do you write in a week and what is the best time to do so?
Being a mom of a demanding toddler, I write whenever I find time. I do not follow a schedule but I do have in mind that I have to write a thousand words a day. It’s either blogging or writing a novel for me. Also, I do pen down in my pocket book if an idea strikes and that makes a lot of difference when I sit down to write. That way I don’t waste any time pondering over what I want to write. The best part of the day would be late in the afternoons because I am actually done with a lot of work by then.
Can you share a bit about Caged Birds do not Sing which seems quite a departure from your earlier books?
I love writing love stories and Caged Birds Do Not Sing is also one, the only thing is that the story is completely different. It has a heroine who has to fight her husband because she is unhappy and depressed and a Hero confuses love for sex, letting go of that one woman who could have saved his soul. Two characters who need to find themselves despite the values they have been raised with. I also wanted to focus on unhappy marriages where a woman who is not beaten but mentally harassed which is a form of violence, too that many do not want to notice. It happens and it’s the worst kind of life that anyone could live.
I choose this topic because I know stories that struggle to be where they are right now. Love always has a sneaky way of staying permanent. You have to fight for it, hate yourself, hate others and come out a winner.
How the idea of writing ‘Love Me in the End’ came and is there a story behind your tryst with writing?
Love me In The End was my first novel and the journey began when I had finished college and was writing to avoid the social scene. Penning down love stories gave me the greatest happiness and the story has a conventional Indian family who wants to see their only daughter married before she gets ‘someone’ home. Isn’t it the scene of all families now? Afraid that their children would fall in love with the wrong people and wanting to fix things before anything goes haywire. But parents cannot ‘fix’ things. It’s only experiences that teach a child. And that’s what I wanted to write about.
Being an army wife, how you reconcile your current life and writing books. Quite a combination.
Being an army wife is perhaps a boon when it comes to penning stories. I got a lot of exposure here where socializing is a way of life. Travelling is another incentive that I love about my life. Currently, I live on a mountain with a beautiful view where there are no fancy restaurants or Malls. I have my very own tree house made of wood where I sit and read when I am not running behind a toddler. It’s an ideal life where I get a lot of time to myself with the few privileges that army gives us. The hills inspire me to a lot with its stillness and I am conspiring to write a thriller by next year. Of course, I would be writing romances too if things go the right way.
You can check the links of Sonia’s books on the following:
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