6 Nov 2014

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

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Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her.
Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a na├»ve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie.
Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev’s debut is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity.

Advance Praise for A Bollywood Affair:

“Sonali Dev is a fresh new voice in romance. A child bride who’s all grown up, a sexy Bollywood director, and deeply-felt emotions that will keep readers turning the pages. A Bollywood Affair has it all.”Susan Elizabeth Phillips, New York Times Bestseller

“Deeply romantic and emotional, with characters I fell in love with, A Bollywood Affair is simply unputdownable. It’s sexy, it’s dramatic, but most of all, it’s a sweet, hot love story that made me sigh and smile and want to read it all over again as soon as I turned the last page.” -Nalini Singh, New York Times Bestseller

Author Interview

Do dreams ever inspire your writing? What did you last dream about?
Amazingly enough when I’m in the middle of writing a book, I know I’m really in the zone when I start to live the story in my dreams. So, yes my characters actually come alive in my dreams. I often know what they want and how they look thanks to these dream visits.
The protagonists of the story I’m working on had a really heartbreaking fight in my dream last night. I was really sad when I woke up.

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I’ve written pretty much for as long as I can remember. I think I wrote a poem describing the cover of my math text book in first grade instead of doing my math homework. That has to be my first discernible writing memory. I was a rhymer. Rhyming was my game of choice.

What is it about 'chick lit' that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres? 
It has to be the reliability. Whether it’s a neurotic single girl living in London, or a struggling actress in LA or a homesick Indian girl at an American university, it’s that moment of totally fitting inside her skin and knowing, really knowing exactly what she’s going through that makes chick lit and women’s fiction such a joy to read for me. I read a lot of mainstream commercial fiction and literary fiction and Romance. Those are basically my genres as a reader.

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
A Bollywood Affair is the story of a child bride from a small village in India who grows up and finds she’s married to the wrong man. Unfortunately, the right man is her husband’s brother and he’s only charming the pants off her to help his brother get rid of her. And much as Mili sounds like someone any modern urban woman could never relate to, she’s just another woman trying to reconcile her upbringing with living her best life.

What inspired you to write it?

It’s actually inspired by a true story. Back in India my parents knew a young couple many years ago. Tragically, the husband died in an air crash just about a year into their marriage and his family from the village showed up with another young woman, who apparently was also his wife. They had been married when they were children. The family claimed all his assets, because his wife, who was now his second wife, wasn’t his wife at all because polygamy is illegal in India.
I just could not get that story out of my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about those two women. One was raised to believe she had a husband, when really she didn’t, and the other had a husband and yet really she didn’t. I absolutely had to write this story and trace the arc of the journeys I imagined for these women. Of course that was just the seed and A BOLLYWOOD AFFAIR is entirely fictional.

Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere?
Not out in the wild yet, because this is my debut and it’s not in stores yet. But I have been hushed by friends while they were reading it. I even had a friend who continued reading it when I dragged her out for our walk and she said she just couldn’t put it down.

Who designs your covers?
The wonderful Art Magicians at Kensington Publishing.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?
Image courtesy Bollywood Hungama
I think Samir would have to be Hrithik Roshan, the Bollywood Star or Josh Duhamel, if a Hollywood actor played the part. And Mili would be someone who looked like Kangana Ranaut (pictured) a Bollywood actress but had the personality of Emma Stone.

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
I love love love The Diary of Bridget Jones. But I really did not like the movie. I have a hard time liking movies based on books I like.

What were the last two books you read?
Never Been Kissed by Molly O’Keefe (loved it!) and This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper (a lot of fun to read, but in a weird, life-really-sucks way).

Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known.
This is a really hard question. I loved Hanna Martine’s Elementals paranormal series and I was really disappointed that it didn’t become a viral hit. I’ve read a few of Jeannie Lin’s Chinese historicals and loved those too.

Where do you write?
Everywhere. At the kitchen island, outside my kid’s activities sitting in my car in the parking lot, in my sunroom, sometimes even at my desk in my office.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? And did you follow the dream?
I wanted to be a writer but for a long time I thought that was just a pipe dream. So I went to architecture school and worked as an architectural journalist for a while. So I merged my dream with real life for a bit before my dream became real life.

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Why, Meryl Streep, of course.!

Speed Round... 
Top drink to make you tipsy? I’m a Mojito girl.
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopadon’thavetimeforit.
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Barefeet with a song in my heart.
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Cry baby or tough cookie? Tough sobber
Exotic beach or enchanted forest? Enchanted forest rimmed by a beach


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Sonali Dev’s first literary work was a play about mistaken identities performed at her neighborhood Diwali extravaganza in Mumbai. She was eight years old. Despite this early success, Sonali spent the next few decades getting degrees in architecture and writing, migrating across the globe, and starting a family while writing for magazines and websites. With the advent of her first gray hair her mad love for telling stories returned full force, and she now combines it with her insights into Indian culture to conjure up stories that make a mad tangle with her life as supermom, domestic goddess, and world traveler.
Sonali lives in the Chicago suburbs with her very patient and often amused husband and two teens who demand both patience and humor, and the world’s most perfect dog.
Find Sonali Here: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


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