Published: 13th February 2020
Why Aarti V Raman's latest book — The Worst Daughter Ever — is the chick lit you need
Mumbai-based author Aarti V Raman tells us about her latest book - The Worst Daughter Ever - which is a mix of sugar, spice and everything nice! If you love romantic novels, you should check it out
When you come across the term chick lit, the mind tends to gravitate to the Bridget Jones series or works by Sophie Kinsella (of Something Borrowed fame) and popular works by Cecilia Ahern like PS I Love You. However, today there is no need for the Indian reader to completely depend on these books to transport them into cheesy romantic settings with fairytale endings as the age of the desi chick lit has finally dawned upon us - well it had technically dawned with the arrival of The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan a decade ago, but let's just say that the genre is finally here to stay, thanks to new-age writers like Aarti V Raman who has penned bestselling novels like White Knight (Leadtstart, 2013), Kingdom Come (Harlequin 2014) and With You I Dance (Fingerprint 2016),
The Mumbai-based author who has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Mumbai University and has pursued a Creative Writing course at Deakin University, Australia, calls herself an incurable romantic who has taken up the task of bringing 'Happily Ever After' to life for the characters in her head. write romantic women’s fiction that includes sub-genres such as chick lit, thriller and suspense and more. She writes contemporary Indian fiction that explore complex human feelings in all their messy, chaotic, loving glory, and her latest offering - The Worst Daughter Ever (2019), published by Rupa Books, is no different. We caught up with Aarti for a tête-à-tête. Excerpts follow:
What does the book (The Worst Daughter Ever) essentially revolve around?
My stories are usually about strong people who are work and family-oriented but with their own flaws and insecurities that make for some delicious internal and external conflicts. All my stories have happy-ever-afters because what’s life without a fairytale, right? The Worst Daughter Ever is the story of LJ Raghavan and her relationships with family. LJ is a chick-lit protagonist like Bridget Jones, Becky Bloomwood and Zoya Solanki. Having said that, she has serious self-esteem issues; she doesn’t like her job and experiences a lot of internal and external dysfunction. When she has to go back home to face her extended family for her grandmother’s funeral, things take a turn for the worse. And she has to slay all the dragons that keep her from being happy and fulfilled. How she does this and finds unexpected love forms the crux of the story.
Tell us one unique aspect of the narrative. Something that connects with you
It’s written in typical chick lit style – using the first-person narrative with a lot of snark and observational humour to leaven the serious subject matter.
The book tackles millennial issues while commenting on Indian society
in a humourous way
Tell us about a few writers who inspire you
What writers am I not inspired by? I seriously believe I can learn from anything I read, be it blogs or columns, social media statuses or whole books. The one woman who set me on the path to writing romantic fiction though would be Nora Roberts – who has more than 300 published books till date spanning a career as old as I am (laughs). That is seriously awe-inspiring, isn’t it?
Could you explain your writing process?
I feel like stories come to me because so many of them are marinating in my head at any given point. I only write them when I am fairly confident of having worked out most of the plot – that is the story trajectory. For instance, The Worst Daughter Ever was written in about seven days in January 2018, but I feel like I’ve been waiting to tell this story my whole life – since it involves my love of family, tackling modern millennial issues and commenting on Indian society in a humorous way
Do you have any other literary projects in the pipeline?
Yes! I am currently involved in releasing India’s first self-published romance novella anthology with six other amazing authors. It’s a second chance romance collection called Something Old, Something New and will release on Valentine’s Day, 2020. We are extremely proud of this effort because it’s not every day that Indian writers come together to pull off a project of this massive scale.