Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Falguni Kothari, Author of 'My Last Love Story', speaks to Sanchita Sen

The multi-faceted author

This NY-based internationally bestselling hybrid author is also an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. When not writing or dancing, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with her readers. My Last Love Story is her fourth novel.

As she chats up. . .

Sanchita: How did you happen to take upon the sensitive topic dealing with the Big C?

Falguni: Statistically, one in 3 or 4 people have some form of cancer in this world. That means that every household in the world deals with the dreaded disease, directly or indirectly. My family too has had its share of malignancies, most of them have ended in a fatality. Cancer brings more than death to a family; it’s a truth I’ve observed firsthand. So, I had to write about it.

Sanchita: Wonderfully and realistically presented, how did you research on cancer patients and exactly what could have been going on in their minds when they know their days are numbered?

Falguni: As I mentioned above, I have close family who were taken by cancer. When I was 14, my 17-year- old cousin was diagnosed with brain tumors. She battled the disease for eight years before she succumbed to it. We were very close and she was very open about her thoughts and feelings and inner desires. That said, I had to research current cancer treatments and histories. The internet is a wonderful tool to help with research. I went onto cancer blogs, sites, chatrooms. I asked questions to doctors that were kind enough to take me through the patterns of the disease.

Sanchita: How long did it take you from conceptualizing the story to actually seeing it print?

Falguni: I think it was about a year and a half? Maybe less.

Sanchita: When the story opened I initially thought it was a la ‘Kal Ho na Ho’, the SRK starrer Bollywood flick, but gradually I saw it had a lot of other facets to it. Did you too happen to have that movie in mind while writing the story? As a result, some conscious attempts to stay away from the lines of that movie?

Falguni: I LOVE SRK!!!! But no, I did not have 'Kal Ho Na Ho' in mind while writing MLLS at all. I had another novel in mind. Tempted by Megan Hart. That novel has nothing to do with cancer, but was my inspiration for a love triangle storyline.

Sanchita: According to you, whose was the last love story? Zayaan’s or Nirvaan’s? To me it was just one love story and that was Zayaan all the way, Nirvaan was just an anchor to keep Simi buoyant. But I am really keen to know the author’s perspective here.

Falguni: To me it was their last love story…all three of theirs. That’s my answer today. I may answer differently tomorrow.

Sanchita: How did you happen to choose Carmel-by- the-Sea as the backdrop against which the plethora of emotions in the love triangle get tangled and detangled? Any special significance?

Falguni: Nothing special except that I love the place. I’ve been there a couple of times and it’s such a trendy yet peaceful setting. I knew I needed a beach town, as the protagonists of the book are beach babies. But that’s as far as my setting requirements went. Beach. And California as Nirvaan lived there.

Sanchita: What is your next project?

Falguni: I’m working on Book 2 of my mythic fantasy series.

Sanchita: Apart from writing what are your other interests?

Falguni: I’m a dancer. I take Ballroom and Latin dance classes. Lately, I’ve been obsessed with Zumba. I read like a crazy person. I take care of home and hearth. I’m a foodie and love to try out new restaurants.

Sanchita: To what extent do you draw inspiration from real life anecdotes while writing fictions?

Falguni: There is no gauge or parameter to measure extent. I also don’t consciously set out to incorporate real-life anecdotes into my stories. I may take a character quirk from here and the skeleton of an event from there. What I do bring into my stories are my observations about humanity. How a person might react in a certain situation? How a different person would react in the same situation? I also picture actors and actresses while describing characters. It makes it easier for me to have an imagine in mind.

Falguni Kothari's book 'My Last Love Story' is available at:
Amazon.co.uk                    Amazon.com

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