Indian Mills & Boons getting more popular
It's not usual for a journalist, bred on a diet of 'serious' and 'realistic' works, to suddenly graduate to the genre of chik-lit or romantic writing, but Aastha Atray is a relieved person having done just that.
Having published her first book, the second Indian title of Mills & Boon, Atray says writing the romantic story turned out far easier for her than breaking the mental barrier of looking at herself strictly as a serious writer.
Her book title "His Monsoon Bride", hit the stands after a long drawn process whereby she entered a short story contest and was declared the winner writer of Mills & Boon India series. But the 2,000 word short story that won her the contest came out in a matter of minutes.
"This is a genre of writing that you sometimes shut out, believing that you are a journalist and write only serious things. You become conditioned to it because everybody around is saying the same thing.
"And I realised that this thinking is nothing but rubbish. I discovered that I could write a romantic novel and I am very happy about it," says Atray, quite relieved at having been able to junk the attitude. But the immediate thrust to her writing the story that became the second Indian MB was what she calls a bad day at work.
"I actually had one of those bad days at work that throw you into a different gear. I came across the advertisement for the Mills and Boon Passions writing competition and sat down and wrote the story for in a matter of 20 minutes," she says.
Harlequin, the publisher of Mills & Boon novels, launched its first Indian author Milan Vohra in 2009 with 'The Love Asana' and Atray's book is the second in line.
What is also exciting is the fact that Mills & Boon, for the first time, features Indian s on its cover and the author was only pleased to be part of the process of picking the right candidates.
"Giving it Indian s is just another way of giving the very famous romance series an Indian face," says Manish Singh, the country head for Harlequin Mills & Boon.
Quite upbeat about the success of its Indian titles, Singh says while romance is one of the most read genres of writing everywhere, including in India, the Indian titles of Mills & Boon would only serve to make it better.
"What is encouraging is the fact that our first Indian title 'The Love Asana' sold almost three times more than the regular Mills & Boon editions. So we can safely say it turned out to be quite popular," says Singh.