An interview with Aditi Chopra, author, Romantic Fiction and Leadership Skills.
Vinita Kinra: Welcome to GAT, Aditi! You were born in India, so your love for Bollywood is natural. Did that love become the secret drive that put you on the road of romantic fiction writing?
Aditi Chopra: Thanks, Vinita, for hosting me on GAT! You’re right; almost all Indians love Bollywood. In fact, my daughter is a huge fan as well. But my drive to write romance is probably buried in my childhood reading habits. I read countless Mills & Boon novels as a teenager, and I liked them for the “feel good factor.” Therefore, romance became my natural choice when I ventured into fiction writing.
Vinita Kinra: Where does your passion for sequences and trilogies come from? Do you think that readers never get enough of good love stories, or is it more for marketing reasons?
Aditi Chopra: That’s a great question. As far as writing series and trilogies is concerned, a lot more work goes into planning ahead. The challenge of writing a series was what got me interested in the first place. I have always liked to challenge myself, and I wanted to see if I could pull it off after having written single titles. I have also discovered that readers prefer series, especially if they like a certain character and they want to read more about them. For my debut story, Lost in London, a lot of people told me that they wanted to read more about Rahul & Priya.
Vinita Kinra: Desi Girl Trilogy tackles the controversial yet common subject of love among co-workers. Your protagonists Mahi and Raj symbolize the dilemma faced by thousands of people who experience strong emotions for colleagues. Do you think workplaces are active breeding grounds for young professionals experimenting with sexuality, or can serious relationships emerge from sterile offices?
Aditi Chopra: I don’t think we can generalize one way or another. In fast paced modern times, everyone is extremely busy, and both men and women are highly career oriented. Most people spend their waking hours working and hardly find time to socialize. This naturally creates an environment where one is highly likely to find their soulmate at work. My heroine, Mahi, in Desi Girl Trilogy, is one such highly motivated individual. Although she encounters love at her workplace, she has to deal with her inner demons before she finds happiness in her relationship.
Vinita Kinra: You have written several books on effective leadership. How does this departure from romantic fiction feed your thirst for non-fiction? Do you think leadership qualities are inborn, or can they be developed through a stimulating environment later in life?
Aditi Chopra: Great question. Balancing non-fiction with fiction keeps me sane and feeds my right as well as left brain. I have an engineering degree and have worked in the software industry for 20 years. I am also passionate about the subject of leadership. By writing leadership books, I gain great satisfaction of giving back to the community. I believe that the right kind of environment can strongly enhance one’s leadership abilities. Even if one is born with such qualities, one needs to hone in on those skills and grow constantly. I take time every year to polish my leadership skills.
Vinita Kinra: Tell us about your debut romantic fiction novel, Lost in London. How did this offering shape your literary journey?
Aditi Chopra: Writing my debut story was almost like giving birth — it was painful, yet extremely satisfying. I almost had tears when I held my first fiction book in my hands. You’re right; it did shape my literary journey because I got an overwhelming response about how good the story was. It gave me confidence in my storytelling abilities and just about the right amount of motivation to continue writing.
Vinita Kinra: Your writing focuses on Indians settled abroad. Why is the exploration of your homeland, India, through the lens of Non Resident Indians (NRIs) significant to trace how far your countrymen have ventured from established cultural values? How did this niche Indian population help in the writing of Mr. Imperfect Series?
Aditi Chopra: Another great question. I write about NRIs because I have spent all my adult life outside India. I understand the psychology of an NRI very well. Although these Indians are living abroad, they are still quite rooted in their culture and values. However, they have also developed an open mind, having seen two different parts of the world. My story, Arranged Marriage (Mr. Imperfect Series), gives you a glimpse into the psychology of an NRI. Other books in this series also focus on complexities of contemporary NRI relationships.
Vinita Kinra: If one of your books was to be adapted as a Bollywood film, which would it be and why?
Aditi Chopra: I would have to say, my debut story, Lost in London, since it has all the ingredients of a Bollywood film. I have explored Europe to quite an extent in this book, and how we all love Europe! Sometimes I get a sense from people around me that they are still searching for the meaning of true love. This book was also my attempt to define what true love means.
Vinita Kinra: What is your dream project after which you can feel fully satiated as a writer?
Aditi Chopra: I believe one can never be fully satisfied in any profession because when you are, you stop growing. My goal is to keep growing as a writer and I keep polishing my skills through learning the craft and attending workshops. Having written a number of romantic stories, I am now working on a story which will have elements of corporate drama. As long as I keep growing as a writer, I will be satisfied.