Which comes first–your voice or your niche? Author Vash Karuppa found both through a writing hobby that became a passion. Her debut romance, Destiny for Love Arranged, delivers an engaging romance that delves into the bonds of family, friendship, and South African Indian culture. Please join us for a talk with Vash as she details her journey to becoming a published author and find out what’s next.
Tell us about your journey to become a published author.
It has been an incredible journey thus far. I started writing my novel with no intention of publishing it. Writing is a hobby and at first it was simply a way of me enjoying putting my plot onto paper. Once complete, a few friends read the draft and motivated me to consider publishing it. That started my journey into the “real” world of an author. I was blessed indeed because when I made the decision to go ahead with [publishing], I had a tremendous amount of support from the writing fraternity. As a debut author, it has been phenomenal.
For many years, I have read articles around the call for diverse romance novels that incorporate multi-cultural aspects into a traditional romance plot. In addition, I’m a hopeless romantic myself and always had a plot in my head around a story that integrates family and friendship bonds (which I have been blessed to have throughout my life) together with a typical romance story. When I eventually decided to put pen to paper, it all just naturally came together, giving birth to Destiny for Love Arranged. Finally, I do believe there aren’t too many novels written which share intricacies of the South Indian culture and I was determined to do this. Looking at the feedback received thus far from readers, it was well received.
Whats parked the idea for this romance series?
Destiny For Love Arranged is a contemporary, gripping and angsty, second chance Indian romance that reveals the love of family and friendship bonds during trying times. All protagonists are of South African Indian origin.
The story revolves around Aariyan Ranjan, a highly successful CEO of a Hotel Empire and Varini Iyengar, an Oncologist, who are forced into a temporary marriage of convenience to help them resolve personal dilemmas. While Aariyan is determined to treat their marriage as he would any other business deal, love rarely listens to logic, and what follows is anything but business. On the other hand, Varini soon finds herself gravitating toward and rejoicing in the love she thought lost forever with a hidden hope that their marriage of convenience will end in a union of everlasting love. The story is embedded with cultural anecdotes familiar to any family of Indian origin. It takes their family, friends and a life-threatening situation to show them the love they lost is worth fighting for.
In short, this is a story about family, friendship, and starting over, as Aariyan and Varini embark on a journey toward a second chance at love. You will get to share in their moments as they discover that vulnerability can actually be their strength and the most perplexing problems can be overcome with the support and resourcefulness of a loving family and faithful friends.
This is Book 1 of a trilogy.
Give five words that best describe this book.What message do you hope readers get?
A gripping, angsty, emotional, fun-filled and diverse book.
Give us one or two of your favorite lines from your current book.
I will understand if you don’t want to be a part of my life any longer, but I need you to know, for as long as I live, you will always have my heart. I want and need you more than I do my next breath, but I will let you go if you want to be free of a life with me.
Tell us about your writings pace and your daily routine.
Writing Space – A quiet space in my little apartment directly next to a window where I can have the warmth of the sun and sounds of chirping birds to keep me company while writing.
Daily routine – Have a day job so get to writing a night for at least 2 hours in the week and whatever time I can hijack on the weekend. ”
What’s one of your favorite comments you’ve ever received about your writing? Who did it come from and how did it impact you?
“No spoilers from me… This book was just wow for so many reasons… Mostly I just want to say thank you to Vash Karuppa for the journey and that you made it possible for me to understand and enjoy the Indian culture… The characters in this book and the emotions wow… So Real… And then the country… South-Africa! Can’t wait for more great books from this Author and for the journey to continue… I enjoyed it so much…”
It is a review by a member of my Reader Network. It had an immensely positive impact owing to the reiteration that my intention to showcase my culture was well received. In addition, I was pleased to know that the emotions I so desperately wanted readers to feel was indeed achieved. ”
What’s your biggest struggle as a writer?
Biggest struggle – not enough time to write. Trying my best to manage a day job, family and writing.
What has been the high point of your career, so far?
That my debut novel has received an 4.8 average rating in less than three week since it went live. In addition, the fact that so many readers are recommending the novel to friends and family.
What was the low point of your career? And how did you handle it?
Having to cut down on the story line due to publisher maximum novel length requirements. I handled it by taking what parts I had to remove and added them to Book 2 🙂
Give us the name of a diverse author you’ve read that you would highly recommend to readers.
What’s next on your writing journey?
Destiny for love arranged is a trilogy so I am busy with Book 2 & 3 currently.
What’s your favorite piece of advice to writers?
Keep on going!
My family, friends and people I encounter everyday are the greatest inspiration for my novels.
If your latest book had a soundtrack, what would be the first three songs?
Everything I do, I do it for you (Bryan Adams), We are Family (Sister Sledge) and I’ll be there for you (The Rembrandts)
To learn more about Vash, visit her online at:
https://wordpress.com/block-editor/post/bookjourneyswithvash.wordpress.com/4 — (In construction – will be live by 24th April 2019 at the latest)
Writing is a calling. No matter how circuitous the route you take, life will always find a way to bring you back to it. This is the case with Lynn Turner, author of ballet romance Pas De Deux: A Dance for Two. Her journey took her from retelling Huckleberry Finn’s story in her teens to finding her voice in the beauty and power of dance. Please welcome Author Lynn Turner and enjoy this short trip into a life-long creative journey.
So many authors take circuitous routes to the art. Tell us about your journey to become a published author.
I’ve *always* wanted to be a writer, even before I knew that “author” and “writer” were synonyms! When I was 12, I totally pirated Huckleberry Finn’s story and made it my own, complete with a free-spirited tomboy heroine named “Sketch” who runs away from home and takes a paddle boat downriver with her dog and her best friend (not her dog, lol). The entire story spans about four days, but filled every page of a yellow legal pad (front AND back, thank you very much) and I was SO proud!
The desire to create my own stories persisted through obtaining my STEM degree, which I almost quit Junior year to switch my major to English/ Communications. My adviser convinced me I could do anything with a STEM degree, including write, so I persisted. Fast-forward to 2015, I timidly posted my very first fan fiction one-shot, which became a 130,000-word full-length story because of the amazing readers who encouraged me to keep going. I published my first contemporary romance in 2017 and I’m working on my third.
Congratulations on your progress. So, what sparked the idea for this romance series?
I saw Misty Copeland’s documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale, on Netflix in 2016. I’d known who she was far before that, but she’s just so…so—so beautiful, so talented, so eloquent and humble and freaking sexy—that she almost seemed unreal. On top of that, I don’t have any dance experience, so I felt quite intimidated by the subject matter, and afraid of how readers with knowledge of that world would react if I got it wrong. But when I watched that documentary, I saw the sheer scope of what Misty overcame to make it, and I HAD to write a black ballerina.
For context, as a black ballerina, there are already challenges enough inherent in the world you’re trying to exist in. It’s overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly waif-like, with even your feet needing to look a certain way—a certain shape, width, length—before you ever rise en pointe for the first time. If a girl’s got better ankles than you, hang it up, sister. It’s a very homologous world, so your very existence singles you out. The pressure to be exceptional is there for every ballerina, but it’s magnified when you’re “other.” Misty had that to contend with, but also poverty, lack of access, and people who seemed eager for her to fail.
I wanted to write a story with a heroine as resilient as Misty, who had to overcome such intense beauty standards, as well as personal life challenges, but ended up stronger for it. On a lighter note, The Cutting Edge is one of my favorite movies of all time and the sparring/ sexual chemistry between those characters is everything. I wanted to balance the more poignant/ serious themes with some great chemistry and comedic moments.
It sounds amazing–a perfect mix. Give the Diverse Romance audience five words that best describe this book. What message do you hope they get?
Passionate. Hopeful. Resilient. Inspiring. Art.
I hope readers take away the powerful truth that our unique experiences (life, love, sadness, failure, triumph, hurt, anger, hope) make us extraordinary; that we each bring something invaluable to the table, and there’s room at that table for all of us.”
Every writer crafts a line that sticks in his or her mind. Give us one or two of your favorite lines from Pas De Deux.
“She was like an origami swan, coming apart fold-by-fold to reveal the steps that made her.”
“We were never meant to be perfect, our pieces wouldn’t fit together that way.”
Great lines only make it to the page when we put butt in seats and fingers to the keyboard. Tell us about your writing space and your daily routine.
HAHAHAHAHA!!! ::makes dolphin sounds:: a) I WISH I were so organized! I literally write wherever, whenever I can, b) I’ve accepted that my life is BANANAS (working full time, kids, etcetera) so, some days I’ll write 500 words, and some days I’ll write 4,000, and that’s totally okay so long as I KEEP GOING, and c) I plot everything on Pinterest (the visual stimulates my imagination).
Let’s shift gears. Tell us–what is one of your favorite comments you’ve received about your writing? Who did it come from and how did it impact you?
It’s always lovely to receive compliments about how lyrical/poetic my prose is, or how hot The Sex is, or how smoothly the pacing flows…but my favorite comment to date came to me in an email from a reader in Singapore. She said:
“I’m a reader from Singapore and have been dancing for about 3/4 of my life, most of that in ballet. I’m amazed at your level of attention to detail – I love the way you describe dance, movement, and the mentality required to succeed in ballet. I also was shocked to hear you’re not a dancer yourself – your passion and knowledge is so impressive, it was like a glimpse into the mind of someone who has lived that life.”
Reading that blew me away! For one, writing about music and movement is HARD. It’s so challenging to put that kind of passion and drive into words that don’t fall flat, or that may not resonate with people who’ve never worn pointe shoes. That a dancer said that about my writing proved to me that my research into this fascinating-but-extremely-intimidating art form was worth it. That my gut was right: I HAD to write this story. It just felt…good.
On the other side the praise is the critiques. Those we have to fight through to keep going. What was your worst? And how did you handle it?
I’ve made it my business not to know what my worst critique is, because I’ve learned not to check reviews unless I’m tagged, lol. How’d I learn this gem of wisdom? Well, I checked, of course…and a reader had DNFed the story citing “purple prose.” Initially, it hurt my feelings, because I put my heart and soul into the story and I’m sooo in love with it. But then I realized, so what? One person’s poetry is another’s purple prose. There are plenty of stories out there I couldn’t connect with that others have fallen in love with. I’ve learned to accept CONSTRUCTIVE critique, say “thank you” for compliments, and let anything else go. Once a work is out there, in some ways it’s not mine anymore. It’s for other people to consume however they choose. In other words:
::insert Kermit sipping tea meme here::
That’s none of my business. Lol!
What has been the high point of your career, so far?
Being reviewed in The New York Times. Hands-down.
That’s an incredible high point. What was the low point of your career? And how did you handle it?
Rejections. Soooooo many rejections. I indie-published my gorgeous black ballerina, and worked with a team of close friends to come up with a marketing strategy which HIGHLIGHTED, rather than downplayed her “otherness.” The result was overwhelming support for my unique little story, and for my unapologetically black, temperamental, gifted and sexy ballerina. I came away from this experience with a sense that I’ve found my people. I can’t wait to continue indie publishing!
Now it’s time to pay it forward. Give us the name of a diverse author you’ve read that you would highly recommend to readers.
Romantic Comedy! I’m working on my third book, Love At Cruise, featuring a WOC commercial pilot and a hunky teddy bear of a British hero. A meet cute gone wrong evolves into love.
My fourth book will be an enemies-to-lovers story featuring an American heroine of Chinese ancestry, and my fifth book will be a love story between a black American heroine and Ghanaian immigrant hero. I’m keeping busy!
What’s your favorite book on the writing craft or your favorite piece of adviceto writers?
Stephen King’s “On Writing” has some amazing tips! He’s really helped me pare down my writing so it’s descriptive without feeling like a chore to read. My absolute favorite piece of advice isn’t about technique at all, it’s simply, “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” -Toni Morrison
What is something your readers don’t know about you that you wish they would?
I’m not always the most confident person in the world, and anxiety is REAL. My readers are the kindest, most hilarious and thoughtful people in the world. It makes me smile every time they slide in my DMs like, Hey Lynn! Just checking on ya! How’s it going?
It. Means. Everything.
Love you guys!
If your latest book had a soundtrack, what would be the first three songs?
Funny enough, it’s got one! Kind of? I like to make playlists for each story, so Pas De Deux has its own playlist on Spotify. The first three songs on it are “The Greatest” by Sia (ft. Kendrick Lamar), “The Middle” by Zed and Maren Morris, and “Help Me Out” by Maroon 5 and Julia Michaels.