Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.
An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.
She believes in love, family and…squiggles!
Alisha Rana is not your typical single desi girl. For one, she is on the wrong side of 30. For another, she is divorced. And last but definitely not least, she is still, gasp, a virgin!
Alisha doesn’t want much. But what she does want is that elusive thing all women search for – A man who gets her…but a man who gets her hot! She calls it “feeling the squiggle.”
Enter Dr. Vivaan Kapoor, cute, hot, squiggle-worthy. The younger brother of her cousin’s prospective groom, he’s got the squiggle factor in spades. The only catch? He’s never been married and is years younger than Alisha. Basically, completely off-limits.
And then there is Arjun. Widowed, older than her by the right number of years and a genuinely nice guy. He’s Vivaan’s cousin and a so-called perfect match for Alisha. The problem is, Alisha’s squiggle-o-meter refuses to budge for him.
What will Alisha choose? A lifetime together with the ‘right’ man or a chance at happiness with the ‘wrong’ one?
Losing his wife to breast cancer has left Arjun Kapoor a broken man. He vows to never risk his heart again. Until the day Vihana Luthra turns up on his doorstep. Vivacious, optimistic and bursting with life, she believes in taking each day as it comes.
Unwilling to love but unable to resist the force of nature that is Vihana, Arjun finds himself drawn into the manic chaos that is her life. And he starts to believe again; in hope, in dreams, in love…
But Vihana has a secret… one with devastating consequences. Will they be able to survive it or will it tear them apart?
- According to you, what are the most important elements of good book?
If we’re talking about a fiction book, I would say a well plotted story with a fluid narrative, strong protagonists with depth to their characters and to their backstories and most importantly, emotion to tie it all together.
If we’re talking about a non-fiction book, the most important elements would be thorough research, innate relatability and a strong adherence to the reality and the truth of your book.
- Why did you choose to write contemporary romance?
I write the stories that play out in my head and to some extent, in my heart. I don’t believe in labelling them. Nor do I try too hard to slot them into specific genres or readership bases. My stories tend towards romances because at the heart of it, I love a happily ever after. I love reading them. I love writing them. And I love experiencing them in both my life and in the lives of the people around me.
- Tell us about the Kapoor Brothers & the series based on them.
The Kapoor Brothers, Arav, Arjun and Vivaan are what I hope men would be for the women in their lives. True partners. The series talks about love, family, hopes, dreams and most importantly, the simple reality of what people encounter while trying to do something we all do every single day – live.
- The books have social angle to them. Do you think that authors should actively try to create social awareness?
Every reader opens a book with a certain expectation from it. Some look to self help books to learn coping strategies, some read light fiction reads to unwind and destress, some read literary fiction to enrich their soul on a deeper level. I believe every book has something to offer every reader.
With regards to what authors should actively do, I believe they should actively tell the story they want to tell and actively meet the expectation their reader has from their book. Comedy should make you laugh, romance should make you yearn, self help should make you plot a better strategy and so on and so forth.
But yes, if your story can convey something more, something important, then it must. Social awareness is integral to the well being of not just us but society as a whole and if we can help raise that with a beautifully crafted story, then it would be wonderful.
- How do you think you have evolved as a person because of your writing and do you believe your writing has helped others?
My writing brings me joy. It is a pocket of my life that is both my private pleasure and my public pride. I think it has helped me, an introvert, connect with more people. It has helped me bring a little light into the lives of those who read my stories and find the same joy in them that I do.
As to my writing helping others, as I’ve mentioned if I can entertain, enrapture and enliven people’s lives through my stories, then I’m happy.
- What is the intended audience for your books?
Anyone who would love to read a good book. Not kids, as it tends to have some risqué scenes but otherwise, I want everyone to read my books. If you haven’t yet, go grab a copy!
- Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I do read my reviews and no, I don’t respond to them. Everyone has their own opinion and are entitled to it. As long as there is no malice involved, a bad or not so good review is only a learning moment. Choose the learnings that apply to you and then move on. After all, there’s another book to write and no time to waste!
- What are your current/future projects?
I am currently working on the third book of the Kapoor Brothers series, Arav and Disha’s story. After that, I will be working on my first non-fiction project – Frazzled and Fabulous, part non-fiction, part memoir, humorous take on parenting.