Youthopia in conversation with India’s second Mills and Boon author, Aastha Atray on her latest book for Kindle ‘Crave’

Tell us something about your new book. What was the inspiration behind it, and what made you pick this idea, of supernatural romance?
The thought was to write something different for Indian readers. We love mythology, so i wanted to set a love story that’s supernatural but modern, and not set in the 1800s. So the hero is the last of the rakshasas but lived in 2016 and the heroine is a hunter. I just thought it would be a challenge for me to write a different genre too. I hope people like reading it.

Why did you release the book for Kindle only?
It had been ready for a while and hence I decided to do an experiment with it and only release it online. I self published and did everything myself — editing, uploading, posting, and promotion. I made a video, and got a cover shoot done. It’s all me, and I hope it pays off.

You work is usually in romance. Why do you like to write romantic novels? What are the biggest challenges that you have faced as a romantic writer, like they say every romantic story is different, how do you churn such different stories every time?
I am a dreamy person by nature, and believe in the power of love. Love stories always move me, and that’s why I write about love, because love makes you hope. It’s hard work believing in love all the time, but someone has to do it. I like people watching and their stories inspire me.

Can you tell us about your Mills and Boon novel? How did you get a chance to write for such a renowned publishing house?
Mills and Boon used to run a contest. I took part, wrote a short story and won. And then the short story became a book. They really made me into a writer.

Why did you choose to become a full-time writer?

I am not a full-time writer, and I am too. I am a journalist and that means I write about people for a living. And when I am free i write fiction about people. Writing is the only way I can express everything I feel, so there was no choice but to write.

You usually write fiction, where do you take inspiration of your characters from?
Its usually from people around me, myself and life. It could be even a couple I see on the station, whispering sweet nothings to each other, and sometimes even fighting.

Can you tell us about your favourite books and writers, and how they impacted you?
Haruki Murakami, hands down. He impacts me in the way I see the world — dysfunctional, yet beautiful.

Do you think a writer has a responsibility to the society? How do you try to fulfil that responsibility, if you think there is one?
My responsibility is to make people believe in love. And that’s why I write love stories. We need love in this world we live in.

What advise would you like to give to young writers, ones who have just begun and dream to make it big?
Write every day. Read every day. And just write from the heart.

Which has been your favourite work so far, from the ones you have authored?
I am still waiting to write that one.

Do you have any message for your readers?
Thank you for reading me and believing in love stories.

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