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Posts Tagged ‘chicklit’

Chick lit meets crime fic, with a dash of fun

Normally I’m a little sceptical about this whole new chick-lit-meets-crime-fic genre that seems to have mushroomed recently. It either winds up being really angsty (tough female heroine has never found love and is treated badly) or really cliché (she is saved in the nick of time by her handsome, studly supervisor) or just unable to stick to a genre (skipping wildly from here to there in the attempts to be Agatha Christie meets Marian Keyes.) Anything that is ‘something meets something’ is usually a book you should avoid. Remember that advice. It’ll come in handy someday.

But, I’m always happy to change my mind. (Isn’t that one of the very fun prerogatives of being a woman?) And so when Piggies On The Railway landed on my bedside reading pile, I picked it up with interest, but not much hope. And boy, was I wrong. This book made me eat my words….Read the rest of it.

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Here’s something I wrote for AND magazine on the above mentioned subject:

When I was first asked to write on the subject I figured I’d scour the net to find out what people were saying about the subject. I mean, why write when you can copy, right? If you do it smartly and copy from many sources you can get away with it too. After all, steal from one, it’s plagiarism, steal from many, it’s research. Everyone knows that.

But guess what I found? Apparently, all we women are looking for is love! With someone who’s thoughtful and caring but not dull, sensitive and a good listener but not a sissy, a bad boy but not a cad, adventurous and sporty but not wild and reckless. After a few minutes of surfing two things became obvious to me. One, all women want five guys, and two, I’d have to do this the hard way and write the whole thing myself.

Humour aside, methinks men tax their tiny, primeval brains too much.  Unlike what they believe, they are not so prominent in our list of top ten things we want. In fact, they figure way, way down. For, what we want is simple really.

1.We want to be able to eat anything and not gain weight. Have you seen those skinny young women who eat like horses, with plate after plate of food at the buffet table without putting on any weight? Neither have I. On the rare occasion I have seen one, she’s usually on their way to the loo. You know, to upchuck everything she just ate. But wouldn’t it be divine if we got to keep everything in and still remained stick thin?

2.We want to be Ageless. And not by resorting to chemical peels or laser treatments or any of that synthetic stuff. Have you seen some of those well-preserved socialites (names have been withheld to protect identity)? We don’t want to look like we’ve been pickled in vinegar! We want to be cryogenically frozen at twenty-two, twenty–five, tops.

3.We want to have a good, nay, great hair day. Every day. And while we are at it, why not throw in a good skin day and good nail day too? In fact, from the moment we wake up, we want to look like we’ve just stepped out of a salon.  

4.While we are walking out of a salon why not do it in five inch heels? With poise, and not slithering and sliding like some victim of alcohol abuse. Everyone knows that heels are sexy. They make legs looks longer and more defined, but only if you know how to walk in them gracefully. Which brings me to the next thing on the wish list. The ability to glide in five inch heels as insouciantly as if we were wearing skids.

5.Have all the money in the world. I’m talking millions, billions preferably. Ideally we’d like to inherit that money. Like Paris Hilton. But if that’s not possible, then we’d like a job that requires us to possess no talent or tact. Just a bitchy temperament. Like Simon Cowell. Who doesn’t want to say stuff like, ‘If your lifeguard duties were as good as your singing, a lot of people would be drowning,’ and get paid forty million dollars for it?

Continued tomorrow.

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Private investigator Kasthuri Kumar, the narrator of Smita Jain’s Piggies on the Railway, is a kick-ass heroine. She does interior monologues in the style of Philip Marlowe and other hardboiled detectives in 1930s crime fiction. But this being a book that – improbably but successfully – combines a detective story with chick-lit, Kasthuri (also known as Katie) has more on her mind than just solving the kidnapping case assigned to her…Read more

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Days preceding the launch…

Should we, shouldn’t we? Should we, shouldn’t we? Should we, shouldn’t we? This was how the conversation between AT, my publicist at Westland, and me went for about a week. And, no, we weren’t contemplating having a same sex affair. It was about something as mundane as a book launch for Piggies.

And the reason we were having this debate was we couldn’t figure out whether we ought not to spend that money in promoting the book through other means.  But then AT made up our minds and proposed not one but two launches! One at the Park Hotel and one at Landmark bookstore, Gurgaon.

And even though the proposed launch dates were a couple of weeks away, this threw me into a complete tizzy. There was so much to do. Decisions to make. The minor ones included the flow and content of the launch programme. The major ones included clothes, footwear and hair.

Now, I’ve attended several launches so I know they’re pretty straightforward. There is usually at least one more person on stage besides the author. And that guest is someone familiar with the author’s work who can involve her in a little conversation. The programme usually goes like this:

  1. Someone (usually your editor) introduces you, hopefully without abusing you too much for the constant annoyance you’ve created for her with your whining, your constant neediness and your adamant refusal to make the changes she’s suggested.
  2. Then you read from your book, hopefully fluently like a news reader on the telly. You keep your fingers crossed that the following do not mysteriously make an appearance: a stutter, a stammer, a chronic lisp or a dodgy American accent.
  3. The guest engages the author in a little Q&A. Hopefully he/she has read the book and asks you questions that do not reveal his/her shocking lack of knowledge about your book.
  4. Afterwards you throw the floor open to the audience in the hope that the few people who are a) still awake b)  not surfing the net on their phones can be persuaded to move their butts and ask a few questions, thereby sparing you complete and utter humiliation.

However, in my case, I felt pressured to do more, deliver more. For instance, I had to decide if I should say something funny, live up to the hype the books have generated. And if yes, then I had to write that funny monologue. So the days were spent agonising about the monologue, writing it and trashing it. The evenings were spent shopping for clothes and footwear.

To be continued….

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