AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT: SULEIKHA SNYDER
The latest person to stop by to chat with the JR bunnies is Ms. Snyder….
Tell us a little about Spice and Secrets. What inspired you to write it?
Spice and Secrets is the second story in my Bollywood Confidential series, about life and love in the splashy, scandalous world of popular Indian cinema. I’ve always been a Bollywood film fan and a soap opera fan, so when it came time to start writing romance for publication, it just seemed like the perfect fit.
This story is about former ingénue Priya Roy, who has returned to the industry after six years away. Hotshot producer Rahul Anand was her first love, and he hopes her comeback will include coming back to his arms!
When you start writing, do you already have the story plotted out or do you let the characters dictate what will happen?
I’m a total pantser. I have a general idea where the story is supposed to go, but the characters are usually in the driver’s seat, taking me on all sorts of unplanned detours.
What inspired you to write in your genre? Is this the genre you started writing in or have you morphed to this one?
I’ve been writing interracial/multicultural romance from the get-go, and it just feels authentic to me. I grew up reading traditional romance novels with white heroines, expected as a reader to relate to them — and, of course, I did, because the writers were talented and the characters were root-worthy. Now, as a writer myself, I want readers to experience that same kinship with heroines and heroes of color.
Do you have a favorite character you have written?
My favorite character is probably one that readers haven’t met yet, from a contemporary story that I may be self-pubbing in 2013. But barring that particular blue-eyed charmer, I’d have to say I really adore Bollywood talk show hostess Sunita, in Spice and Secrets. She’s wonderfully flawed but so vibrant!
Who was the toughest character for you to “get right” that you have written so far?
Definitely Priya Roy. I’m an emotional open book, so writing someone so determined to be closed off was very difficult — to the point where early draft readers told me she came off as a bitch, which was SO not my intention. I had to work to balance her, make her sympathetic and explain why she is the way she is — and I hope I succeeded!
Do you draw inspiration for your characters from real life? Any fun stories you could share?
Since I write about actors and know several actors in real life, I find myself saying “No, this is not about you!” a lot. But between you, me and the Internet…? Sometimes it IS about them.
What do you find the hardest part of writing?
Trying to do it when my heart’s not in it. I have to feel the story and the characters, otherwise it’s excruciating.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
Well, you’re going to get one surprise about me a few questions down (if you don’t know that bit of trivia already), but another would probably be that I was a contestant on “JEOPARDY” in 2002.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
My liver and my waistline both plead the Fifth.
What TV show are you addicted to?
It’s probably wiser to ask me what show I’m NOT addicted to! But if we just confine it to the current fall season, I’d say “Scandal” and “Once Upon a Time”.
If your story was optioned for a movie, who would play your characters?
Easy question! Indian soap star Barun Sobti as Rahul, Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma as Priya, Shenaz Treasuryvala (ex-Rama, “One Life to Live”) as Sunita and “Strike Back’s” Philip Winchester as Shaw.
How old were you when you read your first romance book?
Around 12. It’s a toss-up between Separate Beds by Lavyrle Spencer, Amanda Quick’s Surrender and Secret Fire by Johanna Lindsey.
What author causes you to “go fan girl”/ squeal over/anticipate upcoming books?
All of them! I mean, it’s technically my job to squee about everybody’s upcoming books, and you’d better believe I take it seriously! Which leads me to…
If you still have one of those pesky non-writing jobs what is it?
I’m currently the Features Editor for RT Book Reviews, so it’s not all that pesky! I get to have my romance cake and eat it, too. (And, no worries, there’s no conflict of interest; I have no influence on reviewers whatsoever. But if you want to send me cookies, I won’t turn them down.)
Do you have a favorite movie you have seen in the last few months and/or an all-time favorite?
All-time favorite is easily “The Princess Bride”, with “The Empire Strikes Back” close behind. As for 2012, I adored “The Avengers” and can’t wait for the upcoming Marvel Universe films.
What are you currently working on, and what else is in the wings?
I’m currently working on an erotic romance called, no joke, Bollyamorous. I have at least two more Bollywood Confidential stories percolating. Beyond that, I’m hoping to tackle some romance set States-side, particularly a LGBT sci-fi tale set in New York City.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
I tend to pull them out of the ether and then check to make sure I don’t know anyone with those names…which can sometimes lead to hilarity, as I realize I’ve used minor Bollywood celebrity names or porn stars or politicians. There’s a lot of strange stuff going on in my subconscious.
Do you prefer the love at first sight approach or a steady growth throughout?
I think even love at first sight requires growth and conflict, because people aren’t that simple! So I’ll take both tropes, as long as they make sense.
What is your reaction to people who say one of the following…”Oh you write romance, I thought you were a real writer”, “Romance isn’t a real writing career” or the ever popular “Oh, one of those books”.
My response is…[CENSORED]. With accompanying hand gestures.
Where can readers find you?
I’m on Twitter as @suleikhasnyder, my home on the web is www.suleikhasnyder.com and I also do a whole lot of TV show live-tweeting from my “real” Twitter, @badnecklace.
And for the silly side — what is your favorite type of chocolate?
Ferrero Rocher or Cadbury Fruit & Nut bars — but only from India or England. American Cadbury just doesn’t measure up!
Ranger or Morelli?
Ranger, though I’d get sick of a guy who only says “Babe” pretty fast, so we’d have to work on his vocabulary!