Contemporary fiction set in Indian cities
A desire to read more stories set in contemporary India led author Anita Shirodkar to pen her first novel based in the country’s commercial and entertainment capital.
“There are so many books by women set in Spain, France, the US etc with amazing plotlines and well written, but not so many about the cites in our country. I wanted to write a light kind of fiction set in urban India,” says Shirodkar.
With a 20-year-long career in advertising behind her, Shirodkar in her first novel “Secrets and Second Chances,” combines a passion for writing with a love of food to produce a fiction revolving around a woman protagonist.
“I wanted to set it in Mumbai and provide locales like cafes, hotels and landmarks and setting familiar to Indian readers and psyche. Local readers can identify with the character and the places in the book,” says the 53-year-old author.
Shirodkar has had a wealth of experience in advertising with a portfolio of clients ranging from hotels to airlines and icecreams to face creams. After advertising Shirodkar subsequently had a spate of freelance design and writing assignments that encompassed brochures, corporate identity design, store design as well as a coffee table book on India.
Also, Shirodkar says she is a fan of romances. “I read a lot of books especially by Daniel Steele and the regency romance series by Georgette Heyer. They have a strong following around the world.”
“My book is different from the Mills and Boon’s books, those are short and sweet but I like my characters to be more detailed and fleshed out,” says the author.
“Secrets and Second Chances”, says the author is about desires, relationships and how life can come a full circle if you give it a chance. “It’s about the ambitions and quest of a young woman, her loves and her hopes, and her all-encompassing relationship with her mother,” she says.
Based both in Mumbai and Dubai, the author is a self-confessed foodie and has incorporated that element in the book basing the protagonist’s mother as a single woman who puts her culinary skills into good use to raise her daughter.
“Food is another subject that I know all about. I am interested in world cuisine and have written on food, including content for a gourmet food store in Mumbai, and a recipe book, which I designed, photographed and ghost wrote for a nutritional specialist. It will be out soon,” says Shirodkar.
A global traveller, the author is particular about sampling food from all the places she visits.
“I find life a melting point of cultures,” she says. For Shirodkar, who says she has just returned from the US New York City offers some of the best gastronomic experiences. “Tuscany in Italy is also great. Thailand has always been a happening place in the food circuit and is a favourite with both my husband and me,” says the author.
Shirodkar says she also intends to do her own cookbook. “It will be again based on Indian cities, homes of celebrities and what they like to eat. It will not be a typical recipe book,” says the author.
Writing, says Shirodkar comes naturally to her. “I wrote Secrets… in a period of three to four months and it wasn’t hard to write at all.”
“I loved immersing myself into the world of these characters that were taking shape the blank pages of my computer- writing this book has been fulfilling in every sense. So much so that I began my second novel immediately after I put the finishing touches to this one. I’m now working on the outline for a third book,” says Shirodkar.
The author says although the book has not been intended as a literary venture, “it is highly adaptable to be made into a film or a play.” Actor Roshan Abbas and film maker turned author Fahad Samar were present at the launch of the book of Shirodkar’s novel here recently.
Lyricist Swanand Kirkire, actors Sonali Kulkarni and Avantika Akerkar as well as VJ and TV host Maria Goretti were also among those present.