I’ve had the pleasure of getting acquainted with Sunanda Chatterjee through One Stop Fiction. I began reading her book Fighting for Tara and was immediately swept away with her writing style. Her words take you away to another place. So beautiful, so romantic! So, I didn’t have to think at all which writer to pick for you to meet on Valentine’s Day 🙂
Sunanda J. Chatterjee
Why do you write romance?
Thank you for the chance to share my work with your readers. I write both romance and women’s fiction. All my stories feature strong women. Despite what women go through in real life, we have many strengths that are often masked by society and family situations, and which shine through only when the situation is dire. My stories touch upon social issues but have underpinnings of love in all its forms.
Writing romantic stories fulfills me. Indeed, movies or songs about sensitive, romantic love bring me to tears. In addition to romantic love between two consenting adults, what fascinates me is social and family drama. Every family has secrets, relatives who make bad choices, and friends involved in scandals. I enjoy the dynamics that threaten to ruin the unstable equilibrium because these issues make for a great backdrop for family dramas.
In my current romance series called The Wellington Estates, all the stories are based on characters with connections to an exclusive community in the foothills of San Gabriel mountains in Southern California. They are privileged and wealthy, and of course, they fall in love with people who are deemed unacceptable in their social circles, for money, race, or profession. Each family has secrets, vices, scandals, and pasts that prevent the members from leading fulfilling lives.
These stories have a strong romantic element which drives the story. But other characters also get the spotlight and parts of the stories are told from the parents’ or friends’ point of view, a feature not usual in contemporary romance.
I like to call this genre as a romantic saga, bridging romance and women’s fiction.
Romance—including contemporary, romantic suspense, romantic thriller, and other subcategories— is the most popular and highest selling and highest earning genre, especially in the indie world. Some authors churn out a book a month, and readers devour a book a day. There’s a huge demand for romance authors. So if one can find a niche, one can find a following.
How much of your personal life is in your books?
In all my books, there is an anecdote or two featuring something that happened to me, to someone in my family, or to someone I know. I think it brings authenticity to the story. In Shadowed Promise, a young woman adopts her dying cousin’s baby and has to deal with the consequences in her marriage many years later. This happened to one of my friends. In The Blue House in Bishop, a cow dies in the front yard in a traditional Indian community, making the family targets for death threats. That happened to my family. In Jimmy’s Shadow, a short story I published in an anthology, the house, the swimming pool, and the backyard are exact representations of my own house.
What, in your opinion, makes a story a romance?
Romance features amorous love between two consenting adults. The essential elements are as follows: Boy and girl meet. Sparks fly. They deny their attraction for each other for some reason, OR They cannot be together for some reason. A crisis makes them realize that love can triumph. They get together. Happily ever after.
The hero can be an alpha male or a flawed, conflicted, tortured soul. All my heroes have past issues that prevent them from leading fulfilling lives, that is, until they meet the perfect woman. The heroine can be a damsel in distress or a spunky, I-can-do-it-all type. My heroines tend to be self-sufficient, feisty and bold, but with a tender, nurturing instinct, or a haunting past that threatens their future. The hero and heroine both help each other find fulfillment.
Do you write sex scenes and if so, where is your cut-off point?
I do write sex scenes with some descriptions. I write more for the emotional element. Sex is a very intimate and personal experience, and when two people are making love for the first time, the spectrum of emotions that goes through their minds can be beautiful to explore. I don’t mention body parts besides breasts *blush* but I do write the scene euphemistically to tell the reader it happened and how it was for both parties.
Would you write/have you written in another genre?
I write women’s fiction and romantic suspense as well, although lately most of my stories are romance. My book Fighting for Tara is about a child bride in India, whose husband dies and her new husband wants her to drown her baby girl. She runs away from home to save her baby, and a long journey brings her to America, where after a few years, she must fight for her baby’s life once again. There are strong emotional elements in this book, but she does find romantic love.
Which of your books is your favorite and why?
Fighting for Tara is my favorite book because it deals with love in all its forms: mother-daughter, husband-wife, friends, as well as romantic love.
Thank you, Sunanda, for taking the time to answer my questions.
If you want to read an amazing and romantic story this Valentine’s Day, pick one of Ms. Chatterjee’s books!
You can find all of Sunanda J. Chatterjee’s books on Amazon.