Wednesday, May 25, 2016

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Falguni Kothari, Author

Falguni Kothari, Author
Reviewers describe MY LAST LOVE STORY, Falguni Kothari’s fourth novel, as an examination of “love and loss, desire and desolation, with a deft, wry touch that kept me reading late into the night and moved me to tears.” To create a compelling story, Kothari emphasizes the need to develop relatable characters and claims, “Good chemistry between the characters is a must.” She is not attached to a specific genre, and suggests that her current novel is a cross between contemporary women's fiction and/or an epic romance.

Kothari is working on Book 2 of the Age of Kali series. When she is not writing, she enjoys dancing and has won silver medals in amateur Latin and Ballroom dancing. She also loves to watch serial episodes and has become a Netflix fan.

Do not miss the excerpt from MY LAST LOVE STORY at the end of her interview.

NOTE: Opportunity for $50 Amazon gift card available. You can enter following interview until the end of the tour.

Q: Reviewers have described your new novel MY LAST LOVE STORY as a “love triangle that defies all expectations and crosses all boundaries.” Would you categorize it as a traditional or contemporary romance? Or would you place it in a different genre?

Falguni Kothari: It’s contemporary women’s fiction and/or an epic romance. I guess it straddles genres?

Q: “To make a reader care so much about the characters in a story is a talent that few have.” How do you make your readers care about your characters? Are they people we can all relate to or are they special?

Falguni Kothari: To make readers care about fictional characters, the characters need problems that readers can identify with, certainly what they can relate to. At the very least, they have to recognize what the character is going through even if the reader hasn’t experienced the same or wouldn’t react in the same way to it. In MY LAST LOVE STORY, one of the main characters is a terminal patient, another has been victimized, there are societal pressures of acceptable behavior put on the characters, there are issues of infertility and infidelity. These are common enough problems permeating most households in the world, making the story familiar to the reader and therefore “real.”

Q: Does the concept of hero vs villain play a role in your story—either in a traditional or non-traditional way?

Falguni Kothari:  Not in the traditional way. I have a villainous mother, who plays power games because she doesn’t want to relinquish her hold on her son. But, her motives aren’t coming from an evil place. They root from fear.

Q: Reviewers have also claimed that MY LAST LOVE STORY is an “unputdownable read.” How do you drive the reader to want to turn the page?

Falguni Kothari: I think this relates to your question about “caring for your characters.” When you begin to root for your hero or heroine, you want to know what happens to them. Will they find happiness? Will they break up? How will they resolve their misunderstanding? The story should be believable and rooted in reality, yet, interesting and larger than life. The characters should become your best friends and/ or people you envy. People you want to spend your day or night with. People you want to invite home for dinner like long lost friends. But that’s all on the reader, I think. A passionate reader will find pleasure in any story.

Q: Did you write MY LAST LOVE STORY strictly to entertain your readers, or did you embed a few messages along the way?

Falguni Kothari: Oh, MY LAST LOVE STORY is full of messages. The main one is about love. What is love? Is it holding on or letting go? Is it restricted between two people or many? Love is supposed to make you better, then why do so many people become bitter after love?

Q: In your description of MY LAST LOVE STORY, you recommend “Weepers, keep tissues handy.” On the other hand, do you use humor either to create your characters, tell your story, or relieve tension?

Falguni Kothari: I do all three. Humor is my default state of being. My characters will always be witty and funny, sometimes even snarky. MY LAST LOVE STORY was a difficult book to write, because of the subject matter, and I had to keep reminding myself to insert hilarity between the sweet and poignant scenes. I even managed a couple of snarky ones. A good story must invoke a good mix of emotions in the reader. A story should not be one dimensional.

Q: When creating a romance, what are the most important traits, or attributes, of the characters falling in love? What draws characters to each other? How important are setting and timing?

Falguni Kothari: Good chemistry between the characters is a must. There also needs to be just the right amount of conflict between the potential lovers to make their getting together interesting.

Setting and timing are important in all novels for authenticity. Even if everyone knows its fiction, there has to be a sense of reality to it. MY LAST LOVE STORY is set in California. I couldn’t have my characters living in igloos, no matter the cute visual it conjures up.

Q: You have written three other novels in different genres. Do you have a favorite? Or do you prefer exploring different time periods, settings, and genres?

Falguni Kothari: I don’t have a favorite. I have loved writing all my stories. But I had the most fun writing the mythic fantasy because, one, I’m slightly obsessed with mythology and, two, I could play around with magic and demons and bizarre otherworldly goodies.

Q: What’s next?

Falguni Kothari: I’m working on Book 2 of the Age of Kali series. I’m brain-deep in unearthly problems.

Q: Tell us about Falguni Kothari. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Falguni Kothari: Well, I enjoy dancing. I’m learning how to samba on Bollywood music and it’s a blast! I’m a serial episode watcher—I’m addicted to Netflix. I read like a maniac. I spoil my dog and give him Godiva. I take care of house and hearth under protest. It seems that in the blink of an eye my day is done.

About Falguni Kothari

Falguni Kothari is an internationally bestselling hybrid author and an amateur Latin and Ballroom dance silver medalist with a background in Indian Classical dance. She writes in a variety of genres sewn together by the colorful threads of her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. When not writing or dancing, she fools around on all manner of social media, and loves to connect with her readers. MY LAST LOVE STORY is her fourth novel.

Perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes’s, Me Before YouMy Last Love Story is a heartbreakingly romantic tale about the complexities of trauma and whether love can right a wrong.

I, Simeen Desai, am tired of making lemonade with the lemons life has handed me.

Love is meant to heal wounds.
Love was meant to make my world sparkle and spin.
Love has ripped my life apart and shattered my soul. 

I love my husband, and he loves me.

But Nirvaan is dying.
I love my husband. I want to make him happy.
But he is asking for the impossible. 

I don’t want a baby.

I don’t want to make nice with Zayaan.
I don’t want another chance at another love story. 


“Love is a dish best served naked.”

As a child, those oft-quoted words of my father would have me rolling my eyes and pretending to gag at what I’d imagined was my parents’ precursor to a certain physical act.

At thirty, I’d long ago realized that getting naked wasn’t a euphemism for sex.

Neither was love.

It wasn’t my father wording the meme just now but my husband. Nirvaan considered himself a great wit, a New Age philosopher. On the best of days, he was, much like Daddy had been. On the worst days, he was my tormentor.

“What do you think, Dr. Archer? Interesting enough tagline for a vlog? What about ‘Baby in a Petri Dish’?” Nirvaan persisted in eliciting a response from the doctor and/or me for his ad hoc comedy, which we’d been ignoring for several minutes now.

I wanted to glare at him, beg him to shut up, or demand that he wait in the doctor’s office like he should’ve done, like a normal husband would have. Khodai knows why he’d insisted on holding my hand through this preliminary checkup. Nothing of import would happen today—if it did at all. But I couldn’t perform any such communication, not with my eyes and mouth squeezed shut while I suffered through a series of uncomfortable twinges along my nether regions.

I lay flat on my back on a spongy clinic bed sheeted with paper already wrinkled and half torn. Legs drawn up and spread apart, my heels dug punishingly into cold iron stirrups to allow my gynecologist’s clever fingers to reach inside my womb and check if everything was A-OK in there. We’d already funneled through the Pap test and stomach and chest checks. Like them, this test, too, was going swell in light of Dr. Archer’s approving happy hums.

“Excellent, Mrs. Desai. All parts are where they should be,” he joked only as a doctor could.

I shuddered out the breath I’d been holding, as the feeling of being stretched left my body. Nirvaan squeezed my hand and planted a smacking kiss on my forehead. I opened my eyes and focused on his beaming upside-down ones. His eyelids barely grew lashes anymore—I’d counted twenty-seven in total just last week—the effect of years of chemotherapy. For a second, my gaze blurred, my heart wavered, and I almost cried.

What are we doing, Nirvaan? What in Khodai’s name were we starting?

Nirvaan stroked my hair, his pitch-black pupils steady and knowing and oh-so stubborn. Then, his face rose to the stark white ceiling, and all I saw was the green-and-blue mesh of his gingham shirt—the overlapping threads, the crisscross weaves, a pattern without end.

Life is what you make it, child. It was another one of my father’s truisms.

Swallowing the questions twirling on my tongue, I refocused my mind on why we were here. I’d promised Nirvaan we’d try for a baby if he agreed to another round of cancer-blasting treatments. I’d bartered for a few more months of my husband’s life. He’d bartered for immortality through our child.


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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Sounds like an interesting story; thanks for the chance!

  3. Sounds very intriguing and I love the cover.