Wednesday, January 16, 2019

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Ruchi Singh, Author

Ruchi Singh, Author
Ruchi Singh brings us GUARDIAN ANGEL, a romantic thriller, which is her favorite genre. The book spins off a  character from her previous novel, THE BODYGUARD, and tells how an “angel“ rescues a security expert in mortal danger.  

Singh is an award-winning author who writes both romance and romantic thrillers. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading and exploring classical Indian dance forms. She is currently working on an emotional romance novel and is also planning a detective series.

Q: How did you conceive of the plot for GUARDIAN ANGEL

Ruchi Singh: I had released THE BODYGUARD prior to GUARDIAN ANGEL. Nikhil Mahajan, though an important character, played a secondary role in that novel. After the release of THE BODYGUARD, I received numerous personal messages and review feedback that people want to hear Nikhil’s story as well. 

Hence GUARDIAN ANGEL came into being. Essentially it is a spin-off from THE BODYGUARD and can be read as a standalone book.

Q: Reviewers in a previous book, THE BODYGUARD, said your characters were “well fleshed out.” How do you make readers care about your characters? 

Ruchi Singh: There are certain expected social, physical, and notional perceptions. If we as an author understand those qualities and perceptions, defining a character’s traits become easy. 

Then throughout the story, those traits have to be released or written depending on the circumstances and situations. I cater to those perceptions and hope that the readers would fall in love with them. They generally do. 

Q: Reviewers also tout the thriller aspect of your books. How do you create suspense while simultaneously producing romance?

Ruchi Singh: In a suspense, the information about the plot has to be revealed in a piece-meal fashion. For romance to simultaneously flourish, both hero and the heroine have to be actively involved in the main plot as well as be thrown together in the scenes. The plotting, characterization and internal conflicts are important here.

Q: Is the concept of villain vs hero relevant to GUARDIAN ANGEL? What are the characteristics of an effective villain?

Ruchi Singh: Yes, of course it’s relevant in GUARDIAN ANGEL. Every story has to have a villain. Though it’s not necessary that the villain has to be a human being. The inner conflict, weaknesses, and circumstances can also play a part in traumatizing a protagonist and can thereby be termed as a villain. GUARDIAN ANGEL, too, has a villain of the human variety. Although the protagonist and the villain do not confront each other face to face, they do go after each other in a more covert manner.

The characteristics of a villain should be such that readers also share the hero’s revulsion, fear, or distaste. A villain lays down the conflicts in the path of the hero and should be one notch more powerful than the hero. A story, where the hero is able to overpower the villain against all odds, is a real entertainer. 

Q: In GUARDIAN ANGEL, how helpful is back story, especially that of setting?

Ruchi Singh: GUARDIAN ANGEL is set in the backdrop of conflict in Kashmir. The backstory and the setting are revealed to the readers at opportune scenes throughout the story. There are certain chunks which are revealed through inner monologues, thoughts, and dialogues. Some aspects are just hinted using a word or two here and there, and let the reader imagine the rest. The backstory and settings help readers to get a reference point for the location, story and the characters’ motivations. If used judiciously it’s a very powerful story element.

Q: Did you write GUARDIAN ANGEL strictly to entertain? Or were you trying to educate or deliver a message? 

Ruchi Singh: Every novel I write is to entertain the readers. I consider myself a storyteller and entertainer.

Q: What caused you to pursue a career as an author and away from that of IT career?

Ruchi Singh: It all started in 2012 when I had left my regular job to be a full-time homemaker. After a year my daughter joined the college in a new city. I was feeling a little low due to empty nest syndrome but didnt want to go back to the corporate rut. That was the time friends and family suggested writing. My family members and friends said when you read so much, you can write as well.

Since I am very fond of novels, I began with a novel. I really enjoyed the first few days of putting my thoughts on paper. The result was the debut novel TAKE 2. But it was only when I had won the Indireads short story competition, in Oct 2014, I knew I will become a fiction writer.

Q: What’s next?

Ruchi Singh: I am writing an emotional romance which is again set in Kasauli, the backdrop of my second novel JUGNU (The Firefly). I’m also planning and plotting a detective series, which is at a very nascent stage. There are lots of ideas floating in my mind, but very less time.

Q:  Tell us about Ruchi Singh. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Ruchi Singh: I am generally a happy-go-lucky person. I go with the flow of events happening in and around me. When I am not writing I read a lot, and I also like to spend time and relax with my friends.

About Ruchi Singh

Winner of TOI WriteIndia Season 1, Ruchi Singh is a novelist, and writes in two genres: romance and romantic thriller. A voracious reader, she loves everything—from classics to memoirs to editorials to chick-lit, but her favorite genre is ‘romantic thriller’. Besides writing and reading, her other interests include dabbling with Indian classical dance forms.

The Man
Security expert Nikhil Mahajan is in mortal danger. Gravely injured and unable to see, he is in the midst of hostile strangers in an unknown place. Any hope of survival is fast fading away. 

The Angel
Should an innocent man be left to die just because he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time? Someone has to intervene.

In the bathroom, he stripped off his clothes and looked in the mirror for the first time since the day of the bomb blast in Mumbai. He couldn’t recognize the man staring back at him in the mirror. His hair, matted with dirt, was stuck to his skull. The only things which were clean were his wounds and the skin around it which had been taken care of by the hospital nurse.
He had a full-fledged beard with a patch of bandage where the skin on his face had burned. The scar would definitely leave a reminiscence of…? Of what? What should he call the events of the past weeks? An incident? An episode? A misfortune? He drew a blank. In retrospect, past few weeks seemed like something which could not be explained in words.
Pushing his confused thoughts aside he examined his leg. The burns were deeper on the shin and thigh, the doctor had told him. He looked gaunt, a shadow of his former self. He must have lost at least ten kg, if not more. Sighing audibly, he unwrapped the new toothbrush and remembered his own electrical one in his bathroom back home. 
Everything unfamiliar, and every person a stranger. A new name. A new identity. His ordeal was far from over. He picked up the new tube of the toothpaste and felt like a beggar.
Taking the support of the wall, head bent down, he stood under the shower with the water running down his face, and wept. The adrenaline rush of keeping himself alive receded as he emptied the fears, worries, and helplessness of the past month down the drain with the bathwater. The thought of being able to see his parents soon made him more emotional. He sniffed and sniveled, and resolved to take back control of his life. And most of all, he resolved to do something about those monsters back in the Tral forest.


~ 1 winner for 500/- Amazon Gift Card + kindle copy of Guardian Angel
~ 1 winner for 250/- Amazon Gift Card + kindle copy of Guardian Angel