The Next Big Thing Blog Hop — Nisha-Anne D’Souza, Burning Frangipani

Leta Blake, coauthor with Keira Andrews of the Tempting Tales series — the latest of which, Ascending Hearts, is out now, eeee! — was lovely enough to ask me to participate in the Blog Hop so here goes!

What is the working title of your book?

It used to be An Aquarian Tale for the longest time but now I’m pretty much set on Burning Frangipani.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The two protagonists, Mike and Lindsey, have been with me for a couple of decade and I’ve been trying on and off to find the right story for them. Over the past few years, I’ve been thinking about writing a novel that tackles the here and now of being an Indian female in a Western society. There’s so much baggage that comes with that, so many versions of the Other, and well, one day I realised it would be especially thorny if I set Mike and Lindsey’s particular relationship against that turbulent sexually progressive background. Then I read Patricia Bosworth’s biography of Montgomery Clift and the whole thing came into bright painful focus.

What genre does your book fall under?

I’d like to say romance but I think all three of us — Mike, Lindsey and me — will need convincing on that score. So let’s just say contemporary fiction for now.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Actors? No. But Lindsey did start out looking exactly like Lindsey Buckingham circa the Tusk era of Fleetwood Mac and yes, that’s where his name came from. (He alternates between hating and liking that fact.) Then he went through a phase of looking very much like Morpheus from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series. So at the moment, my reference pix for him are:

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And Mike being Mallika/Michaelia pretty much looks like the typical Indian girl in Western garb. Brown eyes, brown skin, brown hair so dark it almost looks black. And possibly a tattoo somewhere.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

One night, one party, two best friends meeting after five years away, and a whole lot of secrets spilling out …

Will your book be self published, published by a small press, or represented by an agency?

At the moment, anyone’s guess. I’m just focusing on working up the cojones to write this.

How long did it or how long do you anticipate that it will take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Hopefully a month. I’m aiming for between 50 and 75 thousand words.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I haven’t seen or read anything like this which is why I wanted to write it. Movies, though, I’d say it’s Chasing Amy meets Bend It Like Beckham.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Living in Sydney, really. The whole concept of shifting sexual (and gender) identities and wrestling with labels in this age of anything goes but not really. And a show called Bob And Rose which sent me into a complete spin.

What else about your book might interest the reader?

I think this one is going to be rather full of pop (and not so pop) culture references. Part of me’s quietly tickled at getting to reference Will & Grace, possibly natter on about Bollywood movies, definitely about Montgomery Clift who is a major crush for Lindsey. And it’ll be short and sharp, I think. I hope. Plus writing about a summer party in Sydney is always an awesome thing.

And this is where the Blog Hop ends, apparently. I love having the last word!