Today we have a very special blog post from Justine Elyot, Charlotte Stein and Victoria Blisse. They’re here to tell us a little about the inspiration behind their recent Bollywood releases from Total-E-Bound.
Take it away, ladies….
What Inspired you to write your Bollywood stories?
When Total E-Bound approached me with the news about their new Bollywood line, my first thought was ‘Yay! Bollywood!’ Over the course of various insomniac nights, I have watched a fair few Bollywood movies on the dedicated channels and I enjoy their grandiose sense of spectacle. The heroes are straight-A alpha, the heroines are beautiful and mysterious, the villains are really, really cartoon-villainous, the song and dance routines are riots of colour that seem to come straight from the heyday of MGM.
My problem, when it came to writing the actual story, was that I couldn’t remember the names of any of the films and had never known who the actors were. I set off on a Google mission, and my searching was well-rewarded. I found the beauteous Arjun Rampal, who became my Bollywood heart-throb Ajay Amir. I also found the kittenish Kareena Kapoor, singing this irresistible number from one of her movies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77fc1HptIC8. I put them together and I got an incendiary mix.
Then, another problem struck. I’ve never been to India and would never claim to be any kind of expert on Indian culture – most of what I know comes straight from the pages of Vikram Seth and Arundhati Roy, not to mention a handful of documentaries. So I decided to play safe and set the story in England – specifically the area around Belgrave Road in Leicester, which is one of the centres of south Asian culture in the UK. Having actually been there, I felt much more comfortable setting a story there. And finally, I had to draft in the character of Krishnan, who is that great trope of multicultural Britain, the hard-working Asian corner shopkeeper. A sexy one, obvs.
And there you have it – my Bollywood inspirations in a nutshell. A strange brew, but one I hope you will find palatable.
Get Bollywood Superstar here: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1353
Although I know this probably isn’t cool to say, my main inspiration for writing Guarded wasn’t what it might seem on the surface. I mean, sure, sure. I love Aladdin and One Thousand and One Nights and all of those high fantasy sorts of things that are so popular in Bollywood films. But those things weren’t the spark that got me writing. The spark was something far more pedestrian, like the thought of Armie Hammer half-naked and in silk parachute pants.
Yeah, you know the things I’m talking about. You see them in those sorts of movies, usually paired with weird shoes. And everyone has big swords and sometimes there are flying carpets and veils and things like that, and basically my brain just boiled over with all of that, and a lot of some big hunk striding about the place.
Of course, my mind also wasn’t satisfied with just one big hunk. But unlike the rest of this, I think that’s self-explanatory.
Get Guarded here: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1352
It is quite difficult to pin down my inspiration for Silver Screen Dream. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to write when I accepted the challenge to create a Bollywood story.
My publisher helped a lot by giving me an over view of what Bollywood films are like. I was very much struck by the fact that they’re larger than life, magical and over the top. I knew then and there I’d be delving into the world of fantasy and fairytale.
I was still kind of stuck so I got some books out of the library on mythological creatures and did a bit of digging around online. I eventually found just the kind of character I needed. A Genie! I’m not allowed to call him a genie though, Johnny is a djinn and he gets really pissed off if you call him anything else.
Yeah, I knew from the start he was going to be a bit grumpy but then being enslaved for centuries does make you a little jaded, I imagine. So I had my djinn. I needed to find him a master. I decided that since I’m working in Bollywood that I needed a Bollywood star in there somewhere. Enter Rahul. Rahul was inspired by this good looking fellow:
And finally the story was starting to take shape. Enter Laura. Laura is the very ‘me’ part of this story. She’s British, she’s white and she’s a curvy girl just like me. The similarities end there though as Laura has soul-deep love of Bollywood inspired by her babysitter, her nani. She works in a London cinema and dreams of one day getting to Mumbai.
Once I had my three main characters the story came together easily. It amazes me every time how that happens. In fact I had so much inspiration that I have another 3 books (at least) to write in this series. So I better get on with it, hadn’t I?
Get Silver Screen Dream here: http://www.total-e-bound.com/product.asp?strParents=&CAT_ID=&P_ID=1349