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Drunk on Ink Q & A with Falguni Kothari and ‘My Last Love Story’

Drunk on Ink is a blast interview series conducted by Soniah Kamal, Jaggery Blog Editor and author of the forthcoming novel Unmarriageable: Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice in Pakistan. 

Falguni Kothari is the author of unconventional love stories and kick-ass fantasy tales. Her four novels, most recently MY LAST LOVE STORY, are all flavored by her South Asian heritage and expat experiences. An award-winning Indian Classical, Latin and Ballroom dancer, she currently spikes her endorphin levels with Zumba. She resides in New York with her family and pooch.

My Last Love Story
Simi Desai is thirty years old and her husband is dying of cancer. He has two last wishes in his final months: first, that she’ll have his baby so that a piece of him lives on, and second, that she’ll reconcile with her old flame, who just happens to be their mutual best friend. And so over the course of their last summer together, Simi’s husband plans a series of big and small adventures for this unlikely trio, designed to help them say goodbye to each other and prove to Simi that it’s okay to move on without him—and even find love again. Beautiful and poignant, Falguni Kothari’s My Last Love Story will pull your heartstrings as only unforgettable love stories can. Read a review of My Last Love Story in the New York Times.Soniah Kamal: First author/book you read/fell in love with?Falguni Kothari: As a child, it was End Blyton’s The Faraway Tree series. I loved the idea of living inside a tree trunk like Moon-Face. I’d sometimes try to squeeze myself into small spaces and pretend I was living inside a tree. As a teenager, I fell in love with Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Name one girl who was raised in South Asia and didn’t!). As an adult, my once-a-year re-read is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

 

To unwind: chai, coffee, water, wine?

It’s mostly chai, sometimes wine, rarely coffee…but Pindar! Water is best.

 

A novel, short story, poem, essay, anything you believe should be mandatory reading?

Try all of the above at least once in your life. It just seems a more complete education. Then, you can stick to the reading format you most prefer. Much like print or ebooks.

 

Any classic you wished you’d pushed through in your teens?

I don’t think I ever had to push through a book. I mostly love reading books. I have simply not picked up several of the classics, this not read them. I don’t know why. I should change that.

 

A favorite quote from your book

This is the quote that gave me this book’s title. My working title was something else entirely and absurd now that I think of it.

Why I love this particular excerpt? It gives you the crux of the book in a paragraph.

“I went back to my husband and explained something to him. “Imagine I’m an ocean. You are the bright sunlit part of me, and Zayaan, the darker depths. I need you both to be who I am. I love you both. Always have. Always will. But, Nirvaan, you are my last love story. I don’t want another one.”

 

Your favorite book to film?

Hmm. I think the Pride and Prejudice BBC miniseries with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. I even like the one with Knightly and MacFadyen. (That Darcy will never get outta my head!)

 

Favorite Indie Book Stores?

WORD Bookstore in New Jersey and Brooklyn, Anderson’s Book Store in Larchmont.

 

The one thing you wish you’d known about the writing life?

The publicity and promotion aspects of it. I am not talkative by nature, at least with people I’ve just met. As a writer, I’m continuously meeting new people now and it’s nerve-wracking. Also, at conferences and book events, I am so removed from my home bound comfort zone that I feel like popping a Valium a day. Luckily, popping a pill terrifies me more than speaking to strangers.

 

Does writing/publishing/marketing get any easier with each story/novel published?

It becomes worse. Or that’s the wrong word. It becomes bigger. The more books you have, the more people/ readers/ librarians/ bookstores know you and want to do events with you. So, you have to juggle that many more pins in the air. You do get more adept at the publicity and marketing though, and if you’re a planner, it’s a piece of cake.

 

Dog, Cat, Or?

I’m an animal-lover. Every animal except reptiles are my thing. However, I think dogs actually are man’s best friend. There is no better companion for a human than a dog.

 

A favorite song?

Anything by the late great George Michael, Ronan Keating and Arijit Singh. Their voices are soulful.

 

A favorite book cover?

I have many. But most recently, I was wowed by The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin.

 

Last impulse book buy and why?

Tracy Wolff’s Lovegame. The cover was attractive, the price was right, and I’m in the middle of revisions for my 2019 women’s fiction release and I wanted to read something completely unrelated and raunchy. I like sexy, raunchy books. They make me relax and smile, maybe even laugh out loud.

Soniah Kamal is an award winning essayist and fiction writer. Her novel Unmarriageable: Pride & Prejudice in Pakistan, a parallel retelling of Pride and Prejudice and set in contemporary Pakistan, has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Library Journal.  NPR calls it ‘thought provoking and deliciously readable’ and People Magazine says “This inventive retelling of Pride and Prejudice charms.” Unmarriageable is an Amazon Best Books pick, a People Magazine’s Pick, a New York Post Best Book pick, a Library Reads pick and more. Soniah’s debut novel An Isolated Incident was a finalist for the Townsend Award for Fiction, the KLF French Fiction Prize, and is an Amazon Rising Star pick. Soniah’s short story ‘Jelly Beans’ was selected for the Best South Asian Short Stories Anthology 2017. Her TEDx talk is about regrets and redemption. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, Buzzfeed, Catapult, The Normal School, Literary Hub, and has been widely anthologized. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Georgia State University where she was a Paul Bowles Fellow in Fiction. She currently teaches creative writing at Rhineheart University and reviews books for the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Soniah will be giving a keynote address at the Jane Austen Summer Program Conference (2019) and she is a Jane Austen Literacy Ambassador. She was born in Pakistan, grew up in England and Saudi Arabia, and currently resides in Georgia.

More Drunk on Ink Interviews:

Mike Chen: Here and Now and Then, a novel

Ruth Franklin: Shirley Jackson A Rather Haunted Life, biography

Colleen Oakley: Before I Go, a novel

Emily Midorikawa: A Secret Sisterhood: The literary friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf, biography

Shabnam Samuel: A Fractured Life, memoir

Elise Hooper: The Other Alcott, a novel

Anne Boyd Rioux: Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy: The Story of Little Women and Why It Still Matters, non fiction

Devoney Looser: The Making of Jane Austen, non fiction

Kristen Miller ZohnThe Currency of Taste- Gibbons Georgian Silver, coffee table book

Vanessa HuaA River of Stars, novel

Chaitli SenThe Pathless Sky, novel

Sonya HuberPain Woman Take Your Keys, memoir

Kathy Wilson FlorenceThree of Cups, a novel

Sara Luce LookCharis Books and More, independent book store

S J SinduMarriage of a Thousand Lies, a novel

Rosalie Morales KearnsKingdom of Men, a novel

Saadia FaruqiMeet Yasmin, children’s literature

Rene DenfeldThe Child Finder, a novel

Jamie BrennerThe Husband Hour, a novel

Sara MarchantThe Driveway has Two Sides, memoir

Kirsten Imani KasaiThe House of Erzulie, a novel

Thrity UmrigarThe Secrets Between Us, novel

John Kessel, Pride and Prometheus, novel

Lisa Romeo, Starting with Goodbye: A Daughter’s Memoir of Love After Loss

Rachel May, An American Quilt: Unfolding a Story of Family and Slavery

Rebecca Entel, Fingerprints of Previous Owners, novel

Jamie Sumner, Unbound: Finding from Unrealistic Expectations of Motherhood

Falguni Kothari, My Last Love Story, novel

Tanaz BathenaA Girl Like That, YA novel

 

 

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