After a 20-year career in the corporate world, Gayatri Chandrasekharan has begun to indulge her love of writing. She loves nothing better than to curl up with a cup of tea, surrounded by her three dogs and read her favourite books.
Gayatri Chandrasekharan is currently on the board of directors of a payment security firm and her last full time corporate role was Vice President & Chief Sales Officer at HCL Services. She is an alumnus of Indian Institute of Management, Lucknow and a Chemical Engineer from RVCE, Bangalore.
TBE: Can you tell us a bit about your book ‘Bangalored’ and what inspired you to write it?
Gayatri Chandrasekharan: It was always my intention to write a book and romance was the most comfortable genre for me to try. I’ve also been part of the IT industry in India for a very long and the concept of a Western worker being ‘Bangalored’ or having lost his/her job to someone in Bengaluru got me thinking about writing this romance between a Britisher and an Indian girl. The difference being, here, the hero’s heart was ‘Bangalored’ and not his job.
TBE: Without spoiling the story for readers, can you share something about your story which is not in the blurb or any available excerpts?
Gayatri Chandrasekharan: There is a lovely tribute to the founder of one of India’s largest café chains which is a heartfelt and poignant homage to everything the café chain means to GenX and even GenY people of India.
TBE: Beyond the satisfaction of the happily-ever-after ending, in your opinion, what else does reading a romance novel offer its readers?
Gayatri Chandrasekharan: Even if there isn’t a happily-ever-after ending, the joy of thumbing through a beautiful romance and living the thrill of the flush of love vicariously is something reading a romance novel offers. We feel transported into the world of the protagonists and, briefly but gloriously, live another life.
TBE: Bangalored explores themes of cross-border romance. It’s fresh and well-paced, and its characters are beguilingly complex. Can you tell us about your main characters, James and Radha.
Gayatri Chandrasekharan: Both represent the duality most of us feel in our everyday lives. Radha is extremely independent and confident, yet surprisingly vulnerable. She has strong opinions on everything and is unafraid to voice her opinions and yet is eager to try and get along with people without too much conflict.
James is a shy and introverted person, yet Radha brings out the flirt and romance in him. He wants to break free from the shackles of cultural unfamiliarity he feels around Radha yet is restricted in the demonstration of his affections by the very same cultural baggage. He is indifferent to most people but, for the few people he does like, his feelings are very strong. Both represent the complex people we all are at heart – sure, yet confused; confident, yet shy; bold, yet diffident.
TBE: The Bangalore city plays important role in the story, tell us a bit about why and how did you choose Bangalore over other cities. What do you love about the setting of your book?
Gayatri Chandrasekharan: It’s the city I’ve grown up in for more than three decades and is home to me. But apart from the familiarity of it being my own city, I love it because it is very welcoming and cosmopolitan. The atmosphere is laid back and the people are easy-going and non-confrontational. And, of course, the amazing weather.
TBE: What does your writing process look like? Do you map the story out from start to finish or do you begin with an idea and see where it takes you?
Gayatri Chandrasekharan: For this book, I began with an idea and it took its form and shape and plot along the way.
TBE: How was your publishing experience with Leadstart?
Gayatri Chandrasekharan: It’s been pretty good experience with Leadstart. They took a chance on a debut author and I am quite happy that they did! I hope the book lives up to that faith.
TBE: Ultimately, what do you hope readers will get out of your book?
Gayatri Chandrasekharan: A few hours of laughs, some tears, a racing of their hearts as they get more and more invested in the protagonists, memories of a lost family member and a re-living of old friendships and love.
TBE: Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?
Gayatri Chandrasekharan: I’ve thought of a broad storyline – too early to reveal anything.