Author Wednesday day once again, and I welcome Simi K. Rao, who writes novels about the cultural transitions and assimilation from her native India to the place she’s chosen as an adult in the United States. She’s just published her second novel, The Accidental Wife, a contemporary romance with a multicultural twist that provides an insight into the Indian society as it stands today.
From the author: Some accidents are meant to happen…
Dr. Rihaan Mehta is a brilliant young neurosurgeon who has no inclination for love or marriage. According to him, wives and girlfriends are annoying accessories that one can do without. But when his mother dangles the sword over his head in classic Bollywood style, he succumbs, and sets out in search of a bride who would fit his “requirements.” But can Rihaan deal with what he gets instead?
The premise of the book sounds very intriguing. I love the Bollywood style that you are perfecting. I know you have a whole other career in medicine, so tell me, when did you first discover your voice as a writer?
I think there’s been a writer concealed within me ever since I was little. I remember penning stories and essays in school with exceptional relish. Friends were drawn to my storytelling abilities, and I enjoyed improvising my lines in school plays. But unfortunately this part of me went into a state of suspended animation during medical school and subsequent years of building a career as a physician. It was only in the past few years that it resurfaced again, and I began to nurture it seriously.
I’m glad you recognized that instinct and followed it with such relish. One of my heroes, Rachel Carson (Silent Spring), said she never chose a subject because as a writer, the subject chose her. Has this ever happened to you?
Yes, this is true for most of my projects as well. The idea for my first novel Inconvenient Relations was born when I came across certain shocking incidences in my community, which young Indian women arriving in the United States as newlywed brides only to discover their husbands already married and with families. These women found themselves not only betrayed but also alone and helpless in a strange land and often without resources. I felt almost compelled to give this state of affairs a twist and write a story where the young woman takes matters into her own hands and redirects her destiny.
That’s the beauty of fiction. We can rewrite it so there’s a lesson and perhaps hope for deplorable situations. Are there any commonalities between your two novels, besides the cultural one?
My stories are generally woman-centric, and my heroines are usually strong, bold, and independent. Hence, you could say I aim to present positive role models to women.
Perfect. Do all your books have a common theme?
So far, my work has the common theme of romance after marriage, arranged or accidental. But in the future, I plan to write on more varied themes including serious topics, such as drug addiction.
Good. That needs to be addressed in this country and elsewhere. You can present a strong voice on that topic. What made you choose your original theme of “romance after marriage,” which is an intriguing concept and seems quite upside down to traditional marriages in the United States?
I’ve chosen these particular themes because they interest me, and I believe I have some expertise in them. I also like to believe that my readers will relate with and take away something from my stories as the subjects I chose are very real and topical.
How does setting play a role in your books?
The setting is very important because it provides a background for my characters and affects the way they act and behave.
Are you planning to continue writing romances?
Maybe a couple of books, not more. I don’t want to get predictable and boring.
That’s important. I like to challenge myself in every book I write. If you had two seconds to describe The Accidental Wife, what you you say?
Some accidents are meant to happen.
How did you choose the title for your latest work and was it your first choice?
I chose the title The Accidental Wife because the premise of the story is based on accidents, therefore it seemed perfect to me. Yes, it has been the title from the very beginning.
What is the most important message conveyed in The Accidental Wife?
Sometimes certain things happen that have the power to profoundly influence the way we lead our lives. They can change our behavior, our outlook, our goals, often for the better. But many among us resist this change—we create a wall around us, we close our minds and are distrustful. All I want to convey through this book is no matter how much we think we have control over our lives, the truth is we really don’t.
Isn’t that the absolute truth! We’d save a lot of energy if we could just recognize that fact. I often paraphrase John Lennon, “Life is what happens when we’re busy making other plans.” So you have several threads, themes and messages running through the novel, but tell me how you conceived the idea.
It just happened. One day I was struck by the number of online marriage portals available for Indians and how they seemed to make the process of finding a life partner so easy. I thought that it’d make a great subject for a story, then one thing led to another.
That’s rather amazing–I have no idea. Who is the antagonist in your book? Did you enjoy creating this character?
One of my protagonist’s, Dr. Rihaan Mehta, is the antagonist of my book. The story is about how his character changes over time, and yes, I really enjoyed creating him.
That’s a very important distinction. Dr. Mehta was his own worst enemy. Powerful. Without giving us a spoiler, tell us a little bit about your favorite scene in this book.
There are a couple of scenes that take place in the hospital setting and are very real and emotional. They are my favorite scenes because I’ve lived them myself.
That makes for a very vivid portrait for you novel. I’m looking forward to reading The Accidental Wife. Thank you for stopping by today, Simi. I wish you the very best success with both of your challenging careers.
About Simi: Simi K. Rao was born and grew up in India before relocating to the U.S., where she has lived for several years. The inspiration for her books, and other projects, comes from her own experience with cross-cultural traditions, lifestyles and familial relationships, as well as stories and anecdotes collected from friends, family, and acquaintances.
Simi enjoys exploring the dynamics of contemporary American culture blended with Indian customs and heritage to reflect the challenges and opportunities many Indian-American women face in real life. Much of Simi’s down time is devoted to creative pursuits, including writing fiction, poetry, and photography. She is an avid traveler and has visited many locations around the world. A practicing physician, Rao lives in Denver with her family.
Connect with Simi K. Rao by clicking below.
Amazon – The Accidental Wife
Amazon – Inconvenient Relations