We're in for a real treat today, because Zee Monodee has dropped by today to talk about her inspiration for her latest release, Light My World. This post couldn't have come at a better time, because I woke up to snow on my car yesterday. In the middle of April. Let's all go on an island vacation, shall we?
What was the inspiration behind LIGHT MY WORLD?
I’ve always been a goner for romantic comedies. Be it in books or movies, romcoms are my staple of comfort food for the soul. Love the funny, the over the top, the quirky, and the romance, of course...which more often than not in romcoms, happens when and with who you least expect.
Diya Hemant, the heroine of Light My World, came to me like a rocket-propelled grenade of enthusiasm and good cheer. She suddenly made her appearance known, with a huge bang, in her sister Lara’s story, The Other Side (book 1 in the trilogy).
I have to admit Diya was tiresome, draining, and so bright she could induce a migraine in anyone....
Which led me to thinking – this would probably be the case for any sensible man she meets. We all know we’re on our best behavior when on a date, but those other times in real life? You are who you are, no pretenses and no facades. So the man who met her in real life would be treated to that overwhelming personality.
I thus had the makings of a romantic comedy, but then, too – how to make it funny? Right then, it looked like the premise for a chick lit with a ditzy heroine at the center. So not what I wanted for this book – it should be balanced, comic on both sides.
Then the brainwave hit – romcom trope: the hero and heroine meet, and both go, “You!?”
It’s obvious the other is the last person they want to see/meet/encounter again, and that usually includes intense mutual dislike between them.
I saw Diya and Trent, the hero in the story, as having that kind of second meeting. Simply a question now of making that first meeting totally off the charts in all manner of awful yet funny happenings. And what’s worse than a (thank goodness harmless!) car accident where neither will accept to take the blame?
From there on, it became a journey of “what else other aggravation can I shoot onto them?”. Tons of fun, lots of laughs...that I hope my readers will feel and enjoy, too.
From Mauritius with love,
It is a truth universally acknowledged that to find a prince, a girl has to kiss a few frogs along the way. But what happens when a modern-day princess comes across…an ogre?
So what if a girl has to kiss a few frogs to find her prince?
Tired of her Indian-origin mother’s relentless matchmaking, Diya Hemant is determined to find her Prince Charming on her terms. Armed with a definitive list of requirements, she is sure she’ll know her man when she meets him…
But looking and finding are two different things, especially on the tiny island of Mauritius…
When her path crosses surly British widower Trent Garrison’s, it’s hate at first sight. And though fate keeps pitting her against him, she’s certain he can’t be turned into a frog let alone a prince.
Can this modern-day princess overcome her own expectations and see beyond the ogre to the man beneath?
Still squatting in front of the children, Diya peeked up for a first glance of him.
Brown linen trousers covered his long legs, and she craned her neck to take in his tall body and broad chest. He’d rolled the sleeves of his cream-coloured shirt to his elbows, revealing big, powerful-looking hands and strong forearms dusted in dark hairs. A tense, corded neck lay visible beneath the open collar of the shirt, with a slightly pointed chin above it. Strong jaw, and chiselled, taut, handsome features. Deep-set grey eyes, very much like the elder boy’s, squinted at her beneath thick eyebrows the same hue as the neatly trimmed dark hair on his head.
Diya gaped. This hulking Adonis was her neighbour?
He has offspring to boot, whispered a little voice.
She snorted under her breath. Just her luck, again. He was taken. What is it with this weekend from hell?
The word rolled off the Greek god’s tongue, and the British accent and disbelieving tone dripping with spite jolted her like an electric current.
This man, and the savage who’d hit her car the day before, were the same person.
The surprise zinged through her; she gasped, and brought her hand up to cover her mouth.
In doing so, she lost her balance and toppled over onto her arse to lay flat on her back. Pain from hitting the hard marble erupted all along her spine, and she caught herself before the back of her head smashed into the floor. Quick save, and thank goodness most of the broken glass lay in her flat, and not in the lobby. She’d have been in for some major injury, otherwise.
“Are you okay, miss?” a little voice asked.
Would this nightmare ever end? She must appear like an undignified heap, and there went all the leverage she could bring to this meeting. Humiliation piled onto her anger at being caught in such a stupid position, in front of him, no less.
“No, I’m not okay.” She glared at the oaf. “It’s all because of you, you beast.”
“Dad?” Matthew asked. “What’s he done?”
Confirmation he was the boys’ father. Great. Could something, anything, go right for her?
“Oh, forget it,” she said as her voice broke.
Shoot, she wouldn’t cry, would she?
“Of all the people in the world….”
He spoke the words softly. The disbelief in them wiped away her feelings of self-pity, and hurt like a stab, in the same go.
Was he rude by nature, or did he always itch for a fight? Either way, she wouldn’t let him off the hook.
“What?” she asked. “Go on. What were you gonna say?”
“Nothing,” he said through clenched teeth.
“It’s not nothing. So don’t be a chicken. Say it.”
He remained stubbornly silent.
She glowered up at him. “So?”
He tightened his jaw. “You’re the one person I hoped to never meet again.”
This had to strike beyond rude. What a bastard.
Outrage at his insult filled her, but the distaste for him and his cavemen-like ways won the battle. “Same here, mate.”
“You know each other?” Matthew asked as he peered back and forth at them.
“Yeah,” they both growled.
The Island Girls trilogy follows the 3 Hemant sisters – Lara, Neha, Diya – over the span of the 2000-2010 decade, chronicling the changing face of the Mauritian society over that crucial period. Book 2, Light My World, is Diya’s hilarious quest to find Prince Charming in the sea of frogs that is Mauritius (well, what it is according to her perception!). Follow her on this desperate mission!
About the Author:
Stories about love, life, relationships... in a melting-pot of culture
Zee is an author who grew up on a fence – on one side there was modernity and the global world, on the other there was culture and traditions. Putting up with the culture for half of her life, one day she decided she'd stand tall on her wall and dip toes every now and then into both sides of her non-conventional upbringing.
From this resolution spanned a world of adaptation and learning to live on said wall. The realization also came that many other young women of the world were on their own fence.
This particular position became her favourite when she decided to pursue her lifelong dream of writing – her heroines all sit 'on a fence', whether cultural or societal, in today's world or in times past, and face dilemmas about life and love.
Hailing from the multicultural island of Mauritius, Zee is a degree holder in Communications Science. She is a head-over-heels wife, in-over-her-head mum to a tween son, best-buddy-stepmum to a teenage lad, an incompetent domestic goddess, eternal dreamer, and an absolute, shameless bookholic. When she isn’t penning more stories and/or managing the Ubuntu line at Decadent Publishing, you can bet you’ll find her with her nose in her tablet, ‘drinking in’ a good book.