From time immemorial authors have been writing about love—an emotion that perhaps forms the basis of all humanity. Tens of thousands of stories have been written and rewritten about happily-ever-afters, about loves lost, about profound feelings, about unrequited lovers, yet the topic never seems to get old. While writing about love, men are more likely to write about actions and women about feelings. But even as gender roles become increasingly fluid and same-sex romance becomes more acceptable, writings on love will never run out. Ahead of the day commemorating love—Valentines’s Day (February 14)—we speak to Indian authors who have dabbled in the genre of romance to ask what they write when they write about love and what’s their favourite read.
Shuchi Singh Kalra
Author of A Cage of Desires
Love is a universal emotion but everyone interprets it differently. Authors have their own unique way of translating it into words. When I put pen to paper I draw not just from my personal experiences but also from others’ experiences around love and finally use my own imagination to give it that other worldly feeling. A perfect love story, in my opinion, is Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights because of the sheer intensity and complexity of love the author has been able to convey.
Author of Marry Me, Stranger
Personal realisations form a big chunk of writing about love. It’s easy to write about but the experiences that one has to draw from, even though might seem exhilarating, are often disturbing. I often intentionally chose such experiences (of love) which I can gnaw on later for my writing. And in my opinion The Bridges of Madision Country is one such complete story with all the elements of love—sacrifice, passion, tragedy.
Author of This Is Not Your Story
When I write about love, I have to kill all the clichés that have been written about over the last few centuries. Love is such a basic feeling that everyone has written about it and there are hardly any new stories left to be told. But still love exists in so many forms and is the fundamental basis of all our lives. Thus to me the simplest stories convey the purest form of love such as Eric Segal’s Love Story or Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook.
Author of Almost Single series
Writing about love is as easy as it is difficult. The fun is in writing about the pursuit of love. When you are in your 20s, romantic relationships dominate your life. It’s fun to write about the rules of the mating game. How the gender roles in courtship are defined, and in my writing I have examined this with a lot of fun. These days romantic love has been redefined a lot.
But my all-time favourite love story is Wuthering Heights with the dark and brooding Heathcliff. He’s a good literary character but so unrealistic (laughs). That kind of an emotionally unavailable man would drive girls up the wall today.
Aastha Atray Banan
Author of All Tied Up and the host of romance podcast, Love Aaj Kal
I am a true believer in love. But in the world that we live, many don’t believe in it any more. On my Instagram account I write about all the feelings associated with it, and people really relate to that. I think if you write about real, raw love, it’s bound to find an audience. Otherwise, I read my favourite love story Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë when I need comfort—a romance between two flawed and unfortunate individuals who find solace with each other.