Hello and welcome to my blog for another round of Meet the Characters! Today I am featuring a guest blogger who has graciously agreed to let me do a character interview, which is my favorite kind of interview. Join me in welcoming author, Zee Monodee, and her characters from Light My World (Book 2 of the Island Girls Trilogy). It’s a fantastic contemporary romantic comedy with wonderful characters so without further ado here is the interview with Diya Hemant, heroine from Light My World.
How did you first meet your writer?
She wrote my elder sister’s story (Lara, in The Other Side). As Zee involved our whole family in there, like, we were all making Lara’s life hell, so there I was. Though Zee had no project at first to write my story, let’s just say that the minute I pushed myself into the tale more forcibly than she’d expected, she knew she had to (or she better!) give me my own story. *grin*
Did you have a hard time convincing your author to write any particular scenes for you?
On the whole, no. She did let me direct the tale. But one part of the story was rather hard to come to terms with. See, I trust someone in the book and that turns out to be a disaster, with almost disastrous consequences. Zee is very much a rainbows and sunshine kind of chick, so to bring that kind of darkness into her work was rather hard for her. Though I think I broke through her reluctance, coz she went on to write heroines with rather dark-ish personalities after she finished penning my story. Btw, I was her second ever story, written years ago (hence the extreme edits she had to go through before my tale could see the light of day)
What do you like to do when you are not being actively read somewhere?
Hmmm… Shopping. What can I say? I can shop till I drop.
If you could rewrite anything in your book, what would it be?
Like, Zee painted me as an airhead half the time (especially the first half of the book). Excuse me, but I am not as ditzy as she makes me seem like. Would you believe it? She even had that idiot of Trent Garrison convinced I had nothing but fluff inside my head! I would’ve painted me as much more discerning than that. Though…I didn’t see the truth until it slapped me in the face, so I suppose there could be a grain of accuracy in her portrayal of me. Mind, just a grain!
Would you be interested in a sequel, if your writer was so inclined?
Oh, most definitely. But Zee isn’t really a sequel type of girl. Though I do pop into the next book in the trilogy, in Neha’s story (Winds of Change). So in a way, I did get my continuation.
What do you do for a living?
I’m an interior designer, and I co-own my decorating firm with my bestie.
What is your greatest fear?
*sigh* To not be loved…or ending up an old maid with a dozen cats in her flat. Being alone scares me….
What do you wear when you go to sleep?
My favorite nightdress is my knee-length cotton/jersey Barbie T-shirt. Comfy and pink – what more can a girl ask for?
What is your most prized possession?
It’s a toss up between my company and my flat. I own my place, and that’s a source of great pride for me to be able to afford my space at barely twenty-five.
What do you think your greatest weakness is?
I am often oblivious to the dark/bad side of people, so I trust too easily. Could also be due to my impulsive nature. I act before thinking, sometimes….
What do you think is your strongest attribute?
Somehow, that same impulsive streak can be a good thing, and I do see the good in people rather than be doubt them on the spot.
What do you find most appealing in men/women?
Honesty. And it never hurts to have a bloke look amazingly drop-dead gorgeous. *grin*
What do you find most unappealing in men/women?
Deceitful bents, and lies.
What do you like most about where you live?
Have I mentioned I own my place? I’m single and I live alone, in a traditional society like Mauritius. Like, parents hoard kids until the kids get married, so for a girl, it’s really swapping one set of ‘handlers’ for another (parents for husband & in-laws). But at my flat, I am my own person. No handlers. Just me. And another thing – I am at least a forty-five minutes drive from my parents’ place, so the only way my overbearing mum can get on my case is through the phone (that I can choose not to answer sometimes.)
What other profession would you like to try?
Hmmm, good one. I would’ve liked to be a nurse. Like, helping people and so on. But needles scare the life out of me, and I did get a taste of being Florence Nightingale with that oaf Trent at one point. While I did do a good job (not to tout my own horn, but still… Like, he didn’t die or anything), I don’t think I’m cut out for that kind of occupation. Give me a pencil and paper any time so I can design decoration schemes.
What would you not like to do?
Be a top hot-shot director like Lara. The girl has scores of people working for her, and I am so not good at directing or even delegating work. So anything in management would spell disaster for me.
How do you react when people sing “Happy Birthday” to you in a restaurant?
I wish someone would do that for me. And I’d prolly jump on the table and dance to the tune, before taking a bow. What can I do? I do like to have fun, lol.
Have you ever thought about getting a tattoo, what would it be and where? If not, what if you had to?
Man, you know, I was considering one of these. The only deterrent has been that they hurt ten times more than getting a navel piercing. But I wouldn’t mind a dainty butterfly on the outside of one of my ankles. I would’ve also loved a psychedelic sunburst around my navel, but seeing how I plan to have kids later, then that image could/would get morphed with a pregnant belly, so better not tempt Fate with that kind of design.
What’s the worst/weirdest thing you did as a kid?
Too many to list! If you listened to my parents, they were constantly on alert as to what other trick I could’ve pulled when I was young. I’m like, come on – at least life hasn’t been boring with me around, but do they get it? No, they just don’t. *shakes head*
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?
Indian-origin Diya Hemant is done with her mother’s relentless matchmaking and the pressure to get married ASAP. Hadn’t anyone told the old generation that this is Mauritius in the twenty-first century, and not the Regency era? She yearns to find her Prince Charming, yes, but she’ll find him on her terms. After all, she’s armed with the definitive list of requirements that paragon of hunkiness has to possess.
When her path crosses surly British widower Trent Garrison’s, Diya is sure she’s found an ogre of the worst kind, and one who can never be turned into a frog, let alone a prince.
But hate at first sight can be a powerful emotion, stronger even than instant attraction. Fate keeps pitting them against one another. Could this be a clue that both Diya and Trent need to find what lies in their, and each other’s, hearts?
The dress would’ve made Scarlett O’Hara envious. The full skirt swelled around her in an explosion of tulle and organza. Delicate, wispy lace caressed the skin of her arms, and the bridal bouquet resembled a work of art with its cream rosebuds and velvety, fragrant frangipani.
The corset hugged her tight and the low neckline with its pushed-up bodice gave the illusion of a cleavage she didn’t boast in her daily life.
Everything was perfect…except for the veil.
A bride had to wear a veil; everyone agreed on the convention.
She didn’t. She hated how the accessory altered her vision while she glided down the aisle of the large, airy, and bright church, her focus directed onto the altar, where he waited.
His was a tall silhouette, clad in a dark suit. Navy blue or slate-grey; she couldn’t be sure.
Shoot. If only it weren’t for that damn veil. The sheer fabric blurred everything, like peering through a murky sea caught in a storm. She yearned to rip it off, but her arms refused to obey when she tried to lift them.
It dawned on her then why women had been wearing veils on their wedding day. Back in the time of arranged alliances, they wouldn’t see the unfortunate man they got stuck with until they’d pronounced the vows, and there could be no going back.
She squinted as she drew closer to the front.
Strange how, while eerie white light bathed the church, a dark shadow fell on the groom.
From time to time, though, the sun rays filtering through the stained glass windows hit his hair.
No golden sheen around his head. So he couldn’t be blond.
Not David Beckham, then. Hugh Grant, maybe?
As she stopped at the end of the aisle, he stepped out of the dark, yet the cloaking shadow still hovered over his face.
Her heartbeat picked up, and her mouth went dry.
Time stopped when he lifted the voile onto the jewelled headpiece holding her hair in a swept-up mass of curls. On an exhaled breath, she closed her eyes, and opened them again when his hands brushed her shoulders as he pulled back.
She brought her gaze up, and as a cold breeze rushed past her, a churning feeling crept into her gut.
Who was she marrying?
Horror clutched her throat as she glanced at his face. She stood there, paralyzed, until the scream broke loose.
Her groom had the features of Daniel Radcliffe in all his Harry Potter glory.
Diya Hemant jerked up with a start in her bed.
Loud sounds drowned her brain. Her screams. Cripes! She clamped both her hands on her mouth in an effort to smother the hysterics.
What if someone had heard her shrieking like a banshee?
But the closed, double-glazed window on the far wall would’ve kept her secret safe. Saved by modern building techniques.
After a sigh of relief, she pulled in a huge breath. The slightly stale air from the air conditioning vents forced its way into her bursting lungs, not helping to calm the pound of her heart.
The throbbing in her blood worked its way up and settled as a raging vibration in her skull, right behind her forehead. Diya pressed her fingers to her temples, eyes closed, then she brushed back the strands of hair stuck to her sweat-drenched skin. Making herself breathe in a calm rhythm, she willed the nausea rising up to disappear.
She opened her eyes a few minutes later when she’d regained her control and fought the upsetting feeling away.
Bright sunlight filtered through the flimsy curtains, hurting her eyeballs. Upon a quick peek at the clock on her bedside table, she threw the thin sheet off her and rushed into the adjoining bathroom, only to stop in her tracks when her feet touched the cold marble of the bathroom floor.
Today was Saturday, so no issue if eleven o’clock had already come and gone since she didn’t have to be at the office on weekends.
Standing before the massive, granite-embedded black marble sink, Diya stared at her reflection in the three-foot tall and equally wide mirrored expanse on the wall.
What had that dream been about?
Could one single drink the previous night at the club have induced such a horrid vision?
Or could it be her mind’s way of telling her she’d entered her twenty-fifth year on this earth a few days earlier, and she still remained desperately single?
Her game plan had her already happily married by the time she turned twenty-four…yet, March third came and went with no sign of a ring on her left hand, or the accompanying gorgeous hunk who should’ve been there to answer every crave of her body, heart, and soul.
Was she doomed? Destined for life as an old maid? The dreaded spinster auntie from every Indo-Mauritian family?
She shivered and shrugged the disturbing thoughts away.
New plan: by the time she was twenty-five, she’d be happily married with an über-handsome man who’d rock her world and make every other female jealous because of the way he stayed utterly devoted to her.
Mark my words, or my name is not Diya Hemant.
Buy the Book:
Not available yet – releasing November 2013
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 favorite 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 married, mum to a tween son, & stepmum to a teenage lad.
Thank you for joining us today! I hope you enjoyed this round of Meet the Characters and will join us again next week!