Indie Support Sunday: N. M. Patel
When Nilika announced that she was publishing her indie debut, I was so excited! For multiple reasons, obviously. One, she’s a fellow Indian. Two, she was also one of the first few Indian bookstagrammers I followed when I joined about five years ago. Nilika’s profile has been a great source of recommendations and like me, she reads a lot of indie romance. So when she posted her cover and shared the title and started talking about her debut, I was absolutely ready to support her however and whenever I could.
And now, Nilika’s debut has been out for almost a month! I just finished reading Luv Shuv In New York and all of the Indian elements reminded me of my own family and the drama that comes with them. It’s so rare to read romances where one character is Indian (or Desi, if you’d prefer) and struggling to adjust to the life in a different country. After reading her debut and knowing that she’s working on her second book has me so excited for what else Nilika is going to treat us to!
Luv Shiv in New York is out now and available through Kindle Unlimited.
1. BEING AN AUTHOR
Who or what inspired you to write?
Romance novels have always consumed me. I was always reading and imagining all these amazing scenes that authors would write between two characters. And it would always make me wonder what I would do differently or how would I make a character respond if it were me writing these characters. I would try to fit myself in the heroine’s place and imagine how the hero would react to all my Desi-ness and the culture that I bring. And I found that representation (especially in American Indie publishing world) really lacking. So one day I just decided I’ve got to write my own novel, if only just for myself. And it opened a whole new world for me.
What’s the best and worst part about being an indie author?
Best Part: I can write whatever story I want. I hold all the power in how and when I want to publish my book. I can write a 700 page book or 200 page book. I can write a severely dark character or a total cinnamon roll. I can write and represent my culture in 100% honesty.
Worst Part: I have to do EVERYTHING!! Writing, finding the right people, making mistakes, financial investments in all the people that I hire, release days, post release constant marketing. The responsibility, accountability and the skills to sell my book is ALL MINE and that’s stressful.
Why did you choose to self-publish instead of going the traditional route?
I wanted to represent my culture exactly the way I wanted. Also, I didn’t want to get into the hassle of sending queries and getting rejections and everything that comes with that.
When you’re not writing, what do you do to get the creative juices flowing?
Watch Bollywood movies, watch my ultimate writing inspiration video on YouTube: Don’t Get it Right, Get It Written! A Must Watch!
If you were to recommend books to me (in any genre), what would they be?
I’ll only ever be able to recommend Romance.
Psy Changeling series by Nalini Singh
Addicted series by Krista and Becca Ritchie
Riley Hart (any book)
Eloisa James, Lisa Kleypas, Joanna Shupe for Historical
Rina Kent, Pepper Winters for Dark romance
Of course, Elsie Silver and her Chestnut Springs series
What are your top 5 tips or pieces of advice for aspiring authors?
If you’re thinking about writing, don’t just think. Just Write.
Stay true to yourself and what you want to write. Don’t try to follow the trends.
Research and learn
You’ll make mistakes and bad calls. Treat yourself with kindness.
Be okay in investing money in your craft, in your work, in yourself.
2. ROMANCE AS A GENRE
Why did you choose romance as the genre to write in? What is your favorite thing about the genre?
Reading romance brings me joy and hope and fills me with love and thrill. There is nothing else I’d imagine writing.
If not romance/subgenres of romance, what genre would you like to write in?
None for now. This is what I read and enjoy reading. I would love to write paranormal romance though.
What are your most and least favorite tropes?
Most favorite: Enemies to Lovers, Single parent, Childhood friends separated and second chance at love
Least favorite: Miscommunication, Fake dating, Age gap with a heroine younger than 22
What are some tropes you want to write in the future?
Enemies to lovers and Single Parent romance, for sure!
If you write open door romance, why did you choose that and what inspires your sex scenes?
Open door romance is about gratification to all the sexual tension you build up throughout the romance (for me, of course). It’s during sex that the characters are at the most vulnerable, during their most heightened senses, connecting at the most physical level and experiencing pleasure. If I only get to read about two characters falling in love, their sexual tension, what led them to be together but don’t get to see them have sex, it just feels lacking to me. I personally don’t feel as connected if a door is slammed in my face when they go have sex, and I don’t get to participate!
3. YOUR BOOKS
What inspired your published stories? How and when did you come up with these stories and plots?
I started writing Luv Shuv in New York in 2018 and finished in 2019. I saw so many interracial couples when I first moved to NYC that I was surprised I didn’t see them as much in romance novels. And I saw so many Indian people with people of other cultures that I just had to write about a story like that.
Can you briefly tell me about your debut?
Luv Shuv in New York is a story about an Indian immigrant heroine who comes to NYC to make it on her own. Her values, culture and traditions are deeply rooted in her entire being. She embraces who she is and is unafraid to share her culture with everyone around her. She makes you want to join in her fun and celebrate with her.
I didn’t write this story by keeping any particular tropes in mind. I just wanted to write about two very different people coming from very different cultures and falling in love. It’s about showing the good and bad of Indian culture and some of the deeply rooted values and sentiments in Indian parents. It’s about how it could be so easy to fall in love with a person you find true connection with, irrespective of their race, gender, identity, or sexual orientation, but how societal pressures make it more difficult and complicated and something you need to fight for.
Do you already have a favorite character from the stories you’ve written?
My favorite character right now is my heroine of Book 2 😍
How much of yourself do you put into these characters?
I guess all my characters have a little bit of everything of mine in them. I love my culture just as much as Akira but I’m not as extroverted as her.
What’s next on the bookshelf for you? Anything you can tell us about a future project?
The next book is going to be about two characters you would already meet in Luv Shuv In New York. This book will be heavily based in India. And I’ve had a blast writing it. It’s a slow burn, closed proximity. And definitely a lot more emotional.
4. AUTHOR’S CHOICE
Paperbacks, hardbacks, ebooks or audiobooks
Contemporary, fantasy, historical or romantic suspense
Single or Dual POV
Standalones, series or standalones in a series
Open door, ajar door or closed door romances
Music or silence when writing
Plotter, pantser or plantser
Water, tea, coffee or….wine?
Cold or warm weather
Write better in the morning, afternoon or night?
Illustrated or photo cover?