Writing on weekends, painting and challenging gender stereotypes: #howwriterswrite with Vandana Shanker

Vandana Shanker talks about her writing process

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We asked Vandana Shanker, the author of the upcoming romance Don’t Fall in Love and a full-time teacher, how she writes with a full-time job, and with distractions such as the internet. And of course, about where she finds the inspiration for her love stories:

When and where do you write?
When in a middle of a book or a plot, I am writing most of the time in my mind. There are short notes scribbled on my phone, the iPad, post-its and a swipe file on the computer. I put it all together mostly during the weekends and holidays, when I have the time. 
Do you write everyday? How long do you write for?
I keep planning to write everyday, but it doesn’t happen when I am working. But on holidays, I write late morning to early afternoon for about 3-4 hours, with a revision in the evening. 
Do you listen to music while you write? What’s currently playing on your iPod?
I am somewhat tone deaf. When I am not writing, I dabble with painting. You can see some of my work around my writing desk.
Do you believe in no-distractions [read: no internet] writing, or are you cool with surfing while writing?
The greatest obstacle to writing is the habit of trying to browse the entire internet before even starting to write! Even when I don’t need it, I feel more comfortable knowing that there is a working internet connection accessible anytime. 
 
How do you juggle teaching along with your writing? Do your students find themselves in your book?
My students? Not at all. I shut down as a teacher, when I write. 
 
Do you believe love stories should follow tropes of dashing characters and situations, or should love stories be as real as possible?
But real is dashing! :-) 
Love stories do have generic tropes, but I believe changes can be made within the formula to make it up-to-date and real. Most of my heroines are ambitious and strong-willed; similarly, you will often find a scene with the hero in the kitchen. I find that immensely appealing. 
Sensitivity and some amount of vulnerability is a must alongside the stereotype of a commanding-demanding love story. Don’t Fall in Love uses the classical tropes of romance and goes beyond them. I hope readers enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  
Vandana Shanker’s Don’t Fall in Love will be exclusively available on the Juggernaut app at launch.
 

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