Today I’m welcoming Anna Kaling to BookEnds! Anna writes contemporary romances that will make you laugh out loud while you’re falling in love with the characters. Anna turns our favorite romance tropes on their heads, giving a fresh and fun spin to her books. You’re going to love her books!
Welcome to BookEnds, Anna!
What genres do you write? Read?
I call my books Britcom romances, because they’re comedic romances set in Britain and I’m not very imaginative at naming things. My manuscripts tend to be called something like, “That one with a plot where characters do stuff,” until I can convince someone else to come up with a good title. They feature a lot of rain and tea, although not in the same cup, as well as sarcasm and expert queueing.
I read most genres, which might be why I read several books at the same time or might be a product of me reading several books at the same time. I’m nearly always reading at least one science non-fiction (currently Chaos by James Gleick) and horror (I’m rereading Prophecy, Peter James). I enjoy romance, sci-fi, thrillers, detective novels, cosy mysteries, and plenty else. I also read menus for fun because a) it’s the next best thing to actually eating and b) I dream of winning the lottery so I can set up a charity that offers free proofreading for takeaway menus and shop signs.
What do you love about writing romance?
I love romance readers. They’re smart, witty, and fiercer than a librarian issuing late fees when ill-informed people take cheap shots at our genre (sadly, this still happens much more often than it should).
I love that I’m forced by the Unbreakable Laws of Romance to give my characters a happy ending. I see authors in other genres undecided about how to end their novel, and I can say, “Ha ha” in the style of Nelson from The Simpsons. I feel cheated as a reader when I spend a novel falling in love with the characters, and they end up miserable or dead. Happily-ever-afters for everybody!
What is the hardest part about writing romance?
There are no good words for genitals, especially female-owned ones. I don’t want to call it an affectionate term for a cat, or a heaped pile of earth, or a silky love tunnel. I don’t want to tantalise it with a male chicken, or a nickname for Richard, or a velvet sword. Nobody should be having sex with any of those things (apologies for anybody with a penchant for heaped piles of earth).
Of course, I could write romance without sex, but then I would have to admit I’d been defeated by genital colloquialisms, and who wants that on their resume?
I’m thinking of trying diagrams, although this throws up the problem of annotating them, and the problem of my talents extending only to stick people, and stick people not being anatomically correct.
Life is so hard.
Do you have any writing rituals? (e.g. burning a candle if you’re having trouble getting started at the computer or writing longhand first if you’re feeling uninspired.)
My ritual goes like this:
- Decide to work on a manuscript.
- Announce my decision on Twitter.
- Navigate to the folder containing my work-in-progress.
- Check reactions to my Twitter announcement.
- Open my work-in-progress.
- Tell my writer friends I’m about to do some writing, and wait for appropriate praise.
- Look at my work-in-progress and decide I need some background music.
- Open YouTube and find a nice song.
- Become distracted by ‘Recommended Videos’ and fall down the rabbit hole until I’m watching something called 5 CONSPIRACY THEORIES INVOLVING KATY PERRY AND BEARS.
- It’s bed time.
My cats’ ritual goes like this:
- Wait until Anna is ready to start typing then sit on the keyboard and/or headbutt her hand until she pets us.
- Scratch her gently but firmly if she tries to stop.
- Repeat until she’s broken.
If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
Robin Cooper, author of The Timewaster Letters. I feel like I’m pretty good at confusing and annoying other humans, but I think Robin could level me up. Also Sara Dobie Bauer, author of Bite Somebody, because she agreed we can sit at opposite ends of the room and communicate via writing, which is how I like to hang out with other humans.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
“Catch” implies you’d have to chase me, which is patently inaccurate as I haven’t run since 1995 – and that was because the ice cream van was getting away. But with a leisurely meander, you could find me watching bad monster movies with my friends (like Grabbers, the octopus from outer space that can only be fought by drunk people, and Toxic Sharks – does this need explanation?), being sat on by cats, tweeting about the latest social interaction I failed miserably at, or playing games (at the moment Plague, where one has to develop a plague and wipe out the whole of humanity before the scientists find a cure. It’s inspirational.)
Twitter or Instagram? Or Facebook? Where can we find you?
I tweet far too much as @AnnaKaling, and blog at www.annakaling.com. I have a neglected Facebook page called Anna Kaling – Author. I’ll probably set up an Instagram one day when I’m procrastinating and convince myself it’s not procrastination but ‘building my brand’ or something.