To celebrate the release of her new novel She's Mine, we asked author A.A. Chaudhuri to let her readers know all about her as part of our 'seven things' series! Here's what she had to reveal...
1. I really enjoy exploring the darker side of human nature in my books, along with what in a person’s past can compel them to behave in the way they do.
There’s nothing more thrilling or compelling than offering readers an insight into a character’s behaviour and motivations, along with the darker traits of human nature that can drive them to behave in cruel or immoral ways. This was my aim when writing She’s Mine, my debut psychological thriller with Hera Books, which centres on a mother’s grief and guilt over her stolen child and the sinister and twisty turn of events that unfolds and affects her and those closest to her after she receives a note confirming her child isn’t dead. As infallible beings we are all susceptible to temptation, envy, greed, and lust amongst other more destructive human emotions, and so I think this in-depth portrayal of a character’s flaws and motivations can often prove more disturbing than a graphic depiction of a murder, for example, by virtue of that relatability.
2. When I was child, I wanted to be Wimbledon Ladies Tennis Champion!
From the age of 5-19 tennis took centre stage above everything in my life, including schoolwork. I was highly ranked in my age group and a member of the British Junior National Squad. Most evenings after school were spent training, nearly every weekend at tennis camps, while the school holidays were chock-full of tournaments. At 16, I left school to play professionally on the WTA satellite and challenger circuit, achieving a world ranking of 650. I travelled all over the world and got to experience some amazing cultures including South America and Mexico, along with some hairy plane rides and one too many bouts of food poisoning! Although things didn’t work out, I’m grateful for the life skills tennis taught me, including self-discipline and resilience. Plus, it was always a big talking point at job interviews!
3. I studied History for my first degree, having always been fascinated by the past.
I spent much of my teens reading historical novels as well as thrillers. As part of my A-Level history course, I went on a tour of Eastern Europe, which included a visit to Auschwitz in Poland. It was a truly harrowing, yet eye-opening, experience. We were only teenagers, prone to the usual inane chatter and idle gossip, but I can still vividly recall the pin-drop silence in the bus as we drove away from the camp, all of us rendered numb and mute by what we had seen, but realising how much we had to be thankful for and that our petty gripes and so-called ‘hardships’ paled in comparison. None of us wanted to do much that evening.
4. I worked as a lawyer in the city for seven years, specialising in litigation.
It was always a choice between law and journalism and I’m ashamed to say I was sucked in by the money and false belief it would be glamour all the way a la LA Law or Ally McBeal (!), although I did later go on to get my NCTJ diploma in newspaper journalism. Despite enjoying some aspects of working in law, I soon realised there’s a lot more to life than money – like having a life! The hours can be incredibly long, while much of the work is tedious and dry. In the end law wasn’t creative enough for me, while the cutthroat nature of the City didn’t suit my temperament. I’m grateful for the experience and ideas it gave me to write my legal thrillers, along with the wonderful friends I made (including my husband!) but I’m much happier and more at home being a writer. I suppose it’s a case of third time lucky for me career-wise!
5. I exercise every day as much for my mental well-being as well as my physical health.
I’ve found this to be especially important since the pandemic hit. As I’ve got older, I’ve found there’s a lot to deal with at the same time – caring for my children, my aging parents, work, the mortgage (!) etc – and so even though in many ways I’m more confident than I was in my twenties, there have been times when I’ve found my stress levels soaring and getting on top of me. Exercise, more than anything, helps me cope better. I run, do weights, but my favourite work-out is Les Mills Body Combat, a mix of non-contact martial arts. I’m also relieved my two boys love sports, as it’s a great way to work off their seemingly limitless energy!
6. It took me eight years to get my first publishing deal.
Getting my first publishing deal with LUME Books for The Scribe and The Abduction was like winning the lottery. Not unlike the moment I was signed by my agent after five years striving for representation. The writing industry is ruthlessly competitive and highly subjective, and the knock-backs can be heart-breaking. But if you have talent and patience, it’s worth hanging in there because at some point that magic ‘yes’ will pop into your inbox. I love writing, and so, despite the repeated rejections, for those eight years I pretty much wrote a book a year, kept honing and perfecting my craft, and now, with my third book, She’s Mine, being published by Hera Books, my hard work and perseverance is finally paying off.
7. I am a big movie buff and love all sorts of films including the big franchises like Star Wars, Marvel and Harry Potter.
Back in 2017 we visited Disneyworld and Universal Studios in Florida as a family, and I think I was just as, if not more, excited than my then nine and seven-year-old superhero mad boys! We spent two entire days in Diagon Alley and it’s fair to say I could watch The Harry Potter films until the cows come home. In fact, I have! I’m also just a bit in love with Hans Solo, Thor and Iron Man.
- I hate flying, camping and scary rollercoasters!
- I am prone to welling up at sentimental adverts.
- My number one cocktail of choice is a Margarita straight-up and my favourite spot to indulge in one would be the Amalfi Coast while watching the sun set.
She's Mine by A.A. Chaudhuri is available now.
MORE FROM BOOKS: Why I love a twisted family drama, by Shari Lapena
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