And the prolific pen of Anglo-Indian bestselling romance novelist Nicola Marsh to churn out excellent romantic novels, finds out Rudy Otter. Nicola Marsh's home in Australia is a thriving one-woman writing factory. During the past 13 years this Melbourne-based mother of two sons has managed to devote around eight hours a day to creating her sizzling brand of romantic fiction. Nicola's eye-catching titles include Wild Nights with her Wicked Boss, A Trip with the Tycoon, Overtime in the Boss’s Bed, Hot Summer Flings, Interview with the Daredevil and many more.

Nicola Marsh, Anglo-Indian bestselling romance novelistSo far, she has produced a shelf-creaking 63 novels mainly for the world famous romance publisher Harlequin Mills & Boon. She aims to write 100 novels and looks poised to write many more at the rate she is tapping them out. Her work is described by reviewers as "flirty fiction with flair". Awards she has won over the year would fill a mantelpiece - National Readers’ Choice, Romantic Times Magazine Reviewers’ Choice finalist, CataRomance Reviewers’ Choice, to name a few. Nicola’s first Indie romance, Crazy Love, was a 2012 ARRA (Australia Romance Readers Award) finalist, and another book, Busted in Bollywood, was nominated in the same year as Romantic Book of the Year.

More than seven million copies of her books have been snapped up all over the globe, translated into 25 languages, including Spanish, Italian, French (of course), Polish, Dutch, Portuguese, Greek, Russian, German, Japanese, Scandinavian, Hebrew and Afrikaans. Her idol is the famous romance novelist Nora Roberts, American bestselling author of more than 200 romances.

Journey as an author…

Nicola, a former physiotherapist for 13 years, tired of saying she was going to write a book one day and actually did it. When that book sold, she traded "manipulating spines for manipulating my characters!"

She was born in Chennai, southern India, and her family migrated to Australia when she was just two months old. "Dad," she says, "was a drummer in India for a film studio band that played background music for the movies." She adds that her parents, formerly based in Chennai’s Kilpauk district, were too young to remember the "British Raj days" as they were born around the time India had won its Independence. They settled down well in Australia and embraced their new country "wholeheartedly."

As a youngster, Nicola had a passion for reading and writing. She devoured books when she "should have been sleeping" and kept a diary whose contents "could make an epic". (Who knows, one day we might see a novel entitled "Diary of a Teenage Scribbler".)

Nicola has an elegant, economical style that paints vivid word pictures, pulling readers into her sizzling stories and keeping them turning the pages. An early sign of her interest in the arts surfaced when, as a youngster, she wrote and acted with a friend in “Abba” and “Grease” concerts for an appreciative audience of seven which consisted of parents and siblings.

She said, "I always wanted to write a book one day and as I liked reading romance this seemed just the right genre for me to try." She set two of her books in India - A Trip with the Tycoon featuring characters who take a trip on the Palace on Wheels luxury train through Rajasthan; and a mainstream romantic comedy, Busted in Bollywood.

It took her just two months to write her first romance entitled The Tycoon's Dating Deal. The story was based on a then new phenomenon called speed-dating featuring a Sydney-based lawyer having a pal pose as his girl friend. Intriguing? It must have been because Harlequin Mills & Boon's London UK office accepted it "very quickly".

She welcomes Harlequin Mills & Boon's new office in India and thinks it is a "great opportunity for local writers to break into the romance market, and "several have already". She added, "The more opportunities for writers to get published in India, the better."



Tips for budding author…

Before she started on the novel she had joined the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild because she knew nothing about the "nitty-gritty details of writing" such as requesting submission guidelines from publishers and producing partial samples of her work with synopses. "Joining a good writing club can be extremely beneficial for budding writers and these days there are also online writing groups and professional development courses so there's a wealth of information available," she told.

She added, "Writing courses can hone your creative talent but the best way to foster a writer's voice is to write, write and write some more. And read widely in the genre you're targeting." She has also produced a how-to writing manual, "Do It Write", comprising articles she'd penned for creative writing magazines. This manual is available online from all retailers.

Nicola brainstorms ideas on paper and then switches to her computer, her elegant fingers darting all over the keyboard in an effort to keep up with her fizzing ideas.

Home support…

Nicola's husband, a plumber, is "totally supportive" of her time-consuming work at the computer, although she does not withdraw from family life completely and often feels she deserves a Wonder Woman's "superhero cape!"

Both her kids are "voracious readers" which she strongly encourages and they write “great creative stories that make me very proud”.

On a lighter note…

Although Nicola is best known for flourishing in the romance market there is probably an opening for her in the thriller market as well. When I asked her age, she quipped, "If I tell you I'd have to kill you!"



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