By Anjum Choudhry Nayyar
Move over 50 Shades there’s a new romance in town. Indirom is the name of a new romance genre by Indireads, a new South Asian publishing venture which publishes original popular fiction by upcoming South Asian writers.
Naheed Hassan, of Indireads says, there is a significant gap in publishing today when it comes to South Asian romance.
“While a lot of chick-lit is being published and appreciated, most South Asian women looking for romance still find it between the covers of Mills & Boon and Harlequin paperbacks. In my opinion there has been no real attempt to publish South Asian romance, the attempts by publishers seem to be to slightly modify a tried-and-tested formula by changing names and settings, which is not good enough in my opinion.”
Hassan says Indireads is trying to define South Asian romance, and to present it without a formula, encompassing all that makes romance in the subcontinent different from anyplace else in the world.
“Our Green Lime collections is young romance and includes a college romance such as Pyar Aur Poetry – a popular college girl is admired from afar by her shy classmate, and Pink Champagne where a young girl moves to New York to start her first job and meets the man of her dreams en-route.”
The stories look at culture, real life and family. Their Golden Saffron collection is about relationships and includes A Newlyweds Adventures in Married Land by Shweta Ganesh Kumar – a modern day fairytale where a newlywed bride moves abroad to be with her new husband and finds herself reeling with culture shock, or The Contract which is a Pakistani modern day take on the classic marriage-of-convenience plot.
“Black Clove includes mystery and romance and includes stories such as Unsettled which features a bloodthirsty Rakhshi and The Gandharva which is our home grown mythological fantasy featuring a gorgeous and eternally young Gandharva warrior who must battle heaven and earth for his love,” says Hassan.
It’s a digital only platform and ebooks are available only on its own platform at present, although they plan to expand to other sites in the future.
Hassan says the goal is to focus on popular fiction in all genres. While there are many books being published in India today, she says there is huge gap in good quality light fiction.
“The top ten percent of books and authors being published are really top quality, but then there is quite a significant drop in quality in terms of plot, language, editing and presentation. We want to fill this gap with well-written, engaging fiction that people can relax with, and build consistent quality that people begin to trust.”
Hassan points to her own love of reading as the source of her passion to develop Indireads to a trusted brand.
“I have been an avid reader my whole life, but now find myself drawn more and more to stories coming out of South Asia. I want to read about characters I can relate to – and yet I find a dearth of good, readable books,” she says. ” Secondly, I wanted to be able to support upcoming writers from South Asia and give them access to a platform that would reach beyond boundaries and borders to a global audience. Thus my passion for reading as well as my desire to make South Asian fiction widely available came together to create the concept of Indireads.
The writers are from across South Asia, but the majority are from India, followed by Pakistan. Several of Indireads’ writers are based in the US, UK and the Middle-East.
Hassan says today’s South Asian woman has a different set of challenges and the books reflect that.
“Our stories are about modern South Asian girls and women who learn about culture, tradition and family ties within the home and about being tough, competent and competitive outside and I believe the reader will relate to the characters because they are drawn from reality,” Hassan says. “And then our romances are about everyday love and romance, with the boy or co-worker next door, rather than about exotic locations, impossibly handsome billionaires and a series of farfetched coincidences. An Indireads romance can happen to anyone, and most likely will and I believe that in this practical day and age, readers will relate to that better than to impractical fairytales.
Learn more on the titles from Indireads that you can learn more about on their website: www.indireads.com/about-indireads/the-indireads-genres
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