Friday, August 01, 2014

Interview + INT Giveaway- Fade Into Red by Reshma K. Barshikar

Hey guys!
Today we have with us Reshma. She is the author of Fade into Red. I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the book. You can find my review of Fade Into Red here. So keep reading ahead for Reshma's interview and a fabulous giveaway at the end! :)


Ayra always wanted to be an Art Historian. She saw herself flitting between galleries, talking Michelangelo and Dali with glamorous ease. At twenty–nine, life has decided to make her an underpaid investment banker juggling an eccentric family, a fading career and a long–distance relationship that is becoming a light-year one. 

On a monsoon day in June, she is suddenly sent packing from Mumbai to Tuscany to buy a vineyard for a star client. What should have been a four day trip turns into a two week treasure hunt that finds her in the middle of midnight wine deals, dodgy vintners, rolling Tuscan hills, a soap opera family and one playboy millionaire who is looking to taste more than just the wine. Towards the end she finds that the road to true happiness is almost as elusive as that perfect glass of Chianti.


Reshma Krishnan Barshikar is an erstwhile investment banker who, one fine day, fell down the rabbit hole and discovered a world outside a fluorescent cubicle. She is now a freelance travel writer and contributes to India Today Travel Plus, SilverKris, Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia, National Geographic Traveller and The Hindu Business Line, where she profiles entrepreneurs for the Life section. She is also co-founder of the literary blog, The Caterpillar Café. Reshma divides her time between Mumbai and the Nilgiris. Fade Into Red is her debut novel. 


         Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Well, I am an erstwhile Investment banker who fell down the rabbit hole one day and discovered a world outside a fluorescent cubicle. So after 8 years of working in Corporate Finance and Investment Banking, I decided to take a year off and travel. I raided my bonus, my PF savings and latched on to my traveling husband very much like those pants and explored Europe, China and the US quite extensively.  The one-year stretched quite nicely into two. During my travels, I found that I travelled differently from others and realized that I loved to write about my experiences and so I began to contribute to Travel magazines. Now Travel writing is my excuse to travel and I contribute regularly to India Today Travel Plus, SilverKris, Harper’s Bazaar, Grazia, National Geographic Traveller and The Hindu. Interestingly enough I began my career as a Research Analyst for The Hindu Business Line, so it’s quite surreal how life has brought me back full circle. To keep in touch with Investment Banking, I teach Corporate Finance on the weekends – those poor unsuspecting students. I am also the co-founder of the literary blog, The Caterpillar Café. It’s the brainchild of Afsha Khan who was generous enough to share the blog with me. We talk about the books we love.  You might infer from the lack of posts that we haven’t read anything we love for a while, but honestly we’re just lazy bloggers. 

Tell us about your book, Fade Into Red.

Fade Into Red is a multicultural women’s fiction novel based in Tuscany and Mumbai. Ayra Krishnamurthy is a dusky, slightly neurotic, convent educated, pretty girl’s sidekick that always wanted to be an Art Historian. At twenty, she saw herself flitting between galleries and calling out “Going thrice!” to high maintenance curators and talking Michelangelo and Dali with glamorous ease. Instead at twenty-nine, life has conspired to make her an underpaid investment banker in Mumbai juggling an eccentric family, a fading career and long –distance relationship that is soon becoming a light-year one. But on one monsoon day in July, she is suddenly sent packing from Mumbai to Tuscany to buy a vineyard for a star client. What should have been a four day trip turns into a two week treasure hunt that finds her amidst midnight wine deals, dodgy vintners, rolling Tuscan hills and one playboy millionaire who is looking to taste more than just the wine. Towards the end she finds that the road to true happiness is almost as elusive as that perfect glass of Chianti.

       What inspired you to write your book?

I had just returned from my maiden trip to Tuscany when it crossed my mind how wonderful it would be if I could go back for a wine transaction. That led to me thinking how it would be perfect for a romantic liaison of some kind because Tuscany is made for romance- wine, music, beautiful surroundings.  I told my mother this and she told me to write me a chapter and I began. 

 Are any of the characters in your book inspired by someone you know or are they complete results of your imagination?

The kitchen scene and Ayra’s grandmother have been literally lifted off my childhood memories and transferred onto paper; both the house and her ‘pati’ are an ode to mine. Beyond that however, the characters are a combination of a lot of people. Sandeep doesn’t exist anywhere but my head but my friends seem to think that it’s their respective bosses. Kartik’s looks were modeled on Sendhil Ramamurthy from the American TV show Heroes. 

         What kind of research went into writing your book?

Once I wrote the first few chapters, I realized that I needed to know a lot more about wine than just how to drink it. While much of the plotline is dedicated to Ayra sorting out her complicated personal life, she’s doing it while executing an M&A transaction and that had to be authentic. So I visited a couple of vineyards in India and then spent three weeks in Tuscany visiting vineyards, wine cellars and taking part in a harvest. I wanted to immerse myself in the environment to make is as authentic as possible. With regard to Art History, I love the history of art myself and so used my time in Italy to understand the art as well as I could. 

         Tell us about the whole publishing process and how it went.

Aah, the publishing process. I honestly think it starts off with a great query letter – the letter you send to the Publishers or Literary agents. I spent a fair bit of time on that. I also read up on the process and knew what to expect. Once I had finished half the novel, I began to send the query letter out to publishers. You know that whole story about rejections? It’s all true. I got quite a few from publishers until I realized that I needed to find myself a good agent. I was lucky enough to find three agents that wanted to represent me and I chose Siyahi. They took the manuscript on from there and found me Random House India.

         Who are some of your favourite authors and what are some of your favourite books?

My all time favorite authors are P D James, John Connolly, Helen Fielding, Stephen King, Ursula K Guin, George RR Martin, Robin Hobb, Neil Gaiman, Susan Hill and Hilary Mantel. I deeply admire Shakespeare and force myself to revisit his plays. Some recent novels I have loved include Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies, Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina, Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park and The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan. My comfort reads would be Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series, The Song of Ice and Fire, any of the P D James books, Bridget Jones Diary, poetry by Carol Ann Duffy and the Charlie Parker series from John Connolly. Honestly, I can go on for quire a while. 

         What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Between my teaching and my writing I rarely seem to find very little spare time. I try to take time out to learn a few new songs on the guitar, repeatedly play the theme tune of Downton Abbey on the piano, catch up on my favorite shows like Midsommer Murders or go horse riding.

        What are the three things you’d like to have with you on a deserted island?

The entire PD James, Harry Potter or John Connoly series as well as a MY copy of the Lord of the Rings. Oh dear, is that three already? Books count as one item. Writing materials. I would need food I suppose and a sattelite phone so that I can call in for more books, food and writing material. I don’t think I know how to play this game.

         What advice would you give to aspiring young writers? 

Read a lot and read everything because ideas come from everywhere. Read Stephen King’s ‘Ón writing’- I think it’s the best book on writing there is. Find out what inspires you to get into a creative frame of mind, for me it’s music. Don’t be self-conscious when you write. And remember that writing is work. It might be work that you love but it’s still a job. Being quite new to the writing life myself, this last piece is something I have to tell myself everyday. 


Reshma has generously offered to giveaway FIVE signed copies of Fade Into Red to FIVE lucky followers.
May the odds be ever in your favor!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks Reshma!
Happy reading guys :)


  1. Summary sims very interesting, hope to win, read and review it in my blog. Wants to read the book, because of the playboy guy mentioned in the summary.

  2. Loved this interview! I know this is completely irrelevant but Reshma looks a lot like Nicole Scherzinger. She's sooooo gorgeous. I can't wait to pick up her book, it sounds so interesting!

  3. That cover is so cute!! This sounds like a fun book :)

    Eileen @ BookCatPin :)

  4. Thanks for the great interview and giveaway!
    Lovely cover :)

  5. Oh a book inspired by travels!! And Tuscany with that. I need to read it. Also I love it how the author started writing in travel magazines. I really like the sound of this one and thank you for this amazing giveaway! Great post, Janhvi :)

  6. Great interview - It's always interesting to get to know an author a little more =)

    And thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Great interview! Amazing cover and very cute story. Thank you for the giveaway :)

  8. I wish that I'd win this giveaway..!

  9. WOuld love to win this book!!!! Loved the interview too.. :)

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