Mills and Boon: First Indian writer sets love in yoga studio

The book "Love Asana" by Mumbai-based advertising executive Milan Vohra is the result of a writing contest held in 2009 to discover new talent to appeal to the rising demand of the genre.

The publisher, Harlequin Mills and Boon had set up its first office in India last year. "My story is very contemporary and today's youth across the world can relate to it. Today yoga is very in and so also is India which is on the to-do list of almost everybody. The thrill for Indian readers is that earlier the settings and characters used to be Western and now it is a young feisty city Indian girl as the heroine," Vohra, who was in the city for the launch told PTI.

Uptill now the publisher who has developed the brand through word of mouth had been sourcing content from a pool of European and North American writers and several of them had also introduced elements of India in previous stories.

Vohra, a mother of two children who wrote and rushed in her winning 2,000-word story on the last day will be on board of the pool of writers for M&B and her stories will also be published in global editions.

The 44-year-old who still reads M&B married at the age of 24 after meeting her husband at 17, says, "If I have another idea I'll work on it soon. The current M&B novels are all very happening in terms of delivery with enough contemporary subjects in terms of plots.

It is what today's youth do, they go to salsa, dance studios. I have read stories where the characters meet up through blind dates." Manish Singh, Country head of Harlequin Mills and Boon India, says, "We see a great potential in India where there is a rising demand for the romance genre. Globally Harlequin is the largest in the romance genre and apart from that we believe in delivering great entertainment and wholesome content to our consumers."

Priced mostly at Rs 99 each the books bought out in multiples are usually found in supermarkets and magazine shops. "We follow a unique market model publishing a set number of books each month that sent to subscribers and displayed in stands in bookshops for a month. At the end of the month, any unsold copies in the shops are withdrawn," says Singh.

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