It's not usual for a journalist, bred on a diet of 'serious' and 'realistic' works, to suddenly graduate to the genre of chik-lit or romantic writing, but Aastha Atray is a relieved person having done just that.
Having published her first book, the second Indian title of Mills & Boon, Atray says writing the romantic story turned out far easier for her than breaking the mental barrier of looking at herself strictly as a serious writer.
Her book title "His Monsoon Bride", hit the stands after a long drawn process whereby she entered a short story contest and was declared the winner writer of Mills & Boon India series.
But the 2,000 word short story that won her the contest came out in a matter of minutes.
"This is a genre of writing that you sometimes shut out, believing that you are a journalist and write only serious things. You become conditioned to it because everybody around is saying the same thing.
"And I realised that this thinking is nothing but rubbish. I discovered that I could write a romantic novel and I am very happy about it," says Atray, quite relieved at having been able to junk the attitude.
But the immediate thrust to her writing the story that became the second Indian MB was what she calls a bad day at work.
"I actually had one of those bad days at work that throw you into a different gear. I came across the advertisement for the Mills and Boon Passions writing competition and sat down and wrote the story for in a matter of 20 minutes," she says.