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‘A Kiss In Kashmir’: A Conversation With Indian American Engineer-turned-author Monica Saigal

‘A Kiss In Kashmir’: A Conversation With Indian American Engineer-turned-author Monica Saigal

  • “I observed how loving someone changes with age. I wanted to dig into how love sticks around, gets through the tough times, and ends up even better than before.”

Setting trends and taking charge, Monica Saigal is doing it all. Engineer by profession and writer by choice, Monica followed her dreams and started her writing career with articles in established publications. She soon branched out into writing cookbooks with traditional publishers. Once she decided to branch out into other genres, she took charge of her future. She has self-published several non-fiction and fiction books, all of which have been received extremely well. 

Recently, with life changes, she decided to embark on an adult romance novel, a genre which is currently trending. She has recently self-published her latest “A Kiss In Kashmir,” an adult romance set in a gorgeous locale.

Here are excerpts from a conversation with Monica, a single mom, a full-time corporate storyteller and writer:

You are an engineer by profession, what influenced your writing career?

I’ve always been into writing, right from when I was little. Scribbling stories, dreaming up characters—you name it, I was all over it. And then, engineering happened. Funny enough, that engineer’s mindset—thinking things through, solving problems step by step—ended up being super useful for writing. It’s like, with engineering, you learn how to build things from the ground up and I started doing that with my stories. Engineering showed me how to get all my ducks in a row, make sure everything made sense, and still let my creative side run wild. So, stepping into writing was more like bringing along a toolbox that helped me dig deeper into stories, make them real solid, and connect with people on a whole different level. It’s been quite the ride, mixing that analytical brain with my love for tales and turning it into something I can share.

You started your career with cookery writing. How did that come about?

Jumping into writing about food really came from how much I love what food does for us. It’s all about how a good meal can bring us together, tell us where we’ve come from, and many times, creates such special memories. Getting into this kind of writing felt pretty natural because I was already so into the stories and traditions behind different dishes. I wanted to get those feelings down on paper. As I began to write about food, I realized it was about more than just listing ingredients or how-to steps; it was trying to capture that magic that happens when people share food. It was my way of celebrating all those family recipes that get passed down and all the tales they carry with them. My whole experience with food writing has been about showing how food is really a language of its own, full of flavors and stories.

Was the switch to fiction organic or deliberate?

Moving into fiction writing just kind of happened naturally. I started off wanting to dive deeper than just talking about food and its flavors—I wanted to get into what makes us tick, the whole rollercoaster of feelings, relationships, and all the messy, beautiful stuff of being human. Fiction let me do that – It was a chance to build whole worlds where love gets complicated, people lose stuff and find themselves! 

What motivated you to write a romance?

I got into writing about romance because, as I got older and my own relationships changed, I observed how loving someone changes with age. I wanted to dig into how love sticks around, gets through the tough times, and ends up even better than before. The whole idea was to write something that hits right in the feels, showing that love isn’t just a young person’s game. It gets richer and more meaningful as we grow, kind of like a fine wine.

A Kiss In Kashmir” is a mature romance… tell me more about how this story took shape.

I wrote ‘A Kiss In Kashmir’ because I wanted to shine a light on love stories that happen later in life, which don’t get talked about enough. I believe love doesn’t have an expiration date and that it can be just as exciting and full of discovery no matter how old you are. This book is all about showing that love lasts and that it’s never too late for a second shot at happiness!

Do you see a trend in mature romances?

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Yes, for sure. More and more people are getting into stories about love that happens later in life, and it really shows how we’re all starting to think differently about love as we get older. It’s great to see books and stories catching up with this idea, giving us a bunch of different love stories that feel more real and cover all parts of life. It’s a cool change that’s making the world of romance stories richer and more welcoming for everyone.

You have dabbled in various types of writing, what is closest to your heart and what is your next writing project?

This is my 12th book and I have written hundreds of articles. Every single thing that I have written has always taught me something! I have learned that what really gets me going is diving into all the messy, beautiful stuff about how we feel and connect with each other. Looking forward, I’m pretty excited to keep exploring stories about love that happens later in life and the complex ways we all link up with one another. My next thing might mix in some food tales with personal journeys—because, for me, the way to the heart is definitely through a good meal and a great story. 

What’s next for you?

I hope to continue to dive headfirst into the wild world of storytelling. I’m buckling up for the next ride, ready to toss more tales into the mix that light up the room and bring us all a bit closer!

Visi Tilak is an author and writer who lives in the greater Boston area. She can be reached at

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