Friday 8 February 2019

Bollywood Wives by Alex Khan @alexkhanauthor Blog Tour @HeraBooks #MyLifeInBooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Zara Das is Bollywood’s hottest property, her every move watched by the eyes of the press. Riding high from the success of a string of blockbusters, she has the world at her feet, but the scandal from her latest film threatens to dethrone her as Bollywood’s reigning queen. 

So when superstar director Raj Dillon stages a lavish retelling of Pride and Prejudice, moving the shoot from Mumbai’s soundstages to London, Zara knows this is the role that could put her back on top. Coming with them are the Bollywood Wives - Jackie, Sasha, and Rani - bringing their own off-screen drama.

But behind the diamonds, designer clothes and seven-star hotels lies the truth of how Zara reached the top. And when a dead body is found in her hotel room, it seems that someone is determined to take Zara down - and will stop at nothing to expose her darkest secrets.

Zara has spent years running from her past. But now it’s caught up with her… 

Bollywood Wives by Alex Khan was published by Hera Books on 6 February 2019. As part of the Blog Tour, I'm delighted to welcome the author here to Random Things today.
He's talking about the books that are special to him in My Life in Books.

My Life in (Glamour) Books - Alex Khan

I think reading through other My Life in Books blogs (which I ALWAYS love doing because well
what else matters apart from books and which ones people love?) there is a common thread for most
writers-they began reading early, inappropriately reading anything and that love carried on all their

I’m no different and remember reading from an early age, stealing the books my older siblings
and cousins had on their shelves. My parents were both immigrants, my mother barely speaking a
word of English, and yet they instilled a love of the English language, education and literature in me. I don’t understand it either, but I am eternally grateful. 

Books let me deal with losing a parent, poverty, bullying, depression, stress, fear. I found myself escaping into other worlds so I could forget mine, and even when things are going well I still dive right in to my next read. 

Growing up there were a few rough times, and I very inappropriately found a copy of Jackie Collins Hollywood Wives under someone’s bed, and devoured it. As a child I barely took it in, but when I re-read it as a teenager and then as an adult it sort of explained A LOT! What it did most of all though was provide a plaster.

Every time life took a bad turn, I would turn to another glamorous bonkbuster. So here I present my
favourite glamorous novels, the ones that stayed with me and everyone should read whenever they’re
having an off day/week/month.

Hollywood Wives by Jackie Collins
This is the first glamorous novel/bonkbuster I read. Totally didn’t understand any of it the first time I
read it, but reading as an adult this novel really does transcend the genre and I’m not surprised it’s her
most popular novel. Yes it has glamour, sex and scandal, but it’s also got a lot of deep issues in there
from the double standards faced by women to child abuse and trafficking. At its heart though is the
search for love, and the sacrifices people make for it, and the hurt it can bring.

Polo by Jilly Cooper
This was the first bonkbuster novel I actually bought. I saw an interview with Jilly Cooper and the
presenter was making jokes about there being sex on every other page. I picked it up, despite the
dodgy cover of a woman fondling a man’s crotch, and smuggled it home to read. And it was an
absolute blast. This was a world at the complete opposite end to everything I knew-sun kissed, over
sexed, horse obsessed rich people getting off and on by screwing each other over on the Polo field and off it. It was funny, poignant, sexy and an absolute page turner. Whether it’s Perdita and Luke, Daisy and Ricky, the characters stayed with me and I’ve read this book over many summers.

I’ll Take Manhattan by Judith Krantz
Ok this is a cheat novel as I watched the TV series with a cousin and then read the book. This was one of the first novels though where I thought actually books just say so much more. I was corrupted and pictured Max and co with their screen personas, but raced through this story of newspaper publishing, family rivalry and a daughter fighting for her father’s legacy.

A Woman of Substance/Hold the Dream by Barbara Taylor Bradford
You can’t read these books in isolation, like the brilliant TV series with Jenny Seagrove as
Emma/Paula Hart, they have to both be read. The first especially is not a small book, and following
Emma Hart’s saga from her early years to becoming a doyenne of a business empire is fascinating.
It’s the millennia old rags to riches tale, and one of a woman getting her revenge on those that
wronged her, but also losing so much personally. Emma never seemed to care about the wealth she
acquired, it was what it meant. I think when you have nothing only then can you understand money
isn’t about buying designer clothes, it’s about the freedom and power it brings you.

Lady Boss by Jackie Collins
This novel brought together two of Jackie’s big loves-Hollywood and the kick-ass alter ego she
created Lucky Santangelo. Even the name tells you all you need to know about JC. It’s another fun
novel, but again it exposes the double standard faced by women especially in Hollywood, and is also
inspirational with Lucky getting to the top on her terms. And she has a happy marriage to boot on top
which I love as so many bonkbusters are about marriages falling apart and adultery-Lucky and Lenny
buck that trend and it makes the novel stronger for it. Not surprisingly Lucky was the heroine of a
whole series of Santangelo novels. And watch out for Venus Maria-the very thinly disguised
Madonna/Sharon Stone character.

Lace by Shirley Conran
This is an interesting one-I missed the novel completely, and only really latched on to it when
Bollywood did a film version called Dil Aashna Hai. It’s a mystery novel couched in the lives of the
glitterati, and who can forget the immortal line: ‘Which one of you bitches is my mother?’

Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
After spending a lifetime reading bonkbusters I came to this one late-and so it can seem so tame
compared to Cooper or Collins. This though is the mother of then all-the original. It’s considered a
classic and rightly so. Switch off your post 1984 filter when sex in books became so rampant, and
remember how shocking it would have been for its era. The rise and fall of the glamorous heroines,
and the mysterious man at the centre of it all, plus the doll popping. I used to think it was a horror
novel for some reason which is why I by-passed it, but I picked it for a work book club a few years
back. Told them all they needed to know about what I read in my spare time.

Zoya by Danielle Steel
I read this aged eleven. In Pakistan. And cried. My cousins thought I was so weird and couldn’t
understand what was going on in my head. Steel has written a lot of novels, but this is by far my
favourite. The exotic tragedy of the Russian Revolution, the glamour of Paris and the American
dream. It has it all and is a total escapist novel. It’s well written, with flawed and complex characters,
and is a reflection on a period of history that haunts us all still. Highly recommended.

Socialite Evenings by Shobhaa De
So I never got around to reading Shobhaa De’s novel about Bollywood, which I think I need to.
Everyone I tell about Bollywood Wives asks me if I’ve read De, the Jackie Collins of India. I did read
this novel though, her first, and it was an OMG moment. De was also one-time editor of my favourite
Bollywood magazine, Stardust. In this novel the biggest shock was that there were people that looked
like me for the first time doing all the things that mainly people that didn’t look like me had been
doing in bonkbusters. Asians living lives of luxury, sex and scandal. It really was a great feeling to
read this, but there haven’t been many books since and none that I’ve come across. And I think that’s
probably why I wanted to write BW, it’s the novel that I always wanted to read. But thank you
Shobhaa De for showing teenage me that just because you’re Asian you can have sex too. Not sure
where I thought the billions of Asian people came from.

Alex Khan - February 2019 

Alex Khan has spent his life dreaming of writing and starring in Bollywood movies while traveling the world visiting some of the most glamorous and exciting locations. Moonlighting as a crime writer he finally got the courage to pen the novel he wanted to write all his life-Bollywood Wives. Taking you into the glamorous sexy thrilling environment of the world’s biggest movie stars and the secrets they hide.

Alex also writes crime under the name Alex Caan.

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