Hello Sandhya, thank you so much for taking the time out to talk to me. 🙂
Thank you for having me!
First things first: how did you take up writing?
I’ve been a writer since I could string sentences together. As I got older, teachers and relatives began to notice that I had a knack for storytelling (or maybe for lying, haha) and encouraged me to keep doing it.
What was your very first attempt at creative writing?
My very first attempt was probably a very badly written, rhyming poem! I don’t remember specifics, but I do remember filling notebooks full of poems and, as I got older, short stories. Thankfully for the world, these books have been lost forever.
Where did you get the ideas for your stories?
I’m a big fan of observing people (especially when they don’t know they’re being observed…). I find watching people reacting to things and having real conversations can be great fodder for storytelling. Just be prepared for dirty looks if you get caught.
What in particular gave you the idea for When Dimple Met Rishi?
I’ve always been a huge fan of rom-coms, like the ones Meg Ryan starred in in the nineties! When Dimple Met Rishi was borne out of a need for a diverse romance for teens in the current publishing market in the US. I found myself thinking, Why not?
Where either of these two characters based on people you know or were they purely a figment of your imagination?
Dimple and Rishi are amalgams of parts of my personality. But as I wrote them, they became more and more real and three-dimensional, and now I think of them as people completely apart from me. Yes, I do realize how bizarre this sounds!
Leo Tilden and Jenny Lindt were the protagonists’ heroes. Do you have a similar hero in your life?
Let’s just say if I ever got the chance to meet Arundhati Roy, Sophie Kinsella, or Stephen King, I’d probably blabber incoherently and then pass out.
Do you believe that sometimes people who are perfect for each other meet a little too young and ruin a perfectly happy future?
I think that’s definitely true sometimes! But then other times, people meet very young and—like me and my husband, who met at age seventeen—live happily ever after!
Do you have particular schedules or writing routines when it comes to your work?
Oh, definitely. Now that I’m a full-time writer, I make sure I keep a work schedule like I would if I was in an office. After my kids go off to school, I sit in my office and write my allotted number of words (or edit, if I’m in revisions), then I check my email, and then I attend to social media. At least, that’s the plan. Some days I spend more time on social media than I strictly should…
If your story got turned into a movie, who would you like to see star as leads?
This is such a hard question! I don’t know. I suppose it’d depend on where the movie was being made, but I would hope the parts would go to young actors/actresses who could really identify with the characters.
Is there anything you can tease from your upcoming novel, From Twinkle, With Love?
From Twinkle, With Love is about an aspiring teen filmmaker who wants the world to hear her voice. She writes letters in her diary to her favorite female filmmakers in the hopes that she can emulate them and draw inspiration from the movies they made. In the process, she ends up telling her story, salvaging a failing friendship, and, of course, falling in love!
What are your future plans for writing? Can you give out a teaser or two for your readers?
A spinoff in the DIMPLE universe that follows Rishi’s brother, Ashish, will be out in the summer of 2019! In it, Ashish is challenged by his parents to go on four dates with a girl of their choosing…and it’s just as hilarious and sweet as you might expect. 😊
Do have any particular authors who inspire your work?
So many! Sophie Kinsella, Jenny Han, Stephen King, and Stephanie Perkins all come to mind.
What would your advice be to aspiring authors?
Compare yourself only to your past self, not to others. Everyone’s journey is different.
If there was a book you could turn into a movie, what would it be and why?
For already published books, I’d love to see Feed by M.T. Andersen on the big screen. And for books not yet out, I’d love to see the rich fantasy world of The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton turned into a movie (watch for the book, coming February 2018 in the US).
Thank you once again for talking me. I wish you all the best with your current work and future works. 🙂