Sandhya Menon: writer of things for teens.

Hello, reader peoples! Here I’ve compiled some questions I get asked…wait for it…frequently!

Of Curses And Kisses
10 Things I Hate About Pinky
There’s Something About Sweetie
Make Up Break Up
From Twinkle, with Love
When Dimple Met Rishi
Anything and Everything
Writing!
For School Projects

Of Curses And Kisses

What’s Of Curses and Kisses about?

Of Curses and Kisses is Gossip Girl meets Beauty and the Beast set at an elite boarding school steeped in secrets and fog in the mountains. The story follows Princess Jaya Rao who enrolls at St. Rosetta’s Academy to con a misanthropic British aristocrat named Grey Emerson into falling in love with her so she can break his heart. The Raos and the Emersons have been feuding for a long time, and Jaya wants to exact revenge for all the wrongs the Emersons have committed against her family. There’s a touch of the fantastic in Of Curses and Kisses, and you’ll be left wondering what, if anything, an ancient curse has to do with a rose-shaped ruby pendant…

Is Of Curses and Kisses part of a series?

Yes! The St. Rosetta’s Academy series is a planned trilogy, with each book following a different set of main characters and retelling a different fairy tale. Book 2 will follow Caterina and Rahul and be a Frog Prince retelling. I can’t wait to share more with you soon!

Is the St. Rosetta’s Academy series contemporary or fantasy?

It’s contemporary, and pretty different from my summer romantic comedies. There’s an ancient curse and a lot of “is it magic or isn’t it?” vibes that readers of fantasy will enjoy. The St. Rosetta’s Academy series is for readers of older YA, with lots of intrigue, drama, and a glamorous vibe I absolutely adore! Of course, it also has plenty of heart and delightful sibling relationships and friendships!

What fairy tales does each book in the St. Rosetta’s Academy series follow?

I’m still working on plotting each book in the series, so stay tuned! I do know that the first book, Of Curses and Kisses, will be a spin-off on Beauty and the Beast. The second book will be a loose Frog Prince retelling! 

Where is St. Rosetta’s International Academy located?

St. Rosetta’s International Academy (or St. R’s for short) is located in the fictional town of St. Rosetta, right outside Aspen, Colorado. It’s a place bordered by mountains and towering pine trees, and steeped in secrets and intrigue!

Where can I order Of Curses and Kisses?

In the US, you can buy at: Amazon | B&N | Indie bookstores. 

 

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10 Things I Hate About Pinky

Is 10 Things I Hate About Pinky in the Dimpleverse?

It is, indeed! It’s the third book in the Dimpleverse. You’ll be seeing a bit of Ashish, too, and hear mention of Sweetie. 🙂

Do I need to have read When Dimple Met Rishi or There’s Something About Sweetie to read 10 Things I Hate About Pinky?

Absolutely not! Although they are all companion novels set in the same universe, you can read any book first and still totally get the story. Enjoy!

When does 10 Things I Hate About Pinky come out?

Release day is currently scheduled for June 30th, 2020.

Where can I buy 10 Things I Hate About Pinky?

Indiebound | Amazon | B&N

What is 10 Things I Hate About Pinky

 about?

The delightful follow-up to When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s Something about Sweetie, which follows Ashish’s friends Pinky and Samir as they pretend to date in order to achieve their individual goals, to disastrous and hilarious results.

Pinky Kumar wears the social justice warrior badge with pride. From raccoon hospitals to persecuted rock stars, no cause is too esoteric for her to champion. But a teeny tiny part of her also really enjoys making her conservative, buttoned-up corporate lawyer parents cringe.

Samir Jha might have a few…quirks remaining from the time he had to take care of his sick mother, like the endless lists he makes in his planner and the way he schedules every minute of every day, but those are good things. They make life predictable and steady.

Pinky loves lazy summers at her parents’ Cape Cod lake house, but after listening to them harangue her about the poor decisions she’s made (a.k.a. boyfriends she’s had), she hatches a plan. Get her sorta-friend-sorta-enemy—who is a total Harvard-bound Mama’s boy—to pose as her perfect boyfriend for the summer.

When Samir’s internship falls through, leaving him with an unplanned summer, he gets a text from Pinky asking if he’ll be her fake boyfriend in exchange for a new internship. He jumps at the opportunity; Pinky’s a weirdo, but he can survive a summer with her if there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

As they bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats, sparks fly, and they both realize this will be a summer they’ll never forget.

Want more? Read an exclusive excerpt on Entertainment Weekly here!

 

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There’s Something About Sweetie

Is There’s Something About Sweetie a sequel to When Dimple Met Rishi?

It’s a companion novel, which means it’s set in the same exact universe but follows different main characters (Rishi’s little brother, Ashish, whom we all know and love, and Sweetie, a new character you haven’t met yet!). Sweetie’s one of my favorite characters I’ve ever written, and I can’t wait for you to meet her! Dimple, Rishi, and Celia all have cameos, too. 🙂

Do I need to have read When Dimple Met Rishi to read There’s Something About Sweetie?

Absolutely not! Although they are companion novels set in the same universe, you can read either book first and still totally get the story. Enjoy!

Where can I buy There’s Something About Sweetie?

Buy in the US: Indiebound | Amazon | B&N

Buy internationally: Check out my books page for country-specific information!

What is There’s Something About Sweetie about?

Ashish Patel didn’t know love could be so…sucky. After he’s dumped by his ex-girlfriend, his mojo goes AWOL. Even worse, his parents are annoyingly, smugly confident they could find him a better match. So, in a moment of weakness, Ash challenges them to set him up.

The Patels insist that Ashish date an Indian-American girl—under contract. Per subclause 1(a), he’ll be taking his date on “fun” excursions like visiting the Hindu temple and his eccentric Gita Auntie. Kill him now. How is this ever going to work?

Sweetie Nair is many things: a formidable track athlete who can outrun most people in California, a loyal friend, a shower-singing champion. Oh, and she’s also fat. To Sweetie’s traditional parents, this last detail is the kiss of death.

Sweetie loves her parents, but she’s so tired of being told she’s lacking because she’s fat. She decides it’s time to kick off the Sassy Sweetie Project, where she’ll show the world (and herself) what she’s really made of.

Ashish and Sweetie both have something to prove. But with each date they realize there’s an unexpected magic growing between them. Can they find their true selves without losing each other?  

 

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Make Up Break Up

What’s Make Up Break Up about?

Make Up Break Up is about an Indian-American entrepreneur, Annika Dev, whose app goes head-to-head against a much more successful app run by her arrogantly handsome rival, Hudson Craft. While Annika’s business is focused on bringing lovers together and giving them their happily-ever-afters, Hudson’s has been dubbed the “Uber for breakups.” A more detailed synopsis will be available closer to the release date!

Is Make Up Break Up YA?

Make Up Break Up is actually my adult debut, though it’s considered crossover fiction, which means it will appeal to adult readers of YA! It has all the heart and humor of my YA books (with some added steam!), and I’m super excited for you guys to read it!

When does Make Up Break Up come out?

Release day is tentatively planned for 2021. Stay tuned for more specific dates as we get closer!

Where can I order Make Up Break Up?

I’ll update my website with pre-order links when I have them, but for now, you can add it to your TBR shelf on Goodreads here!

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From Twinkle, With Love

Is From Twinkle, with Love a sequel to When Dimple Met Rishi?

From Twinkle, with Love is a standalone rom-com, BUT it’s what I like to call a “spiritual successor” to When Dimple Met Rishi! It’s got the same heart, humor, and adorkable characters and cringey-cute romantic situations (not to mention tons of girl power!) as When Dimple Met Rishi.

There’s Something About Sweetie, on the other hand, is a companion novel to When Dimple Met Rishi and is out now!

Buy Sweetie in the US: Indiebound | Amazon | B&N

Buy Sweetie internationally: Go to my books page to find your links!

Where can I buy From Twinkle, with Love?

Indiebound | Amazon | B&N

What is From Twinkle, with Love about?

​I wrote the following description just for you! (Not really, I stole it off the back of the book. But it’s 100% accurate!)

Aspiring filmmaker and wallflower Twinkle Mehra has stories she wants to tell and universes she wants to explore, if only the world would listen. So when fellow film geek Sahil Roy approaches her to direct a movie for the upcoming Summer Festival, Twinkle is all over it. The chance to publicly showcase her voice as a director? Dream come true. The fact that it gets her closer to her longtime crush, Neil Roy—a.k.a. Sahil’s twin brother? Dream come true x 2.

When mystery man “N” begins emailing her, Twinkle is sure it’s Neil, finally ready to begin their happily-ever-after. The only slightly inconvenient problem is that, in the course of movie-making, she’s fallen madly in love with the irresistibly adorkable Sahil.Twinkle soon realizes that resistance is futile: The romance she’s got is not the one she’s scripted. But will it be enough?

Told through the letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers, From Twinkle, with Love navigates big truths about friendship, family, and the unexpected places love can find you.

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When Dimple Met Rishi

Where can I buy When Dimple Met Rishi?

Visit my books page to see where you can buy it.

How do you pronounce Rishi?

Rhymes with “fishy”!

Are you more a Dimple or a Rishi?

I swear this isn’t a cop-out, but I’m both! I’m fiercely feminist like Dimple, which hasn’t always sat well with some of my elderly relatives, and like Rishi, I had to really struggle with art versus practicality! (You can probably guess what side of the coin I fall on that one… ;))

If you want to see whether you’re more a Dimple or a Rishi, check out this short, fun quiz I helped create!

Will there be a sequel to When Dimple Met Rishi?

There’s Something About Sweetie, the companion novel that follows Rishi’s little brother, Ashish is out now! You can buyr it in the US: Indiebound | Amazon | B&N or internationally.

You can also read a new short story sequel to When Dimple Met Rishi called As Kismet Would Have It for free starting April 1st! If you’ve ever wondered, “Will there be wedding bells in Dimple’s and Rishi’s future?” this story is for you! 🙂 You just need to register for a free account here. If you’d prefer an e-copy for your e-reader, you can get it for $0.99 on Amazon or B&N!

Do I need to have read When Dimple Met Rishi to read There’s Something About Sweetie?

Absolutely not! Although they are companion novels set in the same universe, you can read either book first and still totally get the story. Enjoy!

Will you write a story where Dimple and Rishi get married/have kids?

I don’t think that story would count as YA, but not gonna lie, it would be so much fun! I never say never, so…maybe one day? *evil smile*

Why did you write an arranged marriage story?

I think arranged marriage gets a really bad rap in Western society. ​It’s not at all always a super old dude getting married to a super young bride who’s being used as a pawn by her dad or whatever. In fact, that​ hasn’t been ​​my experience with it at all–nearly all of my family has gotten married in arranged marriages. ​So, being a writer, I was like, you know what would be hilarious? An arranged marriage YA rom-com. I mean, why the heck not, right?

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Annnnnything and Everything

When does your next book come out?

Of Curses and Kisses (the first in my boarding school-set, fairy tale retelling series!) came out on February 18th, 2020. You can learn more about it here

In what order should I read your books? 

Even my series books are companion novels set in the same universe, which means you don’t have to read them in any particular order to follow the story. However, for maximum enjoyment, I recommend…

Dimpleverse novels: When Dimple Met Rishi, There’s Something about Sweetie, 10 Things I Hate about Pinky (out June 30th, 2020!). 

St. Rosetta’s Academy novels: Of Curses and Kisses, books 2 and 3 titles TBA!

Standalone novels (read in any order): From Twinkle, with Love; Make Up Break Up (out 2021!). 

Please note: Make Up Break Up is my adult rom-com debut, and is intended for audiences 18+ who like some steam in their romances!

How can I get a signed copy of your books? 

Please order from Tattered Cover, my local indie bookstore! Just make sure to put whether you’d like your copy signed and/or personalized in the “order comments” box!

How do you pronounce your name?

The closest pronunciation of Sandhya is SUND-ya (rhymes with “stunned ya”) for non-Hindi speakers. Menon rhymes with Melon!

Are you coming to a city near me?

I might be! Check out this page for the most current information. Hope to see you!

Do you do school/library/festival visits? 

I do, indeed! Please visit my Say Hi page to check out who you should contact about requesting me. I also do free 20-minute Skype visits with schools and libraries, so head on over to that page to email me if you’re interested in one of those!

You have the best covers!

Hmm, that’s not a question, but who am I to refuse a compliment? So​ thank you, and yes, I agree! I’m so lucky to have the design team I do.
 

Will you write in other genres besides contemporary romance?

Although I loooove contemporary romance and have no plans to stop writing it, I have so, so many other story ideas in my brain. I definitely do plan on branching out and telling stories in other genres as well, but I’m currently coming up with an effective strategy to do that. Stay tuned! 🙂

 

I want to keep up with what you’ve got going on. How can I do that?

Thank you for asking–you’re the cat’s knees and the bee’s pajamas! Wait a minute… Anyway, if you want to stay updated on bookish news, win ARCs, and generally see what shenanigans I’m up to, sign up for my readers’ club newsletter here!

What’s all this I hear about a street team?

It’s true! I have a street team full of enthusiastic, amazing readers who get special access to books I have in the pipeline in exchange for, well, being enthusiastic and amazing! 🙂 Membership is currently by application only, but if you think you’d be a great fit, just email me and tell me so. You can also keep an eye out on my Twitter and Instagram to be notified when I open applications again!

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Writing!

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

  1. Know when to give up and when to keep going. If you’re contemplating giving up because writing is hard or the publishing industry is sometimes unfathomable or you’re stacking up that pile of rejections, don’t give up. Keep honing your craft. You WILL get there. On the other hand, if the story you’re working on just isn’t giving you any joy anymore or you feel you’ve outgrown it, there’s no shame in stopping. No one knows your art better than you.
  2. Learn how to finish projects. Start small, say, with a piece of flash fiction (about 500 words). Once you’re able to consistently finish those, move on to short stories, then novellas, and finally, novels. It can be incredibly intimidating to begin writing an 80,000+ word project, and your confidence will be so much higher if you scaffold finishing things for yourself.
  3. Have another passion besides writing. Writing is a very up-and-down business, and it can be really useful to have something else to lose yourself in when things are slow or hard or you’re feeling burned out.

Do I need a bachelor’s degree in English or an MFA to write?

Not at all. In fact, I’m really glad I majored in psychology, and not English, in college. It helped me pursue my other passion and also gave me some major insights into the human mind–a vital skill for writers! Life experience and studying things outside of writing will inform your creative life in ways you wouldn’t imagine.

What’s your writing schedule?

I write every weekday between the hours of 9 AM and 3 PM, until I get to 2,000 words. Some days this happens quickly and other days I want to crie (that’s not a misspelling; that’s “cry” and “die” combined). I tend to take a break between 3 and 5 or 6 PM, and then get back to it in the evenings when I’m on deadline.

I hate rushing for deadlines, so I always try to complete projects well in advance of when they’re due. Sometimes, of course, life happens and that’s not possible! But that’s what extensions and generous editors are for.

You’re publishing two books a year! How is that humanly possible?

Haha, I love this question and I get it more and more the more books I put out. Starting in 2020, I am indeed putting out two books a year–and hope to continue for as long as makes sense for me and my readers. I’m a prolific writer, and I have the privilege of being able to write full-time. My kids are older, my spouse is incredibly supportive, and that means lots more time for me to disappear into the writing cave! I tend to draft in about 2 months, with edits taking longer, depending on the book and the messiness of my draft. 🙂 

How did you get your agent? How can I get one?

I had a very non-traditional path to getting an agent, so I’m not sure my story will really help you! Basically, I was self-publishing back in 2012 under another name, and my agent happened to download one of my books and reached out to offer representation. We’ve been together ever since! 

Most writers, though, get their agents through the more traditional path of querying. If that’s your path, too, I highly suggest borrowing or buying a copy of Guide to Literary Agents 2020: The Most Trusted Guide to Getting Published and making a list of agents who fit the kind of book you want to write. You can also look at the Manuscript Wish List website or follow #MSWL on Twitter to see what agents and editors are currently looking for.

Since you began your career self-publishing, do you recommend that approach to other writers?

I was self-publishing in 2012, so a lot of things have changed in the indie market since then. I haven’t kept up with it, so I’d advise each writer to do their own thorough research before diving in to any form of publishing, whether indie or traditional. I can also recommend the writing YouTube channel of indie superstar Sarra Cannon.

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For School Projects

Where were you born?

I was born in Mumbai (Bombay), India and immigrated to the US when I was in tenth grade, at the age of fifteen. I’m now in my late thirties, so I’ve been here a long, long time and am a naturalized citizen.

Where do you live?

In Colorado, and I love it! I have a view of the mountains practically wherever I go, which is my most favorite view in the world, especially when they’re covered in fog or snow clouds.

Did you always want to be a writer?

Since I was very little, yes! I used to write on my clothes and the furniture in my house. Then my parents wised up and bought me a set of notebooks, and the rest is history! I didn’t really consider being a professional writer until I was in my late twenties, though. At that point I started with short fiction and progressed to novellas before tackling my first-ever novel-length work (which was a rom-com with many horrible plot bunnies).

Are you married? Do you have kids? Do you have parents or were you dropped onto this earth in a pod?

I’m so sorry, but I don’t answer personal questions beyond the ones I posted on this site. 🙂 

Where do you get your ideas?

I really like the discount section at Target… Just kidding! 🙂 I think writers mine their ideas from all over–everyday conversations (both ones that we participate in and ones that we eavesdrop on); things we see on TV or read in other books or listen to (music, podcasts, etc.); events that elicit a visceral reaction in us. I keep an idea folder on my computer that I regularly top up with new ideas.

Who’s your favorite character you’ve written?

I can’t ever choose! I love all my characters for different reasons.