Sandhya Menon: writer of things for teens.

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

There’s Something About Sweetie
Of Curses And Kisses
Make Up Break Up
From Twinkle, with Love
When Dimple Met Rishi
Anything and Everything
Writing!

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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Of Curses And Kisses

What’s Of Curses and Kisses about?

Of Curses and Kisses has modern-day royals, an elite boarding school, and a sprinkling of Beauty and the Beast! The story follows an Indian princess, Jaya Rao, who enrolls at St. Rosetta’s Academy just outside of Aspen, Colorado, 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 no outright magic in Of Curses and Kisses, but you’ll be left wondering what, if anything, an ancient curse has to do with a rose-shaped ruby pendant…

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

It’s definitely contemporary, and pretty different from my summer romantic comedies. 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. I’m also playing around with a lot of the classic Disney fairy tales for the rest of the books–The Frog Prince, Cinderella, Snow White, etc.!

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!

When will Of Curses and Kisses be out?

Release day is currently planned for February 2020. Watch my website and social media for more specific dates, coming soon!

Where can I order Of Curses and Kisses?

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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Make Up Break Up

What’s Make Up Break Up about?

Make Up Break Up is about an Indian-American entrepreneur, Anika Dev, whose classic matchmaking business goes head-to-head against a much more successful company run by her arrogantly handsome business rival, Hudson Craft. While Anika’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 readers of YA! It has all the heart and humor of my YA books, 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 June 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!) comes out in February 2020. You can learn more about it here!

In what order should I read your books When Dimple Met Rishi, From Twinkle, with Love, and There’s Something about Sweetie?

You can read those three books in any order you want! From Twinkle, with Love is a standalone novel. And although When Dimple Met Rishi and There’s Something about Sweetie are companion novels set in the same universe, you don’t have to read them in any particular order to enjoy the story. You might better understand a few inside jokes in There’s Something about Sweetie if you read When Dimple Met Rishi first, but it’s certainly not necessary!

Are you coming to a city near me?

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

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.

What are your favorite Bollywood movies?

Oh my gosh, too many to name! But here’s a good list to get you started:

  1. Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi
  2. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (considered a classic by many!)
  3. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai
  4. Kapoor and Sons
  5. Bang Bang
  6. Krrish
  7. Chalte Chalte
  8. Queen

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 here!

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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.

I want to write marginalized characters outside of my experience. Do you think I should?

This isn’t something I can answer for you, unfortunately. You have to do the research and determine if you’re the right person to tell that story. A good place to begin your research is: https://www.writingdiversely.com/ Good luck!

Why do you write diverse stories?

If you look at the world around you, you’re probably going to see a pretty diverse group of people. A lot of times, we tend to isolate ourselves in little bubbles of people who look like us, think like us, and experience life a lot like we do. But that’s not the truth–at least, not the way I see it. I want to tell stories that are more representative of the beautiful melting pot I live in, and that means people of varying ethnicities, sexualities, and abilities will make it into my stories!

At least one of my heroes/heroines will be Indian-American because that’s my identity, and I want to populate bookstore shelves with main characters I didn’t see very many of growing up. But that doesn’t mean you have to be Indian-American to enjoy my stories, and the amazing reader letters I get every day prove this!