Sandhya Menon | Author Interview
If you want to find a craftily made young adult book, you don't have to look too far. With her third book releasing in May 2019, Indian-American author Sandhya Menon has graced audiences of all races and ages with her beautiful plots and characters. She incorporates her stories with people who are like her, Indian-American boys and girls. I had the honor to interview her for this blog!
Q: Were there any difficulties trying to pitch your ethnically diverse books to your publishers?
A: Not at all. I consider myself very lucky because my editor and publisher have always been so super supportive about wanting to publish books from underrepresented authors.
Q: What are similarities between you and Dimple and Twinkle? Similarities between someone you know and Rishi and Sahil?
A: Like Dimple, I always had a feminist streak that some of my relatives didn't necessarily agree with! Though, sadly, I had none of her confidence at her age! Twinkle's emotional journey with filmmaking very closely mirrors my own journey as a budding writer at 16. Rishi is a lot like one of my cousins (and, my editor says, a lot like her husband!) and Sahil is basically just an inverted version of some terrible high school boyfriends. You can think of them as being Sahil in the Upside Down. ;)
Q: What drove you to making the backgrounds of Dimple and Twinkle in coding and film, respectively?
A: I'm really drawn to passionate people, and I knew I wanted my heroines to be super passionate about whatever their love was. For both of them, I tried to choose occupations that have historically not favored women, especially women of color. I think it's so powerful to show even fictional women of color breaking those glass ceilings!
Q: Will readers see more of Twinkle and Sahil in the future like we are with Dimple and Rishi? Any plans to make sequels to either of the books?
A: I'm still writing in the Dimple universe (the companion novel, There's Something about Sweetie, comes out on May 14th in the US and follows Rishi's brother Ashish!), which is so thrilling! I have no plans for a Twinkle sequel, but never say never!
Q: How does your life in Colorado impact your book From Twinkle With Love? Why did you choose this setting over any other setting like you did with When Dimple Met Rishi?
A: When I wrote From Twinkle, with Love, I'd just moved to Colorado! I got to visit a library here and take a tour (it's briefly mentioned in FTWL), which was so cool. Living in CO really helped me enrich the book with setting details, while setting a book in the Bay Area (which, when I wrote WDMR I'd never visited!) was a wonderful vacation.
Q: Are you open to writing POC LGBTQ+ characters into your works?
A: Yes, definitely! All of my books so far feature LGBTQ characters as part of the friend group (in WDMR, Celia is bisexual, in FTWL, Aaron is gay, and in TSAS, Oliver and Elijah are gay). As for main characters, I'd love to! It's a request I get quite frequently. Excited to say I have a couple of ideas mulling in my brain.
Q: Any advice for any aspiring POC YA authors, trying to get characters like them into the scene?
A: Don't write to market. Write the story of your heart and make it supremely good. Get a LOT of feedback on it. Don't give them an excuse to tell you no. It's so, so worth it, and I know you can do it!
Q: What is your Hogwarts house?
A: Hufflepuff 99% of the time, Gryffindor for that 1% of the time when I need to stand up/advocate for someone.
Thank you Sandhya for your answers and be sure to buy There's Something About Sweetie when it is released on May 14, 2019