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This blog was featured on 04/09/2020
Sandhya Menon on Inspiration, Positivity & Knowing Your Limits
Written by
She Writes
February 2020
Written by
She Writes
February 2020

Sandhya Menon is the New York Times bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi, From Twinkle, with Love and There’s Something About Sweetie. This month she presents the first novel in a brand-new series set at an elite international boarding school. Of Curses and Kisses is a contemporary spin on Beauty and the Beast, and follows an Indian princess who must con her worst enemy, a British aristocrat, into falling in love with her to restore her family’s honor. Learn more about this incredible YA author now with this roundup of some of her best interview moments.

On Influences

“I know what it’s like to grapple with the question, ‘how much Indian am I?’” she told Bookpage about writing Of Curses and Kisses.

Her own experience of feeling torn between Indian traditions and American social standards became this novel’s inspiration.

She explains that it got easier in college.

“People came to assume I’d been born here… and I started to find my place a bit more. I started writing more and expressing myself through art. It was a really freeing thing for me to do – to feel like there’s this thing I can share with people, and they can accept that, even if they can’t accept every part of me just yet.”

Her latest novel is a modern romance with an ancient curse, loyalties, revenge and love all swirled into one fantastic story.

“I do think there’s a kind of magic to love. My super-logical brain says it’s all chemistry… but there is a magic to true love and finding the perfect person. Even if your parents preordain it – that still helps you find love.”

This excerpt was originally published on BookPage. Read the full post here.

Like many authors, Menon says she finds inspiration all around.

“I am big day dreamer so I get a lot of my ideas from day dreaming, sometimes by staring out the window but usually I’ll be in this fog of thinking about something that happened to me and it’ll click for me that I could write a story around it.”

This excerpt was originally published in Samama Reads. Read the full interview here.

On Challenges

In a recent interview, Menon was asked what part of the writing process she finds most challenging. Here she discusses that challenge, along with how she tackles it:

“Definitely that first revision after the first draft has been done and set aside! This is before my editor sees it; before anyone sees it. It always feels intimidating and so daunting! I deal with it by setting a date to do it and then just plunging in headfirst. I also love chunking my revisions into bite-size, manageable portions. So, the first pass might be focusing on the emotional journey of the heroine, the second pass would be transitions, etcetera.”

This excerpt was originally published on Megan Write Now. Read the full interview here.

There have also been other challenges. She has faced backlash from certain readers because of the names she has chosen for her main characters and had to stay motivated during these trying times and recognize that part of being a published author is exposing one’s self to the public and to all types of feedback.

I try to keep perspective – if I think the person doesn’t understand the full implications of what they’re saying, I’ll gently help educate. But if I can’t do the emotional labor or I feel like they’re being intentionally malicious, I’ll ignore it and go about my own business,” she says. “I’m honestly so happily busy with projects and writing that I don’t have the time to keep up with these little blips. My goal – to write the kind of stories that so many readers, no matter what their background, love and need – is so much bigger, so much more exhilarating, than a few internet trolls!”

This excerpt was originally published on Unputdownable Books. Read the full interview here.

On Advice

“Seek out a community of writers who are at the same stage as you to get feedback and emotional support. It's important to get better at your craft, but those friendships will also sustain you through the ups and downs of publishing,” she offers to writers.

She also offers some great writer resources that she’s found helpful:

“I also highly recommend reading Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott for a humorous – and encouraging – look at what it means to be a professional writer, and the Plot Whisperer workbook and YouTube series for some really amazing craft advice,” she says.

This excerpt was originally published on Goodreads. Read the full interview here.

But her best advice? She says it is to stay positive and know your limits.

“I'd say know when to give up and when to keep going,” she replied to a disheartened aspiring writer on Goodreads. “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.”

For more on Sandhya Menon, check out this piece we wrote about her last year, right before she debuted There’s Something About Sweetie.  

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