Q & A with Sandhya Menon

Posted by Goodreads on May 4, 2018
Sandhya Menon
Fans of rom-coms will adore author Sandhya Menon's new book, From Twinkle, with Love. Following up her success with When Dimple Met Rishi, Menon's latest young adult romance is filled with big dreams, startling truths, and lots of laughter. She describes her book as an "unapologetically feminist coming-of-age story" about Twinkle Mehra, a 16-year-old aspiring filmmaker. When Twinkle gets the opportunity to direct her own film, she jumps at the chance to become the star of her own life rather than remain a side character. Soon, she's rushing headlong into the project—only to go off-script when she unexpectedly falls in love with the brother of her longtime crush.

Goodreads: What inspired you to write From Twinkle, with Love?

Sandhya Menon: I wanted to tell a story about the moment a wallflower realizes she doesn't want to be the wallflower anymore. What happens if she decides to really put herself out there? How might people react to her? How might she fly—or fall? I'm also such a huge fan of secret admirer plots that I had to put one in. I'm enjoying watching early readers try to figure it out!

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GR: What lessons have you learned since writing When Dimple Met Rishi? How did they affect your approach to writing From Twinkle, with Love?

SM: One thing I learned was that if the story doesn't feel right to you, even if you can't put your finger on exactly why, stop and examine that feeling. When Dimple Met Rishi was my first young adult book, and it flowed so easily for me that I wasn't prepared for the struggle I faced while writing From Twinkle, with Love. But because When Dimple Met Rishi had come out of me almost effortlessly, I knew the things bothering me about Twinkle's story were issues I should pay attention to. I rewrote the book several times with my editor's support until I was fully and completely satisfied with every detail, and I'm so glad I did!​

GR: Your novels have received so much praise for their diversity. What are your thoughts on cultural representation in the young adult category?

SM: I'm so happy and grateful that the diversity I put into my books has received such a positive reception! I'm an ardent supporter of the idea that marginalized populations deserve as much breadth in storytelling as non-marginalized populations routinely get. I want to see not just issue books about the struggle of being a minority, but also romantic comedies, science fiction, graphic novels, and sweeping family sagas that simply feature diverse characters as the heroes and heroines of their own tales.​

GR: Your main character, Twinkle Mehra, is a young aspiring filmmaker. What draws her to this medium?

SM: Twinkle, like so many introverts, is a brilliant observer. She loves the idea of melting into the background, camera in hand, free to watch the world at a safe remove. It's the way the world is most comfortable interacting with her, and she with it. Until, of course, things change. Twinkle realizes her films have the power to shake up the world and that she wants to be the director of her own story rather than just the sidekick. Being a film director turns out to be the perfect opportunity for her to showcase her powerful, unique voice.

GR: Your story is told through letters Twinkle writes to her favorite female filmmakers. What compelled you to structure the story this way?

SM: I've always been a fan of epistolary novels. I wanted to see how I could incorporate letters into a story that also spoke so much about the medium of filmmaking. I knew it would be a lot of fun to play around with, and I was right! I like to think of From Twinkle, with Love as an epistolary novel for people who don't like epistolary novels—although the chapters begin as letters, they then blend in seamlessly with the narrative. I like to think they do, anyway!

GR: What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

SM: I hope readers will take away the message that being an introvert doesn't mean you don't have anything to say, that being poor doesn't mean you're less important, and that coming from a family of immigrants doesn't mean that you don't belong. And also that teen girls will rule the world!

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GR: What young adult books would you recommend to our readers?

SM: Some recent favorites have been The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, American Panda by Gloria Chao, Caraval by Stephanie Garber, and One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus.​

GR: What writing projects are you working on now?

SM: I'm currently working on a companion novel to When Dimple Met Rishi that follows Rishi's jockier and cockier brother, Ashish, who happens to have lost his mojo following a breakup. A fellow female athlete might be his ticket to getting his groove back, but his parents' meddling might just put a huge dent in his plans. I can't wait to share more soon!​

GR: What books do you plan to read next?

SM: I'm so excited to read Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, and ​Ally Carter's latest, Not If I Save You First!

Sandhya Menon's From Twinkle, with Love will be available on May 22. Don't forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf! Be sure to also read more of our exclusive author interviews and get more great book recommendations.

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message 1: by İsmail (new)

İsmail Cantürk I love you and your books. You're impressed me, thank you for this. Loves from Turkey!💕

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