Sandhya Menon is a Colorado-based writer whose first young adult novel, When Dimple Met Rishi, quickly became a New York Times bestseller. We wanted to get to know Sandhya a little better before she visits Old Town Library next week to present her new novel, From Twinkle, With Love (Wednesday, May 23 at 6PM in the Community Room).
Enjoy our fun Q&A, and see you next week at the Sandhya’s author visit presented by Old Firehouse Books! Book sales and signing to follow her presentation.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? A writer of young adult literature?
I don’t remember there ever being a big realization. I was one of those writers who began writing poems and short stories as soon as she could hold a pencil. So, to me, writing was always part of who I was, as much as being an introvert or being bilingual.
As far as writing YA goes, that was definitely a decision! I’d toyed with the idea, but never really pursued it seriously until the chance to write for Simon & Schuster was presented to me (via my agent). I’d been reading YA for years, so it didn’t feel like too far a leap to try my hand at writing it. I’m so glad I did!
2. What is the first book that made you cry?
Probably The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. I was around fifteen when I read it for the first time, and it slayed me. I couldn’t imagine the terror of her life and the strength she had to still find beauty in the every day.
3. Do you believe in writer’s block?
I can only speak for myself, but I don’t suffer from writer’s block. If I can’t seem to get the words out, I know it’s one of two things: Either I’ve taken the story in a direction that doesn’t appeal to me (I’m a huge believer in writing the stories I want to read) or I need to take a break. I tried being a full-time writer for a year and realized that in order to really grow my craft, I need to also be pursuing other passions and living life. Sitting in front of the computer all day to the exclusion of everything else really doesn’t work for me. So when I take a break in order to break my inability to write, I’ll go do something else I find mentally or emotionally fulfilling—going on a quick walk with my husband and dog, doing a family game night, helping other writers, etc.
“Write the stories that really speak to you, the ones that
sizzle in your brain and fly from your fingertips.”
4. How many hours a day do you spend writing?
When I’m actively drafting, I do 2,000 words a day, 5 days a week. I don’t keep track of it by the hour, but rather by the amount of words I’ve written. Sometimes it can take all day, but other times I can be done in an hour or two! (Those latter days are my absolute favorite, of course!)
5. If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be?
Write the stories that really speak to you, the ones that sizzle in your brain and fly from your fingertips. Don’t try to please other people.
6. As a writer, what would you choose as your avatar / spirit animal / mascot?
A raven, because I love Edgar Allen Poe’s work. Also because I have a small raven fairy on my desk (one of Jasmine Becket-Griffith’s figurines), and she keeps me company while I write.
7. What book(s) are you currently reading?
The Carpe Demon series by Julie Kenner—so fun!
[Library Note: this is a great series about a demon-hunting soccer mom!]