Hey! James here! I’m joined today by the incredible Sandhya Menon, self-described cupcake connoisseur and Bollywood addict who also just happens to have written one of the most adorably hilarious books of 2017. When Dimple Met Rishi is seriously as cute as they come, and you won’t want to miss it when it hits bookstores this Tuesday. You may have heard of Sandhya before, as she’s been featured in Seventeen, Teen Vogue, and Bustle. Looks like we’re not the only ones excited for Tuesday! Let’s get to it!
Oh, and don’t forget to enter for a special When Dimple Met Rishi giveaway down at the bottom of this page. You don’t want to miss this!
James: Hey Sandhya! Thanks so much joining me on #BeyondTheBio today! We’ve only got two more days until your debut novel, When Dimple Met Rishi, hits the shelves. Can you tell me a little about what readers can expect?
Sandhya: Indian American culture, slightly batty immigrant parents, and lots of kissing, coding, and kismet!
James: Sounds amazing! So, I’m curious, are you more of a Dimple or a Rishi?
Sandhya: This is such a tough one! I think I’m definitely some of both, which is why it was so fun to write them. I’ve got Dimple’s passion for career, but Rishi’s passion for art (my art just happens to be wordsmithing!). I’m definitely more easygoing like Rishi is, but I like to think I’m the feminist Dimple is, too!
James: I know that you are a major Bollywood fan. If you had the opportunity to cast Dimple and Rishi as two Bollywood actors and actresses, who would you cast?
Sandhya: Ooh, I’d cast Siddharth Malhotra as Rishi and Deepika Padukone as Dimple.
James: There’s one line that really stood out to me, and I was wondering if you could speak to it just a bit. You wrote, “If no one says, ‘This is me, this is what I believe, and this is why I’m different, this is why that’s okay,’ then what’s the point? What’s the point of living in this beautiful, great melting pot where everyone can dare to be anything they want to be?” That line just blew me away. So, in that same spirit, I want to ask you: What makes you different? And why is that okay?
Sandhya: Ahh, thank you, James! What makes me different is that I’m an immigrant but also had the experience of being an Indian-American teen in the diaspora. I immigrated to the US at age fifteen, which makes me an amalgam of Dimple’s parents and Dimple!
James: Awesome! What do you hope teen readers will take from your novel?
Sandhya: That people like us—brown, with immigrant parents (or immigrants ourselves)—can have lively, fun stories and happy endings.
James: I have a feeling a lot of people are going to be heading to their bookstores on Tuesday to grab a copy of When Dimple Met Rishi. What are some other books people should be adding to their book bags?
Sandhya: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo (K-dramas and cute kissing teens!), The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (though I think by now everyone’s bought it!), The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (for those who loved Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, and who didn’t??), Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han (for any Jenny Han fans and I am a HUGE one), and A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi (the stunning companion novel to the much beloved and talked about The Star Touched Queen!).
James: Those are some great recommendations! We’ve actually got some interviews coming up with Maureen and Roshani, and I couldn’t be more excited to have them on! Alright, so last question. As a fellow dessert addict myself, I was thinking we should end our interview with a dessert-themed round of Would You Rather.
Would you rather... cupcakes or ice cream?
Sandhya: Yum! This is the hardest question I’ve ever gotten in my life. Um…cupcake ice cream! Or is that cheating?
James: We’ll let it slide this time, Sandhya. Chocolate or gulab jamun?
Sandhya: Ooh, both! Chocolate drizzled over gulab jamun!
James: And, most importantly, Regular Oreos or Golden Oreos?
Sandhya: REGULAR. Don’t even talk to me about that Golden kind.
That’s it for today’s interview with Sandhya. Don't forget to enter to win some signed bookmarks at the bottom of this page. And if you want to let Sandhya know why you’re excited for When Dimple Met Rishi, be sure to visit her website or follow her on Twitter. While you’re there, be sure to follow us so you never have to miss another interview or giveaway. We’re also on Snapchat and Instagram. Be sure to stop by and say hi!