The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer

Guest: Sajni Patel

May 15, 2020 Marissa Meyer Season 2020 Episode 14
The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer
Guest: Sajni Patel
Chapters
The Happy Writer with Marissa Meyer
Guest: Sajni Patel
May 15, 2020 Season 2020 Episode 14
Marissa Meyer
Transcript
Speaker 1:

Yeah

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Speaker 1:

hello and welcome to the happy writer. This is a podcast that aims to bring readers more books to enjoy and to help authors find more joy in their writing. I am your host, Marissa Meyer. Thanks so much for joining me. Hope you guys are continuing to stay healthy and safe out there as the world continues to be on lockdown. Just a reminder, if you have not filled out my happy podcast listener survey, there are still a couple of days to do that. Um, you can find the link@marissameyer.com slash podcast. It will take you about five to 10 minutes to fill out. And at the end, if you, uh, give me your email address, then you can be entered to win a signed book. Um, so please go fill it out. I really want to know what you guys think of the podcast so far and what you might want me to do differently.

Speaker 1:

So, uh, interesting story. I twisted my ankle a couple of days ago, so this is the first podcast I am recording from my bed, uh, with my foot propped up on pillows. Um, so it's a little different, but one thing that is making me very happy, not that I twisted my ankle but that now my husband is bringing me coffee and breakfast in bed every morning. So that is the silver lining. Uh, and thing that has made me happy these past couple of days. Um, I am of course also very happy to talk to today's guest, her debut romance novel, the trouble with hating you just came out on May 12th, uh, cosmopolitan magazine, Oprah magazine and Apple books have all called it one of the top romances to read this year. On top of that, her debut, why a romance, the knockout will be coming out this winter. She also happens to be a very dear friend of mine, uh, who used to live near me and Tacoma, but uh, somewhat recently relocated to Austin, Texas. I miss her very dearly and so I'm super excited to get to talk to her today. Please welcome to the show. Sajani Patel.

Speaker 3:

Hi everyone. Thanks so much for having me today, Marissa.

Speaker 1:

Oh my pleasure. How are you? How's life in Austin?

Speaker 3:

Life is hot. I know it's snowing in some parts of New York or up North and an Austin is this hot and warm and sunny, um, a couple of chilly mornings. Um, and we're still in shelter in place. I believe the rest of Texas may or may not be, I don't know. But Austin itself is still in a shelter in place, so it's kind of calm right now.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, that's interesting that the state didn't have like locked down all over. It's kind of been city by city.

Speaker 3:

Um, I'm not sure if it's um, city by city. I, from what I understand, Texas itself, the governor, um, you know, allowed businesses to reopen, but Austin itself decided that no, we need to kind of keep things under control for a little bit because we do have some rising cases and Austin is a very large city, so I'm glad to hear that the shelter in place and Austin itself is, is um, expanding to the end of the month at least. Right. It's also a very social city. It is. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Music scene and all of that. So yeah,

Speaker 3:

I know we, um, we canceled South by Southwest. I think the first time in its history and it was a big deal, but you know, people are starting to understand that things like this are necessary for this medical, for these up, this pandemic issue.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. It's interesting cause here in Washington, you know, we were kind of one of the first places that it hit, uh, here in the States. Um, and so now it's what has it been two going on two and a half months I guess. Um, it's, it really been that long and, but now we're kind of entering into this phase where it's like, okay, we seem to have flattened the curve. Uh, people are not quite as panicked as they were. And so we've just entered into phase one of reopening. Um, which means like people are allowed to go fishing again and some of the parks are reopening. Uh, and so it's, it's interesting and we're all kind of waiting to see now how it goes and if it works, what are we going to start getting back to normal? And anyway, it's like a light at the end of the tunnel, which I'm, I'm happy about. But also fingers crossed.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. I'm happy to hear that about Washington cause I'm, as you mentioned, I used to live there and my family and so, um, they're still living there. And of course a lot of my old coworkers and friends in the medical fields, um, you know, telling me about being not having enough supplies and just working overtime and double, triple shifts and just how chaotic it was. And I think the nice thing about being in Texas is that we saw it coming. So we had a bit of time before it reached us and we got already made, actually a lot of businesses around Austin had already decided to close down, um, before we had a shelter in place order. Um, so it was nice to at least see it coming. Um, and I know Washington there was a different story, but it seems like it's kind of leveled out a little bit. So I hope that people starting to go out. Um, it doesn't, the curve doesn't spike back up. Hopefully it stays a little bit leveled. We'll see.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we'll see. But hopefully for sure. Um, okay, so you have two books coming out this year. Um, your adult romance, the trouble with hating you and also the why a the knockout. Uh, I want to talk about them both, but let's go and start with the trouble with hating you, which just came out. Tell listeners all about this book.

Speaker 3:

So the trouble with hitting you is, um, is mainly women's fiction. There's some romantic comedy elements in it. It does some heavy issues. It does. And there's a note that I really wanted to include in the beginning of the book because I didn't want anyone to be triggered. And I spoke a lot from personal experience. There's issues about sexual assaults, um, family dynamics, a loss of low one trauma and how when you don't have the support from your family or community or society to really help you and support you, um, it really messes you up even if it's been years later. Um, so that's one of the things that the trouble with hating you talks about or goes into. Um, but for the most part it is a romantic comedy. It's about a woman named Leah. She's very anti traditional anti men and you know, she has a reason.

Speaker 3:

She comes off very, very rough and in your face. And she's a feminist and opinionated and she's a very strong willed woman and she meets her match. And Jay, who is a potential suitors slash marriage mate that her family has sort of arranged her with. And so when they meet, she has no idea that this is what is, that this dinner is what it's all about. And in their very first chapter. And so, you know, they butt heads and it's, I guess termed a love to or hate to love romance. So, and the very beginning, they're very, very much against each other and not liking each other for various reasons. And you know, there's a slow burn and things happen. Of course they end up on as is what you would expect.

Speaker 1:

We hope, we hope that that's the direction without giving away the NZ.

Speaker 3:

And the trouble with hitting you. Actually all of my books, including the knockout, has a very hefty culture in its, um, they're, they're Indian. So there's a cultural familiarity with the Indian culture. Um, and the kind of the clash between traditional culture, modern culture, um, growing up in the South, living in Texas, which is where the trouble opinion you take place in. Um, and just having everything kind of combined in clash for attention.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. It's, it's, I love me. I hate to love romance, which readers or listeners of this podcast, um, I kinda know very well because I feel like I say that in every episode. Um, but I do, it's like my favorite trope. Um, and reading this book, like at the beginning when these two characters meet, the hatred is palpable. Um, it's, it's like, it's so off the charts and there were times in like the first 50 pages or so when I was concerned for them, some of these things that they're like at each other's throats, I don't know how they're going to overcome. Um, was there when you were writing it, was there ever a point when you were like, huh, maybe I should reel in this animosity or were you just like, Nope, love or hate to love? Here we go. We're going all way.

Speaker 3:

You mentioned that because when I wrote it, um, it was just going to be women's fiction. It was, the romance was maybe it was going to be there, maybe not. I don't know. We'll get there. Really. Yeah. Yeah. I never intended this to be a romance. Um, I wrote Leah as a character, as a type of person that I wish I could be more like, she's very opinionated. She speaks her mind. She's very strong and competence and just, you know, in your face, love it or leave it. And when, um, when my editor was going through it, at some point my editor said maybe we should calm her down a little bit. And I had the urge to fight it. I was like, no, let her be who she is. Um, but then I saw the reasoning behind it and yeah, she did. She needed to calm down a little bit, kind of smooth over some edges and, and um, you know, make her a little bit more likable.

Speaker 1:

Hold on, hold on. So we get in this book is the calmed down versus yes, this money, I want to, I want to go read the original, it was a little bit more car scene is a little bit of more anger issues. But

Speaker 3:

um, in the beginning or in the earlier draft, she described herself as the, she helped whenever she comes into contact with certain people in the book. Um, so I had to calm that down and reel her in a little bit. Um, and just kind of exposed her, background's a little bit more organically as to why she is such a fiery person and why she feels so strongly about certain things and why she really just doesn't take crap from anyone. Um, but, but you know, slowly introducing the readers are into that instead of just having her spew at you in the first few pages. I mean, I think maybe that would have cost some readers to close the book and say this isn't really a romance I picked up.

Speaker 1:

That's funny. No, she is so sassy. Um, and, and all the things that you said, you know, very headstrong, very opinionated. Um, and, and writer speak. I think that some people would say she is a flawed character. You know, she has a lot of these walls around here. She has a lot of defense mechanisms going on. Um, but I thought it was great the way that you revealed her backstory and once the reader does know why she is the way that she is and why she has these walls up around her, um, it really brings in a lot of understanding and empathy for her character. I felt,

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, she definitely has a lot of issues and there's always a reason for everything. So there's a reason why Leah is the way that she is. And there's also a reason why Jay is the way he is. He's not

Speaker 1:

perfect. Right, right. You know, they both have kind of, uh, well not kind of, they both have comma in their background. Um, which was nice. I mean, as a reader to kind of see them bonding over that as the story went on. Uh, because they do take, I mean there's, there's no love story that does such a one 80. Um, which was fun. It made for a fun rollercoaster.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And I think it's interesting because, um, you know, it was nothing against each other. There was nothing that Leah particularly hated about Jay from the very beginning. Maybe there were some issues later on, but, and there's nothing particular about Leah that Jay initially despised, but it was this their situation that caused them to kind of blow up and they happen to reel each other into this whole mess and it worked out. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So you talk about how, you know, in the early draft, Leah was even more, she holds then, then the version that we ended up getting, uh, as you were kind of revising her, toning her down, did you feel like you lost any part of her or did you feel like you were getting to know the real her at that point?

Speaker 3:

I think initially when I told her down, I did feel like there was some loss of character because the whole purpose of her was to just be outspoken and to be herself unapologetically herself. Um, but then when I, when I tone it down and I kind of went back, so I had to go back a couple of times and like shave off a little bit, a little bit. Um, I think as a rider, you know, when you have to revise, it kind of kills your soul. So I had to do it in stages. Um, but when I, when I read the final drafts of the opening, it was mainly the opening chapters of Leah. Um, I realized that, you know, I was able to bring out her kindness a little bit more and how she, um, how she loves people, especially her mother because that's in the very beginning, um, to show that she is a kind person underneath all this hardness. So, um, yeah, that helped me to appreciate her a little bit more. Like she does have this huge heart and I really want readers to see that.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I really loved her relationship with her mom and also Jay's, they both have really, um, heartfelt connections with their mothers. Um, which was a nice thing to read, especially as I was reading it over mother's day weekend. I was like, Oh, yay for moms. Um, I also, you also give her Leah some really great counterparts in the story, um, with her friends. She has like this really tight knit group of friends around her. Uh, and I'm a sucker for like those close female friendships in books. I always love to read about them. Um, whenever there's like a best friend story or like this gaggle of girlfriends that just like hang out and support each other and like, it just makes me want to call it my friends and be like, let's go out for margaritas or watch chick flicks.

Speaker 3:

Exactly. That's exactly what I was thinking.

Speaker 1:

You felt like you had a lot of fun writing there, their relationships, the friendships aspect.

Speaker 3:

I did. Um, some of the people and the issues and scenarios are based on real people and real experiences. But I wanted to create a group of female friends that I kind of feel, um, that I, I want whenever I see shows or they're just taking her out and they're living near drinking wine. And I was like, Oh, that must be nice. And the cheese, Jesus plays a huge part. So I thought, well, I'm going to, I need to have the scene, whether it's a wine and cheese, stray a fabulous cheese tray and, and just have girl talk and have girl talk without men being the center point of things. I mean, of course men come up because of his Jay, but have other issues in life and have that be the main point. And then to also create a kind of well-rounded group of friends because obviously, or not obviously, but when you read the book, you'll find out that Leah's friends are not like her at all and they're all a little bit different.

Speaker 3:

We have very traditional Indian in the group, there is someone who's kind of like the mama duck or the group. And then there's someone who's kind of anxiety ridden who's in the group. And then there's Leah who is just free from living her life. But the importance of the, of the female friendship is that, um, with everything that's happens around Leah with her trauma and the way society has kind of ostracized her in the book, she really had to hang on to whatever or whichever few friends that she found. And I real true friends, not people who are there just when it's going well, but people who will be there when bad things hit the fan and really support you. And I think everyone really needs a group or a few of those very, very good friends in life.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, it was, they were inspiring to read about and, and so nice to have them there to support Leah, um, and kind of act as a foil for her and her anger and her, her, you know, I mean, she's just such a loud character. Um, and I say that a great way. I really loved, but she has to fire in a spark about her. Um, but then it was nice to see that. Okay. But when she's with her friends, like she can kind of tone it down and be more of her real self. Um, which was really fun to read about. Uh, you talked about earlier how all of your books do have this, this cultural aspect, um, you know, and, and talking about, you know, the Indian culture and um, kind of tradition, traditional versus non traditional. Uh, was that kind of intentional when you were designing this, this friend group?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Um, like I mentioned, I wanted to have them like, uh, as a sort of well rounded group of friends and, and um, being part of the Indian community or this religious community, everyone is not the same. Uh, and I think maybe a lot of people believe that if you go into this type of community or society, everyone's kind of cookie cutter or believe the same things or behaves the same way. And we see within just Leah's group and actually just the characters in the book itself, you have people who are on different ends of the spectrum. You have people who are a bit of a mix of everything maybe and people who are more traditional but open-minded or close minded. And then you have people that support the right things and maybe people who want the more traditional things but kind of have a twisted view of what tradition is and seeing like nothing is really black and white.

Speaker 3:

Nothing is as actually good or bad or wrong or right. It's just how you execute things in your life. And so that was one of the things that I wanted to, to show readers, um, as well as having in the friend group that Leah is the type of person that can get along with a lot of people if she's around the right type of people. Um, and if not, then of course he's going to speak her mind that, you know, but in the community itself, there's such a diversity of Indians within the Indian community that you cannot just say it's this one type of person.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah. And I think that comes across really well. Um, I mean all of the characters are so diverse and interesting and there's a number of characters that I was like, Oh, I want to learn more about them and what are they going to be getting? Are they going to get their own book? And, um, I do want to talk about food. Um, just wanting to write a scene with a cheese plate and Oh man, it sounded like a really good cheese. It was used to play before and I have to rent a seat about, it was like, I'm taking notes, I'm taking notes on this cheese plate cause there's a part in the book and I actually wrote it down or Leah says that TexMex is her food kryptonite. Um, and for me, descriptions of food are like my book kryptonite love reading descriptions of food and you have so many great ones in this book. Um, I don't really have a question. Talk to me about how you decide. Like I'm just gonna write this lovely sounding feast and in such wonderful detail. I think it might be food or someone eating or someone bringing it up and almost every chapter

Speaker 3:

I'm always hungry and I always think, Oh, that sounds really good. And yeah, I'll text max and that. And um, I'm, you know, a couple years ago you were here in Texas in Austin and I had to take you to this sex Mexico.

Speaker 1:

It is, I have to show you. It's hard to explain, but I had to show you.

Speaker 3:

So I am constantly thinking about fooling anything. It just kind of subconsciously came off on the page. But also, um, food is something that people gather around. It's a cultural thing. It's a feel good thing. It's a moment to bond with other people. It's a moment to relax. If you're having a bad day, it's a moment to enjoy yourself and enjoy your senses. Um, food just means so much. And I think maybe that's one of the reason why there is so much food and I want people to understand what I'm feeling when I eat. And you know, people are like, what's, what's TexMex? Well it says great cuisine that I want you to savor and enjoy, even if you've never had it. I want you to kind of feel like maybe you have had this before, maybe you can really taste this food or smell this food right in this moment. And of course going back to the cheese plate and you know, my lunch,

Speaker 1:

why did she use place? Um, yes. I need readers to understand my love maybe more so than the plot itself. Maybe more so. I don't know. Priorities. Yes. Yes. Well that was actually a really smart answer to my non quest, right? I mean, food it is, it is a comfort and it is a community thing. We do gather around food and it has very deep roots. I feel like in our connections to people.

Speaker 3:

Yes. In in a book. Um, there was a couple of occasions where there's specific types of food, like there's a baby shower and there are specific types of Indian food and sweets and sweets and, uh, as one of those things in the Indian culture where you give sweets to someone, uh, when you're celebrating something like a festivity, a festival, a baby. Um, and it's also something that you eat yourself when you're, when you're, um, celebrating something. So there's a cultural significance too. And I didn't really explain it in the book, but I hope that readers pick up on that or maybe, I don't know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I think it comes across really clearly. Um, and I, I mean, I don't know if you were, I guess doing it intentionally, but the way that you do describe the food, um, you know, it adds such an element of the atmosphere and of celebrations, um, and festivities or even comfort. Um, and you know, there's some scenes in which, uh, Jay is cooking breakfast and it's just like a very, like, homey, almost domestic thing. But it just adds a really great element to those parts of the story. Yes. And I just love reading about food. Yes, definitely is hungry. I thought I've heard that from a lot of people. Um, okay, let's switch gears. You have your debut Y a contemporary coming out. Um, it was supposed to be out like this summer I think, wasn't it?

Speaker 3:

Yeah. So it was supposed to be out in August, but of course, um, some publishers push things back because of this whole pandemic thing, which is understandable.

Speaker 1:

So it's the knockout and now it's coming out in January. Did you say January, 2016. Okay. Tell people about the knockout.

Speaker 3:

So the knockouts is about a high school senior. She is Indian and feels very disconnected from her Indian roots and the culture. Um, and in the book she says you're a regular teenage girl. She has family dynamics that she's dealing with and a high school crush and all her first love, perhaps she has bullies and there's some body shaming issues that go on in the book. Um, and the thing about Corina is that she also happens to be an exception on why tie fighter, um, which is a combat sport is literally punching and fighting and elbowing and knee and people. Um, and it's seen in the more traditional community. It's not deemed as something appropriate for a girl. Um, and so she does, she feels like she has to keep that to herself because she doesn't want to be bullied or teased any further. And so in the book, she is invited to a very large and prestigious, um, uh, events and where she gets to showcase her, her skills. In order for her to do that, she really has to come to love herself and, um, um, appreciate herself and just be able to tell people that she is what she is. And that's what the book is about.

Speaker 1:

I mean, you've been writing this for a while, so I feel like I've been hearing you talk about this book for a long time. Um, and I'm so excited to read it. I have my arc, um, it's on my nightstand. I can't wait to get into it. Um, because I feel like ever since you first started talking about it, I don't know how many years ago I've just been like, this is such a great premise. Um, and I love characters that have really interesting skills. Um, and being a mom, was it my, how do you pronounce I said my tie, like the, but being a fighter. I mean, what a cool thing and I can't wait to read about that. And then did I read in your bio that you used to be, that you used to do some sort of

Speaker 3:

yes, I used to be in the, um, in mixed martial arts and, and I'm not talking about the cage fighting, you probably think of MMA, but, um, in high school I, um, I took ansorgei to martial arts class and learns five different types of martial arts and I was exposed to female wise high fighters in college. Um, which I always thought was a great, great, but it's scary thing because, well, first of all, as a fighter I was very chicken. I don't like to get hit in the face and I don't like to get punched. But as Corrina says, you know, once you get that first one out of the way, you're back in the game. You can just, you know, fight your heart out. But when I met this female fighter, um, she was super sweet and beautiful and just like, you know, very eloquent and charming and I thought that's the kind of person I would like to be friends with.

Speaker 3:

So she invited me to go see her practice and when I saw her practice Ian as being a crap people, I was like, Oh my gosh, such a multifaceted person. I would have never thought that you could combine something that is generally seen as violence with someone who has such a good nature. And that's something that I brought out with Corrina. She's a very good hearted, um, calming person and she's not running at all, but she has this passion and this skill. And as she went down the book, some of the things that she's learned through my side, because it's a very cultural sport, um, that it helps you to meditate and kind of aim all your focus and your anxieties into one thing. And bring it out in that one moment and not really carry around with you all this anger or anxiety or depression or whatever else that you're going through and creating a goes through a lot in the book.

Speaker 3:

And so this really is a form of meditation for her. Did you have to do a lot of research into this type of fighting? I did do a lot of research because I wanted to make sure that I got everything as correct as possible because as an engineer it's a cultural thing and I didn't want to, um, to offend anyone because the sport is so special that even though I've been around it and I'd been in martial arts, every, every sport or every facet of martial arts is a little bit different. And there's a very deep cultural connection and um, origins, everything that I wanted to make sure that without overbearing the reader with all the, um, the facts and the details. But I still brought that out. So yes, I did do a lot of research, I'm sure. Do you keep up with your fighting skills at all? No.

Speaker 3:

What I was writing this book, I was very inclined to go to the gym and I did for a little while, but no, I was just, yeah. You know, arthritis starts to set in and it's really hard to do roundhouse kicks. Do you feel like if you had to beat someone up, could you do it? Um, I feel that, yeah, in Texas, when you go through this or a training, you're considered a lethal weapon. So one of the things that they taught us from early on, and one of the, um, I think I believe is how kettle was one of the martial arts that I trained for teaches you how to, um, evade physical fighting. So it's more like, um, defense, but without touching, like ever touching that person or disarming a person to where you're, to where you create the most minimalistic harm on them and as well as yourself. So, you know, there's a lot of 'em you do this because it's a passion because you have personal goals, but you don't go out into the streets. You don't find someone unless you absolutely have to. But if you're so good at this and you've learned the correct things, then it, you will never have, um, deeply harmed someone else. So, but yes, I'm not about to fight.

Speaker 1:

Well it's because I, I don't, I mean you're a very calm person. I've always seen you as a very calming personality. And so I think this is very fascinating. I had no idea that you have to see you in a totally new light. I'm going to feel so safe next time. Yes. Without cheese trays. I think we do actually eat cheese every time we see each other there. Some former cheese. Yeah. Cheese and wine. I mean, yes. You know, what else do you need that much? Maybe a vegetable every now. So I want to talk about it cause you have a very kind of inspiring writing journey. Um, and I know a lot of aspiring writers listen to this podcast, um, because you, uh, you've had to switch agents and I know there's been a lot of, um, kind of uncertainty over the years about where your, your career was headed at different times. Um, and I feel like now with these two books coming out, uh, I'm just so excited and happy for you and, and the path that you're on. Um, I was just wondering if you could talk a little bit about maybe some of the struggles that you've had in your career and how you've managed to overcome them.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. Um, so I've known you since before Sandra came out and that's maybe 10 years about, um,

Speaker 1:

eight years. Eight years. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

Okay. So when cinder came out, I think, I believe I was writing and trying to get published and trying to find the agent. So that's how many years I've worked toward this release state. Um, it's, it hasn't been an easy road. Um, there was a lot of bad books written. I, I had to work on my skills, so I know that, um, I had a lot of work to do. I didn't know that at the time. I know that now looking back, okay. Every, every book that I've written, every book that didn't get published, um, taught me something new and enabled me to really focus on my skill and execution. So there was a lot of things learned and that I did receive. Um, I had two agents before and things didn't work out without going into great detail. Sometimes things just aren't meant to be and it's just best to cut your ties and move on.

Speaker 3:

Um, when I left my second agents, I kind of went into, not, not kind of, I did go into depression for about 10 months where I didn't want to write anything. I couldn't even string a sentence together. I really thought that I would never write again. Um, the creative flow just wasn't there. It was just so unbearable because of some particular things happened with this past agent and with some, with some other authors. Um, and I just really needed to focus on other things in life. Well, at that time my brother happens. Um, he had just gotten engaged and he was planning to execute this big Bollywood style wedding, which was a great Instagram photos. Yes. Oh wait, so you, um, yeah, when we get to my next book, maybe that's all about, it's all about that way.

Speaker 3:

So, um, and my family had no idea that I was going through this. I kind of, I do suffer depression and I can't and I keep it to myself and I, I know I shouldn't. And, and this is a warning to everyone out there, like if you have depression, you really find someone who understands you and will be patient with you. Because I know me suffering depression, I feel that it's a burden on others. It's kind of drains their energy or maybe they get tired of hearing about it all the time. So I suffered alone for about 10 months. Um, I try, I had a niggling of this story, the knockout in the back of my mind and I wanted to write it. Um, and I just kind of put the words together. So what my brother getting engaged, we of course has traveled halfway across the world to Dubai in India.

Speaker 3:

It's a shop because this was an extravagant one week long festivity where we have five events and clothes changing changes. And you know, we had to look the part of a big wave. So I was able to spend a lot of time with family and just kind of forget about writing for a while. When it came back, um, my depression was gone and I just started writing. I wrote the knockout and about two months and it was toward the end of the year, um, in January, right after new year's, right after the holidays, I decided that I have a very short list of agents, like very serious assignments, me, very business like, um, and I went out and queried agents. And within like two, two weeks, I had received three offers of representation. And so, um, I ended up signing with Kaitlin, um, of Jill Grunberg.

Speaker 3:

So we're agency sisters and because of, because of you, I felt that I had known Katelyn for a very long time and I just felt so comfortable with her and I knew that I would be in the right hands and that she was, um, going to look out for me as a person and as well as my career and not just one day, not just one book or anything like that. So then I signed with her. Um, but that was great. Went into the wedding, very happy. Um, and the knockout sold about nine months later around the same time that the trouble with Hadia sold. And the trouble with Hayden, he was kind of an accidental sale so it kind of came up out of the blue and that sold in a couple of weeks, whereas knockouts that um, a few months, but you know, it was just so much that happens and you and I tell people now because of the trouble with hating you being on, I never imagined that I was going to be in cosmopolitan or Oprah magazine or Apple books, top 10 debut novels to read this year or anything like that.

Speaker 3:

And so I tell people, just try, just try it one more time because you never know where you're going to end up. And I was so ready to, I had given up before the night before about the knockout and then I just wrote it and I try it again. I just got back up and kept trying. And yeah, eight years in the making, you know, trying to find the right agent. I'm trying to get published and having the right career path finally. So now that I'm going to stop,

Speaker 1:

well I'm happy that you didn't give up. Um, and I, it's been, obviously I've been kind of on the sidelines watching your journey. Uh, and so I know that there has been times when it was, you know, really hard, understandably. Um, but the trouble with hating you is such a fun book and I'm so excited about the knockout. Um, so congratulations. You're here. Okay. And since you teased it, tell us all it was wedding, but

Speaker 3:

yes. So that one, um, I also was, my brother's wedding was like the first of its kind in my family. It was very, very big and cinematic and actual production. Like there was, I remember there being a, um, a to do list, a schedule actually four pages long, front and back. Oh, these three main days of five events. And um, you know, there was, yes, he wrote in on a horse and there was, you know, a food. It's everywhere we had. Yeah, it was, it was all out. Um, and I just remember it being like such a moment in my life that I really wanted to write a story where readers could feel what I felt at that time. And so I wrote a story, um, and actually recently sold in a four house auction. Um, and yeah, I'm very excited cause of course being a writer that day and after my agent went awesome, I was convinced that it was, it was bad. This is horrible. I was ever going to sell what am I doing with my life? Um, and that book actually saw within, um, within two weeks. And so, yeah, I'm very excited to get that book out. There won't be for a while though because yeah, right.

Speaker 1:

It's just we just sold, so. Yeah. Um, and does it have a title?

Speaker 3:

Um, right now it's called my sister's big fat Indian wedding, for lack of a better title. I don't know what the final title would be. Um, I think that encompasses everything that you need to know about this book.

Speaker 1:

That's so great. Um, Oh and I also, I wanted to ask earlier, um, is the knockout currently available for preorder for people who want it?

Speaker 3:

Yes, it is available for, for preorder. Um, because it was supposed to come out this summer. So it is available. Yes. Yes.

Speaker 1:

I don't know what else I'm trying to save, but yeah, yeah, no, so people who are interested, it doesn't come out until January, but you can go ahead and order your copy now. The knockout. Um, okay. We are going to wrap this up with our happy writer lightning round.

Speaker 3:

Oh, can I say one more thing real quick? Sure. Of course. So the knockout, I'm on the cover, it has, um, you know, a fist and she has Hannah on it and I noticed that you put Hannah on last night and I have it on right now. So I just wanted to share.

Speaker 1:

Uh, we are henna solidarity looks much nicer than mine. I did it myself and yeah, it's funny. My sister in law came over, um, and did, did me and did my girls. Um, but so she did it on my ankle that I twisted and it looked so beautiful, but pretty much the students she was done or as soon as it dried, we had to wrap it up cause I have to keep this wrap on it. And so I haven't actually like all all finished. But I'll take the wrap off.

Speaker 3:

I hope I, I hope you take this stuff off by now. The little um, pace. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well if it still happens, what happens if you don't take it?

Speaker 3:

I mean this is, it's going to become an irritant in the design. These are oxidized work to darken, but also you're just going to have flakes all over your wrapping. Yeah,

Speaker 1:

yeah. No, I that is, um, anyway, cool. I'm glad for people who don't know. Um, years and years ago, uh, Sajani actually came and did henna art at one of my book launch parties. Um, I can't remember what book it was for.

Speaker 3:

Do you remember? Yeah, it was for Kress a yes. Cross. Because I remember when you were on stage, you had cut your hair.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah, no, that would have been crest then. Yeah. Yeah. And I loved that. I loved having you and people. People loved it. And we're all night long. We're coming to the signing table and showing me their beautiful henna designs. It was so fun. Yeah, that was fun. I miss you.

Speaker 3:

I know. I miss you too. It's hard to be that cause uh, you know, we used to live just a few minutes from each other and I, I could be at your house right now. Drinking wine, eating cheese.

Speaker 1:

I eating cheese that well actually. Yeah. But someday, someday. Someday. Okay. Now are you ready for the light? Yes. Okay. What book makes you happy? Oh, what makes me happy?

Speaker 3:

You know, I read this book, it was a few years back, it's called grace grows and it's a women's fiction book and it really inspired me to rights to try harder. Um, and in the book, she's very neurotic and she just finds her happiness because she comes to terms with herself. And I think that was very important to just know who you are and accept yourself. So, yeah, that book always makes me feel a little happy because it was around happy time and just encouraged me to do a lot.

Speaker 4:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

What do you do to celebrate an accomplishment?

Speaker 3:

Um, I've had a slew of good news recently and so I've gone through all the flavors of ice cream and my, um, my brother, my brother's in-laws brought over this Indian ice cream yesterday. It's called 2d Trudy. Very fun to say. Okay. It's like orange creamsicle with crunchy gummy bears in it and yes, there's a lot of ice cream and there's a lot of ice cream involved. Crunchy gummy bears. It's kind of, um, it's, it's a gummy, but it is very thin. We slice and like little specks of it, but because it's in the ice cream, it ends up being a little crunchy. It's very good. If you, if you can find it at the end of the store, it, you should try it. Tutti Frutti Tutti Frutti how do you feel the creative? Well, I read, um, if I started reading a book and I enjoy it, I, I cannot just enjoy a book anymore. I ended up analyzing it. I am, I ended up thinking in my head, um, you know, dialogue in my own book from my own work in progress. Um, yeah. So I read to get the juices flowing and I also watch movies or shows in that genre, but mainly reading.

Speaker 1:

What advice would you give to help someone become a happier writer?

Speaker 3:

I would say to not compare yourself to anyone else. There's always going to be someone who's doing more or making more or seems ahead of you in some way. Um, and, and to appreciate and celebrate all the little things because it is a lot of hard work and you should celebrate every step.

Speaker 4:

Okay.

Speaker 1:

Lastly, where can people find you?

Speaker 3:

Um, I am on Twitter at [inaudible] Patel books. I'm also on Instagram, just started Instagram account. Um, and I have a website [inaudible] dot com and when things are better, maybe you'll find me at a bookstore.

Speaker 1:

Thank you so much for joining me. It was so great to get to talk to you so much. Happy readers. Definitely check out the trouble with hating you, which is out now. And keep your eye out for the knockout coming this January. And of course, if you can, we always encourage you to support your local indie bookstore. Please be sure to subscribe to this podcast. So you will always be in the know about new episodes and you can find me on Instagram at Marissa Meyer, author and at happy writer podcast. Until next time, stay healthy, stay cozy, and your bunkers and whatever life throws at you today. I do hope that now you are feeling a little

Speaker 2:

[inaudible].