Today I have someone exciting on the blog, someone I hugely admire and love, whose books I take absolute delight in. Of course, you’ve read the title of this blog post… Today I’m talking to the author of desi YA rom-coms, Sandhya Menon 🙂
I have, not so subtly, expressed my undying love for Sandhya and her books in the past, with my favourite being There’s Something About Sweetie. But this time, Sandhya seems to be delving into something different with her new fairytale retelling series set in a boarding school called St. Rosetta’s Academy.
The first book in this series, titled Of Curses and Kisses is a Beauty and the Beast retelling starring Princess Jaya and Lord Grey Emerson, coming out on the 18th of this month!
Synopsis: Will the princess save the beast?
For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right?
His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…
As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending.
I have had the advantage of getting an ARC of this book and let me tell you, I had an absolutely wonderful time and will be posting my review of Of Curses and Kisses on my blog very soon!
But until then, let’s get chatting with Sandhya Menon 🙂
Q/A WITH SANDHYA MENON
So, how did you get the idea for Of Curses and Kisses?
It came to me one night while my family and I were staying in a hotel in Colorado. This was about four years ago now, and I was still working on When Dimple Met Rishi. But I sat bolt upright in my bed in the middle of the night and scrabbled to write down something in Jaya’s (the female main character’s) voice. I had no idea at the time who was talking or what the story was about, but what I wrote down became chapter one in the book. After I got some sleep, I spent more time thinking about it and realized this was a boarding school-set story about modern-day royals. The “Beauty and the Beast contemporary retelling” part came still later! Of Curses and Kisses was very much an evolving idea in progress until I sold it to my publisher as a trilogy.
Oh wow, that sounds like a very unique and exciting process. But why did you want to write this story?
I’ve always been a huge, huge fan of boarding school-set novels. At the time the idea came to me, I was completely enamoured of Gossip Girl and fairy tale retellings, too, and thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a series that encapsulated all of these feelings and ideas but was a more diverse representation of the population than we’ve had in the past?” And then I went, “Waiiiit a minute…I’m an author!” Also, I got to go to Aspen to do book research, which is always a plus in my book!
Haha, the perks of being an author! What was your favourite scene in the story?
There were a few scenes that I absolutely ADORED writing! Let’s see… the first meeting in the library, the hot tub scene, the middle-of-the-night snowball fight, any scene with Caterina and Rahul or Isha in it! So many. 🙂
Ooh, I absolutely adore Isha and Caterina! Speaking of favourites, What’s your favourite fairy tale?
I love the classic Disney ones—Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, The Frog Prince, and Sleeping Beauty are a few I really cherish!
Hmm, my favourite has to be Rapunzel or Tangled, whichever version you prefer. So that’s it, hope you all enjoyed this lovely little chat with Sandhya Menon. But before you go, I have some special moodboards that I curated for our two main characters of Of Curses and Kisses 🙂
“Sometimes I get very tired of being who other people think I am”
“He was an empty hull of a wrecked ship; shattered and adrift”
How excited are you for Of Curses and Kisses? Is it on your TBR yet?
What is your favourite fairytale?
Do you like fairytale retellings? I love them when they’re done right! Leave some recs for me in the comments below 🙂