Tell us about your book.
Big Bad Wolf is my mass-market paperback debut, though I’ve been published with small presses and publishing independently since 2011. It’s a steamy paranormal romance set in a post-2016 America where supernatural beings have more or less integrated with human society but face the same challenges as other marginalized communities. In the middle of this tense climate is jailed vigilante Joe Peluso, a wolf shifter, and lawyer Neha Ahluwalia…who’s supposed to gain insight from him to help his case but ends up gaining so much more! Especially when they go on the run from his enemies! It was important to me to write something bonkers and sexy and center a South Asian American woman in it. We deserve to have those stories, too!
What advice do you have for aspiring writers & creators from marginalized backgrounds?
Keep going. Don’t ever give up. Even if your own internal voice is filling you with doubts. I have wanted to be an author my whole life. And being an artsy person in an API community can be difficult. We’re often pressured to pursue more “stable” fields or to be “established.” Well, I’d like to think I’ve established myself as a writer! It took time. It took dedication. It took detours into fields that ultimately weren’t for me. But I got here. You can, too.
What are you currently reading?
I’m currently reading advanced copies of Learned Reactions by Jayce Ellis and Incense and Sensibility by Sonali Dev.
What superpower would you like to have?
I think writing is my superpower. Or making people laugh. Because both of those things have kept me alive.
How do you deal with critiques of your work?
I try to remember that once you’ve finished something and put it out into the world, it’s out of your hands. It’s there for someone else to interpret and react to. That doesn’t mean a review can’t hurt my feelings or make me mad, but I have to keep going. And it helps if they don’t tag me in the critique! The only time I really push back at critiques is when they’re racist or microaggressive in some way. Because that’s not about my craft, not about my skill as a storyteller, but about me and who I am.
If you went on a desert island and could only bring two things, what would you bring?
A boat and someone to pilot it! I don’t know why people don’t ever pick that as an answer—or why the Professor from Gilligan’s Island could make a radio out of coconuts but couldn’t patch a hole in the Minnow!