Post breakup, seeking solace and a good laugh in a rom-com is par-for-the-course. So when former entertainment reporter and communications professional, Sonya Singh, couldn’t find anything that represented her South Asian background, she decided she would roll up her sleeves and write her own.
Fast foward to April 5, 2022, Singh releases her debut novel “Sari not Sari” and the industry has been abuzz with accolades and praise ever since.
Scheduled to pen the first ever South Asian Hallmark holiday movie, Singh is blazing a trail, and this talented author is only just getting started.
What was the catalyst for your debut novel “Sari, Not Sari”?
Certainly, going through my own dating woes and not seeing stories in the pages I was reading of characters that looked like me was a catalyst. But I also wanted to tell a story of self-discovery with a strong South Asian lead in a fun role, and what can be more fun than owning your own breakup agency!
How did writing this story affect you?
It really gave me an opportunity to take a step back and appreciate my self-discovery journey as a South Asian woman, which happened later in life. It also gave me an appreciation for some of the struggles I battled growing up to try to fit in when I looked so “different”. Before writing this book I had never really understood just how difficult it was for me growing up and really trying to find a middle ground between being South Asian and growing up in Canada. I dug into some buried emotions and feelings which later surfaced in Sari, Not Sari.
Your book launch has been a great success. How does it feel to be included in the Toronto Star’s top 10 list of Canadian fiction?
Unbelievable! The book was on the bestseller list for 2 weeks in a row and also made the Romance list in Canada with authors like Emily Henry, Colleen Hoover and Ali Hazelwood. These are some of the OG’s of chick lit! It was truly an honour to see just how much support I was receiving from Canadian readers.
Have you seen a shift in the media’s portrayal of BIPOC love stories in the last few years?
It has been slow, and although the shift is there, I think we need to move the needle a lot more. For some reason it is just taking a little longer than I would like, in literature.
You signed an exciting deal to write the first ever South Asian holiday film for Hallmark. Congratulations! How does that feel?
It feels surreal. No one else does Christmas better than Hallmark so this is truly an honour for me to partner with the best in the business. Hallmark is giving me this opportunity to share a story that is authentic to my Indian Heritage and sprinkled with Christmas – could it get any better? …I really don’t think so!
What is the most important thing for you to bring to that film script?
A story that comes from my point of view. It is really important for me to share South Asian stories that I have experienced versus the stereotypes we often see. I want to share genuine and authentic stories that make people laugh and learn.
What would you say is your mission with both your book and the film?
To tell authentic and genuine South Asian stories based on experiences that have happened to me versus stereotypes. My culture and my heritage are very important to me, and my mission is to keep telling these stories and making people feel seen.
With a successful debut novel and film now in the works, what else do you have on the horizon?
I have a 2-book international deal with Simon & Schuster in the UK and am currently writing The Fake Matchmaker, another South Asian rom-com. I am also writing a third called Indian Summer. It’s going to take place in the Hamptons.
How can our audience get in touch with you?