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Sonya Lalli reflects on the ‘good Indian girl’ trope and the joy of writing in different genres [The Next Chapter]

Recently Sonya Lalli spoke with The Next Chapter’s Ali Hassan about exploring cultural expectations.

Sonya Lalli is known for writing romantic novels that centre South Asian families and experiences. In 2022, she published a thriller called Are You Sara? under the pen name “S.C. Lalli” which diverted from her stories with happier endings, but carried through a recurring question of what it means to be a “good Indian girl.”

Are You Sara? revolves around a case of mistaken identity. When two women, each named Sara, get into separate rideshares one fateful night, one of them is murdered. But when the surviving Sara realizes that she might have actually been the target, it sets off a mystery involving race, class and ambition. 

In 2023, Lalli released her latest romance novel, Jasmine and Jake Rock the Boat, a humorous romance novel about Jasmine and the unexpected companionship she finds in her childhood friend Jake Dhillon – who happens to be the other only young person on a seniors’ cruise.

Lalli is a Punjabi and Bengali writer based in Vancouver. Her other novels include A Holly Jolly Diwali, Grown-Up Pose and The Matchmaker’s List

She joined The Next Chapter‘s Ali Hassan to talk about how her writing across genres is both similar and varied.

Read the full interview or listen to the audio recording here.