I know this post is crazy late. Blame it on strep if you must. But it is finally here! If you follow me on any of my social media sites, you already know my news. I sold 2 YA books to Crown and option rights to Susan Cartsonis and Gurinder Chadha. It’s amazing. It’s totally exciting. And just so I can make sure it’s real, here is the announcement one more time:
Nisha Sharma’s MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE, a multicultural teen romance about a Bollywood film groupie who’s dumped by her boyfriend via Facebook status as senior year begins, and an additional untitled YA novel, to Phoebe Yeh at Crown Children’s, for publication in Spring 2016, by Antonella Iannarino at David Black Literary Agency (World English). Film rights optioned to Producer Susan Cartsonis (AQUAMARINE, BEASTLY, THE DUFF) for filmmakers Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda-Berges (BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM; ANGUS, THONGS AND PERFECT SNOGGING) to adapt. Cartsonis, Chadha, and Mayeda-Berges will produce together through their companies Storefront Pictures and Bend It Films.
How did this happen you might ask? Well, years of work, really. I wrote an incarnation of this book back in law school and then completely scrapped it. I tried again when I started my masters in creative writing in 2012 but with a whole new story line, characters, everything. The new version seemed to stick.
‘My So-Called Bollywood Life’ isn’t my first book, though. To be completely frank, my publishing journey has never been one of those quick sales kinda tales. My agent Antonella Iannarino has been a blessing for almost three years. She stuck by me when my first YA that we went out with didn’t get off the ground in 2011 (after months of edits, and nearly 2 years on submission with editors!)
Luckily, ‘My So-Called Bollywood Life’ wasn’t like my first YA in the sense of how long everything took to come to fruition. I finished it up for my masters, thanks to my professor Cecilia Galante. Then, another professor at the school who worked in film, Susan Cartsonis, reached out to me on Facebook to ask if she could read it since she heard it was finished. I sent her the manuscript, and two weeks later, she asked if she could show it to Gurinder Chadha.
I felt like I was on FIRE, but alas, when Gurinder Chadha came back, she came back with edits. So I did the edits. Susan and Gurinder took what felt to me was an eternity to make a decision, but after reading my edits, they agreed to buy it!
Yeah, that’s me and Gurinder over brunch. Being all chummy. I was so awkward there.
Anyway, Antonella and I decided to go out with the book at that point. We started submitting in mid March and we thought, yes! This will surely sell! But no. Some people are dunderheads and still shy away from diverse books because they claim they don’t know what to do with them. Well, they’re just like every other book so…yeah. I couldn’t see the problem.
And neither could Phoebe Yeh who loved Bollywood and who was uber excited about the book and read it in two days! But then she went away to some huge conference and we had to wait until she got back for an official offer.
Which I accepted after she and I had a super long conversation about dystopian YA, romance novels and immigrant parents.
Isn’t Phoebe adorbs? Love her.
Okay now that this post has become incredibly long, I think it’s time to wrap it up with a simple takeaway: I love writing. I spent years doing it without any payoff. But now that I see this milestone achievement in my life? I’m going to take a moment to stop and thank everyone around me who has been supportive when I was doing this without those payoffs. People like my sister who is annoying as hell, but stands by me when everyone else questions my decisions. People like my Freshman year college roommate Ali who always has time for me even when I know she’s so tired after a really long day of work. Then there are my other writer friends like Lauren, Diane, Becky, Charity and countless others that I can’t even begin to say thanks to.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the years of cheering and pats on the back, and shoulders to lean on when I needed them the most. I can’t wait to share my books with you. I think you’ll like them.
And that’s a wrap! Stay fresh, guys.