S3 Ep 3 – The Vibrant Years

Welcome to this week’s True Fiction Project Podcast. Today, I have the honor of speaking with Sonali Dev, Best Selling Indian American Romance Novelist and author of her new book, The Vibrant Years. The Vibrant Years is the first book released by actress Mindy Kaling’s new publishing imprint, Mindy’s Book Studio. Sonali’s book describes the everyday world of Indian American women. Using her storytelling magic to explore deeper questions about women’s self-reliance and the fight for empowerment by underrepresented, often unheard voices.  
Sonali talks about the way of life from past generations to her daughter’s generations, noting the differences in choices available to each generation. Sonali discusses the brave choice immigrants make to migrate, whether the choice comes from wanting to seek adventure and exploration, or through necessity or tragedy. At the end of the episode, listen to an excerpt of The Vibrant Years, where we follow Cullie, Alisha and Bindu, three generations of Indian American women, discuss the modern dating scene and walk the precarious line between traditional expectations and twenty-first century aspirations.   

[3:03] What did Sonali mean by the title The Vibrant Years? 

[6:33] What does Sonali mean by the fact that women can now live the way they want? 

[11:13] How would the story have been different if the characters didn’t come from a family of immigrants?   

[14:34] How are women conditioned to believe things and being told what to do? 

[17:56] Was Sonali’s book inspired by real-life circumstances?  

[23:32] How her grandma’s life and experiences played into her book. 

[29:52] Why did Mindy Kaling choose to release this book under her imprint? 

[32:23] An excerpt from The Vibrant Years by Sonali Dev. 


This generation has the choice to do a variety of things that the previous generation didn’t have the ability to choose from. The opportunities available are double-edged on if they are for the better or not.  

An immigrant has an inherent value to adventure, a sense of restlessness, and a belief that they can change their life if they choose. Their hearts are in their choices.  

An author’s real-life experiences can often be found in their fiction writing. Many aspects of The Vibrant Years tied in to things that Sonali had gone through or that her grandmother’s experienced.  

Fiction Credits: 
Story written and read by: Sonali Dev 

USA Today bestselling author Sonali Dev writes Bollywood-style love stories that explore universal issues. Her novels have been named Best Books of the Year by Library Journal, NPR, the Washington Post, and Kirkus. She has won numerous accolades, including the American Library Association’s award for best romance, the RT Reviewer Choice Award for best contemporary romance, multiple RT Seals of Excellence, has been a RITA® finalist, and has been listed for the Dublin Literary Award. Shelf Awareness calls her “Not only one of the best but one of the bravest romance novelists working today.” Sonali lives in Chicagoland with her husband, two visiting adult children, and the world’s most perfect dog. Find more at sonalidev.com. 
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