Radhika Sanghani is a twenty-four-year-old journalist. She works full-time for the Daily Telegraph’s Women’s section, where she writes about politics, health and women’s trends. She grew up in London but spent time working in Chile and Barcelona. She studied English Literature at University College London, followed it up with a master’s in journalism at City University London and now spends all of her time writing.
The Poetics Project: Describe your novel in ten words or less.
Radhika Sanghani: Virginity, vaginas, pubes and some feminism.
TPP: What inspired you to write VIRGIN?
RS: Real life. So much of it is based on what I saw around me when I was at university, and hilarious stories my very honest friends have told me. The plot itself is completely fiction, but the feelings, the pressures and the sexual expectations are all things that young women face today.
TPP: What do you want readers to take away from your novel?
RS: I want them to laugh. My one goal is to entertain my readers – but I do think there’s a message in there about ignoring everyone else and living your life for you. These social pressures do exist, but at the end of the day, it’s about doing what makes you happy – even if that means getting your pubes waxed in a back alley.
TPP: There are two covers for your novel. What was the decision making behind that? Did you have any say when it came to the cover art?
RS My publishers and I thought that the different covers would appeal to all the different readers that Virgin could have. Age-wise, I think younger readers would relate to the sexual pressures, but older women could also look back at their own lives and maybe remember their own similar experiences. We also thought that the ‘girl’ one might appeal to men – if they’re brave enough to read it!
TPP: What advice can you give aspiring authors? What advice do you wish you would have been given?
RS: I think my main advice is to just do it. Stop planning – or making excuses – and write the damn thing. You can deal with everything else once it’s written. Also, make sure you’re writing for yourself. If you start thinking of who your audience are and target markets, it won’t feel natural. Ignore all that and just write whatever you want to.
I wish I’d just known more practical info! I ended up learning how to get an agent and start the whole process just by googling ‘what to do when you’ve written a book.’ I did eventually figure out what to do, but it would have been amazing if someone had just explained what an initial submission looked like.
TPP: Name 2-3 songs that would be on a soundtrack to VIRGIN?
RS: I’d have ‘This Is What Makes Us Girls’ by Lana Del Rey, ‘Watch Me Shine’ from Legally Blonde just because Ellie does get her shine on and ‘F*** You’ by Lily Allen. Incidentally, these are all on my Feminist Playlist on my iTunes.
To learn more about Radhika Sanghani, visit her website!