Curious to know how novels are adapted for TV and film? Or what book packaging is and how it fits into the publishing process? How about best practices for creative collaboration? We dive into it and more with Sona Charaipotra!
Sona is the author of her upcoming solo debut, Symptoms of a Heartbreak, and the co-author of Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces. In addition to writing novels, Sona also worked as a celebrity reporter and editor at People and TeenPeople magazine and contributed to publications like the New York Times and TeenVogue. She’s also the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company.
In our conversation, she shares how she came to be a storyteller through screenwriting and fiction writing. We dive into how she adapts novels for film and TV along with a peek into her screenwriting process. She shares her thoughts on how our streaming culture creates space for YA and diverse content to thrive and reach wider audiences. We unpack CAKE Literary, from discussing what book packaging is and where it fits into the publishing process, to digging deep into CAKE’s mission on creating organic diversity through high-concept reads. Further into our conversation, we talk best practices for listeners interested in co-authoring and seeking writing partners. Sona also gives us a snapshot of her highly anticipated novel Symptoms of a Heartbreak, and shares her best tips on overcoming writer’s block!
Books and resources:
Monsoon Wedding directed by Mira Nair
Bend It Like Beckham directed by Gurinder Chadha
Author and Co-Founder of CAKE Literary Dhonielle J. Clayton
Bridget Jones’s Diary directed by Sharon Maguire
Bombay Talkie by Ameena Meer
Author Andrea Davis Pinkney
TV show Doogie Howser, M.D. directed by
TV show The Mindy Project created by Mindy Kaling
TV show Grey’s Anatomy created by Shonda Rhimes
On Writing by Stephen King
Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
Story Engineering by Larry Brooks
The Hero’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
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Check out these highlights:
- Sona shares the heartwarming story of how she fell in love with storytelling (6:20)
- She explains the importance of expression and representation on the shelves (10:00)
- We dive deep into Sona’s career path starting with journalism and screenwriting and onto her fiction writing (17:05)
- A look into the process of adapting novels for TV and film (20:15)
- How our streaming culture creates more and more room for diverse and inclusive content (24:30)
- Sona talks all about CAKE Literary: how it came fruition and how they achieve their mission of lift diverse voices in the publishing world (29:10)
- What is book packaging and how it fits into the publishing process (32:15)
- We get a sneak peek into how CAKE Literary works with their authors (38:30)
- Sona shares her best practices for a successful writing partnership when co-authoring a novel (41:00)
- She gives a snapshot of her solo debut novel Symptoms of a Heartbreak (47:30)
- Steps you can take to break away from writer’s block (56:15)
- Habits to improve your productivity in your creative pursuits (57:30)
“You have stories to tell, so we want you to tell them.”
“Absorbing story is a great way to start unraveling your own.”
“The reach that streaming has now has changed the way we all function as consumers. It’s definitely a place for YA culture to live. I think it’s profound the way it’s changed things and I think that also it gives us so much room for diversity and inclusion because those audiences are hungry for that content.”
“I think two brains are usually better than one. So if we can talk out the story, we can usually figure out what the right solution is and sometimes it’s a meld of what both of us are talking about, sometimes it’s one person’s take, sometimes it’s the other person’s take. You give it time, you talk about it, and you figure it out.”
“Focusing on what you actually need to prioritize I think is really helpful. It’s easy to put off the things that actually need to get done to move to the next step.”
Say “Hi” To Sona Charaipotra
Learn more about Symptoms of a Heartbreak:
Fresh from med school, sixteen-year-old medical prodigy Saira arrives for her first day at her new job: treating children with cancer. She’s always had to balance family and friendships with her celebrity as the Girl Genius—but she’s never had to prove herself to skeptical adult co-workers while adjusting to real life-and-death stakes. And working in the same hospital as her mother certainly isn’t making things any easier.
But life gets complicated when Saira finds herself falling in love with a patient: a cute teen boy who’s been diagnosed with cancer. And when she risks her brand new career to try to improve his chances, it could cost her everything.
It turns out “heartbreak” is the one thing she still doesn’t know how to treat.
Learn more about Sona Charaipotra
The author of the upcoming YA doc dramedy Symptoms of a Heartbreak, Sona Charaipotra is not a doctor — much to her pediatrician parents’ chagrin. They were really hoping she’d grow up to take over their practice one day. Instead, she became a writer, working as a celebrity reporter and editor at People and (the dearly departed) TeenPeople magazines, and contributing to publications from the New York Times to TeenVogue. These days, she uses her Masters in screenwriting from NYU and her MFA in creative writing from the New School to poke plot holes in her favorite teen TV shows, like Riverdale — for work of course. She’s the co-founder of CAKE Literary, a boutique book packaging company with a decidedly diverse bent, and the co-author (with Dhonielle Clayton) of the YA dance dramas Tiny Pretty Things and Shiny Broken Pieces, as well as the upcoming psychological thriller The Rumor Game.