How Sandhya Menon Sits Down & Writes

'Make Up Break Up' is a delightful enemies-to-lovers story set in the start-up industry that has equal parts heat and heart.

Love, romance, second chances, fairy-tale endings…these are the things Annika Dev believes in. Her app, Make Up, has been called the “Google Translate for failing relationships.”

High efficiency break-ups, flashy start-ups, penthouses, fast cars…these are the things Hudson Craft believes in. His app, Break Up, is known as the “Uber for break-ups.” It’s wildly successful—and anathema to Annika’s life philosophy.

Which wouldn’t be a problem if they’d gone their separate ways after that summer fling in Las Vegas, never to see each other again. Unfortunately for Annika, Hudson’s moving not just into her office building, but into the office right next to hers. And he’ll be competing at the prestigious EPIC investment pitch contest: A contest Annika needs to win if she wants to keep Make Up afloat. As if it’s not bad enough seeing his irritatingly perfect face on magazine covers when her own business is failing. As if knowing he stole her idea and twisted it into something vile—and monumentally more successful—didn’t already make her stomach churn.

As the two rival app developers clash again and again—and again—Annika finds herself drawn into Hudson Craft’s fast-paced, high velocity, utterly shallow world. Only, from up close, he doesn’t seem all that shallow. Could it be that everything she thought about Hudson is completely wrong? Could the creator of Break Up teach her what true love’s really about?

Make Up Break Up is perfect for fans of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne.

We chatted with Sandhya Menon (Lily Menon) about being a reformed panstser, about learning how to finish things, and about the enemies-to-lovers trope.

A post shared by Sandhya/Lily Menon (@sandhyamenonbooks)

Q: Where do you like to write the most?

In my office, surrounded by things that make me happy (like my framed book covers, candles, bright rugs and pillows, and my dog!).

Q: When do you like to write the most?

Definitely mid-morning to early afternoon.

Q: When it comes to drafting, do you prefer writing on a computer or freehand?

Scrivener all the way!

Q: Are you more of a plotter or pantser?

I’m a reformed pantser. I truly love having a well plotted novel now! Saves me a lot of time.

Q: Stephen King has a great line in On Writing that says “the scariest moment is always right before you start. After that, things can only get better.” That scary pre-start moment often inspires procrastination in writers. Suddenly, you have to clean your entire house, do the laundry and play Candy Crush for an hour before you can actually start writing. Is there anything you need to do before you can actually sit down and work?

I definitely need to workout and eat breakfast before I begin writing for the day. It makes me feel productive before I’ve even written a single word!

Q: Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what music? Is your choice of music inspired by the project you’re working on?

I like lofi music with no words in it. I also sometimes like ambient sounds.

Q: Some writers believe you have to write every single day. Is that true of your process? How often do you write/how long for each session?

Definitely not true. I think having built-in time off in your schedule is essential to refill your creative well. I like to go by word counts during writing sessions, and I usually aim for 1500-2000 words per day.

Q: What’s one piece of advice you’d give an aspiring author?

Learn how to finish things. Start off by writing a piece of micro-fiction a day, then progress to short stories, novellas, etc. to build up that confidence and learn how to structure stories from beginning, middle, to end.

Q: Where do you normally find story inspiration?

Target. ;) No, really, inspiration is all around me! I just have to keep my eyes and my writer’s heart open, cheesy as that sounds.


Q: This is your debut adult novel - what was it like going from writing YA to writing adult romance? How did this change your writing process?

I found it so freeing to write adult romance after having written 5 YA novels. I take writing for teens as a very serious responsibility, and not having that same thought process going into adult romance writing was amazing. 

Q: The setting against tech startups was an interesting choice, but also perfect for a sexy rivalry. What made you want to write in this setting?

Nothing says “modern romance” to me more than a tech setting, and writing a female CEO of a tech startup was just too delicious a choice to pass up!

Q: The sexual tension between Annika and Hudson is palpable. Do you have any writing tricks to keep the tension building? 

Thank you! I think the most important thing is that you have to know your characters intimately. Once you know what truly drives them, you know what they’d find attractive in another person. And once you know that, you can play all sorts of sexy games in your books. ;)

Q: Enemies-to-lovers is a beloved romantic trope. What made you want to write your own version of this? What are some of your favorite enemies-to-lovers books?  

I’ve been dying to write an adult enemies-to-lovers romance forever! I’ve tackled this in my YA books before, but I really wanted to see what I could do in an adult setting and it was just as much fun as I’d hoped it’d be! 

My favorite enemies-to-lovers books are The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory, and Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston!

Q: What's the last romance you read that kept you swooning?

I’m currently reading Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore and it’s amazing!

Pick up your copy of Make Up Break Up at, Barnes & Noble, or IndieBound. Happy reading!

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