Award-winning journalist and author Radhika Sanghani discusses how her own self-love journey inspired her to write her new novel, 30 Things I Love About Myself.

Radhika Sanghani is an award-winning journalist and author based in London. She writes features for publications like the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and Grazia. Her two previous novels, Virgin and Not That Easy, were published in 13 countries worldwide, with Virgin made into an online TV series. Radhika is also a body positive campaigner, and founded the #sideprofileselfie movement to celebrate big noses. 30 Things I Love About Myself is her third novel.

Radhika Sanghani

Photo by S.E.B.C. Photography 2021

Name: Radhika Sanghani
Literary agent: Madeleine Milburn
Book title: 30 Things I Love About Myself
Publisher: Berkley
Release date: January 4, 2022
Genre/category: Contemporary fiction
Previous titles: Virgin and Not That Easy
Elevator pitch for the book: When Nina’s life hits rock bottom on her 30th birthday, she goes on a journey to find thirty things she loves about herself.

In this post, Radhika discusses how her own self-love journey inspired her to write her new novel, 30 Things I Love About Myself, what humor means to her in life and in her work, and more!

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What prompted you to write this book?

My own self-love journey! I decided I needed to love myself after a break-up in my late 20s, and it completely changed my life. I realized I’d been holding myself back my whole life by constantly criticizing myself, and when I loved myself, I was able to enjoy the process as much as the results. It made me so much happier (and it was so hilarious at times) that I knew I wanted to share it with the world. That was the start of 30 Things I Love About Myself.

How long did it take to go from idea to publication? And did the idea change during the process?

I wrote the book in the summer of 2019 after suggesting it to my agent, and then I got my book deal less than a year later, so it all flowed fairly quickly.

The idea didn’t really change, but along the way I decided to give lots more space to Nina’s family—her geeky depressed brother Kal and her narcissistic critical mum Rupa—rather than just focusing on her as an individual. Her work to improve her relationships with her family led to some of my favorite scenes in the book.

Were there any surprises or learning moments in the publishing process for this title?

It was hard when I found out that the book I wrote in 2019 wouldn’t be out in the world until 2022. But I also trusted my publishers that this was the right time for us to publish, rather than rushing to do it a year earlier, and it ended up being perfect because it meant I didn’t have to publish my book during the year of COVID. I’m so used to journalism where things are so fast, but I’m learning to enjoy the more relaxed pace of publishing.

Were there any surprises in the writing process for this book?

The most surprising thing for me was how fun and joyful the writing process was! I recently reread the journals I’d written during that period, and all I ever said was how much I loved writing 30 Things, how fun it was sitting in my favorite cafes laughing at the jokes I was writing, and how proud I was of what I was creating.

My love for the writing process is something I’m trying to connect with again; now I’m working on my fourth novel. It’s a bit more challenging this time, but knowing how much I loved writing 30 Things is inspiring me to keep connecting with the love I have for writing, and to keep having fun with what I’m creating.

What do you hope readers will get out of your book?

I so hope that it inspires my readers. I know my novel is fiction not self-help, but I think I have the same motives with 30 Things that a self-help author might have: I want all the lessons I’ve learnt in my life to help my readers. It would mean so much to me if Nina’s story sparks self-love journeys for my readers, or if some of the wisdom she learns about managing to ride the uncertain waves of life helps people navigate similar challenges in their own lives.

But I also hope that it makes people laugh! Humor is so important for me in how I live my life, and my favorite compliment to receive is when readers tell me how much my book made them laugh.

If you could share one piece of advice with other authors, what would it be?

To really believe in what you’re writing and to have fun with it. So many artists talk about how tough it is to create, and it’s true that it can be incredibly tough. But I think writing can also be an amazingly light, fun, joyous process—especially if the writer believes in what they’re writing.

I try to celebrate everything I write, rather than instantly criticizing it. Because if I don’t think it’s great, then why should someone else?

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