Every Tuesday, get to know a bit about the stories behind the books you love, and discover your next favourite novel.
Sabitha: Today we have Sally Basmajian, eager to tell us about her romantic comedy, So Hard to Do. If it’s not too hard to do, could you please tell us a bit about your new novel?
Sally: It’s a fast-paced, contemporary novel. The cast is diverse, a few characters being on the autism spectrum. The plot revolves around the twisted love triangle of a middle-aged mother and her adult daughter who unknowingly fall for the same man. Tension and comedy build as they blunder their way forward, both convinced that they’ve found true love.
Sabitha: What inspired you to write the book?
Sally: In my immediate family, there are individuals who are neurodiverse, and I thought it would be interesting to explore a fictional dating world where the players may struggle for acceptance, but ultimately find their happy endings. I wanted readers to be entertained at the same time as they gained a heightened awareness of the challenges faced by people with ASD. Plus, when you think of it, don’t we all bumble along when we try to make our romantic lives work? As my older heroine, Suze, remarks, “We’re all on the spectrum when it comes to looking for love.”
Sabitha: If you could pick any author to read your book, who would you want to read it? Why them?
Sally: For sure, I’d love Sophie Kinsella to read it. She’s got such a light, optimistic touch with her romances, and a great sense of humor, too. Given my overdeveloped sense of the ridiculous, I also think that either Stephen Leacock or Terry Pratchett, if only either of them were alive, would “get” my jokes. I certainly like to believe they would!
Night Beats: We all love Terry Pratchett! Which character do you relate to the most, and why?
Sally: My favorite character is the delightful Lola Devine. She sprang fully-formed directly onto the pages, without any conscious planning or analysis from me. She’s an outrageous but caring soul—the kind of staunch supporter I’d love to have in my real life. Could it be that all those RuPaul’s Drag Race episodes I’ve watched spawned this Amazonian goddess of a fairy godmother?
Sabitha: Was there any music that inspired you while you were writing?
Sally: I didn’t consciously incorporate music, but it certainly ripples throughout the story. I’ve captured many of the songs that reflect the characters on a playlist, which I’ve posted on my website. They range from Neil Sedaka to Sir Mix-a-Lot. My own educational background was in Music History, but please don’t expect any of the classical masters to appear on this particular list!
Sabitha: What a fun collection! What do you most want your readers to take away from reading your book?
Sally: I want them to laugh out loud as they follow the paths of my two main characters. I want them to feel as if they’re out on a lark with some extremely fun companions. But also, I want them to walk away with a greater sense of understanding for those on the autism spectrum. Just last week, one of my advance review copy readers approached me, saying she wanted to thank me for giving her hope that her twelve-year-old grandson, who is on the spectrum, may be able to navigate our great big, scary world one day and succeed in work and love. Nothing—praise or criticism—can ever mean more to me than that.
Sabitha: That sounds both fun and deeply meaningful. What a wonderful thing. Where can our readers find you and your book?
Sally: You can find my novel at the universal link. I’m on Instagram and TikTok, and I dabble in Twitter and Facebook, plus I’ve got a website. Thanks very much, and please drop by!