Episode 118 Notes and Links to SJ Sindu’s Work
On Episode 118 of The Chills at Will Podcast, Pete welcomes SJ Sindu, and the two discuss, among other things, her early days of reading and writing (fan fic!) after immigrating to the States from Sri Lanka, the ways in which the books she read and the writing she did as an adolescent informed her later work, encouraging professors and formative moments and texts read, Tamil and its lyricism, her early writing that came from her thesis, and themes and myth and religious texts connected to her standout novel Blue Skinned Gods.
SJ Sindu, a Tamil diaspora author of two literary novels, two hybrid chapbooks, and a forthcoming graphic novel. Her first novel, Marriage of a Thousand Lies, won the Publishing Triangle Edmund White Award and was a Stonewall Honor Book and a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. Sindu’s second novel, Blue-Skinned Gods, was published to high praise in November 2021 by Soho Press. A 2013 Lambda Literary Fellow, Sindu teaches at the University of Toronto Scarborough.
SJ Sindu's Website
Buy Blue-Skinned Gods
“Blue-Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu review – a moving tale of the allure of superstition” from The Guardian
Article on "The Blue Fugates of Kentucky"
At about 2:20, Sindu talks about moving to the US from Sri Lanka, and how cable and the library helped her learn English and explore her reading and writing skills
At about 4:30, Sindu talks about moving on to "adult reading" after finding kids lit a bit lacking
At about 5:40, Sindu talks about her fan fiction writing for LiveJournal and the “addiction” and “tunnel vision”
At about 7:00, Sindu discusses the Disney fare that informed her early years
At about 7:55, Pete recounts bad memories associated with The Lion King-ha!
At about 8:30, Sindu responds to Pete’s questions about how her fan fiction writing affected the ways she sees audience and informed her later writing
At about 10:30, Sindu explains the qualities of the Tamil language, especially the beauty that comes in listening to it, its lyricism, etc.
At about 14:05, Pete and Sindu discuss an anticlimactic scene from Blue Skinned Gods that’s successful for this fact
At about 14:45, Sindu discusses connections between the Tamil people and Tamil languages of southern India and Sri Lanka
At about 18:20, Sindu explores connections between fantasy, escape and reading in her childhood and adolescence, including her love of the Cam Jensen Mysteries
At about 21:05, Pete recommends Severance from HBO-you, Gentle Reader-watch it!
At about 21:30, Sindu outlines ways in which she did and did not feel represented in the characters and books she read as a kid
At about 23:40, Sindu describes motivation for tailoring her writing to younger readers, as she and Pete discuss “mirrors” and “windows”
At about 24:30, Sindu shouts out transformational works, like Tanuja Desai Hidier’s
Born Confused and Interpreter of Maladies, that changed the way she saw herself and saw literature
At about 26:45, Sindu details moments in high school and college that put her on the path to becoming a professional writer, including reading The Things They Carried and having the pleasure to have class with Timothy Schaffert
At about 29:30, Sindu gives background on early publications and encouraging professors and high school teachers
At about 31:30, Sindu provides background for Marriage of a Thousand Lies, and talks of encouragement from Jonis Agee
At about 33:20, Sindu ruminates on whether her unique jobs she formerly held may make their way into her writing
At about 34:35, Sindu responds to Pete’s questions about the genesis of Blue Skinned Gods,
At about 38:50, the two discuss various meanings of “blue” and Sindu talks about the balance between the title and the subject matter
At about 40:00, Sindu discusses research that went into the book