Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Namrata Patel Interview - The Candid Life of Meena Dave

Photo Credit: Andy Dean

Namrata Patel is an Indian-American writer who lives in Boston. Her writing examines diaspora, dual-cultural identity among Indian-Americans and explores this dynamic while also touching on both—the family’s we’re born with and those we choose. Namrata has lived in India, Spokane, London, and New York City.

Namrata has been writing for most of her adult life and loves creating characters who are relatable and aspirational. Her heroines range from quiet to kick-ass and her heroes are swoon-worthy, if a little flawed.


What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
I was on a flight and had the fortune to sit next to Sam Shepard. He was so kind and friendly. I told him I was a fan of his plays and he asked if I wrote. I was a neophyte who dabbled in short stories at the time but had a head full of ideas. Then he told me "whatever you start, finish." It's my go-to piece of advice. Ideas are great, but writing them down, finishing the story, that's what it's really about.

Greatest thing you learned in school.
English. I'm being a little cheeky, but when I immigrated to America with my family, I didn't speak the language. One way I learned it was vocabulary and memorizing picture dictionaries, the other was through reading. I loved to read any and all books I could get my hands on and it really shaped how I understood language and the way we experience our world through the narrative.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
My next book, scheduled for release in June 2023, is about a perfumer who loses her sense of smell and through it discovers another passion. It's got a large cast of characters including some adventurous grandmothers who love to get in trouble.

Can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about your book THE CANDID LIFE OF MEENA DAVE.
It's about a nomadic photojournalist who mysteriously inherits an apartment in a Boston brownstone. Once she moves in she discovers a tight knit community including, three Indian aunties, a sexy neighbor across the hall, and a rambunctious puppy. As she discovers the building's shared history, she learns secrets about her own past.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
One of the things that inspired me to write this story was community while living a solitary life. What does it mean to have connections and ties when often we feel untethered as we go about our lives? That's what I want readers to explore and find relatable within this story.

What part of Meena did you enjoy writing the most?
I want to say all of it, but really the puppy scenes. My dad, after he read it, told me he enjoyed the book but there was too much Wally (the puppy in the book)! I think it was my way of having a puppy without having one. All the perks of someone else's dog and none of the work.

What was your unforgettable moment while writing THE CANDID LIFE OF MEENA DAVE?
Making the playlist. Of all the books, this playlist really captured the essence and mood of the story.

Choose a unique item from your wallet and explain why you carry it around.
I carry around a lot of things, but one is a twenty dollar bill that my friend Mark gave me. He had overpaid his tab and I had kept his change. When I tried to return it, Mark said, keep it in case of emergency. I've been carrying it around for over five years. It reminds me of friendship and generosity.

If you could live anywhere in the world for a year, where would it be?
So many places, but the one that comes to mind most often is in a little pied de terre in one of the small villages on the Amalfi Coast. I'd love to spend a year in the sunshine, among lemon groves, with fresh seafood and daily walks around the piazza and a few dips in the sea.

How far away from your birthplace do you live now?
About 7,400 miles. I was born in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India and now live in Boston, MA

A woman embarks on an unexpected journey into her past in an engrossing novel about identity, family secrets, and rediscovering the need to belong.

Meena Dave is a photojournalist and a nomad. She has no family, no permanent address, and no long-term attachments, preferring to observe the world at a distance through the lens of her camera. But Meena’s solitary life is turned upside down when she unexpectedly inherits an apartment in a Victorian brownstone in historic Back Bay, Boston.

Though Meena’s impulse is to sell it and keep moving, she decides to use her journalistic instinct to follow the story that landed her in the home of a stranger. It’s a mystery that comes with a series of hidden clues, a trio of meddling Indian aunties, and a handsome next-door neighbor. For Meena it’s a chance for newfound friendships, community, and culture she never thought possible. And a window into her past she never expected.

Now as everything unknown to Meena comes into focus, she must reconcile who she wants to be with who she really is.

You can purchase The Candid Life of Meena Dave at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you NAMRATA PATEL for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Candid Life of Meena Dave by Namrata Patel.


  1. When I have a day off, I get up later, read, go on a walk and catch up on things around the home.

  2. I'm a (retired) mother. My husband is retired. I have more of a mess than when I had 3 teens at home!