Thursday, April 20, 2023

Sonya Lalli Interview - Jasmine and Jake Rock the Boat

Photo Content from Sonya Lalli

Sonya Lalli is a romance and women’s fiction author of Punjabi and Bengali heritage. Her debut novel The Matchmaker’s List was a Target Diverse Book Club Pick, and Sonya’s books have been featured in Entertainment Weekly, USA Today, NPR, The Washington Post, Glamour and more. She also writes psychological thrillers as S.C. Lalli. Sonya lives in Vancouver with her husband and their mini goldendoodle, Joey.

Did you know Sonya writes psychological thrillers as S.C. Lalli? Check out to find out more about her bestselling debut, Are You Sara?

Greatest thing you learned at school.
Growing up I had always loved English class at school, but in Grade 12, I had a great creative writing teacher and that class was a dream come true. I had always enjoyed writing stories and had so many ideas for novels, but this was the class that encourage me to dive into the art of creative writing and really explore my ideas – plus I got graded for it! It doesn’t feel like learning when you’re having so much fun. My teacher was absolutely excellent – very thoughtful, kind, and encouraging. A few months after taking this class I tried writing my first novel. It wasn’t great, and it’s nothing compared to what I write now, but I think the confidence and joy which I got from that English class really put me toward the path of taking my writing seriously. I definitely don’t think I’d be where I am today

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I really enjoy getting emails and DMs from people who have read my book telling me that they saw themselves in my characters, or that they loved my book, or some of the situations I put my characters in really resonated with their own experiences. It really makes me happy to know that my story may have made a small, positive difference in someone’s life, just like certain books I’ve read have touched mine.

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing?
Writing can be quite a lonely activity, so my advice would be to make sure you have a life OUTSIDE of writing. Live, laugh, love. Do things outside your comfort zone. Always remember to be kind. Travel. Take up a hobby. Having outside activities not only keeps you engaged (with both yourself and others), but also gives you fresh perspectives and new experiences that can translate into your writing.

Can you tell us when you started JASMINE AND JAKE ROCK THE BOAT, how that came about?
I went on an Alaskan cruise with my whole family when I was 18. It wasn’t a Seniors Cruise (like Jasmine ends up on) and there were people from all age groups - except for younger adults! My cousin, brother, and I were the only people in our age range. We all still had a great time but I guess the experience stayed with me. When I was thinking about topics for my next romance book, I thought it would be great to write a story in a setting I had experienced. So, that’s the situation I threw Jasmine and Jake into – except a bit more extreme as they’re the only ones under 50 on a Seniors Cruise.

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
It was a bit of a surprise to find out how similar I am to Jasmine. She’s so different from me as a person – we have different interests and I think she’s braver and bolder than I am. Also, a big part of her character development is grappling with how her family perceives her and her ‘bad girl’ reputation. Still, as I wrote the story, I found myself connecting more and more with Jasmine – there was so much more to her than I thought when I started writing!

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from JASMINE AND JAKE ROCK THE BOAT
First time Jasmine and Jake meet she thinks he’s her waiter:

You’re not so bad yourself.” I bit down on my thumb, my heart racing as I flicked my eyes towards the barista. I looked back at the waiter. “Um, are you going to get in trouble?”

“Do you want me to get in trouble?”

“No.” I giggled. “So why don’t you just–” I tickled my fingertips on the inside of his wrist “–take my order, so you don’t get fired, and then we can….”

I stopped talking when his face changed. Had I been out of the game that long and misread his signals?

“Excuse me?” he said crisply.

He was scowling at me, albeit sexily. I held my breath.

“Did you just ask me to take your order?”

Confused, I flicked my eyes down to his polo shirt. The same white polo shirt I’d seen on a dozen staffers since I boarded the ship. Squinting, I narrowed in on the Kensington Cruises logo on his left peck.

I blinked. It wasn’t there. In its place, was the creepy green alligator trademarked by Lacoste.

“Shit!” I gasped, my cheeks heating up. “Are you not a waiter?”

“No,” he said icily. “I am not. Do I look like a waiter?”

“What’s wrong with being a waiter?” I snapped, my temper flaring up at his snobbish tone. “Do you work on this cruise?”


“So you’re just some rando hitting on me?” I asked.

The guy didn’t answer, looking me up and down like I was a piece of recycling he was about to discard, and suddenly, all his duck facing and flexing and smoldering didn’t make me want to jump him. It made me want to smack him in the face.

What is the first job you have had? 
Working retail at American Eagle

Best date you've ever had? 
Music festival, with my now husband!

What was your favorite subject when you were in school? 

At a movie theater which arm rest is yours? 

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 
Where’s my dog – usually at the foot of the bed, sometimes, next to me on my pillow

An impulsive decision to join an Alaskan cruise getaway brings the chance for an onboard romance in this new enemies-to-lovers romance from the author of A Holly Jolly Diwali.

Jasmine Randhawa likes everyone to think she has it all—great job, perfect Seattle apartment, and a handsome boyfriend. But she’s not as confident or successful as she seems, and her relationship is at a breaking point.

When Jasmine finds herself single and tagging along on her parents’ vacation, she’s not sure her life can get any farther off course. It's a nightmare for someone who's been so fiercely independent to find herself on a cruise full of family friends who’ve judged her since childhood. Things only get worse once the ship leaves the harbor and she realizes that this is a seniors’ cruise, and the only other person under fifty on the entire boat is her childhood acquaintance, cocky and successful Jake Dhillon.

Jasmine and Jake clash right away, with Jasmine smarting over how their South Asian community puts him on a pedestal as the perfect Indian son, whereas her reputation as a troublemaker precedes her. Except they can’t avoid each other forever during the ten-day cruise, and they soon recognize a surprising number of similarities, especially in how many secrets they’re keeping hidden from their families. Their restlessness seems to disappear whenever they’re together, but is this relationship strong enough to last on land?

You can purchase Jasmine and Jake Rock the Boat at the following Retailers:

1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card.


  1. I carry around an old, paid speeding ticket. Since I mailed it, I feel like I need to have it as proof. I think it's from 2011.

  2. $2 bill - got it when I was homeless, they say if you carry around a special bill, money comes. Carrying it since 2015.

  3. I have a guardian angel pin that was my grandmas. She is my angel.

  4. I carry gift given by my friend as a lucky charm