What's in a Page: Diksha Basu on writing about the ultimate Destination Wedding
There's nothing more escapist in 2020 than a novel about a destination wedding. As we sit inside our homes, unable to travel or watch our friends get married, the only option is to tuck into a riveting summer read. Diksha Basu — the internationally best-selling author of The Windfall — has a new novel made for that. Destination Wedding's central event is a very big, very fancy Indian wedding, where cultures, generations, and classes clash. Here, she tells EW about drafting her latest book and what makes her tick as an author.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What is the first thing — ever — that you remember writing?
DIKSHA BASU: I used to write funny (and slightly mean) rhyming poems about our neighbors in New Delhi. I don’t know where that notebook is, but I hope nobody ever finds it.
What is the last book that made you cry?
I’m not really a crier, but there were parts of Stoner by John Williams that made me deeply sad.
Which book is at the top of your current to-read list?
Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan. And Burnt Sugar by Avni Doshi — I read it when it came out in India last year and it is absolutely exquisite. The American edition will be out in spring 2021 and I can’t wait to read it again.
Where do you write?
Anywhere and everywhere. For better or for worse, I’m not terribly particular about my writing routine, but I do write nearly every day. I wrote Destination Wedding largely in Mumbai — at my desk, in my bed, in cafes, even sitting in my car parked in small lanes around the city. I’m currently in Ithaca, N.Y., and am doing most of my writing on the back patio surrounded by trees.
Which book made you a forever reader?
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Goethe. My mother gave me the book when I was a lost teenager and I read and reread it and marked it up and clung to it and felt slightly less lost.
What is a snack you couldn’t write without?
Sparkling water and chopped tomatoes sprinkled with salt and sugar.
If you could change one thing about any of your books, what would it be?
What a terrifying question. I don’t think I can answer this without spiraling down a rabbit hole of questions and regrets. What is the quote? "Art is never finished, only abandoned."
What is your favorite part of Destination Wedding?
The characters who get a second chance at love. I find second chances at love very interesting because our first chances at love define us so much. Who are we when we come out of that? I’ve always been intrigued by the idea of romance later in life. So much media focuses on that first “happily ever after,” but with higher life expectancies and the idea of middle age changing, many people may end up having more than one great love and I wonder what that will look like.
What was the hardest plot point or character to write?
The thirtysomething woman, Tina. Despite the age-old advice to write what you know, I find it very difficult to write the younger characters because it requires the most honesty and vulnerability from myself.
Write a movie poster tag line for Destination Wedding:
My cousin’s big fat Indian wedding, my big fat meltdown.