Deepa Varadarajan, associate professor of law, published her debut novel “Late Bloomers,” (Random House), which has been chosen as a Target Book Club Pick and landed on summer reading lists in magazines such as Southern Living, Good Housekeeping and Real Simple.
"There is a lot of competition for the attention of reviewers and readers–not only for novels, but for all kinds of creative work. So, when you are able to get any kind of positive media attention for your work, you feel really, really lucky," Varadarajan shared.
Varadarajan’s academic scholarship focuses on intellectual property law and innovation, and she was formerly an associate professor of legal studies at Georgia State University’s Robinson College of Business. While she has been published in many legal publications, such as the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal, “Late Bloomers,” is her first novel.
She shares that the experience of writing a novel was quite different than academic writing, shifting her role from an informer and educator. "When I write fiction, I'm hoping to entertain readers from a variety of backgrounds and to create an emotional connection between readers and my characters," she explains.
For Varadarajan, the similarity between the two forms is in the process of letting go of perfectionism and unrealistic expectations. "With both kinds of writing, I've learned to take the project as far as I can, to send it out into the world and hope for the best, and to try not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good."
“Late Bloomers,” is a story about an Indian American family in Texas whose world turns upside down when the parents' divorce thirty-six years into their arranged marriage. While some authors have a specific message in mind to convey to their readers through their stories, Varadarajan leaves her work in her readers’ hands.
"At a general level, the story is about family secrets, forgiveness, reinvention and second chances. But the thing that I've discovered about readers is that they decide for themselves what they want to take away from the story. As an author, you create something out of your own imagination and share it with the world. And then, readers bring their own unique perspectives and experiences to reading it, and it becomes something new in their minds that the writer might not have expected."
Varadarajan is working on another novel focusing on Indian American characters living in the southern United States.
-Written by Joy Hong (J.D. ‘24)
Image credit: Niki Murphy