Chit Chatting with Anoop Judge

 Chit Chatting with Anoop Judge 

Interviewed by: Jill Sheets

J: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

A: Born and raised in New Delhi, I now reside in California. I hold an MFA in Creative Writing from Saint Mary’s College of California and am the recipient of the 2021 Advisory Board Award, and the 2023 Alumni Scholarship.


I am the author of four novels: The Rummy Club, which won the 2015 Beverly Hills Book Award, The Awakening of Meena Rawat an excerpt of which was nominated for the 2019 Pushcart Prize, No Ordinary Thursday, and Mercy and Grace.


You may also recognize me from the show Gems of Ruby Hill, a reality-TV series streaming on @watchcpics showcasing my life as an author and writer.

I call myself a recovering litigator: I practiced in state and federal courts for many years before I  replaced legal briefs with fictional tales. 

I am an Instructor at Stanford University's Stanford Continuing Studies.

J: "Mercy and Grace" is your new book.  Tell us about it.

A: MERCY and GRACE is a story of gender, familial bonds, second chances, and the consequences of religious hatred, with the narratives and protagonist stories playing out against the backdrop of big, fat Indian weddings. Gia Kumari was an orphan on the edge of destitution in India until Sonia Shah of Golden State Weddings & Events offered the twenty-one-year-old an internship and brought her to San Francisco. Now she is a fish out of water, happily bathing in a world of excess and meeting her only known family—her Uncle Mohammed—for the first time, while also embarking on her first romantic relationship with the dashing yet quirky Adi.

But the shadow of a dark past lurks in the background, one of fundamentalist fervor and a ruined interfaith wedding in modern-day Hindu-majority India, things that Gia is unaware of until they come crashing back into her present-day life, exposing a web of lies and misunderstandings on which her new-found happiness—and even her relationship with Adi—have been based upon. If Gia is to save what matters to her most, she must come to terms with a tragic past and, in observing the dark side of human nature at the event planning company

J: If they were going to make a movie out of this book, who would be your dream cast?


Frieda Pinto for Jia 

Sayara Blue or Priyanka Chopra for Sonia Shah

Dev Patel for Adi

J:  Tell us about some of your other books.

A: Listed here in chronological order, are my books and what they are about:


The Rummy Club is a contemporary women's novel that tells the story of four Indian women bound by decades of friendship: Alka, a child of privilege and power; Mini, a beauty and a flirt; Priya, a nurturing earth mother; and Divya, who is insecure and envious of her friends. Now in their 40s and living in California, they find comfort and support in their weekly games of rummy—even as their private lives begin to unravel.


In her younger years, Alka, the self-appointed leader of the group, was pressured into marrying a wealthy man whom she loathes to save her family’s failing business. As a result, she turned all of her attention to her son, Krishna, becoming an obsessive and overbearing mother in the process. As usual, her three friends adjust to her version of reality. But each has her own difficulties as well: Mini’s beloved husband dies unexpectedly; Priya catches her husband cheating; and Divya feels increasingly envious of her companions’ financial stability.


When Alka’s son lapses into a coma after a suicide attempt, her fabricated world shatters like glass. Mini, Priya, and Divya band together to support her, but a misunderstanding threatens to dissolve the foursome when they need each other most. It will take more than a game of Rummy to repair the most important friendships of their lives.



Every day, twenty-eight-year-old Meena Rawat is hounded by inner voices reminding her to be grateful for the middle-class American life she has-even if she is stuck in an unhappy marriage. She and her daughter are both safe, clothed, and fed, more than she could say for herself as a child. Born into the "Untouchables" caste in a small village in North India, Meena frequently relives the nightmare of abuses and slurs she suffered in an orphanage. There is only one bright spot in her memories: the fellow 'Untouchable' orphan who became her best friend and first love, Ramu.

When Ramu reappears in her new American life, he's different. Unlike her, he has cast off the shame of their upbringing and become a confident entrepreneur. Their meeting rekindles a lost passion and the two find they share a mutual sense of obligation to help the children of the outcast community they left behind. Meena fantasizes about a future with him, but will her responsibility to her daughter-and the certainty that she would lose custody-keep her chained?


On the same night, two decisions are made that will tear a family apart.


The Sharma family is not as close as they once were. With 36-year-old Maya dating a man twelve years her junior, and her younger brother Sameer living a self-destructive, alcoholic lifestyle, both grown-up children are finding ways to go against the values of the traditional, wealthy Indian Bay community they grew up in—bringing down shame upon their mother, celebrated restauranteur Lena.


When the events of one supposedly ordinary Thursday lead to a marriage proposal and a fatal car accident, this already broken family is sent into free-fall. Sameer is sent to prison where events lead him to begin reliving a childhood trauma that he has always kept to himself, while pregnant Maya and her fiancé flee San Francisco and the judgment of a society they were born into but never chose for the small town of Paradise, without telling family or friends where they have gone.


Lena is left to question her priorities—family against the community and even friends—and what steps it might take to reconnect with her estranged children, while Maya's growing friendship with a middle-aged neighbor helps her more truly understand her divorced mother's motivations—for her daughter to avoid the same hardships she herself has undergone. Meanwhile, in prison, Sameer's attempts to put his tragic past behind him, and begin afresh. Finally, just as bridges are beginning to be mended, another dramatic Thursday sees prison violence and the deadliest California wildfire in history threatens to keep the Sharma family apart forever

J: What are you currently working on?

A: I am working on a story about an open marriage that gets upended when all the rules get broken. Here is the working blurb for it:

What do you get after two children and ten years of marriage? The answer for Uma and her husband, Vikram, is “stuck in a rut.” But these two natural-born Indians living in Northern California have always prided themselves on being modern, liberal, forward-thinking people. An open marriage could be the answer, as long as they can follow a few simple rules: One-night stands only, with no communication after. And definitely no one they know.


This arrangement works perfectly, and even breathes new life back into their marriage, until Uma sleeps with her best friend’s husband, misled into believing that they, too, have an open marriage. This would be okay, if he didn’t become obsessed with her, constantly pestering her and threatening to reveal what happened between them. When Uma finds she is pregnant, how will Deepesh react when he and his wife, Binny can never have children? 

J: How do you come up with the ideas for your books?

A: From movies, television shows, reading newspaper articles, and other books.

J: What is the best thing about being an author?

A: The creative process itself is the most rewarding aspect of being an author. Crafting a story, developing characters, and creating entire worlds is incredibly fulfilling. Additionally, the ability to share my ideas and stories with others, potentially impacting their lives in meaningful ways, is a significant benefit of being an author. 

J: Is it true that you were a T.V. Host?  If so, please tell us about it.

A: Yes, I was. It was on a satellite television channel and I was asked to anchor a show called Escapades with Anoop. I’d be lying if I said it led me to fame and recognition. Probably for the entire year I was doing the show I was recognized by one person in the Indian community at a party I was attending. However, I liked the creative freedom I was given to develop the show. And the fact that I got to meet many interesting people, including famous restaurant chefs in San Francisco due to it.

J:  What are some of your future goals?

A: To teach the Craft of Fiction to undergraduate and graduate students, and to keep writing books that explore the diaspora of Indian-Americans in the context of 21st century America.

J: Do you have an official site?  What about social media?


J:  Is there anything else you would like to add?

A: This January 22, 2024, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a gigantic new temple for the Hindu god, Ram, prompting accusations that he’s stirring religious tensions, again. Why this matters: My novel, MERCY and GRACE explains how Hindus and Muslims have long contested the temple’s holy site, which was once home to a historic mosque. In 1992, a Hindu mob destroyed the mosque during nationwide riots that killed about 2,000 people — most of them Muslims, which is the backdrop to the love story of MERCY and GRACE.

India’s Hindus say the site is the birthplace of Lord Ram and was holy to them before Muslims built the mosque. Now, many say the temple is a move toward establishing Hindu supremacy in India and that Modi is using it for political gain ahead of elections in the spring. That is what makes this novel so relevant now.


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