A fifth generation San Franciscan, the current Mountain View resident said she would help her father, a teacher, grade high school English essays and read from their vastly resourced home library.
She always had an affinity for stories.
But Sandhu did not act on this professionally until an opportunity presented itself.
After graduating from University of San Francisco with a nursing degree, she worked in the medical field for almost 25 years, and is still involved today.
But in 2010, the unit she was working in closed, and she decided to take her severance and eight months off.
“A lot of people were shocked,” she said. “I had to decide ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up’ again.”
Sandhu’s time off led to her chatting with others, telling them stories just over online chat or the phone.“I was told by others that i was a good storyteller, so i started writing them down … and started to take it more seriously,” she said.Sandhu, after starting to write, also looked into self-publishing.
After realizing how easy it is to self-publish if one is determined and has the right software, she and her husband created Aasra Publishing, to encourage and help aspiring writers self-publish.
Since effectively “launching” Aasra – which means fate – in 2012, Sandhu has helped or talked to almost 15 writers, including Zahid Siddiquie with now published "A Bachelor's Handbook" and poet Vishwas Vaidya.
But perhaps the most unexpected experience for Sandhu so far is publishing erotica for author Pups Bali.
One of Aasra’s first books, “The Flamingo Hotel,” is a work of erotica by Bali, and two additional erotic novels or short stories are due out later this year or next year.
Sandhu said the erotica is subtle and more realistic than other works out there – a la “50 Shades of Gray,” which she hasn’t read – and some would not even know it’s in the book until it unfolds.
“Over the last 30 years, I’ve noticed that more people are comfortable talking about violence than sex,” she said. “So I find it interesting to start a conversation about publishing erotica.”Sandhu is also working on a mystery novel of her own, called “Blame It On Alberto’s,” based on the night club in Mountain View.
“If you know Mountain View, you know Alberto’s,” she said laughing.
And while Sandhu is busy writing, publishing and working as a director for a health clinic, she also thinks the next important step is figuring out how to market her authors.
In this day and age, she said many authors have a mentality that they have to give away their work for free, through services like Kindle, because people usually start downloading their work when it’s up for free.
“I’m so frustrated by (that) … I pay $5 for a Venti latte at Starbucks, and that took two minutes to make,” she said. “And they expect authors to just give away something they work on and perfect … I look at it as the price of a latte, but twice the pleasure.”
Sandhu grew up in San Francisco, moved to Los Altos Hills in fifth grade, attended USF and currently lives in Mountain View with her husband and has three college-aged sons.
“I’m a total product of the Bay Area,” she said.You can check out how to contact Aasra or buy Aasra-published books here.