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Mindy Kaling on New Book ‘Why Not Me?’ and Moving Her Series to Hulu

You can’t keep Mindy Kaling down. Her show “The Mindy Project,” after being canceled by Fox, was swiftly snapped up by Hulu, with a fourth season in production. And she’s written “Why Not Me?” — a follow-up to her best-selling “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (and Other Concerns).” It hits bookstores Sept. 15.

When did you find time to write this book?

I have so many people who help me do it all. I usually use one day in the weekend as a workday, so my book was kind of my Saturday or Sunday task that was really fun to do.

Now you’re squeezing in a book tour.

Yes, it’s one week: Boston, where I grew up, New York and D.C. And I come back to New York a little later to do some more.

In “Why Not Me,” you invite readers to get to know the real you.

With the new book, the tone is a lot more intimate. And I treat the audience like a friend.

You’re very open about your life in your books and on social media. Do you ever worry about privacy?

I’m not that open about my personal life. I don’t tweet or talk about my family or, in general, about my dating relationships. I’m very open about the show because I think the fans really enjoying hearing about behind-the-scenes things. I’m actually a very private person. And I think I can write about my experiences while keeping my very, very personal relationships private.

You’re already writing another book with your friend B.J. Novak. How’s that going?

Because of the show just starting up production two weeks ago and the book coming out, we are still in the very early stages of it. We are still talking about ideas.

In the book, you describe yourself as a rule-breaker. And on your show you’ve broken a lot of traditional rules. Will we see more of that now that show is on Hulu?

I think one the big ways that the show will be different is that we’ll have a little bit more time in our episodes. Being on a major network for 11 years between “The Office” and “The Mindy Project,” I’m really used to having to tell complete stories with eight characters in 21½ minutes. That’s a really short amount of time. So I think the single significant difference is that we’ll have more time to let these episodes breathe. It’ll mean more screen time for some members of our cast, which I think will be really good.

Last season, Mindy discovers she’s pregnant. Why go there?

I think the thing that makes Mindy a compelling character is that she never gets what she wants when she wants it, and she wants so many things. I thought this would really challenge her. It’s certainly something people I know have experienced. And having it be a big surprise to her was really fun. I also think it’s inherently funny for an OB/GYN to be caught so off guard with her own reproductive health.

There’s a chapter in your book, “A Day in the Life of Mindy Kaling,” that talks about it being time (5 p.m.) to get silly with (co-star and co-writer) Ike Barinholtz, which is right about now.

(Laughs) That’s so funny. I’m happy you read that. Down to the minute you know exactly what I’m doing. I didn’t anticipate that that would be a down side and that people would say, “And now she’s messing around with Ike.” Actually, I’m going back to the room to write some stories.

 

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