Q & A with YA author Roshani Chokshi and spotlight on Star-Touched Stories

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Hi Roshani! Thanks for chatting with me about being a writer and the Star-Touched world you’ve created.

Roshani Chokshi CREDIT Aman SharmaOut of all the characters in your novels, which one did you have the most fun writing about and who do you relate to the most personally? What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?

In the world of the Star – Touched Queen, I think the one who I related to the most was also the one that I had the most fun writing: Kamala! There’s just something about the demon horse that resonated a lot with me. I think it’s because she does everything that I would do in a fantasy story, which is frantically derail the plot and whine to her friends about how hungry she is all the time.

What inspired you to create this fictional world? 

I was really inspired by the childhood stories that my grandmother told me. To me, they were so rich with details and texture that it really shocked me how these worlds and mythologies were never explored in mainstream literature. I was particularly inspired by Greek and Hindu mythology.

Why did you feel it was important to add Star-Touched Stories to this world you’ve created?  What do you want readers to gain from the stories? Do you think there are any more stories to tell from the Star-Touched world, and if so, who you most like to write about next?

For me, this collection of stories is my farewell to the world that I created. It was extremely cathartic to write these three stories. I want readers to gain a sense of closure. I want readers to feel as much as I did when I with the stories. Who can say whether or not there are more stories left to tell in this world? 😉

Will you miss writing this world and characters?

Absolutely! They lived in my head for so long that I feel strangely weightless to be without them.

Star Touched Stories_cover imageWhat was your favorite scene to write from Star-Touched Stories, and what was your favorite scene to write from the whole series?

Honestly, my favorite scene that I wrote was the last scene the last story. I think you’ll see why. As for my favorite scene that I wrote from the whole series, I think it would have to be the moment when Maya first enters the Night Bazaar.

How is writing short stories different than writing a full-length book? How has your writing evolved?

Writing short stories is really different from writing a full-length book because you’re ultimately writing to a punchline in a shorter amount of space. There is less space to explore so the language must be very deliberate. I think my writing has evolved to become a lot more character focused than I once was. I still love gorgeous, decadent prose, but I believe that the best kind of language is that which is emotionally filtered through the feelings of a character.

Did you write these short stories to further develop your heroines or were these stories already there, waiting to come out?

I wrote them because they were always there, seeded into that character’s DNA. They just weren’t examined.

How does fantasy mirror reality? What do you hope your readers take away from these stories?

Oh gosh. I think fantasy filters through humanity’s bullshit. It shapes a truth, and dresses it with lies, and becomes a lens through which to see the world. I want my readers to take what they want from the tales. Take some joy, if you want it. Sorrow, if you see it. Truth, if you want to believe it.

What is the best advice you would give to inspiring writers?

Read often. I realize that sounds trite, but so many people retread the same path with stories out of comfort or nostalgia. I totally understand this and I’m one of those people who loves to reread my favorite books but I never found a sense of my own writing voice or writing style without reading a wide variety of works.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: ROSHANI CHOKSHI is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen, A Crown of Wishes, and Aru Shah and the End of Time. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. Her short story, “The Star Maiden,” was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

Roshani Chokshi proved herself an author to watch with her young adult fantasy debut, The Star-Touched Queen and companion novel A Crown of Wishes. Debuting at #4 on the New York Times bestseller list, her novels received rave reviews from fans and critics alike and appeared on the most buzzed about lists for young adult novels. With STAR-TOUCHED STORIES (Wednesday Books; August 7, 2018), Chokshi adds to the Star-Touched world in three short stories, re-visiting some fan favorite characters. Exploring what happens after the happily ever after in Chokshi’s Star-Touched novels, her short stories are the perfect read for a taste of beautiful writing with delicious plots.

PRAISE for Star-Touched Stories:

“Deftly woven with fantastical elements and Indian mythology, the tales reflect and materialize the characters’ internal struggles…Aasha’s and Gauri’s stories explore complex themes of identity, ambition, love, and loss. Chokshi marries sensuous storytelling with kick-ass protagonists in these feminist romances.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Chokshi is in top form with the lush world-building and vivid language fans of the series have come to love. Each novella focuses on an ambitious heroine as she confronts not just her fears but her desires. A must-read for fans of the series and a charming introduction to the author and her works.” —School Library Journal

“Whether read as a whole or in individual stories, this is a sure success that will leave any reader craving more of the fascinating and beguiling prose.” —Booklist

 


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