What book(s) have you written?
- Mina vs. The Monsoon
- Leila in Saffron
- Samira Surfs
When did you first realize you wanted to be an author?
About 25 years ago. It took me many years to take that desire seriously but I did get there!
How long did it take you to write your book(s)?
It took me about a year to write my books picture books. My novel Samira Surfs took about four years because it involved a lot of research.
What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I tend to write in fits and starts. My most productive time is in the morning because my house is quieter then! Also, writing under a deadline often helps me focus and write for longer periods. It's always a challenge to balance work, writing, and life as a mother!
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
If the television is one, or there's a conversation going on in the room, I can still write. It may not be my best writing but I can still do it!
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Most ideas for my books are inspired by my life and experiences growing up in a culturally mixed household. My journalist brain tends to seek out unusual or lesser known stories. And I find history, food, and travel particularly interesting - especially when they are combined.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to surf, go on beach walks, and dance when I'm not writing. They help clear my foggy brain so I can start afresh.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family is very supportive of my writing. When I have moments of doubt or hesitation, they are quick to remind me how lucky I am to have found a passion in life.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
Many people, from agent to publisher, are involved in taking your book from manuscript to publication. Each and every one of them is instrumental in its birth. It's an amazing journey in letting go and believing in yourself.
Do you have any suggestions to help people become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Read books in every genre, seek out critique groups, and keeping refining your craft. Do as much as you can be make sure the work you submit to an agent or editor is your best.
What do you think makes a good story?
The miracle of authentic human connection.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be many things when I was growing up. At one point, I was interested in psychology. Perhaps I do all my exploring of human nature and the inner workings of the mind in my stories somehow.
What is your favorite book?
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Where do you live?
Please share 10 Random facts about yourself for your readers!
- I can't live without chicken saalan (curry).
- I am a terrible surfer.
- I often read the last page of a book first.
- I first met my grandmother in Guam.
- I have an older sister and younger brother and we all live in different countries.
- I am appalling at mathematics.
- My house is very dusty, and I have dust allergies.
- I love noodles.
- My mother is from Shanghai.
- My father is from Lucknow.