What was your favourite childhood book and why?
I read heaps of books as a child. I ranged from fiction to non-fiction and tons of poetry. But the book I still remember and re-read as an adult is…
The Kaziranga Trail – the story of two boys rescuing rhinos from poachers in the nature reserve in India. Written by Arup Kumar Dutta, it is fast paced and full of excitement and showed me something different about a part of India I didn’t know much about.
Which of your own books is your favourite and why?
My favourite book to write is my new upcoming series with Walker Books, Sona Sharma – The Very Best Big Sister. Illustrated with B&W drawings by Jen Khatun, this is a story of a little girl growing up in Chennai, which is my hometown, in a family similar to mine. While drawing on my growing up, I created a family that revolves around Sona. As I wrote this story, I weaved in our garden back home, the roof terrace, and growing up grandparents in a joint family.
Why do you choose to read?
Reading opens up the world for me. I see the world from a character’s perspective. Often stories also show me different sides to the same story.
Reading makes me wonder what I’d do if I were in the character’s position. Would I make the same choices? Will I be able to do the right thing? Will my friends come with me on a journey if I went on that same adventure?
I also read a lot of non-fiction and it is my way to make sense of the world we live in. I read science, maths and biographies to understand what makes us all part of this planet and how our actions impact the rest of the world.
As a writer, when I read I’m always learning too. New words, turn of phrases and a totally new and fresh metaphor enriches my well of inspiration.