1. When/why did you decide to become a writer?
I honestly don’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing stories. I spent most of my childhood in libraries and bookshops, or filling notebooks with drawings and scribbles about what those drawings were. But it was only four years ago that I decided to write seriously.
2. What authors inspired you when you were younger? What books do you enjoy reading today?
I always had a rather eclectic taste in authors. I enjoyed classics by Dumas, Austen, and Hugo, as well as comic writers and children’s poets like Shel Silverstein. I was also a fan of Cornelia Funke, JRR Tolkien, Jonathon Stroud, and Eoin Colfer. My tastes in poets tended toward the more classical and descriptive, like Shakespeare, Keats, and Kalidasa. More recently, I started reading works by George RR Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Kalki Krishnamurthy. I also enjoy Joss Whedon’s and Woody Allen’s screenplays.
3. What was the inspiration behind your novel The Falcon's Eye?
The Falcon’s Eye grew out of a sketch of a dark-haired girl on the corner of my notebook while I was supposed to studying for a maths exam. I completed the first draft of the book when I was 15, and thus, ended up rewriting it multiple times before editing and publishing.
4. Will we ever see these characters again in the future?
Yes. I am currently working on the sequel to The Falcon’s Eye.
5. Did your travels to many countries help shape your writing at all?
My travels gave me a taste of various cultures and how their connections throughout history shaped the world in which we are in today. It came in useful when I was worldbuilding, and helped me find references and comparisons when writing characters of different backgrounds and cultures.
6. Were any of the characters personalities or emotions taken from real life?
Nope. Everyone is purely fictional.
7. What other genres would you like to try your hand at?
There are a lot of genres I’m interested in and plenty of projects lined up that explore a number of those. Some of those are other branches of the fantasy genre, including historical, paranormal, and some in the style of folktales. I would also love to try my hand at sci-fi. In addition, there are a couple of slice-of-life and coming-of-age stories I intend to work on in good time.
8. If you were Ava, what would you do?
What would I do in her place? Probably make a valiant attempt at everything and end up either as a cat on the wall or faceplanting miserably. I’m not cut out for her line of work.
9. What was the most difficult or most fun aspect of creating an entirely new world?
The greatest challenges I found while creating an entirely new world were geography and history. A good portion of the story involves long distance travel through various forms of transportation, and I wanted to keep it as realistic as possible. There were thus multiple drafts of maps while writing out the story, where I found that architectural drawing and cartography are not the same thing.
In addition, the history of the various families and their connections were quite an adventure to write. Who was related to who, and how? Are they friendly or not? What happened in their timeline of events, step by step, one at a time? Are we still on the same generation or have we slipped a bit? I nearly drove myself nuts doing it, but it was fun.
10. Would you like to see The Falcon's Eye as a film? If yes, who do you want to see play your characters?
I would love to see The Falcon’s Eye as a film, though I have no idea who would play my characters. I will say that as a child in Farrhell, Ava may have looked a bit like Natalie Portman in the movie Leon. For Durhaeus, imagine a bearded Jeremy Irons in the 80s.
11. Where do you see yourself and your career in the next ten years?
Besides completing the sequels to The Falcon’s Eye, I have plans to branch out to other genres, related and not, as well as other media of storytelling besides novels. There may or may not be a list off which I’m ticking things as they pass. Thus, in the next ten years, I hope to see a good few of those stories finished and given to the world, and hopefully, many people identifying with those characters’ stories.
12. What would you be doing if you weren't writing?
If I weren’t writing, I may have spent more time on art, perhaps even gotten back to my piano. Maybe, I’d be working in an architectural firm or studying further. Who knows? Life doesn’t seem quite as shiny though.
13. Can you tell KSR what you're working on next?
If you read The Falcon’s Eye, you’ll know that it’s set up for a sequel, which I am working on at the moment. In addition, I also have a historical fantasy/steampunk manuscript in the works as well as a few short stories.
14. What authors, dead or alive, would you like to collaborate with?
Wow. I’ve never thought of collaborating with authors as much as I’ve admired them from afar like an adoring fangirl. If I were to make a definitive choice, I’d say GRRM or Gaiman, as repetitive as it sounds from an earlier question. I imagine it would be quite the learning experience. I’d also never say no to Shel Silverstein.
15. Thank you for participating in the interview. Can you please leave the readers with three things that may surprise them about you?
I don’t know if they’ll surprise you, but here are three things about me that some find interesting:
* I used to write poetry in Sanskrit, and once composed a set of 108 couplets based on the story of Abhimanyu’s Death from the Mahabharata.
* I have the whole collection of Asterix, Tintin, and Calvin & Hobbes comics, and if you fed me a line from a panel, there is a 99% chance that I could recite the rest of it to you.
* I moved around a lot as a kid, and thus, studied in a grand total of nine different schools before going to college.
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