Q&A with Roshani Chokshi
What are your top 5 adventure/fantasy stories?
- The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander
- Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
- Tithe by Holly Black
- The Bear and the Nightingale by Katharine Arden
- Wildwood Dancing by Juliette Marillier
How did you come up with the idea of the cupid’s bow and arrow turning everyone into heartless zombies?
The bow and arrow isn’t unique to Cupid. In Hindu mythology, Kamadeva — the god of love — has a bow made of strung-together honeybees and sugarcane! Which, to me, sounds infinitely more painful than just a regular ol’ magical bow and arrow. Imagine if you get struck and then you hear a high-pitched bzzbzzbzz sound. Yikes! Anyway, I am always drawn to the idea of an instrument whose power works in reverse. In this case, instead of joining hearts together, it removes them entirely. I also wanted to know what kind of villain would do that. What do they want so badly? And why do they want it?
What kind of adventures did you want to go on when you were younger?
I often hid in closets waiting for the wall to turn into an entrance to Narnia. These seemed like very good ideas until I’d inevitably locked myself inside when no one was at home. I wanted to go on adventures where it seemed like the adventure had chosen me. Do you know what I mean? Like, the door to fairyland would only open up to someone worthy. Or if a crow swooped down and started chatting to you, it was because it’d recognized a kindred (hopefully not avian) spirit within you that made you especially perfect for a magical adventure.
If you could give one piece of wisdom or advice to your younger self, what would it be?
I would beg myself not to be in such a rush. If you want to write a book, it’s not as though a sentence has a Sell-By/expiration date. So there’s no need to rush. Write the best story you can. Finish it. Then write another one. Listen with compassion to the stories of others. And for the love of every god in every pantheon, go easy on yourself! Don’t compare yourself to the kid next to you, or the girl with straighter teeth, or the student who makes life look effortless…someone else’s success or failure won’t affect yours. So keep your head down, and keep going.
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