Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire.
But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.
First, please tell us the name of your project and a short blurb on what it’s about.
THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a young adult fantasy and retelling of the Hades & Persephone myth in the context of Indian mythology. It will be in stores on April 26, 2016.
It sounds like an amazing book. What provided the inspiration for this storyline? How did you conceptualize the novel? I was inspired by my Filipino and Indian heritage. Growing up, I began to see lots of similarities between fairytales and folklore across the cultural spectrum. With TSTQ, I wanted to retell a fairytale but with a different mythological framework. I wanted the story to be something both familiar and different for readers.
Please tell us a little about your writing process. Did you know what was going to happen from start to finish when you began writing? Yes. I’m a pretty firm believer in outlining or else I get overwhelmed with not knowing where the plot is going. But lots of people are “pantsers” [ie. flying by the seat of their pants] when it comes to writing and that works fine for them too!
It’s so great that your book has a main character of color. What do you think of the state of representation of young women of color, in particular in the genre of fantasy? We need more. Luckily, there’s been a growing interest in diversity in young-adult literature, which is wonderful. But we can’t fall into the mindset of treating diversity in literature like a trend. POC young women deserve to see themselves as heroines.
What were some of the books you liked when you were growing up? Or any particularly influential novels you read that informed the writing of this book? Tithe by Holly Black and The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O’Shea remain my old favorites.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What’s next for you after this book? Since I was 8 :) And next, I’m working on the companion novel to TSTQ.