If it's not obvious, diverse books are our #1 priority here at TBV so we decided to interview the lovely, Roshani Chokshi. Her book, The Star-Touched Queen, is influenced by Indian mythology and has such an intriguing premise, we were dying to know more. There also might be a small snippet at the bottom? hmmm :)
TBV: To start off, can you tell us what the Star - Touched Queen is about for those who don’t know?
Roshani: Unofficially, The Star-Touched Queen is about constellations, beautiful monsters, obscure fates and all the ways we define ourselves. Officially, here’s the synopsis!
Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.
But Akaran has its own secrets - thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran's magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar's plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk - it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.
Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.
THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a lush, beautifully written and vividly imagined fantasy inspired by Indian mythology.
Roshani: The story that had the most influence on me was the tale of Savitri and Satyavan, which originally appeared in the Mahabharata. What I loved about the myth was Savitri’s agency. She was the rescuer. She entered a relationship of love knowing the consequences. She reinterpreted her husband’s fate against all odds and tricked Death himself! It’s also a very personal story to me. When my family moved, we stayed with my aunt and uncle. They had a beautiful illustrated version of the Savitri and Satyavan tale, and my aunt would read it to me thousands of times.
There were times when I felt discouraged from writing The Star-Touched Queen. I felt like no one would even want to read this because it was too unfamiliar or they just had no interest. But so far I've been proven wrong in the best way possible. :)
TBV: Who was your favorite character to write?
Roshani: My FAVORITE character to write was Kamala, the flesh-eating demon horse. She’s just the absolute best. She’s hilarious. Her moral compass skips from ruthless to terrifying. And yet she’s capable of fierce affection. I like writing lovable monsters.
TBV: Which part are you most excited for readers to see about your book?
Roshani: I’m really excited for readers to (hopefully) immerse themselves in the world building. The setting really informs the emotional notes of The Star-Touched Queen, and so I hope that readers find themselves transported.
TBV: We are so excited for your book! Is it possible if you can give us maybe a one - liner or an excerpt for us? :) (If you can’t answer don’t worry!)
Roshani: "The Night Bazaar had ensnared me. I could smell its perfume on my skin — of stories and secrets, flashing teeth and slow smiles. In the arms of this land, I was no stronger than a calf in a lion’s jaws. But I liked it. Even though I couldn’t admit it aloud, even though I comforted myself that I had no choice but to go with him, the truth was that I wanted this. I yearned to draw breath beneath a split-sky leaking with magic. And not just live within one of the other realms’ strange kingdoms, but rule it. "
A great thanks to Roshani for taking the time out of her day to let us interview her!<3 It was a BLAST.