Thank you for taking the time to sit down for an interview with the Reading Nook Reviews!
1) First things first – tell us about Ahimsa! There has been some great buzz for the book, including the New Visions Award from Tu Books. Could you summarize what the book is about, for interested readers?
2) Like some of your other fellow debuts, you are a screenwriter as well. What was the transition like, between writing a screenplay and writing middle grade fiction? Are there any tips or ideas that you’d share with other screenwriters, or even writers, who may be looking to try a different genre of writing?
As for tips, I would say to take your time to learn the new format you are writing in because although they are both ways of telling stories, they are vastly different in style and technique. I would also suggest anyone making the transition between these formats reads as much as they can of the new format, be it books or scripts.
3) You’ve mentioned in previous interviews, that Ahimsa was inspired by your own family’s experiences. Why did you want to tell the story? Do you feel that your thought that the book can have young readers feel empowered to be the change, has a specific significance, given the current global climate?
4) If you could take the opportunity to have tea with one of your book’s characters, who would you choose and why?
5) Finally, what’s next for you?
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us, Surpiya! Here's the synopsis for Ahimsa:
But it turns out he isn't the one joining. Anjali's mother is. And with this change comes many more adjustments designed to improve their country and use "ahimsa"—non-violent resistance—to stand up to the British government. First the family must trade in their fine foreign-made clothes for homespun cotton, so Anjali has to give up her prettiest belongings. Then her mother decides to reach out to the Dalit community, the "untouchables" of society. Anjali is forced to get over her past prejudices as her family becomes increasingly involved in the movement.
When Anjali's mother is jailed, Anjali must step out of her comfort zone to take over her mother's work, ensuring that her little part of the independence movement is completed.
Inspired by her great-grandmother's experience working with Gandhi, New Visions Award winner Supriya Kelkar shines a light on the Indian freedom movement in this poignant debut.