For Feature Friday I am excited to share an interview with young and vibrant author Annie Besant. Annie published her first children’s book through Tulika this year, a charming story called Mala’s Silver Anklets. On with the interview!
What was your inspiration behind the story of Mala’s Silver Anklets?
My inspiration was this sweet little girl I saw waiting outside a street side tea shop! She was wearing a bright orange tee and bright neon green shorts, and on her feet were the thickest pairs of anklets I have seen. While she waited for whoever was with her to get their cup of tea, she kept stamping her feet apparently mesmerized by the sounds her anklets were making… Chik Chik Chum. There was this simple pleasure all over her face, and at that moment the story came to me. I wrote it out in less than half an hour.
Tell us about your experience working with a publisher. What did you learn?
I think I was really blessed that I struck gold with Tulika Publishers the first time around. They were just great. True to their word, they got back to me within three months of me sending in my ms. They told me what they liked about it and suggested a few changes. It was just a totally smooth experience.
How did you find your illustrator, Nancy Raj?
Tulika got her to do the book. She had already done a few books for them…and, boy, am I glad they got her. The pictures tell such a wonderful story.
If you were to repeat the process of creating a children’s book, would you have done anything differently?
Hmmm….probably sent in my manuscripts sooner. I took a long time sending Mala out. It sat in a folder on my desktop for a good two months while I played ‘should I?’ ‘shouldn’t I?’ with it.
What are your favorite children’s books?
So many! I absolutely love Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy. Corneli Funke’s Inkheart series leaves me speechless as do her other books. Her prose is simply exquisite. Like millions of others, I love Roald Dahl’s works. I do have a taste for the macabre and unusual so I source out authors like Edward Gorey, Neil Gaiman etc. My list of favorite children’s books is endless.
Are you working on any new projects that you can share with us?
I’m working on a young adult novel. I’m looking to create stories for an Indian audience that uses Indian myth, history and motifs.
About today’s guest:
Annie Besant is a children’s writer based in Chennai, India. She published her first children’s picture book for 3-year-olds recently and still pinches herself to make sure she’s not dreaming. Annie thinks Alice should never have left Wonderland, and has adopted the Mad Hatter as her personal mascot.