Legends of Norse Mythology and A Teen Indian: inKonversation Anusha Subramanian

She is all of 12, loves books, opines with her author father on his book covers and is India’s youngest published author. Anusha Subramanian not just loves reading those books but is also the proud creator of the Catriona series – a four book teenage fantasy packed with action and adventure. As she gets ready for the official launch of the first book in the series – Heirs of Catriona – the young wordsmith gets inKonversation with us on the journey and thrill of writing. Read on:

India’s youngest published author, isn’t that awesome? How do you feel Anusha?
Writing a book has always been my dream and to actually have achieved it is an absolutely amazing thing. I feel as though I have done something productive and creative in life and being India’s youngest published author is really exhilarating. But I can grant you this—The joy of actually seeing your stories in print in the form of an actual book is unparalleled.

Heirs of Catriona – A very intriguing title and cover. Tell us more about it.
Actually it was my dad who came up with this title and that too after days of brainstorming. I found it quite apt as my book is based on the two girls who are the Heirs of the mystical world of Catriona and have to battle their way through innumerable dangers to get back their kingdom and rescue their imprisoned mothers from an evil (not to mention immortal) God and the current Queen of the land who has usurped the throne.

Most of us who take up writing have gone through a childhood of imagined friends and worlds. Tell us about your most prominent imagination from your childhood (though you are still in there).
Almost all of the books that I had read in my early reading stages always had animals in them. For example, how can we ever forget the humorous capers of Timothy from the Famous Five by Enid Blyton? My most prominent imagination is that of having a pet. And that too a perfect and beautiful pet, who is sufficiently trained and is in sync with my thoughts. Unfortunately, living in a flat does not allow me to have a pet of my own. This is why even in the Heirs of Catriona on of the protagonists has a golden retriever as a pet. You can say that I sort of live this dream of mine through my book!

Who is your favourite from the book? Is there anyone in there who is inspired from your real life?
No, none of the characters are based on anyone in my life. My favourite characters are actually the protagonists of the book—Sara and Crystal. I like them because they are so different and yet so alike. And also their friendship reminds me a lot of the friendship between me and my best friend! It’s like both of them know that irrespective of the situation, they will be there for each other.

You know writing is a bug, a lovely one but still a bug. So when did this bug bite you? What do you call your first written piece?
After seeing my dad write his first two books, I started contemplating how it would actually be to write a book of your own. My ideas were totally encouraged by my family and hence I started writing. Before Heirs of Catriona I had written an experimental piece of 10,000 words which is untitled. I also wrote two short stories titled A Night in School and Unrecognised Talent.

You are a voracious reader; tell us about your favourite books and authors.
My favourite books are the Percy Jackson and Kane Chronicles series by Rick Riordan and of course Harry Potter by J.K Rowling. Mythology has always intrigued me and hence I simply love Rick Riordan’s books and his style of writing that always includes a generous amount of humour and sarcasm. These books never fail to inspire me and I have read all of them more than once.

Your father must have been an inspiration to write but who else inspired you, if you have to name one person?
Books. Whenever I read particularly interesting books, they always inspire me and set my creative juices in motion!

Have you read your father’s books? Which is your favourite? (Mine is the latest one)
No I haven’t read my dad’s books, but I broadly do know the various plots of his books. The one that I found the more interesting was the latest one The Bankster. Having said that, I almost always offer my views on his cover pages and that too my favourite one is the latest one. 🙂

School, homework, friends…most kids your age was cribbing with the stress of these. How do you mange to write novels with all that? Do you follow any routine for writing?
After finishing all my homework etc etc I always sit to write in the night. I don’t know why but in the night I always feel very creative. And I owe my mom one because she almost always lets me sit up a little late to write my book. She is also the first one to read both my dad and my manuscripts and gives her feedback to both of us.

What do you find the most special thing about being a storyteller?
Being a storyteller opens the doors of imagination for you. People usually tend to think that there is a particular pattern that you have to stick to in a book, but that’s not true. When you write, you have absolutely no boundaries and also access to innumerable possibilities and outcomes. You can literally live your life through your tales. Also I just love thinking up the various scenarios, the alternate endings and determining the personality of every character. I love describing people and places in detail and also doing the research before starting to write. When you write, you disappear into a world where there is nothing else except you, your story and your imagination, painting the road ahead for you.

Tell us one reason why all of us (kids, grown-ups and not so grown-ups) should read Heirs of Catriona?
Heirs of Catriona explores a relatively unknown branch of mythology: Norse, which has its roots in Scandinavia. If there is one reason that you should read this book, is for the legends of Norse mythology found interspersed in it. Though Norse is a pretty undermined branch of mythology, it is an extremely interesting one.

Thank you Anusha. It was wonderful and insightful having you here. Wish you all the luck for the book and the series.

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