Yes, HImanjali has already been interviewed by an adult (well, two), but when eleven-year-old Arya read The Stupendous Timetelling Superdog and sent in her interesting questions, we decided to have another interview for the blog.
A: When did you first begin writing?
HS: I can’t really remember but I do remember that Creative Writing was my favourite period in school – from Class 1 or 2 possibly. I love writing – not just stories, also letters, research papers, anything.
A: Why do you find writing interesting?
HS: What I love about writing is that it gives me time to organise my thoughts and ideas. Don’t we often regret what we say and later wish we had said something else, while talking? Writing allows us to think our thoughts out properly, to spend time mulling over ideas. It shows us how to be responsible for our own thoughts.
A: Who were the first people who encouraged your writing?
HS: My mother. She encouraged and sometimes embarrassed–like when she read out one silly poem I wrote to some guests who got very bored I am sure but pretended to find it very interesting.
A: Did you read a lot as a child? What was your favourite book?
HS: Yes, I read all the time. I still do which is why I don’t understand what people mean when they say they are bored. How can you be bored when there is so much literature in the world? Favourite book is a tough one though – I read all the Enid Blyton books and series’, of course. Then stuff like The Bobbsey Twins, Trixie Belden, William, Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and so on and so forth. No, can’t think of a favourite – too many super books out there.
A: Have you ever faced ‘the writers’ block’? If yes, how did you get past it?
HS: When I start writing I can’t stop so I guess I have the opposite of a writer’s block. But yes, sometimes when I start reading what I have written I find it is a load of rubbish. Then I need to start again or think more and make changes to what I have written.
A: How do you think of the ideas to write about?
HS: I don’t find it easy to come up with good ideas. I need prompts or a first line or just a topic. I find it difficult to start writing otherwise.
A: How did you get the idea for The Stupendous Timetelling Dog?
HS: I had gone to a writing workshop where we were asked to write on Time. It had to be the first paragraph of a children’s book. I like the pressure one feels to deliver at a workshop. You have to come up with ideas and share them with people. And I start worrying that my idea might be stupid and then everyone will think I am stupid, which I don’t want. So at this workshop my brain went all hyper and came up with the idea of a time-telling dog. Of course, I didn’t know then that it would become a book but that is how the idea first got into my head.
A: I loved the name Orange Marmaladies, as I like puns. I thought of marmalade, ladies, and maladies. I also liked the idea of ‘the black hole of time’. How did you decide on such funny things?
HS: I don’t remember how I happened upon that name but I did like it too – it made me think of these cheerful wobbly beings. But maladies is a good connecting thought – wish I had thought of it while writing! I could have had some fun with the maladies the Marmaladies suffer from. If I ever write about the OMs again I will use this idea – if you don’t mind.
It is tough to just sit and try to think these things up but when I start writing they usually come to me easily.
A: Do you write serious as well as funny stories?
HS: I do. But I get all sad and worked up when I write serious stuff. It is so much more fun to laugh than cry so I do feel happier and better when writing funny stories.
A: Have you written any other books? If yes, which are they? Will you be writing more books for children?
HS: I have written a book called The Magical Adventures of Skinny Scribbles and I have written a short nonsense poem which was included in a very nice book called This Book : Makes No Sense. And yes, I would love to write more books for children.
A: Do you also write books for adults?
HSI have written short stories and academic articles but no full length books for adults. I don’t think that is something I am going to do.