Thursday, March 17, 2016

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (Author Interview + Giveaway)

I'm really excited about today's feature, because it is one of my most anticipated releases for this year. Let me correct myself, it is one of my top 3 anticipated reads for this year, together with The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski and Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. Ever since reading Colleen Houck's series on Indian mythology, I realized that there is so much more mythology out there that should be discovered. I am happy to know that there have been recent and upcoming releases of YA novels focusing on rich mythology from other countries, aside from Greek, Roman & Norse mythologies. I am already familiar with some of the creatures that would star in The Star-Touched Queen and I can't wait for everybody to read this gem of a book. I hope you enjoy this interview with Roshani!

PS. She is giving away a signed hardcover of The Star-Touched Queen later!

What is your story world like?
Indian mythology inspired a lot of my world building. I drew on a lot of descriptions about Otherworldly palaces, where gemstones lit up the world and magic and music reigned supreme. It’s kinda glamorous. Kinda goth. Kinda awesome. (I think).

Could you tell us a bit about your writing style/process?
I really like to plot out my books before I write them. I suffer from a lot of false starts, so having a battle strategy helps me fight against all the unknown and all the uncertainty when it comes to drafting. I think I’ve rewritten the beginnings of my books about fifty times each, and it’s not until I nail down that feel of how it should start that things fall into place. When I write, I like to visualize certain beats within the story. What do I want to accomplish by a certain wordcount? Who are my characters and what do they want? Those questions guide me in terms of pacing and plotting.

Could you tell us a bit of the characters from Indian mythology that make an appearance in The Star-Touched Queen?
The Star-Touched Queen has a large supporting cast of characters that I lifted directly from Indian folklore and mythology. There are rakshas (demons!) and bhuts (ghosts!). There are apsaras (celestial dancers, like nymphs) and gandharvas (celestial musicians). Maya herself is inspired by characters from folklore, like Shakuntula and Savitri.

Could you tell us about Maya? How did you develop her personality?
Maya is…hungry. She’s hungry for more out of her life. She’s ambitious, and a little reckless. She does her best to be self-aware, but sometimes gets in her own way. When I developed her personality, I had a clear idea of a girl who had a lot to offer but whose circumstances frustrated her.

Do you see parts of yourself in Maya?
I put a little of myself in all my characters :) Maya and I have the same favorite dessert. We’re both ambitious. We both become defensive (perhaps more than we need to) when we get criticized.

How did you develop Maya and Amar's relationship?
With Amar and Maya, I wanted to explore a relationship where both parties are equally matched in power and intelligence. Half their chemistry comes from their ability to debate with one another, and half their problems come from their obstinacy and not knowing when to back down.

How different was the original version of The Star-Touched Queen from the final version? What changed?
The original draft had a lot more characters. And it was written in third person. The final version was more streamlined, written in 1st person and overall more focused.

Do you have advice for aspiring writers?
There is no expiration date for success. Be kind to others and to yourself. Know that every set of words is something worth celebrating and that what you’re doing is brave and courageous even if you’re the only person reading. Don’t be precious with your work. Take criticism graciously. Read everything. Write things, and make yourself finish!

Thank you, Rosh!

About the Author:

Photo Credit to Aman Sharma
Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she's learning a new kind of storytelling.

Find Rosh: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram

Book Description:

Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: April 26th 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin

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.

Inspired by Indian mythology.


Thank you to Rosh for this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Signed Hardcover of The Star-Touched Queen
Scope: International

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full schedule and links to the posts!


  1. Unfortunately I haven't read anything with Indian mythology before and so I am really looking forward to reading this one. Thank you for the giveaway!

  2. I *love* mythology but haven't come across anything with Indian mythology which makes this book extra exciting.

  3. I have not read anything with Indian mythology before.

  4. I don't think I've read anything with Indian mythology either. Something new for us all.

  5. I can't WAIT to see some god Indian mythology in the YA scene!

  6. Wow! Thank you so much for the fantastic giveaway!
    I am super interested in TSTQ because:
    1) Loads of my blogger friends have read and loved it!
    2) The plot sounds fantastic
    3) The cover is beautiful!
    4) The author is so lovely on twitter, I feel sure her writing will be amazing! :-)

  7. Nope. I Haven't but I want to read this book cos I have heard a lot of good reviews from my fave bloggers and it got me curious. :) -Angelica

  8. Nope. I Haven't but I want to read this book cos I have heard a lot of good reviews from my fave bloggers and it got me curious. :) -Angelica

  9. I really loved this interview, great questions and interesting answers. I am now even more excited to read Star Touched Queen. I have never read Indian mythology and I can't wait!

  10. Oooo this looks great! Think this has made me want to read Star Touched Queen even more!

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  12. Sounds interesting! I've never read anything with Indian mythology before, and I'm Indian. Really really excited for this book--it's so different from most other YA;
    1) The main character is married, and the story isn't about affairs (YESSSSS.)
    2) INDIAN MYTHOLOGY! We finally get a story with Indian mythology!!! Not Greek/Egyptian/Norse. Indian!!!
    3.) No. Love. Triangle. (I'm assuming this from the blurb.) Finally an author who gets that there are readers out there who absolutely hate love triangles.

    Thank you so much Ms. Chokshi for writing this!!!

  13. I don't know much about Indian mythology, but I've read a lot about religions native to that country (Buddhism, and especially Hinduism -- read the Rig Veda and Bhagavad Gita). The distinction is irrelevant since I am equally interested in all aspects of this culture's varied literary and folklore traditions! I can't wait to explore some new concepts through this read. Cheers, Kara S

  14. I'm excited to read indian mythology

  15. I love different cultures and reading about them!

  16. I don't think I've ever read a book with Indian mythology before, that's part of the reason why I want to read The Star Touched Queen. It came into my radar when I read a review about this book saying how amazing it was; it immediately grabbed my attention.

  17. One of the main reasons why I really want to read this book is 'cause I never read the one with Indian mythology and I'm excited to finally have a chance to just that.
    Great interview and thanks for the giveaway! :)

  18. From the first page, I loved this story. Cursed and ostracized, Maya is at once charming and heartbreaking. I wanted to hold her hand and follow her through the story, and I'm not a hand-holding kind of girl. Wow. The language here is stunning and the world building is expertly done.

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