Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet #1)
By: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Publication Date: March 27th, 2018
Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?
One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.
But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.
The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?
headphones, loose sheets of paper, lots of sharpie pens and usually my fluffy cat haha
2) What was the best, the worst, and the hardest thing about writing your sophomore novel?
I think the best part about writing ACOW was that I had a strong sense of where I wanted these characters to be and how I wanted them to grow. The hardest part was tuning out my best and worst critics and stay true to the story.
3) Your next novel is a Middle Grades one, Aru Shah and the End of Time. Was there anything different about writing for younger readers, rather than teens?
I loved writing ARU, and it was a totally different experience. I found that I was a lot more concentrated on the pacing and humor, which gave the whole book a lot more levity.
4) Both of your characters, Maya and Gauri, give up their normal place in society in order to pursue greater dreams. Similarly, you gave up some opportunities–law school, for instance–in order to be a writer. What was the most challenging thing about pursuing your dream, and what would you recommend to other writers in a similar situation? (We’re assuming you have no regrets about this).
The most challenging aspect for me was the sense of doubt. I had to conquer that doubt when I decided to leave school and move back home. I had to recast what I considered failure and what I considered forward momentum. I would recommend to other writers that you do not have to choose on thing to the exclusion of the other, but if you feel that’s the best route, then do so.
5) What scene, from any of your books, are you most proud of (because of how you handled the atmosphere, characters, dialogue, etc)?
I loved the scene where Gauri goes beast mode!
6) Is there a scene that you had difficulty with and just had to “power through” to finish a book? Or a scene that made you very emotional?
Yes. It was really hard to write Maya and Gauri’s reunion scene.
7) You’ve described your forthcoming YA series, The Gilded Wolves, as a Belle Epoque Romp with lots of champagne and parties. But at the same time, you’ve also hinted that there are themes about appropriation and imperialism that come through in prominent ways. Are there themes/topics that you think should receive more attention in YA lit?
Honestly, just more diversity of viewpoint and experiences. Diversity is not a trend.
Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen.
She grew up in Georgia, where she acquired a Southern accent but does not use it unless under duress. She has a luck dragon that looks suspiciously like a Great Pyrenees dog. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Uncanny Magazine, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. She is the 2016 finalist for the Andre Norton Award, and a 2016 Locus finalist for Best First Novel. Her short story, The Star Maiden, was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.
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