Author Rina Singh | Diwali Lights | InterviewAuthor Rina Singh | Diwali Lights | Interview
on Oct 25, 2021 Rina Singh is an award-winning Children’s Author and Spoken Word coach. She has an MFA in Creative Writing and has written many critically acclaimed books for children. As a writer, she is drawn to real life stories about social justice and the environment. 1) Why did you choose Orca Book Publishers as your Publisher? It was the other way around. Diwali: Festival of Lights had done extremely well and was also nominated for the Red Cedar Award. I had written a board book on Holi Colors for Orca Books and that book garnered a lot of interest and starred reviews so the publisher asked me if I would write a board book on Diwali. I would never say no! 2) You’ve written two books on Diwali. How is this book different from the previous Diwali Book? Diwali Lights is a board book for babies and toddlers. It introduces little ones to this brilliant festival through dazzling photographs and lyrical prose. It starts like this: My jaan, my life, it’s Diwali today Open your eyes and greet the day and the baby spends the day with the parent––looking at and learning about Diwali traditions. 3) As a Children Books Author, what have you learned so far. Share some advice to aspiring authors. Writing comes from someplace deep inside us. Most writers write because they must. They invest themselves emotionally in their stories. They need to fall in love with their characters and struggle with plots and then polish them to make them the best stories they are capable of writing. First thing is WRITE and keep writing. You become a writer by writing. First drafts are bad. They are bad even for the most famous authors. Don’t be too hard on yourself too soon. Let your story find its way into the world. Nourish it by writing it again and again. Write as many drafts as you need to. With each draft, you’ll learn more. Have diverse interests. Have a hobby and love a lot of things. Be curious about the world around you. That’s where you will find your ideas. Find someone to mentor you. Yes, you need encouragement to flourish but you also need someone to look at your work objectively and critically. It could be a teacher, a parent or a seasoned writer friend. Question yourself but don’t doubt your talent. I think a lot of people have talent but it’s the perseverance that’s missing. Perseverance will get you there. It may sound like a cliché advice but Read! Read! Read! It’s vital to fill that well of creativity within you. By reading other books, you’ll learn what works, what doesn’t, and trigger new ideas. Read different genres – fiction, non-fiction, biographies, poetry – especially poetry. It brings lyricism to your work. And who doesn’t love that? 4) Who’s your favorite Children Books Author? How do they reflect your writing career? That’s the hardest question to answer—I have so many! The poet Pablo Neruda has shaped my poetic sensibility. Gulzar, whose work I have translated (Silences, Rupa Publishing) has taught me to always write from the heart. For children, my favourites are Jen Bryant who is also a poet and has written brilliant biographies and novels in verse. From her I learnt how to write in a lyrical manner. And from Amy Novesky, a gifted writer who also happens to be one of my editors I have learnt to write concisely and to pack a lot of soul into writing. I am still a work in progress!
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