• Monday, July 15, 2024

Interview with Ridhhaan Jaiin, Author of “Penny and The Monsters”

Explore an inspiring interview with Ridhhaan Jaiin, India's youngest author and motivational speaker, discussing his latest book 'Penny and The Monsters' on Frontlist.
on Jul 02, 2024
Interview with Ridhhaan Jaiin, Author of “Penny and The Monsters” | Frontlist

Ridhhaan Jaiin is one of India’s youngest and most talented authors. At just 10 years old, he is already an accomplished author, audiobook narrator, motivational speaker, and YouTube podcaster. He is also a passionate child philanthropist, using his platform to raise awareness and funds for causes close to his heart.

His first book was published when he was just 8 years old, making him one of India’s youngest authors.. He has also narrated audiobooks of the same titles, setting a record as the youngest audiobook narrator in the India Book of Records and Asia Book of Records. Additionally, these records recognized him as the youngest child to publish multiple books in the same year.

Frontlist: "Penny and The Monsters" is your fourth book in the short moral story series. Can you share with us the inspiration behind this particular story and why you chose to explore the theme of overcoming fear?

Ridhhaan: The story "Penny and the Monsters" was inspired during our Halloween celebrations. While trick-or-treating with my friends, the idea came to me. The theme of overcoming fear is a crucial life lesson that I felt needed to be included. Overcoming fears can mean different things depending on our perspective. In my story, it means being courageous and not fearing anyone. It also means speaking boldly without worrying about others' opinions. Additionally, it involves not being scared of small things like strange noises or anything else.

Frontlist: The book blends horror elements with humor and a positive message. How did you strike this balance to create a story that's both entertaining and teaches a valuable lesson? 

Ridhhaan: The way I balance the entertainment and learnings in the story is quite simple. When I first write the story, I create an outline that gives me a reference. When I re-read it, I add more elements of entertainment, making the story more fun and captivating. While reading, I also focus on how I can add more learning in every part so the reader will have fun while reading and learn some valuable lessons that will help them in their journey. Additionally, I think from the reader's perspective and whatever comes to my heart. Using both makes the story natural and beautiful, giving a clearer understanding of all the elements like grammar, entertainment, valuable lessons, and many more. I believe that using these elements will make the readers find the story more interesting.

Frontlist: Your dedication to philanthropy is inspiring. Could you tell us more about the initiatives you've undertaken to support causes such as child welfare and education and how your work as an author ties into your philanthropic efforts?

Ridhhaan: My journey began when I was 6 years old during the pandemic. During the 2nd wave, many people were home-quarantined, and we decided to help them by providing home-cooked meals for their welfare. My mother and grandmother cooked the food, and I participated by folding tissues, garnishing, and writing "get well soon" cards for each patient and their family. I even joined my father in delivering these packets, ensuring he was well-sanitized. This was the first time I personally experienced the joy of helping others. Many patients, their families, and others blessed us to continue this noble work. It was then that I realized the true meaning of kindness and helping others. I believed that as long as we did good work, God would always be with us during difficult times.

Later, when my first book was published, I was fortunate to be invited by many schools as a storyteller. I enhanced my skills by sharing my journey, story writing, publishing process, and learnings. During this time, many children approached me to help them showcase their creativity. This led me to initiate an international story writing competition, "Once Upon In Our Minds." I also started my podcast "B'coz I Can with Ridhhaan," through which I could give a platform to talented children and spread learnings from inspiring personalities. Through these initiatives, I aimed to promote reading and writing, build confidence, and provide platforms for more children because I believe many are talented and inspiring.

Due to my family's influence, I was always connected to social causes. I launched my first audiobook at Pune Blind School and committed to sharing 30% of my earnings from all audiobooks for the welfare of blind children. I am also the brand ambassador of an orphanage named BVJSS in Pune, which has more than 350 children. I helped them spread awareness about their NGO and organized a donation drive during Christmas.

These engagements give me satisfaction, lots of learnings, and motivate me to keep doing good work. Such initiatives bring warmth and happiness. These experiences also help me in my writing journey, providing real-life experiences and lessons. I must say my novel "The Mellifluous Odyssey" is a reflection of my lessons and experiences from these engagements.

I encourage everyone to spread love and do whatever best they can because even a small gesture can make a big difference in someone's life.

Frontlist: School can sometimes feel overwhelming with homework, exams, and extracurricular activities. How do you manage your time effectively as a young author, audiobook narrator, and motivational speaker while also balancing schoolwork and other commitments?

Ridhhaan: Since I was young, my parents and I have followed a concept we call "balancing it out." We planned it as a timetable: in the morning, I go to school, and when I return, I study, complete my homework, and revise whatever was taught that day. After finishing my studies, I either read books, draw, or engage in any creative activity. If I have upcoming podcasts or school visits, I prepare for them instead of reading books. This preparation includes researching, preparing questions, and practicing my speech. Then, I go down to play with my friends around 7:30 PM and sleep by 9:00 PM. I follow this schedule from Monday to Friday.

On Saturdays and Sundays, I have my enjoyment time where I watch movies or play indoor and outdoor games. This is also the perfect time for me to write my stories, attend events as a motivational speaker, complete my podcast shoots, or work on creative projects. This is my way of balancing everything: my playtime, studies, and other activities.

Frontlist: Being an author and managing so many other things along with school, do you sometimes feel like you might be missing out on some core experiences of a normal childhood like other school-going kids?

Ridhhaan: As a child, what do we need? Proper education, a supportive family, a mentor, classes to upgrade our skills, playtime, engagement in sports, time with friends, participation in competitions and activities, worldly experiences, and entertainment. I am having the best childhood. I am helping people and following my passion. What more do I need? Instead, I am gaining even more experience, meeting NGOs and more people, and visiting numerous schools. Doing other things, along with school, helps me stay focused and give my best in everything I do. The credit goes to my parents for helping me manage everything and never feel left out of anything.

Frontlist: What advice do you have for other young people who might be interested in writing but feel discouraged by their age or lack of experience?

Ridhhaan: For all who are reading, remember that whatever you do, give your best. It is very important to dedicate time and start writing. It does not matter how it turns out; what matters is to start and finish within the given deadline. Never accept defeat, never give up, and believe in yourself. Believe you can do it. Always be responsible and helpful. Always be a superhero in someone's eyes because one small gesture of yours can make a difference in someone's life. Let me assure you, this will change your life too.

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