Interview With Author Varsha Seshan

# Please introduce yourself and your books.

I’m Varsha Seshan, a children’s book writer from Pune, India. Though I have written stories and articles for adults too, my focus is children’s literature. I have twice been shortlisted for the Scholastic Asian Book Award – once for my collection of short stories Dragonflies, Jigsaws and Seashells and the second time for an upcoming middle-grade book. My published work also includes three picture books, a chapter book and two middle-grade books.

# What are the real-life stories behind your books?

I suppose the book that is closest to being a real-life story is my middle-grade book, Sisters at New Dawn. As someone who shares a powerful bond with her sister, I loved writing about a pair of sisters who look out for each other! The setting of my chapter book, The Clockwala’s Clues, is my hometown, Pune. The tiny bylanes of the city form the backdrop of the story, though I’ve tweaked the details to suit my narrative. Both stories were fun to write because readers who know my city and me draw the links immediately!

# What inspires/inspired your creativity?

Everything! Rainy days, wonderful books, the workshops I conduct for children – all these find their way into what I write.

# How do you deal with creative block?

I use different methods each time. Sometimes, just making myself sit down and stare at my laptop screen until I begin to write works well. At other times, I read a book or talk to my target audience. 

# What are the biggest mistakes you can make in a book?

Querying too soon!

# How has your creation process improved over time?

I’ve grown a lot more patient with myself over time. I don’t feel the need to send my book out the moment I write it. I’ve also worked with a number of excellent editors, all of who have shaped my writing.

# What role do emotions play in creativity?
Emotions play a huge role in creativity. I write best when I am excited! Having said that, however, I edit best when I am calm and focused.

# Do you have any creativity tricks?
Not restricting myself to one target age-group always works for me. I might think I want to write a picture book, but it’s only when I start writing that I realise that my story idea is more suited to a middle-grade audience. Allowing my story to take control helps me discover its best potential.

# Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.

Aren’t we all full of quirks? I love sleeping early and getting up at dawn, I rarely sit at a table to write and I think rainy days are the best kind of days ever!