Welcome to our weekly special feature post, Author Of The Week!!
Each week we will be interviewing a different YA author and highlighting their upcoming release!
We will also be hosting a giveaway of the book we are highlighting!!
Introducing Aditi Khorana, YABC's Author of the Week!!
Aditi Khorana spent part of her childhood in India, Denmark and New England. She has a BA in International Relations from Brown University and an MA in Global Media and Communications from the Annenberg School for Communication. She has worked as a journalist at ABC News, CNN, and PBS, and most recently as a marketing executive consulting for various Hollywood studios including FOX, Paramount and SONY. MIRROR IN THE SKY is her first novel. She lives in Los Angeles and spends her free time reading, hiking, and exploring LA’s eclectic and wonderful architecture. Her second book, LIBRARY OF FATES, a feminist historical fantasy set in fictional ancient India, about a louche misogynistic dictator overthrowing a tiny, idyllic kingdom and the women who must wrench it back from him is out in July 2017.
Meet The Library Of Fates!
No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn't enough.
The palace is soon under siege, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on one another. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.
Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I had never before seen South Asian inspired myth or fantasy in young adult fiction and I wanted to change that! I had also been reading a lot about the Syrian refugee crisis and asking myself what it means to have lost everything, and the convergence of these two ideas brought me to The Library of Fates. I was fascinated with this question of who you become when life is stripped down to its bare essentials. The UN High Commission for Refugees recently reported that 65.3 million people were displaced from their homes in 2015. My grandparents were also refugees - they arrived in India after the 1947 Partition, so I've spent a lot of time contemplating this question of starting over when there's no home left. Library of Fates is also loosely based on Alexander the Great's invasion into India, but from a feminist perspective.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I hate picking favorites because I love both Amrita and Thala equally! They're both such strong, resourceful characters, but in entirely different ways. Amrita has grown up with everything and then loses it. Thala grew up a slave and wants nothing more than to be free, to return home, to reunite with her family. As I wrote these characters, I realized that even though they are really different in terms of their outlooks and personalities they are similar in that they recognize that the system is stacked against them on so many levels because they are women. Their very success lies in subverting a system that oppresses them and was never created for them in the first place, and they come up with creative ways of doing this. I wanted to talk about the intersection of feminism and colonialism through these characters. How they persevere and rely on themselves and each other - and not a man - to rescue them when they are lost or stuck or afraid.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
I always struggle with titles! I usually have the entire manuscript completed, edited, and then come up with a title afterwards. In the case of The Library of Fates, my amazing editor, Jessica Almon and I brainstormed for weeks, emailing each other ideas back and forth. This is always really fun because you get to "try on" different titles. But when we arrived at The Library of Fates, we were both like, "YAS! That's the one!"
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I'm so proud of this ending! It's always challenging writing an ending that's emotionally satisfying, ties up loose threads, and makes the reader feel rewarded for investing their time in the book. I've had early readers and close friends tell me that the end made them cry and a handful of friends called me sobbing after they finished reading Library of Fates. As much as I don't want to make people cry, I feel like that's the best feedback/review you can get from an audience.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I think learning to trust where the process will take you is the most important lesson I've learned hands down. Writing a novel can be scary. You're alone with this manuscript for weeks and months on end. You have periods where you engage with your characters more than you engage with actual human people. There's a lot of doubt about whether any of it is good or if anyone will want to read it, or if you're getting the story right. Some days you hit a wall and think all of your ideas are the worst and that you are the worst and what are you even doing writing a book? It tests your mettle emotionally and psychologically. But emerging at the end of that process reinforces your faith that you can, actually do it, and the gift you receive from your efforts is that every book you write actually transforms you and teaches you something important about the world and about yourself.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I LOVE THIS COVER SO MUCH! I mean, I can't take any credit for it. it was designed by the brilliant and talented Theresa Evangelista, who also designed the cover for my debut novel Mirror in the Sky. First of all, it's PINK! And then seeing an Indian woman with a dagger in her hand, on a throne, looking fierce...I mean, I had just never seen anything like it before. And the truth is, I wish I HAD seen more covers like this when I was growing up, because seeing an empowered, beautiful South Asian woman on the cover of a book would have meant the world to me when I was a teen. It would have validated my presence in this society as a brown, immigrant woman.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017?
By the time this posts, Arundhati Roy's latest book, Ministry of Utmost Happiness will be out and I just cannot wait to read it. The God of Small Things is my favorite book in the world, and it's been 20 years since she published a work of fiction!
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2016?
In terms of YA, I loved Heidi Heilig's The Girl From Everywhere and Alison Umminger's American Girls. In terms of adult fiction, I loved Jacqueline Woodson's Another Brooklyn and Zadie Smith's Swing Time. It's hard to pick just one favorite when there are so many great books out there!
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I feel strongly about the plight of refugees across the world. Two organizations that do great work to support refugees are UNHCR and the International Rescue Committee. And living in an America during a time when civil liberties are under attack, I'm a huge supporter of the ACLU.
The Library Of Fates
By: Aditi Khorana
Release Date: July 18th, 2017
Two winners will receive a SIGNED copy of The Library of Fates, TLOF bookmarks and constellation temporary tattoos ~ (International)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*