Author Chat with Kashmira Sheth (Nina Soni, Halloween Queen), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we are chatting with Kashmira Sheth, author of
Nina Soni, Halloween Queen!
Read on for more about Kashmira, her book, and giveaway!
Meet Kashmira Sheth!
Kashmira Sheth was born in India with Guajarati as her mother tongue, and began learning English in fifth grade. She had lived in Bhavnagar and Mumbai before moving to United States when she was seventeen to attend Iowa State University, where she received a BS in microbiology. Before becoming an author Kashmira had many different jobs, including running a dance school and choreographing and performing Indian dances, working in a bakery, and working as a food microbiologist. She is the author of several picture books, chapter books, and middle grade and young adult novels. Taking inspiration from her own life and experiences, much of Kashmira’s work centers on Indian culture and features Indian and Indian-American characters.
Meet Nina Soni, Halloween Queen!
Halloween hijinks reign supreme in this fourth installment of Kashmira Sheth’s award-winning series starring Nina Soni, a charming, distractible Indian-American girl, and her family and friends.
Halloween brings out Nina Soni’s competitive spirit. Her friend Jay has a great costume planned, so – of course – Nina has to come up with an even better idea. A bunch of old boxes in the basement inspires her to create an impressively scary haunted house, for which she can charge admission. So what could possibly go wrong for the Halloween Queen?
In Nina Soni, #OwnVoices author Kashmira Sheth has created an endearing heroine and charming stories of family, friendship, and her slightly scatterbrained efforts to manage her life with lists, definitions, and more. A fun read for STEAM enthusiasts!
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Nina Soni, Halloween Queen was inspired by my two daughters. On Halloween, when they were young, they constructed a spooky pathway for the neighborhood kids and it was a great success. Recently, I found their original invitation to visit their pathway. I based this story on their adventure.
Nina Soni, Halloween Queen is the fourth book in the Nina Soni Series. Nina’s and her sister Kavita’s characters draw a lot from my two daughters. Since my daughters were born and raised in Madison, Wisconsin, I set the Nina Soni series there.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I have two favorite characters, Nina and Kavita. As I mentioned earlier, the two sisters are based on my two daughters and I love them both equally.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
The characters have minds of their own and as an author I must get to know them on their terms.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
On the cover of Nina Soni, Halloween Queen, Jenn Kocsmiersky has depicted Nina’s personality as well as the story’s essence beautifully. Nina is holding a ghost in one hand and a flashlight in other. Her hat, her clothes, and the background are perfect for the story.
YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
I recently finished Caste by Isabel Wilkerson which is very powerful book about caste and race. I also enjoyed I am not your perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sanchez.
Currently I am concentrating on reading picture books and have started the Aru Shah series by Roshni Choksi. Aru Shah series is filled with Hindu mythology so it brings alive so many stories as well as memories from my childhood.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The most difficult part to narrate in Nina Soni, Halloween Queen was how Nina feels about her best friend Jay’s and (his cousin) Jeff’s friendship. Nina has known Jay all her life, and she is envious of Jay’s spending time with Jeff. She is also protective of Jay and feels that she knows him better than Jeff does. This is a complicated emotional world for nine-year-old Nina as she steps out of her immediate family and tries to navigate the larger world.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Nina Soni, Halloween Queen is the fourth book in the series, so I am familiar with all of the characters by now. In general, I find Jay is a difficult character to write about. This is because I write through Nina’s eyes and sometimes she has a difficult time figuring out his motivations. For example, in Nina Soni, Halloween Queen, he doesn’t tell her what he is going to be for Halloween. It drives Nina crazy and she wonders why her best friend wants to keep a secret from her. Jay has come up with an amazing idea and he simply wants to surprise Nina but she has a difficult time understanding and accepting this.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
For me, the first draft is an exciting journey to find out what happens in the story. The revising is more relaxing because the story is already there.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Unfortunately, I am still trying to figure that out.
YABC: What advice would you give to new writers?
Writing takes patience and persistence. Write your story, read it, revise it. The process takes time but it is worth it.
Nina Soni, Halloween Queen
Author: Kashmira Sheth
Illustrator: Jenn Kocsmiersky
Publisher: Peachtree Publishing Company
Publish Date: September 1st, 2021
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*