As the author of popular YA novels like A Thousand Beginnings and Endings and the bestselling The Star-Touched Queen and Pandava series, Roshani Chokshi is a serious force to be reckoned with. Having recently been featured in Oprah magazine among many other top-tier outlets, Chokshi is taking the world by storm.
After meeting Roshani Chokshi in Atlanta this past fall, She Reads immediately knew that there would be no one better to join the editorial team this January than Roshani, and we’re so excited to celebrate her new release, The Gilded Wolves. In the midst of planning an extravagant dream wedding and gearing up for book tour, Roshani gave us the inside scoop on her life as a writer, the inspiration behind her new book and the books she loves most. Learn more about our January Guest Editor, Roshani Chokshi, all month long and keep your eye out for exclusive video interviews with the bestselling and highly-intelligent writer.
When and why did you decide to write YA fiction? Was it a conscious choice?
It was never a conscious choice to write YA. I think it was the voice my writing style naturally gravitated toward because it opened up endless possibilities for self-discovery and transformation. One of the magical things about writing for children and teenagers is that it’s often a celebration of firsts. First love, first tragedy, first victory. There’s something chaotic and urgent about those experiences because there’s no precedent about how it should feel, and I think it makes those stories that much more powerful.
What was the inspiration behind The Gilded Wolves?
Inspiration lives two lives for me. The first is simply the image and atmosphere I want to capture. All of my stories depict worlds I want to explore, and I have to be interested enough in the setting to place my imagination there for years at a time. The Gilded Wolves grew out of a desire to play with that setting… glamorous, lavish, 19th-century Paris. Then came the second life of that inspiration: the characters. For me, that first interest in the setting reincarnated into a desire to understand who could live easily in that world and who could not. Nineteenth-century Paris may have been called La Belle Epoque (The Beautiful Era) but it was not without its horrors: colonialism, world fairs with human zoos, anti-semitism, etc. What I wanted was to explore the lives of characters in that paradoxical world of beauty and horror. I wanted to know how they reached for power. How they lived in a space that didn’t want them.
What’s the one thing you never leave the house without?
Which authors do you admire most?
“Valente’s prose is extraordinary, and her fairy-tale voice is vicious.”
“Courtney’s writing style is knife-sharp, and I love how she crafts these unapologetic female characters who are impossible to look away from.”
“He is the kind of writer whose genre you can never quite put your finger on, but you always know when it’s a Neil Gaiman story. One day, I’d love to write that vastly.”