Sowmya Rajendran has written over 25 books for children of all age groups, from picture books for toddlers to young adult fiction. She won the Sahitya Akademi’s Bal Sahitya Puraskar for her book Mayil Will Not Be Quiet which she co-authored with her best friend from college, Niveditha Subramaniam. She currently works for The News Minute, writing on gender, culture, and cinema. Sowmya lives in Pune with her family, which includes her kitten Peppermint.
How did you become a writer? Did you always want to write? What encouraged your choice?
I’ve always wanted to become a writer from childhood. I was a big reader and there was nothing else I wished to do other than be that grown-up person who can give a similar joy to others.
How do you decide what to write? How do you choose the storyline? How do you choose the characters? Do they take inspiration from real life?
I write from real life always. Even if the book is about an elephant talking to a yam, which is the subject of my picture book Aana and Chena, the characters are based on people I know in real life, the theme is something relevant to children in real life. The stories come from what I observe around me.
What are the children’s books that you have done? Can you recommend a few of your books?
I have written over 25 books for children. Each of them is special to me. Some of my best-selling books are the Mayil series (Mayil Will Not Be Quiet, Mostly Madly Mayil and This is Me, Mayil), The Pleasant Rakshasa, Aana and Chena, Ashwathy and the Boot of God, The Boy Who Asked Why, and Big Hero, Size Zero: Gender Talk.
What do you do when you are not writing? What are your hobbies?
Currently, I’m busy playing with my kitten!
Can you give some tips on creative writing to young writers?
Read lots, write every day, observe the world around you, and find friends who will read and give you genuine feedback.
What does it take to become one of the best writers and how does it feel?
Well, thank you for the compliment. I didn’t set out to become one of the best writers. I just wanted to write because I had so much to say. I think writing without trying to impress is important.
What is the message that you would want to give this world through your books?
That you have the power to change what you think is unjust or not right. That, adults are not always correct about everything!