Roshani Chokshi is an award-winning author who has written various books based on world mythology and folklore. Her New York Times bestselling series includes The Pandava Quintet series, a five-part book series that focuses on Hindu Mythology from India. Film rights for the first novel are already sold in 2018 to Paramount Pictures.
Roshani Chokshi was born on February 14, 1991 to a Filipino mother and an Indian father. She grew up in Missouri, USA and was raised speaking English rather than her parents’ native languages. She attended law school at the University of Georgia but discovered her passion for writing. She is a member of the National Leadership Board for the Michael C. Carlos Museum and currently lives in Georgia with her husband and their cat.
Here are some frequently asked questions about her that she had answered in her website:
DO YOU PLAN ON WRITING BOOKS ABOUT FILIPINO MYTHOLOGY?
I’ve written stories that draw from Filipino folklore, though both of them have been short stories. One appears in A THOUSAND BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS and another was published in Shimmer magazine. My experience has been that stories of the Filipino pantheon are not nearly as well recorded as Hindu myth as a majority of Filipino myths were passed down orally. Writing based on Filipino mythology vs. Filipino folklore (which does get more page visibility and often explores supernatural phenomena and ghost stories) requires a lot of conscientious research. There are many gaps that deserve to be respectfully bridged. That said, I love the stories my mom has told me, and I hope to celebrate them one day in my own voice.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH WRITER’S BLOCK?
I used to fling out my arms in despair over my keyboard. Or start Wikipedia surfing, which I don’t recommend because it led me down this wormhole of understanding R. Kelly’s rap opera “Trapped in A Closet.” Once I even attempted a “words summoning” dance, which involved prancing in a circle carrying a bunch of sharpie pens and chanting.
It didn’t work.
Now, I try switching up the perspective and adding facets to whatever isn’t working even if I know I won’t keep what I’m writing. If it’s a fight scene and there’s bloodshed, I’ll try to jostle up some words by writing from the POV of the blood. Weird, yes. But sometimes it yields a sense or image or moment you didn’t anticipate. Perhaps it’s the horror when no blood sinks into the ground because the earth has already drank up so much. Maybe it’s the smell of something, not just sweat and iron, but rose and salt. It helps me push the scene a little farther.
And here’s her advice for budding writers:
It is definitely terrifying…but never fear! … Success takes a thousand forms. … my #1 recommendation for aspiring authors is this: EYES ON YOUR OWN PAPER. You are your only metric of success. Keep honing your craft. Read voraciously, listen attentively. … Most importantly, remember that the only thing you can control is your work product. Self-comparison and envy will get you no closer to your dreams. You’ve got this!