Monday, April 23, 2018

ARU SHAH by Roshani Chokshi / Author Interview #AruShah #RickRiordanPresents

Happy Marvelous Middle Grade Monday! Today I am so thrilled to share my interview with Aru Shah author, Roshani Chokshi. I recently sat down with Roshani to talk about her MG debut. If you follow us on Mundie Moms, you'll know I am a huge fan of her YA series. I am thrilled she has a middle grade book out. It is FANTASTIC! I highly recommend picking it up! You can read my 5 star review for it here


Aru is so well written. I love that you made her this character that we can all relate to, whether you're a pre-teen reading her story or an adult. We've all gone through those stages or are going through of wanting to fit in. I love her journey teaches her it she doesn't need to fit. Something she desperately wants to do in the beginning of this story. She was so realistic. 

Aru was how I was in middle school. We have a lot of similarities. Middle school is so rough. You cry the most, but you also laugh the most. There's so much you go through. 

There are a lot of fun elements to this story. Which element to Aru's story surprised you the most?

I was most surprised with the emotionally journey of writing Aru. I genuinely felt like I knew her, because there are so many aspects of myself and my friends in her story. I knew exactly what she would do. She's self confident, and overly self aware all at the same time. The experience of writing her, and so many parts of this story genuinely made me cry. There are many things stitched with memory. At this stage you feel as though if something happens or you don't get it, you're going to die. 

Friendship is a huge part of this book, that I really enjoyed. What inspired it? 

Aru is dedicated to my best friends. While they are my best friends they aren't all necessarily best friends with each other, but with each of my best friends I get to share a different aspect of myself with each one of them. With Aru, and her sisters, that is their relationship. This book is totally inspired by Sailor Moon. I totally love this group of despaired girls bonding together, being magical, and loving one another. 

This story is such a good mix of an emotional journey that makes you laugh out loud, cry, sigh, and just enjoy the full on journey. It was so good. I loved getting to know Aru. How long has her story been in transition for you? 

This story has been in my head for eons. Literally. I think a large part of that is because when I was younger I wrote a lot of Sailor Moon fan fiction, and I also wrote a lot of fantasy stories, and wrote my friends, and myself in those stories. That is where the heart of Aru's story came from. It's been there for ages and ages. I did not come up with the plot until, any of it, until I actually heard about Rick Riordan Presents. There was just something that just cliched. I wrote three chapters and sent it to my agent, who is awesome. We went back and a forth a bit, and I had to figure out how to be true to myself, and my voice. Once I did, it clicked, and we sent it off to Rick. 

What came first when you created Boo? Was it his role in helping Aru on her journey or his own surprising story? 

His story came first. The great thing about ancient mythology and the very condiluted layered thing about it, is that everyone gets reborn. Everyone is reincarnated. Everyone's past life is, "I did this, and that's why x, y, z happened". I wanted to explore the consequences of someone's previous actions and what it meant if you had to remember what you did wrong. 

One of the major things I wanted to with this series was I really wanted to play with the idea of just telling your story. What makes you good, or bad, or a villain or what makes you heroic even.

That is one of the things I love about layered mythology. There is so much to the all the characters. I love that with mythology, you can take realism, and make it your own. I absolutely the Hinduism mythology. I'm beginning to see a lot of my Hinduism in books, and I love it.

It's a treasure trove of a story. That has been needed to come to light for a long time. I think the difficult thing with Hindu mythology, that because it's so closely intertwined with the religion, is that you never want to feel as though you are exoticizing your own heritage. So for me, that was the hardest thing about writing this was trying to be delicate about it, but also sharing the stories I grew up with, and hopefully making them coming to life in a new way. For me, these myths are alive, and deserved to be re-contextualized for a modern audience, and for every kid to still see themselves in every reincarnation in the story. 

I loved being immersed into this beautiful world you created. It was fascinating. What was your favorite part of creating your mythology for Aru's journey? 

There was a lot. Rick is the one who helped the most to organize the story structurally. He helped edit Aru. He was so supportive, and so helpful. He was most helpful in telling me that you have to give readers a road map of 'where we're going, why we're going here, and remind them what's the urgency with do this at this time'. Which is something I hadn't really done before. 

I am really excited about the diversity with the Rick Riordan Presents. I'm really looking forward to getting to know more of Aru's sisters. I'm so glad there's going to be a lot more of this story.

I can't wait for you to meet the next sister. 

I love that this series is about the sisters. 

It's sisters, and than Aidan. Who you meet at the end of book 1. 

YES! That meeting and the every end had me laughing, and wanting the next book. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in this series. 

Thank you to Roshani, and Disney for making this interview possible. Thank you especially to Roshani for taking the time to sit down with me to talk about Aru, and her story.

** This interview was transcribed from the audio portion of my in-person interview with Roshani. If there are any errors that is the fault of myself, and not of the author or publisher. 


By: Roshani Chokshi
Published by: Disney Hyperion / Rick Rioridan Presents
Released on: March 27th, 2018
Series: A Pandava Novel #1
Ages: 8 & up
Add it to Goodreads

Best-selling author Rick Riordan introduces this adventure by Roshani Chokshi about twelve-year-old Aru Shah, who has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school.

While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?

One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.

But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.

The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?


Roshani Chokshi ( is the author of the instant New York Times bestselling novel, The Star-Touched Queen, and its companion, A Crown of Wishes. She studied fairy tales in college, and she has a pet luck dragon that looks suspiciously like a Great Pyrenees dog. Aru Shah and the End of Time, her middle grade debut, was inspired by the stories her grandmother told her as well as Roshani's all-consuming love for Sailor Moon. She lives in Georgia and says "y'all," but she doesn't really have a Southern accent. Her Twitter handle is @Roshani_Chokshi.


The Rick Riordan Presents imprint from Disney-Hyperion is dedicated to providing entertaining middle-grade fiction based on various world mythologies. Rick Riordan is involved in the selection, editing, and promotion of these books, working with great authors to tell exciting stories inspired by the mythologies of their own heritages.


Follow @DisneyBooks, @ReadRiordan, and @RoshaniChokshi on Instagram
Learn more about the book on the official Rick Riordan Presents site

I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves. ~ Anna Quindlen

Good children's literature appeals not only to
the child in the adult, but to the adult in the child.
~ Anonymous ~