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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, children’s author Vidya Math shares the inspiration behind her new book of fairytales, The Book Of Stamps.
Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed Vidya Math about her life and career, the inspiration behind her new children’s book, The Book Of Stamps, and her creative writing process.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
The twin suns set as Othelia listens to a story from the Book of Stamps, each colourful stamp depicting the magical tale of an eminent figure from a time long forgotten: The Old King, The Shepherd, The Dancing Girl, and other intriguing characters – their lives interweaving into the enchanting saga of a mystical Kingdom of legends. Little does young Othelia realise how much the long ago past imperceptibly entwines with her own life in the present. But why does it do so? The magic continues…
When did you first WANT to write a book?
When I was 7 years old.
When did you take a step to start writing?
My first book was not intended, however. The intention was to write a short story, but the story wanted to be a book (The Book of Stamps). This was written in 2008-2009.
Prior to this, I had worked on short stories. As a teenager, I wrote poems and then songs, which I continued to write into my 20s.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
It took 5 months to write The Book of Stamps. It was written as birthday present for my sister. I rediscovered a hand-bound copy of it during the pandemic after having a clear-out of my study and, on reading it then (in 2021), I realized that it was worthy of publication. I signed a contract with my publisher for this book in 2021 and the book was published in 2022.
How long did it take you to complete your latest book from the first idea to release?
I currently only have one book published. I have just signed a contract for my second book, The Luminosity of Crystals & Dimensions of the Heart. I do not know yet when this will be released. There are more books in the making 😊
Focusing on your latest release. What made you want to write The Book Of Stamps?
One of my sisters had very much liked a birthday card I had made for her, so I though I would hand-make a birthday present for my other sister, too. This sister likes to read – she used to peruse my bookshelf when she was little, so I was visited by the concept of a book of historic stamps that each had an enchanting story to go with it. I thought of writing this concept as a small, short story for my sister, then letting her imagination run with it. The story, however, wished to be a book.
What were your biggest challenges with writing it?
There were no challenges with actually writing the book – it flowed like a download on the internet – but I was very taken aback when the story ended abruptly. My one challenge was the unexpected emotions this brought. The ending of the story was also unexpected and brought emotional challenges.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Protagonist?
This is a good question. I am not 100% sure, but, as I wrote the book for my little sister, the thought of making something for her may have been inspired by her.
Who or what inspired you when creating your Antagonist?
This character was never intended and I actually have no idea who inspired him. I personally dislike him greatly. The ways of life itself may have inspired this character, i.e. challenges I had faced before writing the book.
What is the inciting incident of The Book Of Stamps?
The main character of the book is Othelia, however, as she is being relayed stories from The Book of Stamps, the inciting incident relates to an historical event. In reality, her spirit is entirely involved, for more than one reason, but in the actual incident an historic character – The Young Prince – is thrust into action as a result of decisions taken by his palace companions.
What is the main conflict of The Book Of Stamps?
The main conflict in the book is one that centres around the battle between good and evil. This is depicted in the book as the battle between a good prince and evil that brews in his companions.
Did you plot The Book Of Stamps in advance, or fly by the seat of your pants and write freely?
The initial concept was inspired and I based the first part of the book on this concept intentionally. The remainder of the book was, however, unexpected and flowed freely – I really had no idea what was to come until I actually wrote it.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did The Book Of Stamps need?
Once the book was with the publisher, they performed an edit on the book, in terms of grammar, punctuation, etc.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a story?
Stay true to the essence of the story. Try no to pull the mind into your writing – write from the heart and write with feeling. Don’t force your writing.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I am currently writing a sequel to The Book of Stamps and also a sequel to The luminosity of Crystals
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Very much so and it has been way more than worth the effort. No effort was involved in writing it – it was a total pleasure. There is an effort, once the book comes to the stage of involving a publisher and as the author, I put a lot of effort in (as did the publisher) to ensure the book was 100% correct, in terms of e.g. cover design. This was no easy task, but the result is beautifully beyond anything I could have hoped for and the basis motivation this has given me to restart my writing is invaluable. It’s also a great deal of fun seeing the book come up as sold out on different bookseller websites.
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