Monday, August 6, 2018

Behind the Scenes of "Something's Moving"

Have you ever wished you could swing like a monkey, glide like a swan, or bound like a deer? Author Daya Subramanian tells us what inspired her lovely poetry in our recently launched picture book "Something's Moving". Featuring stunning folk art by Anusha Sundar, the book features the various movements of animals, and has been praised by reviewers as having 'delightful verses' (Booked For Life) and being 'a beautiful book to read aloud' (Myth Aunty).

Read on to find out what talented author (and member of Karadi Tales' editorial team) has to say about her writing process!

Have you always been interested in poetry?

Yes, I have, but I had never tried writing poems or rhymes before Shobha (Viswanath, Publisher – Karadi Tales) asked me to give it a try.
My undergraduate degree was in English Literature and Poetry was my favourite subject. Deconstructing poems is so fascinating to me. I was a big fan of Robert Browning’s poems – I got hooked on to them after studying My Last Duchess when I was in 10th grade. I have a couple of other stories in mind and I can’t imagine writing them in anything other than verse now - I think anything sounds better in verse!

Why animals, why movements – how did this story come about?

Shobha showed me some completed illustrations of animals done beautifully in Indian folk-art style. Anusha Sundar, an intern at Karadi Tales at the time, had drawn them and put them together. Shobha asked me to try and think of some text to go along with it – it could be a story or just a child observing various animals. She gave me complete freedom to decide how I wanted to write it – the only thing was it had to be about animal movements and include a verb for each animal. For instance, ‘bound’ for deer, and ‘slither’ for snake. I decided to have a child fascinated by animals narrate how much she wished she could move like them. I for one am definitely reminded of our human limitations every time I think of how fast a cheetah can run or how high a bird can fly. So I guess that is reflected in the book.  

What are some other books that are cooking in your mind?

I want to write a book about a child who keeps getting lost in daydreams (because this is a problem I’ve had my entire life!) She daydreams about living underwater with whales during biology class and being able to make herself invisible and create mischief while she is at a boring party. I think her extremely wild imagination might make for some nice illustrations too.

Any advice for aspiring children’s book authors?

As this is my first book, I don’t know if I’m experienced enough to give advice! But going by my childhood experience of reading and loving books (and my limited experience working in a children’s publishing house) I’d say don’t dumb down the text for children. And if there are a couple of words they don’t understand, that’s alright, it can be used as an opportunity to learn the word. A three-year-old child might not know what ‘tranquil’ means but they might understand what it means based on the context.
Also, take constructive advice when it is given to you by someone with experience in children’s publishing and be willing to modify your story a bit!

The book "Something's Moving" can be purchased through this link: