F-Page – Asha Nehemiah



Asha Nehemiah

Photo credit: Shyam Madhavan Sarada

Facts

Born 1958
Born at Madras
City of residence Bangalore
Books authored
  1. Granny’s Sari, (CBT- Children’s Book Trust)*
  2. The Runaway Wheel, (CBT)*
  3. The Rajah’s Moustache, (CBT)*
  4. Wedding Clothes, (CBT)*
  5. Mrs Woolly’s Funny Sweaters, (CBT)*
  6. Surprise Gifts, (CBT)*

Chapter books: For 7+ yrs age group

  1. Trouble with Magi, (Duckbill)
  2. Meddling Mooli and the Blue-Legged Alien, (Puffin)
  3. Meddling Mooli and the Bully on Wheels, (Puffin)

For Confident readers: 8-12 yrs age group

  1. Zigzag and Other Stories, (Scholastic)
  2. The Mystery of the Secret Hair Oil Formula, (Scholastic)
  3. The Mystery of the Silk Umbrella, (Scholastic) – Read Review
  4. The Boy whose Nose was Rose, (Scholastic)

*All these have been translated into many languages including Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, Assamese, Urdu

Bio Asha Nehemiah has lived, studied and worked in 8 different cities and small towns including one where the postman delivered letters which had nothing more than the person’s name on the envelope! If she hadn’t been a writer, she would have been a teacher. She studied literature and trained to be a teacher as well. She loves baking, walking, reading and travelling.

Fantastic Five – Five of my favourite books

Cool – Michael Morpurgo A warm, unusual story about a boy lying in a coma after an accident. Such a sad story is told with a light, sensitive touch.

Two Weeks with the Queen – Morris Gleizman When his brother is diagnosed with cancer, Colin decides to ask the Queen for help. Very funny treatment of a serious issue.

Book Uncle and Me – Uma Krishnaswami Written in blank verse, a wonderful story of a young girl’s bid to save Book Uncle’s pavement lending library.

London Jungle Book – Bhajju Shyam A well-known Gond artist’s impressions of his first visit to London. A charming book about the illustrator’s perception of London

Smith – Leon Garfield A young pickpocket witnesses a dreadful crime and then has to run for his life. Wonderfully plotted with high suspense and adventure.


Face-to-face

Tell us about your earliest attempts at writing. When, where and from whom did you learn the nittygritties of writing?

I dabbled so much with stories and poetry as a child that I was the Editor of my School and College Magazines. I put in a stint as an advertising copywriter, freelance feature writer, copy-editor, reviewer and finally homed in on writing fiction for children. I am still learning and perfecting the craft by experimenting and observing the work of writers I admire.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

From the simple, ordinary events of my life spun into something exciting.

What does your typical writing day look like?

I’m a morning person so on a decent day I write from 8.30am to 12.30 and then for a couple of hours between 3pm and 6pm. Decent writing days, sadly, are not as frequent as I would like.

What is one habit / trait of yours that makes you effective / productive as an author?

Curiosity and a keen interest in people and their lives. An ability to spot the magical in something ordinary and mundane and spin a story from it.

What is the one thing that you recommend every aspiring author should do?

Be interested in the people and world around you. Try new things. Stretch yourself and push yourself while creating.

Tell us something about yourself that very few people know?

My favourite bedtime reading? Cookbooks!!!

Does technology (the Internet, software tools) help you in your writing process? If yes, can you tell us about them?

I still do a lot of the initial ideation with pen and paper. I feel that paper allows you to capture the crazy thought processes of the brain which moves in totally non-linear and unconnected ways. The internet is a good source of information but also a huge distraction. I try to restrict myself from using it while working – I turn off wifi on my phone, keep the phone in another room etc. The computer is of course a wonderful tool but I use only the basic Word software. Again, I always do the final edit of my writing on a print-out.

Is there any other way in which technology can help you in your work as writer?

Good for quick research.

Can you tell about what you are currently writing and other works in the pipeline?

Two books – one for very young children and one a chapter book.

Can you suggest any solution for books, specifically children’s books, going out of print.? Can technology(e-Books) help?

I am happy that all the 13 books I have written are still in print. Many are also available as e-books. Sir Lawley’s Ghost was reprinted by a new publisher with a new title: ‘The Boy Whose Nose was Rose”.

What do you recommend for children to read? Physical or e-Book?

Physical books ONLY till they become Young Adults.Tweet

Considering that Enid Blyton has covered an entire range of mysteries and adventures, do you think that there is still a demand for mysteries for children? What is your experience?

Most definitely. The world has changed so much since Enid Blyton’s time. The tools available to solve a mystery today include internet searches, GPS etc. Books (unless they are in the historical genre) must reflect this. Children and adults love mysteries and the demand for these will continue.


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