Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Author Interview: Viji K Chary

Please help me to welcome author Viji K Chary to our blog today.

1. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became an author.

When I was two years old, my family immigrated to the US from India. I’ve lived in Northern California all my life. I attended elementary school, middle school and high school at a time when multiculturalism wasn’t celebrated like it is today. Later, I studied genetics at UC Berkeley and then Public administration at Hayward State.

I first became interested in writing in sixth grade. Ms. Kahn, our English teacher asked each student to write a story. At that time, I used to read the same books that I loved over and over again. I found it hard to find other interesting books. I felt a story should have excitement. In my English assignment, the MC and her friend had a swimming race across a lake. While the MC was swimming, ‘something’ pulled her leg. Scared, she hopped out of the lake and ran to the other side. The class voted my story the best! But, the story had holes in it. I didn’t know what pulled the MC’s leg. I just wanted excitement. And the resolution in the story was not strong enough. But, I enjoyed writing it so much that I decided be an author when I ‘grew up’.

Later after graduating from Hayward State, I took a class on children’s writing. I wrote. I read books and magazines. After many rejections, I received my first acceptance in the Half Price Books contest.

2. Tell us about your current book. Give a short summary, tell us about your publisher, and also how you got the idea for this book.

My current book is Porcupine’s Seeds. In this book, Porcupine longs to grow beautiful sunflowers in his garden, just like Raccoon. When Raccoon gives Porcupine seeds, she says that all they need is soil, sun, and water. But growing sunflowers is not easy for Porcupine.

My publisher is 4RV Publishing. The editor Vivian Zabel is very thorough in printing an excellent product,

When my son was four, we planted seeds in small pots. As he went inside the house, he tripped over the threshold and the soil and seeds scattered. This incident sparked a story idea that became Porcupine’s Seeds.

3. What is a typical writing day like for you?

Every day is different for me.  I write out a ‘to write’ list at the start of the month. On the weekends, I plan my work for the week. I begin with the most time-consuming work first. Some days, I am writing for an assigned story, and other days I focus on applying for grants or work on marketing. There are also WIP stories to work on. Occasionally, there are days for reading and analyzing magazines.

4. What do you enjoy most about writing?

I enjoy the actual writing of a story. It is the part that involves choosing the precise words to use, constructing sentences and creating the flow of the story. This comes after the story line, characters and conflict is clear in my mind.

5. What is the most difficult part of writing?

The most difficult part of writing for me is having a clear story, characters and setting in my mind. There are so many options for a story but to find the most tight and effective combination of story ingredients is a daunting task.

6. Do you make school visits or do speaking/book signing engagements? If so, please describe a typical presentation.

Since I have just released my first book, this is something I need to do in the near future.

7. Is there any book that, when you read it, you thought, "I wish I had written that!"?

I love Mem Fox’s, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge , Sandra Boynton’s, Doggies and Anna Dewdney’s Llama Llama Red Pajama.

8. Do you have a website? If so, please give the URL. If not, where can readers go online to learn more about your book(s) and to order?

My website is To order Porcupine’s Seeds, please visit

9. What are you working on right now?

Right now, I am working on a rebus. A rebus is a super short story (100 words). Each sentence has illustrated words. The illustrated words are nouns and sometimes adjectives like colors or numbers. It is challenging to write a complete story within 100 words, but it is also rewarding.

10. What is your best tip for aspiring authors?

Read, read, read the genre you would like to write.

11. What advice would you give children and teens as they prepare for life?

Find something that you are passionate about. That something should consume your thoughts whether it is art, music, dance, writing or anything else. Then, you will produce your best work.

12. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readership?

Although I write for children, I am in an adult book club. It forces me to analyze other works. Being exposed to other readers’ opinions helps me in my writing.

1 comment:


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