Monday, March 18, 2019

Meet Nishika Bajaj - Author of Tiny Tara and the Tree of Life

India needs quality literature works for kids and middle grades. And every such work should be appreciated well. Recently we read "Tiny Tara and the Tree of Life" by Nishika Bajaj, which was actually applaudable work. Today we have Nishika with us to discuss the book in detail.


Can you brief us about your educational background?
I am a post graduate in print journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai. Prior to that, I did my MBA in Finance from the Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), Delhi, which followed closely on the heels of a B.Com. (H) from Sri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC).
What were you like at school/college apart from studies?
I was a keen contributor to the college magazine while at Sri Ram College of Commerce. In fact, we started a cross-college publication called Candid Expressions, as we were keen to have a larger audience for college magazines than just the students we regularly hobnobbed with.
What are some day jobs you have held?
Banker, Editor, Content Specialist and Communications Consultant – these are just some of the hats I’ve worn at work.
Do you read much and, if so, who are your favorite authors? Which author inspires you the most?
Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, PG Wodehouse, JK Rowling, Ruth Rendell, John Grisham, Jeffrey Archer, Vikram Seth, Amish, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Amitabh Ghosh – the list is long! Most recently, Amish has been a big inspiration for the way he used elements of Indian mythology to spark interest in youth and show them a side of Lord Shiva that has made him contemporary and cool!
When did you start writing?
I began to take writing seriously when some friends and I started aninter-college magazine in Delhi University.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I decided to become a writer when my child was born. My now 2-year-old son loves all things green and I realised that I must do more to encourage children to explore nature, rather than take refuge behind the TV, tablets, phones and laptops.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
To encourage more children (and grown-ups with an inner child!) to read as a matter of course, to read about what matters and to read as a foundation for making the world a better, a greener and a kinder place.
Do you have a special time to write, or how is your day structured to accommodate your writing?
I work from home, so I save time commuting to and from office and use that time to pen down my thoughts for writing my next work.
Is this your debut work?
I write blogs for LinkedIn where I have made a name for myself as the Top Voice for 2018 in the field of Philanthropy and Global Development.
What genre are your books?
My book pertains to the genre of children’s fiction – a blend of mythology and contemporary themes such as global warming. 


Can you describe your current book in few lines? What’s it about?
The adventures of the Tiny trio – princess Tara, flight-crazy Sam and healer Neera – take us on a journey through the Tree of Life, and beyond. As the construction of the Delhi Metro begins to threaten their existence, tree spirits Tara, Sam and Neera use their brains to solve problems that even grown-ups find challenging. Lord Ganesha does a cameo, coming to their rescue when things appear most bleak. Of course, it’s not the God himself, but his statue that saves the day. How? Well, the miracle of the milk-drinking statue manifesting below the Tree of Life convinces the religious majority that this sacred land must be saved. 
Give us an insight into your main character
Tiny Tara is the princess of the Tinies, the tree sprites who live in trees all around us but are hidden from our view. She is a feisty spirit, an untamed and wild child who decides her own destiny. As a tree spirit from the House of Light, she possesses unusual divination skills and can read the minds of those around her. Her friends, mischievous Sameer from the House of Air – who can never stay still– and calm Neera from the House of Water – who can heal with just a simple touch –are the other characters who are central to this story. They forge a deep bond as they go through a time of great trial and tribulation for the tree spirit community, and I only hope that readers are able to forge as deep a bond with these lovable tree spirits.
Where did you get idea for this book?
It was when my son was born. His first words after family were centred on birds, animals, flowers and trees. He is still too young for complete sentences but his body language and his love for the outdoors leave no doubt in my mind that there is so much more harmony between children and nature than we grown-ups can ever comprehend.  
How much research did you do for this book?
I did a lot of research into trees, birds and bugs. I wanted to see the world from the perspective of tree spirits and try to understand how they would view the world from a tree top.
Who is your favorite character in your book and why?
Tara, hands down. I identify with her drive to change the world and make it a better place. I moved from banking to journalism with the vague idea of making a difference, and I am constantly trying to make the world a better place with my philanthropy-centric blogs on LinkedIn and now this book on nature. Tara too has a rebellious streak in her that makes her go against the tide and do what she thinks is right, rather than give in to peer pressure and go with the flow.
Who is your least favorite character and why?
Parthiv, from the House of Earth, is a truly despicable character. He has nothing to redeem him and is always taking pleasure in others’ misery. He provides the perfect foil for the tiny trio of Tara, Sam and Neera who are always trying tohelp others and ultimately change the world for the better.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Balancing my human child on the one hand and my brain child on the other!
Release date.
31st December 2018.
What are you working on at the minute?
The next book in the Tree of Life series.
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
As I mentioned, I am happy to write one, provided this book finds a willing audience.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Keep reading! The day you stop reading, is the day you stop learning, and the day you stop learning is the day you start dying.
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