I’m happy to share my interview with Jyoti Rajan Gopal and celebrate the first of her two picture books being released in 2022! You can buy AMERICAN DESI, illustrated by Supriya Kelkar now and preorder MY PAATI’S SARIS, illustrated by Art Twink. She recently had a fabulous book launch in New York where her friend shared musical talents while Jyoti shared her book.
Jyoti has generously offered one lucky winner a copy of AMERICAN DESI. Comment on this blogpost to enter the giveaway and don’t be shy about sharing the post on your social media.
What were you like at the age of your target audience?
I loved reading (and still do) and could bury myself in a book for hours (and still can!) but I was also very social and outgoing. I was also apparently quite the chatterbox! On every single report card in elementary school, in the comments section, without fail, across grades, teachers noted that I liked to chat with friends – a lot – and needed repeated reminders to stop talking ☺
What inspires you?
My husband is the calmest, steadiest man and keeps our family grounded. He inspires me every day with the ways he shows his love and care for our family.
Music and dance always move me, literally and in spirit! I cannot listen to music when I’m writing because I usually start singing and dancing to it, and I’m completely distracted in the best way.
And finally, climbing up a trail to a breathtaking view and then just sitting and soaking up the beauty of nature, that’s inspiring – and healing.
What’s one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
The first time I read my book in-person, it was at a community reading event with a mixed age group of children. After the reading, a young Indian American girl came up to me, grabbed my hand, jumped up and down and said, “This book is about me, this book is about me!” Then, a tween walked over, and we spent the next ten minutes talking about how she wished she had had this book when she was younger, because she used to hide parts of herself for fear of being teased. That sums up what I hope for this book – that not just AMERICAN DESI readers, but all readers who are grappling with identity in some way, see that they don’t have to choose one part of themselves over another. My wish is for them to realize all the beautiful possibilities in their multiple identities.
What’s next for you?
Tons of ideas, most of which will probably go nowhere, sigh! I have several projects I am working on, one in the pipeline, and a couple more out on submission. I’m teaching an online picture book writing class with the Writing Barn in September. It will be my second time teaching this class, and I am so looking forward to it!
Now that AMERICAN DESI is out in the world, I’m gearing up to start promoting my next book, MY PAATI’S SARIS,which comes out in November. It’s published by Kokila, illustrated by Art Twink and the spreads are absolutely eye-popping and gorgeous!
To learn more about Jyoti and her books: