Welcome to the Rockstar Book Tours blog tour for The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi! Last week, I participated in the published-hosted blog tour, and this week, I'm really excited to host Roshani a second time. And there is a giveaway!
On literary influences (stories/books/tales that influenced The Star-Touched Queen)
By Roshani Chokshi
Senior year in high school was the first time I read Milton’s Paradise Lost. I remember the first time I read that infamous quote “I’d rather reign in hell than serve in heaven.” Everyone thought that quote was cool. People would write it on their arms like a fake tattoo and call themselves edgy AF. I WAS THE EXACT SAME WAY. (Sidenote, in highschool I was super dramatic…I think all of my AIM screen names were either Oenone — the jilted lover of Paris whom he left for Helen of Troy — or Desdemona/Ophelia…kinda want to go back in time and smack myself upside the head).
ANYWAY. In class, my awesome teacher started talking about the Hades & Persephone myth. I’d always liked that story for the atmosphere of it, the blood-red pomegranate seeds and broody underworld king. But my teacher (Hi Coach Crook!) used Lucifer’s infamous line in Persephone’s context.
He started talking about who Persephone was. And whether she’d really been tricked into eating that pomegranate or if she wanted to. What if she got to Hell, took a look around and was like “…this isn’t so bad…the drapes are horrific, and the furniture screams eternal bachelor, but everything else…queen of the underworld? No running around in Demeter’s meadows making daisy chains? Hm…” (← my embellishments)
That was the emotional start of The Star-Touched Queen, although I didn’t realize this until 4 years later. That choice to stay in a place that was monstrous because it validated you and all your ambitions was so powerful. I loved that. Which later raised the question of how did you EARN that vast amount of power? This is where the framework of other fairy tales started influencing the foundation of TSTQ. In college, I majored in 14th century British literature. I LOVED EVERYTHING I READ. #MarieDeFranceBretonLaisAllDayEveryDay. When I expanded my study, I noticed something I had observed when I was little (my parents gave us world mythology books) but couldn’t articulate:
The fairytales were the same.
The cultural context added a new lens to the story, but they were, ultimately, indistinguishable. And there was something freeing in that. We’re all telling the same tale. We’re all experiencing the same struggles. Beauty and The Beast, Shakuntula, Cupid and Psyche, East of the Sun and West of the Moon…similar. Savitri & Satyavan and Hades & Persephone…similar. In all of those stories, the women were faced with something monstrous with the potential to be beautiful. They earned the right to that beauty through personal trials, which may or may not take the form of a quest or the form of a choice. That was a really eye-opening moment for me.
To me, it’s very powerful to retell fairytales. We’ve had those stories for generations, and yet their beauty is that we can remake and reshape them constantly to reflect the world around us.
Of course, all this didn’t really cement in my brain until AFTER graduation. I wrote TSTQ in a year from the assembled bits and pieces I had cobbled together over the past four years. And y’all know the rest of this story :)
About the Author:
Roshani Chokshi comes from a small town in Georgia where she collected a Southern accent, but does not use it unless under duress. She grew up in a blue house with a perpetually napping bear-dog. At Emory University, she dabbled with journalism, attended some classes in pajamas, forgot to buy winter boots and majored in 14th century British literature. She spent a year after graduation working and traveling and writing. After that, she started law school at the University of Georgia where she’s learning a new kind of storytelling.
About the Book:
The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Summary (from Goodreads):
Cursed with a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, sixteen-year-old Maya has only earned the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her world is upheaved when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. But when her wedding takes a fatal turn, Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Yet neither roles are what she expected. As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds friendship and warmth.
But Akaran has its own secrets - thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Beneath Akaran's magic, Maya begins to suspect her life is in danger. When she ignores Amar's plea for patience, her discoveries put more than new love at risk - it threatens the balance of all realms, human and Otherworldly.
Now, Maya must confront a secret that spans reincarnated lives and fight her way through the dangerous underbelly of the Otherworld if she wants to protect the people she loves.
Inspired by Indian mythology.
2 winners will receive a finished copy of THE STAR TOUCHED QUEEN, US Only.
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