It was in the year 2021 that we first came across the child prodigy, the exceptionally talented young girl of 13 – Author Anagha Ratish. She had just published her debut novel Celestia Chronicles and was eager to enter this dreamy and glitzy world of novels and literature.
Cut to 2023, and we now see a very different version of the young girl. A much evolved and mature version, which loves to capture her varied experiences in her powerful writing. A version, which wishes to hesitate no more, and write whatever comes to her mind; a version that is ready to follow wherever it is that her writing takes her.
Today, at the adolescent age of fourteen, Anagha has to her credit not one but three books – the two books in her fantasy series Celestia Chronicles (Celestia Chronicles: Fire and Water and Celestia Chronicles: The Ashes of Hope) and a poetry collection titled A World of Intricacies.
While Celestia Chronicles focuses on a young girl Adaire and her journey into the magical yet dangerous world of evil queens and ambitious kings, A World of Intricacies is a collection of short poetry and haikus that reflect upon varied themes and the many realities of life, from hope to despair and the idea of good to evil.
When Anagha is not busy with her studies or her writing, she loves to dabble a little in her favourite pastimes including needlework, painting, and music.
When it comes to writing influences, she has many whose works have wowed and inspired her over the years. Being an avid reader, Anagha loves to read Young Adult Fantasy and counts Margaret Rogerson and Leigh Bardugo as her absolute favourites.
Anagha lives in Gurgaon with her family and loves to interact with her readers and fellow book lovers on Instagram @anagharatish.
We at bookGeeks got a lucky chance at a candid conversation with the author. Here is what she has to say about her undying love for books, reading, and all things literary.
|Tell us something about yourself. Who is Anagha? What are her likes and dislikes?|
|I would describe myself as an aspiring artist; of words, of songs, of paint, and too much else to mention. Nevertheless, I am fond of music, embroidery, knitting, painting, and of course, reading. I dislike rigid schedules and things that take me away from my much-beloved books.|
|It’s been almost two years since your book Celestia Chronicles: Fire and Water was published. How has the journey been so far?|
|As exhilarating as the journey of writing it; as the trilogy progresses, there have been highs and lows, times when I’ve been pleased with my work, and others when I have wanted to tear my manuscript to pieces. But I am grateful for the opportunities that I’ve gotten and my characters have become almost like friends.|
|As a published author, which has been your most cherished achievement so far?|
|About a year ago, as I was entering the venue of an event I was attending, a child of perhaps ten or eleven came running out and demanded to know why I had done what I had at the end of The Ashes of Hope. I was taken by surprise but it was heartwarming to see that people were getting excited and emotionally involved with what I had written.|
|Tell us about the latest book in the Celestia Chronicles series. What can the readers expect from Celestia Chronicles: The Ashes of Hope?|
|I would ask readers not to expect the sunshine-y fairytale that they read about in the first book. ‘The Ashes of Hope’ brings a reality check for Adaire, who may have just been addled by the wonders of Celestia in ‘Fire and Water’. But she comes to realize that Celestia is just as messy as the real world and that nothing is in black and white.|
|Do you feel you have evolved as a writer? How different was the process and experience of writing Book 2 as compared to Book 1?|
|I never expected to publish Book 1, since it started out as a short story. I did it for fun, and that reflects in the book, since it’s an enjoyable fairytale-ish story that does, admittedly take a dark turn at the end. Book 2 was incredibly difficult to write, as I was caught up in schoolwork and various extracurriculars. It took me a full year to write it, and it deviates from the previous cheerful fantasy. As I have grown older, my perceptions of the world have changed, and I like to think that this shows in the series, as reality colors the initial wonders of Celestia.|
|How many months/years did it take for you to write Celestia Chronicles: The Ashes of Hope?|
|I was plagued by writer’s block and tangled in an ocean of schoolwork almost constantly, and as a result, it took me a year. I began by writing about 5000 words as soon as I finished Book 1, and could not bring myself to come back to it. I eventually deleted everything that I had written and started anew.|
|Which part or aspect of the book was the most difficult to pen?|
|It was difficult to portray the turmoil that Adaire felt as she did some of the very things she swore not to do if she were the protagonist of a book. Adaire is torn by the fact that the world isn’t as clear cut as it appears to be in fantasy, and there is no defined ‘good’ or ‘evil’.|
|As an author and a student, what would be your one tip to inculcate reading habits in children?|
|I think that reading must never be forced onto children. It ruins the wonder of discovering fantastical lands just beyond a page, and can sometimes put people off reading entirely. It is as much a hobby as any other and all one can do is give children the opportunity to read, and wait till they discover the joys of it themselves.|
|If you had a time machine, which place and time would you want to visit and why?|
|I would love to visit the future since I doubt the past was pleasant for most people. If I could, I would visit the world, perhaps, a hundred years from now, and write a book about it for people of the future to read and puzzle about.|
|Any new projects that you are currently working on?|
|I am currently working on the third part of the Celestia Chronicles trilogy, as well as an unrelated fantasy standalone. Unfortunately, writing has been hard now that my academic obligations have increased.|
|A few words for bookGeeks.|
|bookGeeks gave me the feedback and praise that I needed after my first book. Your words were so inspiring that I put them on the cover of Celestia Chronicles: The Ashes of Hope, and I am grateful for your encouragement.|
You can buy Celestia Chronicles: The Ashes of Hope by Anagha Ratish using the link below.
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