Today I have a special treat for you. I’ve invited Varsha Bajaj to talk about her new YA novel Abby Spenser Goes to Bollywood. I can’t wait to read it!
My debut novel, Abby Spencer goes to Bollywood will be released by Albert Whitman and Company on 3/1/2014 and I couldn’t be more excited and nervous. Thank you, Christie, for inviting me to share the story behind the novel with your readers.
I wanted to write a book that I would have liked to read when I was twelve. I loved books with a sense of humor which I could connect with emotionally. ASGTB is a fun journey with lots of heart. It is the story of a father-daughter relationship. Abby is a teenager defining her cultural identity.
I was watching an interview with Liv Tyler (actress) and she shared that she didn’t know Steven Tyler was her father till she was a pre-teen.
It set me thinking. What if a girl discovered that her absent father was a celebrity? Given my immigrant background (born and raised in India), it was natural to take the next step. What if he was a celebrity in another country/culture? The premise intrigued me. A Bollywood star is the epitome of celebrity in India, and I made Abby’s father the equivalent of Brad Pitt in India.
It was a happy coincidence that I grew up in Mumbai, on a street, where some of my neighbors were Bollywood directors and stars. In fact, one of my childhood friends starred in a Bollywood movie.
My family also hosted International students during my late teen years. I therefore witnessed teenagers from the West navigate cultural differences in India. I have also been seen the reactions of my own American born teenagers to Mumbai and India.
Journey stories, like Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (Harper Collins, 2000) have always drawn me in, maybe because I love to travel. The idea of taking the reader on a fun journey to Mumbai with my protagonist was simultaneously daunting and appealing.
From these cumulative experiences, Abby Spencer was born. To learn more about Abby Spencer and her journey visit www.varshabajaj.com.
The three winners of the Shadow Falls posters from last week’s giveaway are Nalynn, Hilary Bridge and Allison Dewey. Please email your mailing addresses to firstname.lastname@example.org. Congratulations!