Kashmira Sheth’s new title, Keeping Corner, is a powerful work of historical fiction about Leela, a child widow. It has already received praise and will be released in the coming days.
I'm not sure if we choose our stories or if they choose us. What was the case with Keeping Corner?
Keeping Corner chose me. The story is based on my great-aunt who was a child widow. I met her when I was nine and always wondered about her life. At that time I didn’t realize it, but that was when the story had chosen me. After all these years it still had a hold on me and I had to write it.
What were the challenges in bringing this story to life?
The most difficult part of the story was how to weave Leela’s story with the larger story of India’s awakening. The research was fun. My dad and mom told me most of the details of that time and I also read many fiction and nonfiction works written in Gujarati about that time. I went to India and visited Gandhiji’s ashram, bought many books written by him and about him and researched archives. But when I started writing the story, I struggled to bring it all together.
How will teens relate to your main character, Leela?
Leela is like any teen at the threshold of a new adventure when her life falls apart. She gains strength from adversity and fights back. The teens will root for that. I think they will realize that even in the most dire of circumstances an individual has a choice and a responsibility to question authority. It may be family, society, or government. I hope Leela’s courage will make them care deeply for what happens to her and help them find strength when facing their own problems.
Many historical fiction authors have a favorite time period. Do you?
Even though my first novel Blue Jasmine was inspired from my own immigrant journey it is not a historical fiction. My second novel Koyal Dark, Mango Sweet is a novel set in contemporary Mumbai. Keeping Corner is my first Historical Fiction. I choose this time because of the parallel journey of a young widow and her country to seek freedom. I really enjoyed doing it and would love to write another historical fiction.
I am be interested in writing a novel that is set in ancient India.
What can your fans look forward to next?
I’m working on two young adult projects and haven’t decided which one I will finish first.
Learn more about Kashmira’s novels at http://kashmirasheth.typepad.com/