Author Interview: Ishawar Vedam on "A Leap in a Blue Moon"

Ana: Today we have Ishawar introducing their book, A Leap in a Blue Moon. I haven't read this book myself, but Ishawar was kind enough to agree to guest blog about their book to any readers who might be interested in the subject. Ishawar, how would you describe your book to your prospective readers? In broad terms, what is your book about?

Ishawar: Thanks Ana for giving me a chance to talk about my book “A Leap in a Blue Moon” – LIBM for short.

The book is a modern fairy tale set in a parallel world where the literal meanings of (English) idioms turn real.

Nidhi is an 11-year old girl who loves Maths but hates English, especially idioms. One evening, while making fun of “A leap in the dark” and “Once in a blue moon”, she falls through into a world called Graria (“Gray Area”) where events and characters have tumbled out of a dictionary of idioms. Nidhi has no other choice but to figure out the rules of Graria and chart her escape which isn’t going to be easy with an idiomatic villain determined to foil her plans.

LIBM is about a little girl’s journey through a wonderland where redemption will depend on mastering a vastly different Math, it’s about growing out of stereotyped thinking and questioning the apparent to arrive at the right solution, but above all, it’s about how being human helps one survive the most nonsensically hopeless of situations.

Ana: What themes does your book explore and what do you hope the reader will take away from the experience? Is there a particular feeling or experience that you hope to evoke in the reader? Essentially, do you hope your book will mean to a reader?

Ishawar: I believe the book will appeal to a wide spectrum of readers. In fact it is already in print in India and has been appreciated by readers of all ages – from ten to seventy. Naturally, different readers depending on their age will take away different things. Children will like the fairy tale elements and enjoy the quirky characters and funny, sometimes stupid events that keep happening in Graria. Young adults and adults will discover a fast-paced fantasy whose plot will keep them guessing. However, a common takeaway would be the ability of the story to transport the reader to a different world while underscoring worldly lessons like never giving up and always helping those in need.

Ana: What prompted you to write this book and did you have a specific inspiration in mind? Were you influenced by a certain author or work that inspired you to add your voice to this genre? Besides the boatloads of money and rockstar fame, what motivated you to write this book? 

Ishawar: In "On Writing", one of the best books on the craft of writing, Stephen King mentions how the seeds of his novel are often situations which can be described with a simple what-if question. LIBM is no different in stemming from a simple question popping up in the author's mind.

Sometime in late 2006 I was browsing through the Oxford dictionary of Idioms (collecting dictionaries has been a hobby), when the idiom "hit the roof" caught my attention. Not the idiom exactly or its meaning (being extremely angry) but the accompanying illustration which showed an angry guy colliding with the roof. The image retreated into my subconscious and a what-if resurfaced after some time:

What if a little girl is trapped in an idiomatic world, where the literal meanings of idioms become real?

The what-if itself seemed promising in terms of being a novel idea, but expanding the idea to book size would depend on two things. First, there should exist in good numbers popular idioms with literal meanings that could represent events and characters. Of course creative liberty would have to be taken to expand certain meanings. Second and more important, it should be possible to link and weave these events and characters into the fabric of a story. The second requirement would be key because the plan was to write a novel, not a disjointed book on idioms made easy. I was lucky on both counts. There was a novel tucked away in the world of idioms, waiting to be discovered.

Ana: If you could compare your book to any other existing works, which ones would it be and why? If the one thing you could say to a prospective reader was, "If you like X, you'll love my book!", which work would be invoked so that a reader could judge whether or not your book is their cup of tea?

Ishawar: I would say that LIBM is “Alice in Wonderland” meets “The Phantom Tollbooth”. There is this little 11-year old girl who goes down the rabbit hole, walks into a fairy tale setting and experiences ridiculous events just like Alice. At the same time, it is a work of meta fiction where the workings of the English language (idioms in this case) form the plot, similar to what happens in “The Phantom Tollbooth”. So if you have liked either of these two books, there is a high likelihood of your liking LIBM as well.

Ana: Is this your first or only published work, or have you published other books? If you have published other books, how do they compare to this one? Do you have any more books planned, either as a follow-up to this one, or as a completely different book or genre?

Ishawar: This is my first published book. The next one in the series will see the same protagonist trapped in a world called “Proverbia” where proverbs hold sway.

Ana: Where can readers obtain a copy of your book for them to enjoy? How can they contact you with any thoughts or questions? And do you have a means by which they can "sign up" to be notified when your next book comes available?

Ishawar: LIBM is available exclusively on Kindle as far as the ebook version goes. It is also available in print in India.

More info about the book and its characters is available on my website. For any feedback or queries, readers can contact me at my email.

Ana: Thank you. I understand you have the first chapter of your book available as an excerpt for interested readers? Is there anything else you wish to add for our readers?

Ishawar: A free sample is available on Amazon’s “Look Inside!” and can be accessed here. Please also like the Facebook page if you like the book.

Thanks once again for this opportunity to blog about my book. Much appreciated.

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