Minke Knol, the owner of Turnip Education, chats with Nandita Logaraj, a student at Al Basma British School. She is just 10-years-old and published her first book on Amazon this year, The Chronicles of Meluzia.
Speaking with Nandita doesn’t give you the idea you are talking with a 10-year-old. She is a wise and inspiring girl with lots of life experience, even at her tender age. A great reason to learn more about this young author!
Summary of the Story
James and Jennifer stumble upon something amazing. A portal that leads to an enchanting world habituated by the strangest of creatures. Forests and castles, beaches and magical huts cover every nook and corner of a place that holds dark secrets. Mystery roams around in the air throughout the journey while they fulfil tasks and experience dangers along the way. Join the duo as they explore lost worlds, make new friends, and create closer bonds. Will they make it to the end? Will they survive?
Who is Nandita?
I am just a student at Al Basma, and I like writing. And with the help of my teachers and family, my interest in writing grew. It is all because of my mum, dad, brother, and teachers’ support that I was able to write this book.
As for my hobby’s, I play the piano, and I like reading and writing.
When did your interest in reading start? Who inspired you to read and to write?
My grandmother is an author; she writes in my mother tongue. She was the one that gave me the idea to write after school. Before that, I only wrote during school time. She was the one that gave me the idea to write a novel. But my favourite author J.K. Rowling inspired me for the language and the story when it comes to language and technique. She is my role model.
I tell Nandita that the language in the book is very impressive (read this quote from the Chronicles of Meluzia):
“The sun sank into the graceful waters, the trees rustled under the golden rays of the fireball. A dreadfully battered axe lay on a stump whilst an ageing man shook of his sweat mixed with silent tears. “I have two children to feed and no money,” he thought worriedly.”
I ask her about her language and how she develops her writing. Do you practice a lot?
I am not sure if I practice a lot. Each Thursday at school we do a piece of writing at school, but I read a lot.
Why did you choose this title?
The Chronicles grammatically means “a record or narration of something”. I felt that my book was a record or narration of what happened in Meluzia. The story describes each character’s emotions, thoughts and action in detail, so I thought The Chronicles of Meluzia could be an accurate record of the hidden secrets of the mysterious game in the mysterious land.
The cover of the book is a special picture; why did you choose this cover?
Because I published the book at Amazon, I could choose between many pictures. My mom chose this picture because of the relationship with the book. The cover picture carries part of the story, where the main characters travelled across the river. A lot of the story is set in the forest, so I thought that the mountain and greenery gave off a forest atmosphere.
How did you get the book published at Amazon?
There is self-publishing at Amazon; you can publish a book yourself. My grandmother, she is an author, she published 20 books at Amazon. Because of her guidance, we decided to publish on Amazon.
How long did it take you to write the book?
I started writing when I was 7, but then I had this writer block. I didn’t have the time and energy to write after school. But when e-learning started in Abu Dhabi, I actually find out that I had a lot of time to spend with my family and for myself and writing stories. This e-learning gave me a lot of extra time to read and to write.
So that was a positive side-effect of Corona?
Not exactly, I couldn’t talk to any of my friends.
Will there be a sequel?
No, unfortunately not, but I am writing another story which is Science-Fiction. I have already started the first chapter of this new story which focuses on the Science-Fiction genre. The story is set in outer space where the main protagonists come from different species (e.g. human, robot). They adventure through space discovering new planets, new creatures, and there may be a pinch of mystery added as the main characters uncover hidden secrets along the way. Another interesting thing is that each chapter is a new story with a new plot and a new antagonist.
I also read something about a scholarship?
My school and Rawchamps sponsored me for an author writing camp. It focuses on the depth of my stories and techniques of a good story. It is going to help raise my bar, my standards. The writing camp is on holiday, three hours a day.
When the book was published, how did the school and your family and friends appreciate your book?
My school really encouraged me to write more. It felt really heart-warming they appreciated my book so much. They also published the book at social media like Instagram and Facebook, which was a big help. And my teachers, also all the past teachers I had, they all contacted me. And my relatives read the first chapter of the book, and they told me I had a very nice potential. My friends, they said: Good!
Lots of students struggle with reading and writing. Maybe you can give us some advice about how we can make reading more attractive to students? Nandita gives me some wonderful advice; teachers can implement these tips quite easy in their lessons:
I once started this online book club with some friends. We read a book together. I think group reading is a great way to motivate students to read. When you are reading in your mind for yourself, you don’t read properly. But when you read for others, you want to make sure you read it in the right way. So that will improve your reading skills.
I also think you should figure out where you are in to, what are your interests? So, if you like space, you could read books about space. Figure out what you are into before you start reading, so you would really love the book!
I also think prizes are a good way to motivate students. At my school prices really boosted my reading. For example, persons with the most books reading get the price. The price was just something small, a pen or a candy. It was supposed to be magical! That was the central idea.
Finally, the only one who could make me read was my mum. She always read me stories. I think it is important parents are role models.
Thank you for this wonderful interview! My last question is what your plans are for in about 10 years. Do you think you are still writing books?
I want to continue writing as a passion, not as a profession. Right now, I am interested in robotics and coding. I like to continue that in my higher studies.
Most likely, we will hear more of Nandita in the future. Her story is sparkling and vibrant!