Publishers' Preview: Fall 2023: Five Questions for Roshani Chokshi

This interview originally appeared in the September/October 2023 Horn Book Magazine as part of the Publishers’ Previews: Fall 2023, an advertising supplement that allows participating publishers a chance to each highlight a book from its current list. They choose the books; we ask the questions.

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Corazon hopes The Spirit Glass, an enchanted doorway in her house, will finally allow her own magical gift to be revealed, but it turns out she has a lot of work to do and danger to navigate first. 

1. You have me looking at my house with new suspicion. How has yours surprised you? 

Shortly after we moved in, my husband told me that a message appeared on the mirror after his shower. It said: “ALL OF THIS WORLD IS YOURS.” He was faintly disturbed. I was incredibly jealous. When my turn came, I saw nothing. I can only conclude that the house has a favorite person, and, considering the number of times I stubbed my toes over the past few years, I’m pretty sure I can guess who it is. 

2. What did you most want for your twelfth birthday? 

I wanted a helicopter to fly to school and announce I’d been named next in line to the throne of a distant country. I wanted my acne to vanish and my hair to smooth and my teeth to straighten and for someone to call me devastatingly beautiful. I wanted to spit out witticisms like Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday. I wanted, more than anything, to be so much more than what I was. 

3. This is your first novel drawn from the Filipino side of your heritage. What intrigued you most in your research? 

The gaps. The Spanish colonization of the Philippines left such a corrosive print on native storytelling traditions that researching what was “true” or “real” slowly became a question of “what was left?” 

4. And the timespan is just a week or so! Was it hard to scale down? 

Yes and no! I need a good (metaphorical) ticking time bomb or I’d get lost in the weeds of my own brain. 

5. Corazon’s ghostly companion Leo says “I’m a writer. We’re the most honest people around.” Is that true? 

Of course! Storytellers only tell truths…that they’re wrapped up in lies is part of the art. 

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Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton

Editor Emeritus Roger Sutton was editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc., from 1996-2021. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his MA in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a BA from Pitzer College in 1978.

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