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As the festival of Holi approaches, curiosity inspired us to reach out to author Shoumi Sen for some thoughts on this Indian celebration and the scoop on her beautiful diverse picture book, Celebrate Holi With Me!
Also called the Festival of Colors, Holi is celebrated at the end of winter, on the last full moon day of the Hindu luni-solar calendar month marking the beginning of spring, making the date vary with the lunar cycle. The date falls typically in March, but sometimes late February of the Gregorian calendar. Holi is not just a Festival of colors but also a celebration of good over evil
1) Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? What was your inspiration to start writing children’s books?
No, not really! I had so many things I wanted to be – an astronaut, a doctor, a school teacher, even went through a phase when I wanted to play cricket! I liked math, this led me to study engineering through grad school and now I am an engineer turned marketing professional who loves to write.
My writing originated as one of my many ways to have my daughter appreciate a constant connection with her Indian roots while living in California. I spent a good part of my childhood in India and was surrounded by the magic of Indian festivals like Holi, Diwali, Durga Puja, just to name a few. I searched for books that would help her understand the significance of these festivals and how they were celebrated – and eventually decided to write them myself.
2) What made you write about Holi?
Even before I released my first book (Celebrate Durga Puja With Me!), I knew I wanted to write about Holi. Growing up, it was my favorite festival because of the colors, the dancing, music, food and the sheer excitement that surrounds this “Festival of Colors”. I always loved how it brought entire communities together!
That idea was reinforced when we were watching Holi celebrations in a Hindi movie and my daughter said she wanted to experience Holi for herself. She ran to the pantry for my jar of bright yellow turmeric (a staple in Indian cooking that can stain just about anything) and we narrowly averted a disaster in the kitchen! I explained the story of Holi to her, all the time wishing I had an age-appropriate book that we could read together.
3) If you were to let parents, teachers, and librarians know ONE THING about your book “Celebrate Holi With Me!”, what would that one thing be?
Playing Holi is a truly unique experience – you get to witness entire communities coming together to throw brightly colored powder and water on each other and creating memories to last a lifetime. As Riya and her friends immerse you with a rainbow of colors in ‘Celebrate Holi With Me!’, I would love for my readers to remember the underlying message, which is the victory of good over evil.
- If you were to give any advice to those who dream of writing and publishing a book, what advice would you give?
If you want to write a book, write the best book you can without getting distracted about how it will get published. If you are passionate about something, things eventually fall into place. Today, apart from traditional publishing, there is also an option to self-publish so one way or another, the world will get to read your writing.
Shoumi Sen is a Strategy, Sales and Marketing professional at a leading Energy Management company. She grew up in Bombay and Dubai and studied Engineering at BITS, Pilani and the University of Maryland, College Park. She loves to travel, has lived and worked in many countries, and currently lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and daughter.
ONE winner will receive a copy of Celebrate Holi With Me!. Giveaway begins March 14, 2019
- Prizing & samples courtesy of Shoumi Sen
- Giveaway open to US addresses only
- ONE lucky winner will win one copy of Celebrate Holi With Me!
- Residents of USA only please.
- Must be 18 years or older to enter
- One entry per household.
- Staff and family members of Audrey Press are not eligible.
- Grand Prize winner has 48 hours to claim prize
- Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on March 21, 2019