Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Q&A with Tanaz Bhathena

Tanaz Bhathena, photo by Nettie Photography
Tanaz Bhathena is the author of the new young adult novel The Beauty of the Moment. She also has written the YA novel A Girl Like That, and her work has appeared in various publications, including Blackbird and Witness. Born in India, she grew up in Saudi Arabia and Canada. She lives in Toronto.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for The Beauty of the Moment, and for your characters Susan and Malcolm?

A: I had written a couple of short stories a few years ago, featuring Susan’s character. I took one of those stories and turned it into The Beauty of the Moment. Malcolm had a different name at the time and he wasn’t Susan’s love interest.

Q: One of the book's themes involves immigration to a new country. What do you hope readers take away from the story, given the current focus on immigration today?

A: I wanted to write a story where immigrant teens were not only able to find a place for themselves in a foreign country, but also have happy endings. I hope readers will be able to relate to this—and also have fun reading the story at the same time.

Q: How was the novel's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?

A: My editor chose the title from a dialogue in the novel. I thought it fits both characters really well—Susan is often afraid to live in the moment, Malcolm races through life without pausing to enjoy its beauty.

Q: The story is told from Susan's and Malcolm's alternating points of view. Did you always plan it that way, or did you change things around as you wrote?

A: The two POVs came naturally to me; they felt like the right way to tell this story.

Q: What are you working on now?

A: I’m working on a YA fantasy series set in a world inspired by medieval India. The first book of the series, Hunted by the Sky, will be published in spring 2020. 

Q: Anything else we should know? 

A: I became a writer because I failed as a cartoonist. So when it came to picking out Susan’s talent, I knew I had to make her an artist. 

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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