Q: How did you come up with the idea for Seven Golden Rings?
A: I was inspired to write a math-centric book by my son, who loved math from when he was very little. Then I started thinking about a character who needed to solve this math puzzle—why it was important and what the stakes were—and the rest of the story came from there.
Q: What do you hope kids take away from the story?
A: I hope it helps them recognize that math is a part of things they love (like music), and that there are all kinds of ways to be talented—and they're all important.
Q: What do you think Archana Sreenivasan's illustrations add to the book?
A: Archana had such an incredible understanding of the time period and the relationships in this story, and from her first sketches, the characters sprang to life on the page. Her vibrant illustrations convey so much emotion and make this book an absolute pleasure to read.
Q: As a physician and a writer, how do the two professions coexist for you?
A: I feel like both professions have at their heart people and stories. As a doctor, a lot of what I do is listen to people's stories so I can understand how they're feeling and what's important to them. As a writer, I dream up stories to tell emotional truths.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I'm working on a couple of middle grade novels and a bunch of picture books!
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: My next book, Red, White, and Whole, is a middle grade novel in verse publishing with Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins on Feb. 2, 2021. It's set in 1983, and is about the 13-year-old daughter of Indian immigrants who's torn between the worlds of her school and ‘80s pop culture and her parents and their immigrant community. But then her mother falls ill, and she is torn in a different way.
It's a book of my heart, and I can't wait to share it with the world.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Rajani LaRocca.