When I was a little girl, there were never any stories about girls who were anything other than white. There was only Princess Jasmine, and she is the ONLY Disney princess, who’s story is actually about and named after the Prince!
I never imagined that I would write middle grade (8-12 years) fantasy until my little niece, Sonakshi asked me to ‘Ektaa mausi can you please write me story about unicorns?’
And so I dropped the paranormal romance I was writing and wrote “The Unicorn Princess” instead. What started as a weird hilarious simple story about a witch with bats living up her gigantic nose turned into something so much more.
I just knew that if I was going to be a writer, it was going to be in a way that told little girls around the world, that no matter their skin colour or ethnic origin, they can be heroes and princesses too.
There is a place for other races in literature, there is a place for little Indian girls, Chinese girls, African girls, you name it inside adventure books. And NOT as the funny side kick, as the main character.
Sonakshi the Unicorn Princess is Fijian Indian, like the real Sonakshi she is based on. Not only is she from a niche minority group, her journey takes her across Australian Bushland and the Pacific Ocean to Fiji. I thought, literally every kids book I’ve ever read was set anywhere other than Australia, so why not set mine here?
Thank you Shobna Bali, Rachna Shankar and Rishta Kumar. For supporting me in the release of my first middle grade novel.
Everyone who’s read it so far has enjoyed it and my editor even claims that it’s the best book she’s ever read in that genre. I’m not sure whether to believe her or not, but it sure gave me the confidence to make this post about it!
On the surface it’s about a girl who has inherited the ability to turn into the unicorn and a witch who really wants to capture her. At it’s heart, it’s about courage, friendship and forgiveness.
It’s out today as e-book and paperback. So if you know any little girls (or boys!) ages 7+ who might be interested in a daring adventure story set in their own homeland, check it out:
On the day I made the post the novel was ranked in the top 100 in three categories on Amazon.com, including no. 2 in children’s fiction-royalty category.
It has been very well received by the community as school teachers and parents know the importance of encouraging cultural diversity in children’s fiction.
We have been featured in both the Fiji Times and Fiji Sun this weekend!
The Blurb of the book:
Sonakshi is the first Princess of Macuata Fiji, to be born as a unicorn in hundreds of years. Kept secret and hidden in her castle in the Blue Mountains Australia, she tries to come to terms with her unicorn-self. But it’s pretty difficult when she’s the only unicorn she knows!
When the powerful witch Mankini kidnaps her friend Rowen, she and her loyal companion Kieran, know they must act before he is lost forever.
Their quest leads them across dangerous Australian Bushland and over the Pacific Ocean to Fiji where Mankini lies waiting.
But a terrible secret threatens everything Sonakshi thought she knew.
It will take skill, wit and a bit of magic to get them through to the other side.
There are mermaids, fae and kangaroos. But where there are friends, there are also foes.
Danger and deception awaits.
Things are never as they seem…