Chennai author publishes her fourth book ‘The Forbidden Forest’

Aysha Rau launching her book ‘The Forbidden Forest’ in Chennai.

Chennai: Consciously or otherwise, everyone of us would have dreamt about parallel universe and existence of extra-terrestrial beings, thanks to our cartoon obsession.

Over the years, we fail to nurture the creative element and choose to take the beaten track. Having specialised in children’s theatre, children’s literature and puppetry over two decades, 63-year-old Aysha Rau still keeps the child in her alive.

The city resident has published her fourth book  The Forbidden Forest, which is the first of seven-part books that she is working on.

Aysha, who holds a marine biology degree, sets the story in a fictional south Indian hill station. Through two characters – Ari and Ria – the writer explores the existence of parallel world, plants slipping into the alternate universe as humans abuse the earth and how they come back once the earth bounces back to normalcy.

She reveals that The Forbidden Forest has a lot of magic and mystery in it. ”Life is too dull to not have magic in it. Wherever the narrative allows me, there is a bit of scientific information added without being forced,” Aysha says.

The author tells that the book has been in the making for nearly 20 years.¬†”Back then, the manuscript was accepted by a top publishing house. However, the commissioning agent resigned just before I signed the contract. Following this, I was not able to get it published by other publishers due to several reasons. Out of the blue, Pinnacle Books agreed to publish in 2018,” Aysha tells News Today.

During the course, she kept re-writing as she was on the look-out for the right publisher. ”I maintained the basic construct of the book and just changed the names of the key characters. The publisher also had some interesting inputs and some of them were constructive and decided to incorporate,” Aysha adds.

Unlike the popular books for children, the marine biologist has made it a point to be based in India for children from the country to relate to, although the place is fictional.

She accepts that writing for children is not as easy as it may look. Interestingly, her previous three books are also for children and have also worked on ladybird books in the past.

Elucidating it, an overjoyed Aysha says, ”For children, the book has to be simple and that is a task. A page may have just two or three words, but choosing them is more difficult than writing 10 paragraphs. The writer needs to find a voice that will speak to a child as a friend and not a teacher.”

”I am comfortable and happy talking to the younger audience. I love creating for them. It is a very exciting world; kids always have a lot of enthusiasm,” she admits.

Asked how her parenting experience has helped her be appealing for toddlers, she replies, ”The children that I know best are my younger brother and my two children. The road-map is based on what I know and then I bring in my creative elements and imagination.”

”There is a little bit of me, my mother, my daughter, and my children,” the writer adds, who has worked in advertising industry as copywriter.

Bhavani Prabhakar