- Siobhan Kelly
“Mom, I want to write a book:” Risha Chaurasia
“I want to write a book!” declared bright-eyed 8-year old Risha to her parents one evening.
“Go for it!” they said, smiling. And she did! She did go for it! And is today a teen author of 2 novels, the founder of a successful Instagram blog, and an inspiration to young girls and aspiring teen authors everywhere.
In this article, we delve deeper into her exciting life and find out how all this came to be!
Born on 2nd May 2007 into a family of finance professionals, Risha had a love for books and words from the very start. Picking up her first book at age 3, she spent her entire childhood with her nose in a novel.
Time went on, and she soon turned 8 in 2015. The year she'd pick up the pen for the first time. Taking inspiration from her favorite childhood novel, she started writing mystery plays. 2 of which - 'Wonder Car' and 'Journey of the Island'- were later performed in her school.
By age 8, she was already a playwright, top student of her class, and an avid reader, but she wanted to be more. She wanted to be an author. An author who writes for teens and tweens. An author who spreads positivity through her writing.
And she made this switch not long after. On 16th May 2019 aged 12, she published her first novel, Tales of Twinkling Tweens. Books she's started writing at age 11. Published by Notion Press, this book touched various aspects of a tween’s life. It took the readers through school experiences—teachers, relationships with friends, experiencing bullying, examination pressure, annoying habits of tween boys and girls, their complex emotions, and embracing many changes they undergo. It is a book for tweens, by a tween!
The book received a considerable response and was greatly loved and appreciated by the readers. Risha did her first author visits and meet and greet soon after. And her first newspaper article!
"Tales of Twinkling Tweens changed my life. Both social and professional. While many people encouraged and supported me, some too did try to pull me down. They mocked me and my writing, making it seem like a joke. And that nascent age, all this did impact me. And when Tales didn't get the response I hoped it would; it broke me. I couldn't understand why people weren't ready to recognize my work as worthwhile. And that is when my mom told me, 'Risha, you write for yourself, not for the world. This statement continues to guide me throughout my journey." Risha says.
After the publishing of Tales of Twinkling Tweens, Risha took a short break from writing. Until the idea of TRUCE popped in her head one December day. Talking about how she got the idea, Risha says,
"I got the idea of TRUCE in the movie hall. My friends and I were watching Spys In Disguise. After which we fooled around in the mall. That is when it hit me, FRIENDSHIP! That's got to be the theme of my next novel. I returned home that evening and discussed the idea with my mom. A practice I do even today. We'd often sit down and discuss the plot, characters, and the story. And major plot twists in my novel are often my mom's ideas."
The idea was still vague and needed direction. And Risha soon got that. The direction was a word. A word that would change the course of her journey. The word was TRUCE. The title of her second novel. Here's how she found it,
"I was watching Disney one morning. A character put out her hand and said, 'TRUCE?' And it struck me! TRUCE! Such a beautiful word! I've got to use it!"
Risha and her mom got down to plotting and came up with the idea. The idea was of 5 friends (each with a name starting from a letter of TRUCE) who face challenges in their life. Challenges like an identity crisis, health issues, betrayal. Starting as strangers, they become unlikely friends. And through the power of friendship, they solve their issues. Throughout the story, many plot twists leave the reader on the edge of his/her seat.
"I want to impart hope and positivity through TRUCE. I wanted people to believe in real relationships." Risha said.
A riveting plot, strong characters, and a powerful message make this book a must-read!
However, with great achievements come great struggles. And Risha's struggles began the day she published TRUCE.
"I think that I struggle with daily is getting people to recognize and acknowledge my work. I send out emails and messages to hundreds of people weekly but rarely get responses. I've been rejected several times, saying that my story isn't good enough. And if some people do agree, they ask for hefty amounts of money for a feature. Despite all this, I've also got some wonderful opportunities to share my story. Like the one, I got at speaking at the Indore Literature Festival. I've got some great chances to speak at international podcasts and being interviewed by international pages. However, I do struggle to get people to believe in my writing. The world doesn't believe in teen authors and their writing. We often get sidelined, despite having fabulous writing simply because we're too young. And I want to change that." she says.
Currently, Risha is working on a high school-centric 3rd novel on the life of high school students. She started working on it at age 13. And we wish her the best of luck!
She is also a blogger and literacy advocate, encouraging the youth to read. She runs a blog on Instagram called Straight. From. My. Pen, through which she spreads positivity through stories. The blog has been successful and has acquired 3.4k plus followers in a short amount of time.
Being a literature advocate, Risha inspires and encourages the youth to read. Here's her opinion on reading among the youth,
"In this world of technology, the youth are drifting away from books. And that's heartbreaking. I believe that every reader is a leader and a reader lives 1000 lives. Reading has changed my life, and I hope to encourage the youth to read too."
Risha has done 20+ author visits and has encouraged kids everywhere to read. She truly is an inspiration to the youth. Making them believe in the power of reading and hard work, Risha has proven that the youth can achieve anything they want!
You can follow her on Instagram under the handle @rishachaurasia_, connect with her on Linkedin or mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Both her books are available on Amazon in both Kindle and Paperback format.