Interview with Local Author Nidhi Kamra
I had the pleasure of spending an hour or so getting to know a local children’s author Nidhi Kamra at an adorable little coffee shop in Manotick, Ontario a couple of weeks ago.
Nidhi reached out to me through Facebook and asked if I would do a review on her new children’s book, Ten Sheep to Sleep.
Reviewing is not really my thing, but getting to know people who are doing things that inspire me is what I am all about. So I proposed we would instead shine a light on her journey to become an author and that would, in turn, shed light on her book, Ten Sheep to Sleep.
I began by sending Nidhi the interview questions and she kindly took the time to carefully answer them. Then we scheduled a coffee (or in our case a tea) date.
Nidhi and I wrapped our hands around our teacups and became fully present to each other. We asked each other questions and chatted about her journey to becoming an author, our families, our dreams and somewhere in the silent moments between chatting, we moved from strangers into feeling more like friends. I learned that Nidhi also has a degree in Engineering and she grew up in Zambia. She moved to Canada in 1998 to pursue a master’s degree in Computer Science. Her love of numbers definitely shows up in her book, Ten Sheep to Sleep.
After our chat, we spent a few minutes walking around beautiful Manotick so I could grab some pictures to include in this blog post.
As I looked through my lens I saw a strong, smart, determined woman. A woman who found writing and pursued her dream of becoming an author. I knew it was no accident that the two of us had arrived in each other’s lives. I quietly gave thanks for the inspiration to be a better version of myself.
I’m excited to share this beautiful, inspiring author with you. Her book, Ten Sheep To Sleep, is a clever story that is a reminder to slow down, breathe and let go so we can find solutions to problems we are seeking the answers to. A beautiful message!!
So without further ado, here is Nidhi Kamra’s interview!
1. Tell us about your journey to becoming an author.
I used to love to rhyme as a kid. I even rhymed our farewell speech at school. Once in third grade, my dad wrote a fantasy story for me (something about little evil people living in the vents), which I got 3rd place for at school. I was happy to take the credit, and the certificate it came with. Fast-forward many, many years, I forgot all about writing poetry or really anything. One day, my new-born refused to eat his beans. Boom! I suddenly recalled my poem, I HATE BEANS! that I had written with a lot of passion for my parents, who insisted I eat them every now and then. Yuck. I don’t even think my mom made them that well. Ugh! I still shudder at the thought! Anyhow, I had this urge to write another I HATE BEANS! poem, this time on behalf of my baby, to me. So I penned a new version down, and was in total appreciation for my ‘genius writing,’ until the baby splattered bean puree — looked more like frog puree — all over the poem. I trashed it, but something ignited in me. I felt alive. I wanted to smile. Heck, I may even have smiled…
A few days later, I was dumping some flyers in the trash, when one postcard-sized one slipped through my butterfingers and fell to the floor. I picked it up and flung it toward its destiny, the trash, once more. But alas! The postcard had other plans. Again, it danced its way to the floor, almost teasing, but this time revealing what was written on it. The postcard asked if I was interested in writing for children, and if so, there was this awesome online course I could sign up for … Super excited about what I had read, I signed up a few weeks later and never regretted it. Eight months after completing my course, I was able to pitch to Odyssey and Calliope (very respected children’s magazines) and got my query accepted in the first shot. I was elated! I published two articles with them and that was that.
Fast-forwarding many, many years again (I’m about as old as a dino now and don’t mind beans as much), I returned the writing favor my dad did for me in third grade, by writing a farewell speech for him. I rhymed it like I used to when I was a little girl. Like daughter, like father — he took all the credit for the speech, and not once did he mention his daughter wrote it for him, amidst all the applause and fame he got that day. Grin. His secret is safe with me, just like mine was safe with him, back in third grade!
2. What inspired you to write your book, Ten Sheep to Sleep?
Fifteen years ago, after I finished my writing course, I wrote, SAMMY JO AND THE TEN POLKA-DOTTED SHEEP, as a short story for an online magazine. I think they paid me $5 for it. Or maybe it was $25. That money was more precious to me than the salary I was making as an engineer because it fed my soul. I aptly went and spend the money on coffee and donuts from Tim Hortons, which contributed to the blubber I had around my belly. Around that time, I thought the story had more potential, and I should work on re-writing it as a picture book. Now, picture books are really hard to write (unlike contrary belief where people think that it’s just a picture book). You need to be able to tell a story in about 500 words, the words have to be married to pictures, and each word has to count and move the story forward. There is no place for weed words, and you have to hook the child from the first page, else the child will walk away. Of course, a lot of publishers don’t want picture books, because they cost a lot to print. So obviously, I had made the wrong choice of genre. But I stuck to it and wrote TEN SHEEP TO SLEEP. It took me many years to sell it (like most people), and it was finally released quite suddenly on July 1st, 2017. It was a fifteen-year journey, but I’m happy I reached full-circle with it. After all, it all started with some “frog puree.” Who would have thought? Smile.
3. What does being an author mean to you?
It’s therapeutic and empowering. Sometimes I’m afraid where my imagination takes me, but I have to embrace it — it’s my DNA.
4. What message do you hope to share with the little ones who read your story?
We all have problems in life. It never ends. We start young, and most of us expend a truckload of brain power every day to figure out how to deal with them. Sammy Jo, the protagonist in the book, TEN SHEEP TO SLEEP, had a HUGE problem of her own. She counted ten sheep to sleep every night, but suddenly, ten extra sheep appeared. And did they make her night miserable! She focused on the problem and thought of some brilliant solutions. Unfortunately, none of them worked! She finally decided to relax.
And that’s when the most brilliant solution of all came to her!
Sometimes we just need to relax, and let go. We need to find ways to loosen up and unwind – modalities that suit us and our personality. Some people focus on their breathing, some jog, some boogie to music, and some find joy in just acting silly. I hope the kids reading this book with embrace this message.
To enter for a chance to win ONE of the books, Ten Sheep to Sleep please leave a comment below.
For a second chance to win a book please subscribe to my blog.
If you already subscribe to my blog, first of all, thank you, and then just type “subscribed” at the end of your comment and I’ll give you a second entry, too.
So leave a comment. subscribe to my blog and keep your fingers crossed. The winners will be announced next Friday, November 10th, 2017.
Find out more about Ten Sheep to Sleep on BOOKSTOP.