Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Hillary Fazzari Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 4/22/2024
  • Miriam Cortinovis Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/6/2024
  • Jenniea Carter Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/8/2024
  • Caroline Trussell Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 5/20/2024
  • Jenna Satterthwaite Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/10/2024
  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/24/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.


Happy Monday Everyone! Today I’m thrilled to have debut author Roshani Chokshi here to share about her YA fantasy THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN. I’m super excited to read this because it’s based on Indian mythology. I met my husband in India many, many years ago and have a soft spot in my heart for India.

Here’s a blurb from Goodreads:

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father's kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran's queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar's wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire...

But Akaran has its own secrets -- thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.

Hi Roshani! Thanks so much for joining us!

1. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.

Thanks for having me! Never quite sure what to say about myself. I am probably shorter than you imagine. I became a writer the usual way: finding magic in books, trying and failing to imitate that same magic until eventually the cyclical sorcery of repeatedly trying and failing yielded actual success.   

2. Where did you get the idea for your book?

My childhood was the foundation of my book. Growing up, my parents gave us lots of books on folklore and world mythology to introduce us to our heritage (Filipino and Indian). The more I read, the more I saw how these stories were the same even when they were from different parts of the world. With THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN, I wanted to celebrate that by telling a familiar story with components of fairytales I loved. There’s bits of Hades and Persephone, Shakuntula, Beauty and The Beast, Savitiri and Satyavan. I wanted to write something both new and familiar.

3. Share a bit about the Indian mythology your story is based on and how you created your own world in THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN based on this mythology.

One of the wonderful things about Indian mythology are the vast worlds that fill it. There’s a realm for nagas (Otherworldly serpent creatures), a kingdom of gold in Lanka, a city of yakshas (fairies) in Alaka. I drew on this aspect of multiple words to demonstrate the liminality of Maya and Amar’s palace in Akaran. Even though I didn’t base my own made up places (such as the interior of Akaran’s palace, the Night Bazaar or the Chakara Forest) on those other realms in Indian mythology, they informed my construction of these places as both opulent and sinister, beautiful and dangerous. With the story itself, I was most inspired by the tale of Shakuntula and the tale of Savitri & Satyavan. I loved that these stories featured strong women, lapses in memory, moments of outwitting death and relationships that defied all odds.

4. Your book has gotten rave reviews and many people really connect with Maya, your main character. How did you develop Maya so that readers would relate to her so well?

I’m so glad to hear that! When Maya walked into my head (I assure you she did this…she’s not one
to wait around for her slow creator to dream her up) she had a lot of demands. She’s a very ambitious character. She was active from the start, and a bit on the sneaky side. She’s transparent when it comes to her ambitions and she’s not afraid to want something. I see that in so many women I respect, and I think I subconsciously tried to honor that in Maya’s characterization.

5. What was it like working with your editor? Was there a way your editor helped you really strengthen your story?

Working with Eileen has been AMAZING. My editor has a strong background in romance, and her notes strengthened the story’s emotional core. I love romance (especially historical) and I think that romance is one of those genres where characterization and heart really have to shine or else people feel distanced from the narrative. Her comments really dug at the story’s emotional core and I couldn’t be more grateful.  

6. I read that you were in law school in 2014 when you already had signed your book deal for this book. I can’t imagine juggling writing or thinking of debuting as an author with law school. All I did back then was go to school, work part-time to support myself, and study. That was an 18-hour day. How have you juggled all your writing and author duties with being in law school?

We didn’t sell The Star-Touched Queen until March 2015. But I did a massive rewrite during my first year while still balancing a WIP and I wouldn’t wish that stress on anyone. What it came down to was not compromising on time management. When I wrote, I turned off all distractions because I knew I could only allot so many hours in a day to writing. When I studied law, I turned off all distractions for the same reason. Balancing both forced me to stick to my schedule. It was strenuous and sometimes panic-inducing, but I don’t regret it. It taught me a lot about myself.

7. I would definitely not wish that on someone. Your agent is Thao Le. How did you get your agent and what was your road to publication like?

I got my agent through the traditional route. I sent a bajillion query letters out into the universe with a hope and a prayer and a typo (still upset about that) and waited and waited and waited. She requested my full, but then she rejected me. And it was *devastating*. She was my dream agent! The first time I read an interview she gave about what she was looking for, I literally hyperventilated. Anyway, when Thao rejected me, I digested the notes she sent over for why she was passing. They made a lot of sense! So I emailed her three weeks later and asked if she’d be interested in a revision. She offered representation in August 2014. We went on submission in October 2014. Then came the cascade of rejections that rattled my soul and left me bedridden with angst more times than I’d like to say. In February 2015, I got over myself and tore my book to shreds and rewrote it based on editor feedback. In March 2015, we sold.  

8.  Your book is definitely multi-cultural. Are you connecting with any group like WeNeedDiverseBooks and how is that helping you spread the word about your book?

I think WNDB does great work, but I’m not officially part of the organization. I was very grateful that WNDB named THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN one of their most anticipated debuts on the Barnes & Noble blog! There are so many members of WNDB who have expressed enthusiasm about The Star-Touched Queen or talked about it, and I’m deeply grateful for the exposure.

9. How are you planning to market your book?

Argh! I would not know how! Thankfully, I can entrust that skill to the geniuses over at St. Martin’s Press.

10. What are you working on now?

Right now, I’m working on a heist fantasy set during La Belle Epoque. It’s got smart boys and smarter girls, absinthe and Art Deco. I love it.

Thanks for sharing all your advice, Roshani! You can find Roshani at:

Twitter: @NotRashKnee
Instagram: @roshanichokshi
Facebook: Roshani Chokshi
Roshani has generously offered an ARC of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN for a giveaway. To enter, all you need to do is be a follower (just click the follow button if you’re not a follower) and leave a comment through May 21st. If your e-mail is not on your Google Profile, you must leave it in the comments to enter the contest.
If you mention this contest on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog, mention this in the comments and I'll give you an extra entry. This giveaway is for US.

Here's what's coming up:

On Wednesday I have an agent spotlight interview and query critique giveaway with Ronnie Ann Herman.

Next Monday follower Jessica Lawson will be back with her agent Tina Wexler with a guest post and query critique giveaway by Tina and a giveaway of WAITING FOR AUGUSTA, Jessica's new MG contemporary.

The following Monday I have an interview with debut author Lindsey Klingele and a giveaway of her YA fantasy THE MARKED GIRL.

Then I'm off the following Monday for Memorial Day. My first Monday off since the first of the year!

Wednesday that week I have a guest post by Fauzia Burke, who has spent her career working in book promotion and marketing and has worked with authors like Sue Grafton, Tim Burton, and Deepak Chopra, and a giveaway of her book, ONLINE MARKETING FOR BUSY AUTHORS: A STEP BY STEP GUIDE.

The following Monday I have a guest post by Cassandra Brown, a freelance editor, with a query, synopsis, 10 page manuscript critique, or 30 minute consultation--winner's choice.

Hope to see you on Wednesday!


Donna K. Weaver said...

Congrats to Roshani. The book sounds awesome. Now I'll go check to see if it's an audiobook.

Donna K. Weaver said...

FYI--it does. Got my copy!

mshatch said...

The Star-Touched Queen sounds awesome! My sister's love of India has leaked over to me so I definitely find this very intriguing.

Karen Lange said...

It's nice to meet Roshani. Wishing her much success. I cannot imagine juggling law school and writing a book - that's impressive.

Natalie, thanks for hosting today. I'll pass on the giveaway. Enjoy the week! :)

Kristin Lenz said...

Congrats, Roshani - your book sounds amazing! (There's a giveaway on Goodreads now too!) Natalie, I didn't know you met your husband in India. I named my daughter Maya after Maya Angelou, but then my friends who are Indian explained that Maya means love, specifically a special mother-daughter bond/love. Perfect.

Greg Pattridge said...

Such a great sounding plot. The journey to the shelf was a tough ride, but you survived. Congratulations!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

There aren't too many books based on Indian culture, which is a shame. I'd love to read this.

Unknown said...

Awesome!! I can't wait to read this book for sooooo many reasons. CONGRATS Roshani!

Thanks for another chance to win!

Sorry, for the exclamation mark abuse, but I really am that excited. I've been tracking down all the giveaways for this book. If I don't win I'll buy it but with my daughters b-day coming up and the car problems, money is tight atm.


Joanne R. Fritz said...

I didn't know you met your husband in India. How fascinating! Great interview, as always. I'm intrigued by the sound of this book, especially the gardens of glass and the tree that bears memories. And I'm so impressed that Roshani persevered and did such a massive rewrite of the book. It obviously paid off!

cleemckenzie said...

I love how authors take a lot of different myths and folktales and mix them into a new story. Congratulations on using the reading from your childhood to create something of your own.

abnormalalien said...

Thanks for the insightful interview; it's good to know about the emotional roller coaster ahead of time.

abnormalalien said...

Thanks for the insightful interview; it's good to know about the emotional roller coaster ahead of time.

Brenda said...

Congrats, Roshani really liked hearing how the premise came from books that your parents shared with you growing up. Wonderful interview and have a wonderful week Natalie.

Christine Rains said...

Congratulations to Roshani! A wonderful interview, especially about how she obtained her agent. It shows us all never to give up! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Sounds like a terrific read!

Patchi said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this book--I've been hearing great things about it. Great agent story... lots of hope & the benefit of revising. Thanks for the chance to win.

Gabriela said...

Did I just heard the word HEIST? And LA BELLE EPOQUE? All in a fantasy book? My God, Miss Chokshi you are a genius and I can't wait to hear more about this book. Meanwhile, let's talk about The Star Touched Queen. Brilliant. I have no words for how amazing this book is. And the review was great, highlighting all the important aspects. Great job, Casey and Natalie and keep up with the good work!

Gabriela said...

I'm not participating in the giveway btw, I just wanted to share the love I have for this book and for your blog. Sorry for the confusion.

StacyRenee said...

That WIP sounds just as fantastic as The Star-Touched Queen does! I love that the author took familiar tales from her childhood and created a story from them. I'm so looking forward to reading this!
(stacyreneereads @ gmail.com)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, she doesn't have to market? Must be nice.
And she rewrote the book in a month. That just blows my mind.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Congratulations, Roshani! I'm impressed by your hard work, dedication, and the ability to do a revision in a month! I think it's awesome that you got to work with your dream agent, too.

Jessica Lawson said...

This is one of my most anticipated reads~ I can't wait to read it! Thanks for the interview, ladies :)

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Congrats!! There is a certain magic about books. Anyone who doesn't read is missing out!

S.P. Bowers said...

This is a book I've had my eye on so I'm excited to see this interview. And I can't imagine doing edits, WIP AND law school. I'm crazy impressed you're still sane!

Penny said...

The more I learn about The Star Touched Queen, the more I want to read it. It sounds amazing. Thanks for the giveaway!
penny dot olson at gmail dot com

LSpeers said...

This book sounds awesome. Can't wait to read it!
I follow via lcspeers(at)gmail(dot)com

Tamara Narayan said...

This book does sound like a winner. I married a fellow with parents from Trinidad and Guyana, but their ancestors are Indian, so this culture interests me as well.

tamara (dot) narayan (at) gmail (dot) com

BranwenOShea said...

Congrats Roshani! I can't wait to read your book. And your journey to publication was inspiring. Thanks and best of luck!

Roland Clarke said...

Fascinated by all aspects of India having been there twice on extensive visits. Going to check out much more at Roshani's sites and probably get the book.

Email: rrclarke53@aol.co.uk

Unknown said...

This sounds really good. Thanks for sharing with us!
I shared on FB
Thanks for the chance

Danielle said...

I'm so intrigued by this book! I definitely need to check it out, one way or another. :)

Danielle H. said...

This book is gorgeous and I've read only great reviews about it. Thanks for the chance to win a copy! I shared on tumblr:

Rosi said...

Wonderful, informative interview as usual. Thanks for that. Please don't enter me in the drawing. I am way behind on my reading.

holdenj said...

Congrats on the new debut, I can't wait to read it. Thanks so much for the chance to win!

StacyRenee said...

This book is pretty intriguing. The forced marriage thing kind of irks me but I do enjoy books with triggering content like that.

Stina said...

Love the cover and premise.

I'm still in awe at how Roshani was able to balance everything and turn off the distractions.

Anonymous said...

I've been seeing this book around and want to read it. Congrats to Roshani. Persistence pays off.

Unknown said...

So awesome Congrats Roshani and all of the reviews for this book have been amazing :) I want to read it so bad.

Unknown said...


Unknown said...


Melissa said...

So much great buzz about this book. Can't wait to read it!

Penelope Sanchez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Penelope Sanchez said...

The Star-Touched Queen is hard to put down and you definitely want to take your time reading it. With it's exquisite descriptions, take your time immersing yourself in this world. Savor it. Chokshi's writing is impeccable and you don't want the story to end. There is no book like The Star-Touched Queen. I would highly recommend this book to my students and to those who love beautifully written novels.

Great data for Garibaldi House Inn & Suites Tillamook Hotele

Unknown said...

What an interesting blurb! I love the fact that the author started with her own culture and then took it to another level. Nothing's so interesting as books with imaginative and complex world building!

DMS said...

I love the colors on the cover and the book sounds so intriguing. I enjoyed hearing about it and loved learning about how the author got her agent. I can't imagine the time management it took to go through law school while working on major revisions! Thanks for sharing. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm psyched for this book! It's one of my "Waiting On" Wednesdays. :) Yay!

Natasha said...

I can't wait to read this one!!
Thanks for the chance to win!
natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I keep seeing The Star-Touched Queen all over my Goodreads feed, so I know the buzz is building!

Unknown said...

I don't just want this book--I NEED it. It sounds amazing, and the cover is gorgeous. On my Goodreads to-read list!

Sydney said...

Great interview! The questions were some that I had been wondering about before. I'm so excited that TSTQ released last month after waiting a year for it. Thanks for the chance!
xinyi1467 at gmail

Unknown said...

I really really want to read this! I've only heard good things about it by other bloggers so I'm hoping I would win this!!!

Unknown said...

Congrats! Sounds like a good book!

Emily R. King said...

I want this book so bad! Roshani is such a wonderful inspiration to writers. Her road-to-being-published story is one of my favs. Congrats to her! erittelking at gmail dot com