Hello there, labyrinth dwellers—welcome back to another post! Today, over at my new feature; Labyrinth Lore, I’m so excited to present you my author interview with Sangu Mandanna. Keep reading for more!
Now if you have read my previous post reviewing Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom (see here), you’d know how much I adored it! And today, joining me, is the wonderful Sangu Mandanna, author of Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom. We talk about her mythical inspirations for the series, found family and witches! Make sure to check out her middle grade series; Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom and the recently released Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse.
This thrilling sequel to Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom reimagines classic mythology for today’s readers who love action and adventure!
With just a flick of her pencil, Kiki can bring her drawings of Indian legends to life… but when a mysterious curse threatens her newly created kingdom and friends, how can she use her powers to save them?
Fresh from the exciting discovery that the beautiful kingdom and band of rebel kids she drew in her sketchbook exists in another world, Kiki Kallira has an unexpected visitor. One of those rebel kids has come into the real world to ask for her help—the river Kaveri that is Mysore’s only source of water has suddenly vanished! With no water to drink or grow food, Kiki’s kingdom is doomed.
Kiki returns to Mysore and quickly learns that drawing a new river doesn’t work. In her search for answers, she stumbles upon the origin of the Kaveri: it’s actually a princess from long ago who was transformed into water by a terrible curse! It’s up to Kiki and her friends to restore the river without sacrificing the princess again—easier said than done! And with her mounting anxiety, enemies seeking to stop her, and a city growing weaker by the minute, Kiki’s confidence falters. Will she be able to unravel the curse and save her kingdom before it’s too late?
Hi Sangu! Thank you so much for being on my blog. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your books for people who are new?
Thank you for inviting me to be here, Queenie! I’m a British-Indian author of magical, fantastical books for children and grown-ups. My books usually feature Indian folklore, brown girls kicking butt, neurodivergent and mentally ill protagonists, and lots of adventure, magic and friendship.
I’ve read and loved your Kiki Kallira series! As a South Indian, it greatly resonated with me and I’ve never felt more seen. What are some of the most interesting things that you stumbled upon on your research for this book?
Thank you! It always makes me so happy to hear from South Indian readers. Honestly, I think there’s so much wonderful, magical lore and storytelling in that part of the world and one of the greatest joys of writing Kiki’s story was getting to immerse myself all over again in the mythology of my childhood. I don’t want to give too much away because it’s a big part of Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse, but one of the most fascinating things I stumbled on (or, rather, rediscovered) during my research was the myth behind the river Kaveri. I interpreted the myth in my own way for the book, but it’s such a great story all on its own.
I found the found family dynamic in Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom very wholesome! What prompted you to write about a group of quirky and confident group of orphans?
I love the found family trope! I think it’s been a big part of almost every single book I’ve ever written. And as much as I love it when found families come in all ages, shapes and sizes, I very much wanted the Crows to be a ragtag bunch of kids. While the adults in Kiki’s life play a big part in her journey, at the end of the day, it’s a story about the courage, strength, resilience and kindness of children and it was important to me to show that in the Crows. They’re chaotic, messy, funny, brave and incredibly human.
In Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse, the book draws inspiration from the myth of the Kaveri river. Do you have any other myths about Mysore that you’re keen on exploring in the forthcoming books (if any)?
Not necessary Mysore, specifically, but there are a number of other myths from the south of India that I’d love to explore in future! There’s the temple of the sleeping god, there’s South India’s version of a succubus, there’s the flower that only blooms once a decade, and so many others!
Lastly, witches! The Good Witch plays an important role in Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse and also witches are a huge part of your adult debut, A Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches. What are some of the books featuring witches that you loved and would recommend to readers?
There are so many wonderful witch books out there, but for the middle grade audience specifically, I’d recommend the wonderful The Last Fallen Star by Graci Kim (Korean witches!) and Witchlings by Claribel Ortega (diverse, Latinx witches!)
about the author
Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids.
2 thoughts on “Labyrinth Lore: Author Interview with Sangu Mandanna”
AHHHH HIII!!!! i’m new to your blog BUT IN LOVEE WITH THE DESIGN AND BASICALLY EVERYTHING ALREADY!!!!!! I LOVE THE SITE HEADER SO SO SO MUCH 😍😍 EXCUSE ME WHILE I OBSESS OVER IT PLEASE 😭😭
also also!! i LOVED reading this post and am RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED TO READ ALL OF YOUR GORGEOUS FUTURE POSTS!!
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thank you so much anoushka and welcome to my blog!!! im so glad you found this post enjoyable, im looking forward for interacting more w/you!! 💕
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