Today I am talking with an Indian woman, Poornima Shankar, who
is the mother of pre school twin girls and is living in New Jersey!
Poornima I recently reviewed
your delightful children's book 'Roger Rabbit Learns a Lesson.'
I enjoyed both your marvelous illustrations as well as the tale
you have written. Do you find your characters 'come alive' as
you are writing? Do they take over and direct the tale as you
Thank you Molly for reviewing my work. I wrote the story of
'Roger Rabbit Learns a Lesson' on the spur of the moment. My
kids were hungry and
pointing to their tummies and laughing as I tickled them. I
taught them that when one feels hungry, it is felt at the tummy.
That is when, I thought of this story and began writing it.
The end result developed as I typed.
What inspires you to
I have twins aged two and a half. I am reading to them simple,
yet effective stories all the time that not only entertain, but
also helping in developing visual, imaginative and verbal skills.
I want to the keep the promise
I made to my father who told me that the two permanent essences
of life that every person needs to cherish and thrive with are
MUSIC and BOOKS. He said that without these two wonderful implements
of imagination, we are handicapped as individuals. I think he
is right. These are the two things that define us and are our
friends forever. I am trying my best to enrich the lives of my
little ones with these two basic essences to ensure their all
I have always loved books, an inheritance credited to my father
and have inherited my mother's wonderful love for art too. My
mother taught art and craft apart from science in her 21 years
of service at a the same catholic school where I studied.
Your father sounds like a very wise man. I enjoy your art work
so much that I have asked you to illustrate several of my own
children's books. Are you available to do illustrations for
others as well? Is illustrating something you would like to
do more of in future?
I enjoyed doing all your illustrations Molly. I would like to
thank you for giving me the opportunity to do the illustrations
of your wonderful stories. Illustrations help me imagine and
create yet stick to the confined boundaries of the story provided
and do justice to the writer's originality of story. That is
a wonderful challenge to work with.
I would love to do illustrations
for other people's work as well and will be happy to take on
personal assignments. If interested please contact me at my
email id of email@example.com .
Poornima, I know you are a visitor to the U S. Please tell us
something about yourself, about your day to day life as mom of
beautiful twins! And, about your home in India.
I have been living in the US for four years now after I got married
to my wonderful and supportive husband in 1997.
I had the typical 'arranged marriage
of India' that is of so much wonder here in the US. I am now
a happy and proud mother of identical twin girls aged two and
a half who are the centers of my life. They occupy my time while
I occupy theirs. It is an exhausting yet fulfilling experience
to mother twins whose every day challenges almost always bring
a smile to our faces when the roller coaster ride finally stops!
I have been born and brought
up in India. I basically belong to the southern part of the
country but have lived in the western state of Gujarat throughout
my growing years. I am hence, familiar with 5 of the many Indian
languages apart from English. I was educated in the English
medium of education in a Catholic school. I have my parents,
grandma, brother and sister in law living in my home town. I
miss them very much. My in laws live in another city in India
and my sister in law is our pride...an honors student.
I grew up with my Grandma who
had been living with us after my grandfather passed away even
before I was born. Listening to her lovely tales, folk lore
and mythological stories, I consider myself lucky to have had
her during my growing years. She was my teacher, friend and
advisor, all rolled into one. Grandma was a buffer in the family...a
real pillar that everyone leant on. I wish every child gets
to grow with the older generation....they are such a treasure.
I graduated from High School
with the Science subjects including math. I then went on to
college and graduated in Foods and Nutrition with straight 'A's.
I worked for one year on a UNICEF funded project as a Research
Assistant that studied the effect of iron supplementation in
teen aged girls in both rural and urban pockets. I have worked
closely with girls and have had an understanding of their growth
spurt and hormonal changes. I still love Nutrition and would
like to work in the field of children's nutrition when I get
the right opportunity. I am currently writing a children's story
regarding the importance of health and nutrition in our everyday
Thank you for telling us about your delightful family. I agree,
it enriches our lives to have close enduring contact with a grandparent.
For me it was my Grandfather. I miss his deeply. Poornima,
please tell us how long have you been writing/illustrating?
I was the editor of my school and college magazine for a few
years and continued to write after a short break. I had been
writing mainly research pieces on issues that I myself wanted
to find out about. In the process, I also began writing short
stories, that included children's stories since about two years.
I do not have a formal degree
in illustration, but do it out of my own interest and creative
talent. I have also sold several hand made greeting cards for
a charity organization and have even won some drawing competitions.
I enjoy your illustrations very much. Who is your favorite author(s)
and/or illustrators, how did this(those) writer(s)/artists inspire
you and your work?
I do like all the Disney cartoon creations and their book versions.
I like detailed works and funny works a lot.
Where do you get ideas for your books? Do you plan more children's
books in the future?
Ideas for children's stories pop up any time, any place for me.
It might be from a dialogue my children have made, a drawing
or cartoon I saw, a doodle that I made, a long forgotten story,
in the shower, while I cook...just about anywhere!
I know other beginning writers will be interested to learn how
long it takes on average for you to write a book from start to
finish? And, please tell us what are you working on at the moment?
I can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days for
my book. Most times, the story develops and ends once I begin
to write. So, I begin just when I think of a story and allow
my imagination to do the rest.
At the moment I am working on
a children's story that teaches about the basics of nutrition
and health. I am also working on the picture book illustrations
for your alphabet book. And it is almost finished!
Thank you for such an interesting and informative interview Poornima.
Just received the illustrations and they are a delight.