Kerr asked Roshani Chokshi:

Hello! I've just read and enjoyed The Star-Touched Queen and I was wondering: is it based off of/ influenced by a specific myth or legend? I love retellings and I like to see how different people interpret/adapt different myths and tales but so far, I know little of Indian mythology. Thank you!

Roshani Chokshi Hi!

First, thank you so much for reading The Star-Touched Queen. I'm glad you enjoyed the book :)

TSTQ is my love letter to many fairytales and myths. Growing up in a mixed race home (Indian and Filipino), my parents did not want to confuse me or my siblings by teaching us their native languages. To connect to our heritage, they gave us fairytales and books on world mythology. The more I read, the more I realized that we are often telling the same tale. I think the Western fairytales influencing TSTQ are fairly obvious: Hades & Persephone, Cupid & Psyche, Beauty & The Beast, East of The Sun & West of The Moon.

Regarding the Hindu myths, there were many that had a direct influence on The Star-Touched Queen! I'm not sure if they're familiar to many readers, but if not, I hope this list inspires you to seek them out and learn more about them :)

1. Savitri and Satyavan: This is a beautiful tale about a woman who outwits Death to save her husband's life. I've always been intrigued by female characters whose strength comes from their mind and not just their muscle.

2. Shiva and Parvati: In the Hindu pantheon, Shiva is one of the main deities. He's known as the Destroyer. His consort is Parvati, but she is a reincarnation of Sati. Reincarnation is a common motif in Hindu mythology, but what I loved about their story is how they found one another despite the obstacles.

3. The Ramayana: The Ramayana is one of the great Sanskrit epics (along with the Mahabharata). There's an interesting scene where Sita (the wife of Rama, the main character, and also the reincarnation of Goddess Lakshmi) has to submit to a test of purity known as the "agni pariksha." The scene is emotionally wrenching because it showed how rulers (even if they are divine!) fall prey to the rumors and suspicions of others.

4. Shakuntula: This is one of the great Kalidasa plays. What I loved about this tale is how memory can become a tangible thing, like a token that can be given.

5. Narasimha: One of my favorites! This is a tale about a demon king who performs severe penances to avoid death by making a list of conditions under which he cannot be killed. I loved this myth because it demonstrated how things could be interpreted. It made fate seem a little more pliable.

Thank you for asking this question! :)

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