The Backyard Tales is the story of the bond shared between 17-year-old Mia Basu Roy and her beloved cat, Pippo. She seems to understand him far too well for a human. And he seems to have another life that Mia begins to suspect. She follows her cat to their backyard and down a very dangerous road which leads her to witches, talking animals, and a story that’s much bigger than what she initially suspected.
Read this story to discover all of Mia and Pippo’s secrets, be enchanted by magic, and get the answer to a question that has haunted us for ages: does a cat truly love their owner?
Book Purchase Link
When did you decide to be a writer?
I decided to become a writer when I was six years old. I just knew I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.
What are the ambitions of your writing career?
I want to tell more stories that belong to children and young adults. The stories I wrote with my characters in their twenties was something that a lot of authors do. Hence, I decided I want to write stories where Indian kids see themselves represented! I didn’t have it when I was growing up – so I work every day, with every single story to bring about that change.
Give us insight into your main character. And what does he do that is special?
My character in this novel is a cat called Pippo. Pippo is the representation of my first cat, who had just turned up on my doorstep and forced my family to adopt him. In this story, he shares a very special bond with his mini owner aka Mia. He makes it his life’s mission to protect her from harm. Cats are famously known for their selfish, uncaring nature. What Pippo does in this story – and did in real life too – is to be there for Mia, even when she pushes everyone away. To me, that’s really special.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
My day job is from 10.30am to 7.30pm. I usually write post-dinner – from 10.30pm until I am limp all over – I write during the weekdays. And Fridays are my favorite. I can stay up all night writing on those days, you know? But yes. I have made it a habit to sit down and write for one hour every day. No matter what time. That’s a discipline I have made myself follow over the years of choosing to be a writer.
Where does the idea come from?
From inspired thoughts, I guess. I find ideas everywhere. Take this book, for example, my cat was my inspiration for it. I think ideas are everywhere. We just need to be open to the fact that an idea can hit you out of nowhere and suddenly you have this story that you want to tell the world. That’s what I feel.
Do you work on the outline or plot or you prefer to see where an idea takes you?
I started outlining my work from my second novel onwards – since I found out that I had written myself in several plot holes with the first book. I had started out as a writer who liked to see where the idea took me. It’s a good thing to do when you’re just starting out, I think. But eventually, you need to have meticulous plans to ensure you don’t have plot holes in your story.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writers’ blocks?
Listen to music. Write something else. Do something else. Skip ahead and write the next scene. You can always come back to the scene you’re stuck with later. Jack London once said somedays you have to go after inspiration with a club. He wasn’t wrong. While writer’s block is a very real thing – don’t let it become the reason you’re not writing.
What can we expect from you down the line?
More stories for children and young adults. Hopefully, stories that truly connect with the younger readers and address issues that need to speak about. More stories set in my old worlds….and a much-awaited and requested sequel for my best-loved book.