The World-Building Process in The Library of Fates
by Aditi Khorana
My research for The Library of Fates was broad rather than in-depth. I usually start with a theme that I want to write about, and I was deeply inspired by Ursula K. LeGuin’s short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. It’s about an idyllic seaside town where the atmosphere is like a daily festival. Omelas is known for its culture, art, beauty. But then you learn that this entire town, for all its happiness and riches and wealth exists because there is a small child locked up in a basement, beaten and abused. At some point, every adolescent in Omelas learns this truth and then they have a choice: to stay, and make peace with this fact, or to leave. But nobody knows what exists outside of Omelas, so the idea of leaving is a daunting quest into the unknown. It’s a metaphor for the price we pay to live in a capitalistic world.
I wanted to investigate this idea and talk about capitalism and colonialism and that’s where the idea of “chamak,” this magical substance, this drug came in. The idea of of a conflict over land and resources – lives lost, battles fought, rules broken for this substance that has a ritualistic use, but has now been commodified, felt real to me. We live in a world where there’s been so much conquest and war over well…stuff. As in resources, things. As a society, we value wealth over human life and I wanted to write about that.
“I got really annoyed at stories of men going on adventures and happily displaying their ineptitude and arrogance while women waited around and/or were subjected to purity tests.”
I also read an absurd amount of Greek and Indian (specifically Hindu) mythology. I reread the Odyssey, the Ramayan and delved into Greek plays. I got really annoyed at stories of men going on adventures and happily displaying their ineptitude and arrogance while women waited around and/or were subjected to purity tests. Barf.
This got me thinking about myth and how most of the media that comes into our lives: books, film, theater, TV – much of it shares DNA with this misogynistic and paternalistic mythology – stories we’ve been telling ourselves and each other forever. I wanted to write a story where women go on an adventure, where they help and guide one another. Where they don’t rely on men to rescue them.
“I wanted to write a story where women go on an adventure, where they help and guide one another. Where they don’t rely on men to rescue them.”
I also read about Alexander the Great’s invasion into India, and about colonialism in India as well as conquests of indigenous groups in South and Latin America. Sikander is loosely based on Alexander the Great. I was fascinated by a story that he was called Alexander “the Great” because the day of his birth, the Temple of Artemis – one of the seven Great Wonders of the World – burned down and his father created this story that the fire happened because Artemis left the temple to attend to Alexander’s birth.
I know, right? Learning about Alexander made me reflect on origins stories and the #alternativefacts or fiction created by a small group of the privileged and entitled to keep the masses in the dark.
Lastly, I read reports by the UN High Commission on Refugees about the refugee crisis. Movement, loss and particularly the loss of home are significant issues of our time and are an important part of this book. As of 2015, there were 65.3 million people displaced. That’s the population of Beijing, Shanghai, Delhi and New York combined. In the future, there will be millions of climate refugees, so an experience that we think of as unique and rarefied actually isn’t and will inevitably play a bigger role in our lives on way or another in the future. So we need to not only talk about it but also to find empathy for those who have experienced it.
About the Author:
Aditi Khorana spent parts of her childhood in India, Denmark, and New England. She has a BA in international relations from Brown University and an MA in global media and communications from the Annenberg School for Communication. She has worked as a journalist at ABC News, CNN, and PBS, and most recently as a marketing executive consulting for various Hollywood studios including Fox, Paramount, and Sony. She is also the author of Mirror in the Sky. She lives in Los Angeles and spends her free time reading, hiking, and exploring LA’s eclectic and wonderful architecture. For more information, visit aditikhorana.com.
No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything–family, her childhood love, and her freedom–to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.
The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.
Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life–and another love–await?
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Follow the Rest of the Tour!
July 10 – The Fandom – Meet the Characters
July 11 – The YA Book Traveler – Indian Mythology in The Library of Fates: Guest Post by Indian Blogger, Aditi Nichani
July 12 – YA Wednesdays – Library of Fates Aesthetics
July 13 – YA Book Central – Library of Fates Excerpt
July 14 – Read Sleep Repeat – Author Q&A
July 17 – Bibliophile Gathering – Review
July 18 – Boricuan Bookworms – Author Guest Post
July 19 – Once Upon a Twilight – Review
July 20 – The Reading Nook Reviews – Review & Library of Fates Pendants
July 21 – A Page With A View – Author Q&A
July 24 – Fiction Fare – Author Guest Post
July 25 – Alexa Loves Books – Bookish Style File
July 26 – Chasing Faerytales – Review
July 27 – IceyBooks – Library of Fates Quote Candy
July 28 – Across the Words – Review & Fan Cast