Six Questions with Suma Subramaniam
Suma Subramaniam’s interests and passions in writing for children are mostly centered around STEM/STEAM-related topics as well as India and Indian heritage. When she’s not recruiting or writing, she’s volunteering for We Need Diverse Books and SCBWI. Suma was the short story contest winner of the We Need Diverse Books story competition.
She is also the author of Namaste Is A Greeting, She Sang For India, and other books for children and young adults. Suma lives in Seattle with her family and a dog who watches baking shows. She has an MFA in Writing from Vermont College Of Fine Arts. Visit Suma's website to learn more about her and her work.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to write for young readers?
In 2010 when I attended my first SCBWI Conference in Redmond, Washington, I met the wonderful Sundee Frazier who urged me to keep writing when I had a first-page manuscript consult with her. Four years later, she encouraged me again to apply to the MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. I owe much gratitude to Sundee for flipping my life 360 degrees in a great way!
2. Do you work on multiple projects at the same time?
Until recently, my brain was wired to work only on one project at a time. However, this year, I’ve been working on multiple projects that are at different stages of the writing, editing, and publishing process. There is little or no opportunity for writer’s block or getting stuck which is nice.
3. When you’re not writing, what are your favorite things to do?
I volunteer for SCBWI, We Need Diverse Books, Diverse Verse, Cynsations, and Mixed-Up Files of Middle-Grade Authors. I also indulge in gardening and traveling.
4. Where do you get inspiration for your characters? Are you influenced by people you know?
I’m inspired and influenced by too many people – friends, family, strangers, things I read about, things I see, and what I hear. When I pay attention, those characters find their way into my books and help me write better.
5. If you could tell readers one secret about Namaste is a Greeting, what would it be?
The secret about this book is that the publishing deal came first. I signed with my wonderful agent after I received news about the offer from the publisher.
6. If you read Namaste to a room filled with kids, what message would you want to leave them with?
I would want to leave kids with the message that making friends is not that hard. It only takes an ounce of kindness to bond with those who are like us and those who are different from us.