Swati Teerdhala: The Tiger at Midnight
April is here! Wahoo! There are so many wonderful books this month! Are your eyeballs ready?
The Tiger at Midnight
by Swati Teerdhala
Esha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.
Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.
Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross—and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces. As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.
Drawing inspiration from ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology, the first book in Swati Teerdhala’s debut fantasy trilogy captivates with electric romance, stunning action, and the fierce bonds that hold people together—and that drive them apart.
April 23rd, 2019
Introduce yourself and your debut novel!
Hey there! I’m Swati Teerdhala and I’m the author of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT, a YA fantasy that follows the story of Kunal, a dutiful soldier, and Esha, a legendary rebel spy named the Viper. When their paths cross one night and Esha is accused of the murder of Kunal’s General, a dangerous cat and mouse game starts between them, one which throws everything they’ve known into question.
What’s the most surprising part about your debut journey so far?
How kind and supportive everyone has been! It shouldn’t be a surprise, but it’s always nice to see how willing the community is to rally around a new author.
Give a shout-out to a fellow debut!
Everyone should add Elizabeth Lim’s SPIN THE DAWN to their list of must-reads for 2019! It’s a lush, beautifully written fantasy pitched as PROJECT RUNWAY meets MULAN.
Who is your favorite character?
That’s a tough one! I love Esha and Kunal equally since they’re my main characters, but I have to say I have a little soft spot for Alok. ^.^ Keep an eye out for him!
How long did it take you to write this book?
I started the first draft of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT in 2016 and sold it about a year and a half later, though this was after at least five revisions! So, I’d say altogether a year and a half, but my first draft took about three months.
What's a cool thing about your book that isn't in the blurb?
The world of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT is full with magic–glowing jungles, ruby red cliffs, and supernatural mist–but it’s now dying and part of the main characters’ goals is to find a way to save their magic-filled land.
What inspired you to write this book?
I first got the idea for The Tiger at Midnight when I was traveling and visiting an old Fort. It was the first spark of an idea of what would become The Tiger at Midnight and the first time I heard the voice of Kunal, one of the two main characters. I looked out from one of the old window openings and wondered what would be the most odd or startling thing a soldier of old might have seen. A girl. That’s the beginning of THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT. :)
Describe your main character in 3 words.
I have two main characters, Esha and Kunal!
Esha: Passionate. Loyal. Spy.
Kunal: Honorable. Kind. Soldier.
What was the hardest scene to write?
Ah, there’s one scene at the end that I definitely teared up a bit while writing, but I can’t reveal too much with spoilers! Basically, it’s a huge turning point in a relationship within the story and it was pretty difficult to write, but ultimately so rewarding.
What advice would you give to a new writer?
Writing is rewriting! Learning how to revise is one of the biggest skills I’ve developed over the past few years and has been the one that’s served me the best before getting an agent and after getting a book deal. It can be painful (trust me, I know this) but don’t be afraid! There are so many great craft books and threads on revisions from award-winning authors to help you on your way.
Describe your writing space.
I start my writing mornings at my desk, where I’ve finally gotten closer to the ideal computer setup with an external keyboard (my wrists are so happy), a laptop stand, a large lined notepad, over the ear headphones, and multiple cups of tea. I also have a bookshelf nearby with my favorite reads and craft books I can grab when I’m stuck or need some motivation.
What book or author has most influenced your own writing?
Hands down, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. It was one of the first YA books I read where I saw myself represented as a South Asian and felt that I could tell stories, fantasy stories, about people who looked like me. Sabaa Tahir is also an incredible writer and has kept me on my toes for three books!
Share your novel aesthetic with us!
How can you look at that aesthetic and NOT want to run out and buy this book on 4/23/19??