Meet Rajdeep Paulus, author of Swimming Through Clouds, Seeing Through Stones, and the conclusion to the series, Soaring Through Stars.
Award-winning author of Swimming Through Clouds, Rajdeep decided to be a writer during her junior year in high school after her English teacher gave her an “F” but told her she had potential. She studied English Literature at Northwestern University, and she writes masala-marinated, Young Adult Fiction.
Publicity intern Naomi Downing recently interviewed Rajdeep Paulus on her inspiration for Swimming Through Clouds and the issues that most resonate with her readers.
Where did you get your ideas for writing Swimming Through Clouds?
The seed for Swimming Through Clouds showed up after I wrote my first book. It was about a guy named Lagan who needed to find this missing girl named… you guessed it, Talia. Someone asked me why? Was Talia in some sort of trouble? That’s when I sat down at my laptop and wrote the first two chapters of Swimming. And when I reread what I wrote, I cried like a baby.
Was it hard to write a book on such a serious topic?
I’ve always wanted to write about difficult things, because life is full of them. I hope that through stories about those that extreme atrocities, teens might grow in compassion and offer hope to a hurting world, even if it’s by befriending one person or offering someone a simple act of kindness.
What do you do when you suffer from writer’s block?
Three things: 1. Reach out to my reading crit-group for ideas and brainstorming, 2. Reread scenes that I’m excited about to get back into voice or character, and 3. Refresh my cup of coffee.
Can you think of any books that are similar to Swimming Through Clouds?
Sold deals with human trafficking and You Don’t Know Me is about child abuse, but not sure if there are any other Post-it teen love stories out there.
If you could only choose one, what is the lesson would want to resonate with your readers?
To love the silent ones around you with simple act of kindness, because you never know what someone’s going through until you know.
Is there something that resonated with you while you wrote Swimming Through Clouds?
I know this might sound crazy, but many people have asked me where I got this story from and how I came up with such an evil father when my own dad could be Father of the Year, every year. One day, months after I had written the story, it occurred to me that a little part of me existed in each of the characters, because sometimes I’m so hard on myself (Gerard), and sometimes I want to hide from the world (Talia), and sometimes I’m a social butterfly and want to meet and talk to everyone (Lagan).
What is your goal as a writer?
I like to brand my books as Social Justice-Driven Young Adult Fiction, and I want to broaden the minds and perspective of teens with stories of the world around them, how they can be agents of change even at a young age, and remind them that hope is alive and well.