Today, we’ve got a Q&A with author Chandra Prasad about her new book, Damselfly –– plus keep reading for your chance to win a copy of the book!
DAMSELFLY was inspired by my 8th grade English teacher, who made the assertion that William Golding had created the “perfect microcosm” when he wrote the classic novel Lord of the Flies. I never agreed with my teacher’s opinion. What kind of “perfect microcosm” has no girls in it? DAMSELFLY is my modern-day answer to what a do-or-die, adult-less survival story would be if it included girls, and people from different races, cultures, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Did anything surprise you while writing DAMSELFLY?
I wrote several drafts of DAMSELFLY, and cut many pages as I went along. I was surprised by how lean the final book turned out to be. There is no fluff or padding, just meat and muscle.
Was your approach to writing DAMSELFLY, your first YA book, any different from your other writing?
I found this book harder to write than some of my other novels. It is a short, fast-paced read, but symbols and themes are packed into every page. This is a book just begging to be explored and analyzed by teen readers.
Go-to writing snack (or beverage).
Seltzer water and Pirate Booty.
Please pick an Avenger.
The Avengers aren’t my thing. Can I go with Okoye from Black Panther instead?
Favorite Disney movie?
The Parent Trap (original version with Hayley Mills). I also like The Watcher in the Woods, which is scary. Most people haven’t heard of it.
Favorite childhood toy?
My first stuffed animal—a puppy named “Puppy.” Not very original, buy very cherished.
Book you’d like to read “for the first time” again?
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L. M. Montgomery, PERFUME by Patrick Suskind, ONE FOOT IN EDEN by Ron Rash, FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER by E.L. Konigsburg.
Having just survived a plane crash, Samantha Mishra finds herself isolated and injured in the thick of the jungle. She has no idea where she is or where anybody else is — she doesn’t even know if anybody else is alive. Once Sam connects with her best friend, Mel, and they locate the others, they set up camp and hope for rescue. But as the days pass, the survivors, all teammates on the Drake Rosemont fencing team, realize that they’re on their own — with the exception of a mysterious presence who taunts and threatens them. When their initial attempts to escape the island fail, the teens find they need to survive more than the jungle . . . they need to survive each other.
This taut novel, with a setting evocative of Lord of the Flies, is by turns cinematic and intimate, and always thought-provoking.
Chandra Prasad is the originator and editor of Mixed, an anthology of short stories on the multiracial experience. She is also the author of several critically acclaimed novels for adults, including On Borrowed Wings. Damselfly is her YA debut. A graduate of Yale, Chandra lives and works in Connecticut. To find out more, visit her online at chandraprasad.com.
Thanks to Scholastic, one winner will receive a copy of Damselfly. To enter, tell us in the comments below what three things you’d want to have with you to survive a deserted island. Then fill out the Rafflecopter form to complete your entry.
U.S. only. Contest ends at midnight (PT) on Wednesday, July 4th.