Guest Post: Uma Krishnaswami

I am very honored to have Uma Krishnaswami on sharpread today. Her new book The Problem With Being Slightly Heroic has wonderfully written characters, and today Uma will share a little bit about my favorite character: Chickoo Uncle (Chickoo Dev, Dolly’s fiance)

Take it away Ms. Krishnaswami:)

ProblemWithBeingSlightly_LoResCover (2)

In The Grand Plan to Fix Everything, the character of Chickoo Dev owns a yellow electric car. He also owns tea gardens in the fictional town of Swapnagiri, whose name means “Dream Mountain.” Chickoo (his real name is Chetan but no one ever calls him that) is in love with movie star Dolly Singh, whose unpredictable actions propel the story along. Chickoo’s life is of course thrown into turmoil by Dolly, as is everyone else’s. He’s uncle to Dini’s newly found friend, so in the end he becomes “Chickoo Uncle” to all the kids in both books.

For me this is a world in which young Dini and her friends have to fix grown-up problems, thereby turning the order of things in the real world upon its head. In this process, Chickoo is both a stakes character and an ally. His electric car is an essential part of the mystery in the first book.

When I began writing the sequel, The Problem With Being Slightly Heroic, I knew that Chickoo would accompany Dolly on her American travels. I did not know all the stresses he’d have to handle. When I got to a critical scene in the book, where someone needed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, it felt quite natural to me that Chickoo would be that someone. He’s a good guy. He’s easily alarmed. He’s a bit absent-minded. He’s well-intentioned. Everyone loves him and next to Dolly, most people don’t even notice him. He’s a perfect fall guy.

In this book, almost all the major characters and several of the minor ones get a chance to try on their own brand of near-heroism. Not big heroic deeds, but small actions. The things that mere humans might be called upon to do in daily life, especially in the company of a mega-star who is pretty oblivious to everyone else’s needs. Chickoo certainly steps up in this regard. He also provides the element of romantic love. This is not only a part of the Bollywood trope, but it’s also something that intrigues my pre-teen characters, while feeling as out of reach to them as stardom might be.

Did I set out to do all this when I wrote those scenes? Of course not. But I did realize quickly how much fun I could have writing this character whose quiet personality is also entirely dependable and may even hide a streak of daring.

Uma Krishnaswami photo_low res

Uma Krishnaswami is the author of several books for children, including the first story featuring Dini, Maddie, and Dolly, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything. She is also on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Ms. Krishnaswami was born in New Delhi, India, and now lives in Aztec, New Mexico. To learn more, visit her website:http://www.umakrishnaswami.com/.

Mon, Aug 19
GreenBeanTeenQueen
Dini
Tues, Aug 20
There’s a Book
Maddie
Wed, Aug 21
Once Upon a Story
Soli Dustup
Thurs, Aug 22
The Compulsive Reader
Dini’s father
Fri, Aug 23
Sharpread
Chickoo Uncle
Sat, Aug 24
Booking Mama
review
Mon, Aug 26
Read Now, Sleep later
Mini
Tues, Aug 27
I Read Banned Books
Dolly
Wed, Aug 28
Through the Wardrobe
Chef Armend Latifi
Thurs, Aug 29
The Book Monsters
Ollie
Fri, Aug 30
The Brain Lair
Alana

 

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