The Paths That Light Us Up

Natasha Deen
Natasha Deen Author Interview

In the Key of Nira Ghani follows a young Guyanese girl who must balance her parents’ expectations and traditions while pursuing her own dreams. What was the inspiration for the setup to this heartwarming story?

The fun thing with being a writer is that we get to bring reality into fiction. The issue of balancing parental expectations with personal dreams is one (I think) a lot of us deal with—How do we choose the paths that light us up and at the same time, honor the elders that came before us?

There was a direct connection to the story idea, too. My parents really wanted me to be a lawyer (ha! I think it was because I was always arguing with them!), but law didn’t really do much for me.

We ended up compromising on psychology, and then I threw them for a curve when I decided to forgo my Master’s and head into writing. However, I was lucky and they were supportive!

Nira is a compelling character. What were some sources that informed her character development?

A lot Nira’s character creation came from the frustrations and joys I had growing up as well as the frustrations and joys my friends/family had growing up. I also pulled her personality from folks I met during school visits and library sessions.

That’s the thing I love about writing. We can find inspiration for characters and plots in our lives and from the world around us.

I felt like this story was authentic as well as compelling. Was there anything in this story from your own life?

Certainly Nira having to explain she’s from “Guyana not Ghana” and her being one of the only Kids of Color in her school was based on things that happened to me. And…it’s entirely possible the BBQ scene actually happened with my family. (Ha!)

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m really excited for the January 2021 release of my novel, Maria and the Plague: A Black Death Survival Story. It’s available for pre-order now and I hope readers will take heart and hope from Maria’s battle to survive the plague and protect her family.

Author Links: Twitter | Website | GoodReads

A Guyanese girl must find the balance between her parents’ “old world” expectations and traditions while pursuing her dream of being a great trumpeter in this contemporary, coming-of-age story, written by an #OwnVoices author.

Nira Ghani has always dreamed of becoming a musician. Her Guyanese parents, however, have big plans for her to become a scientist or doctor. Nira’s grandmother and her best friend, Emily, are the only people who seem to truly understand her desire to establish an identity outside of the one imposed on Nira by her parents. When auditions for jazz band are announced, Nira realizes it’s now or never to convince her parents that she deserves a chance to pursue her passion.

As if fighting with her parents weren’t bad enough, Nira finds herself navigating a new friendship dynamic when her crush, Noah, and notorious mean-girl, McKenzie “Mac,” take a sudden interest in her and Emily, inserting themselves into the fold. So, too, does Nira’s much cooler (and very competitive) cousin Farah. Is she trying to wiggle her way into the new group to get closer to Noah? Is McKenzie trying to steal Emily’s attention away from her? As Farah and Noah grow closer and Emily begins to pull away, Nira’s trusted trumpet “George” remains her constant, offering her an escape from family and school drama.

But it isn’t until Nira takes a step back that she realizes she’s not the only one struggling to find her place in the world. As painful truths about her family are revealed, Nira learns to accept people for who they are and to open herself in ways she never thought possible.

A relatable and timely contemporary, coming-of age story, In the Key of Nira Ghani explores the social and cultural struggles of a teen in an immigrant household.

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.

Posted on December 14, 2020, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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