Author Interview with Sangu Mandanna

POSTED ON September 27, 2018 BY Austine IN Blog Tour, Giveaway, Interview

Author Interview with Sangu Mandanna

Happy Thursday, Knights! Are you ready to hear all about A Spark of White Fire and the author behind the words? Yes? Perfect, because today Sangu Mandanna is stopping by the blog for an exclusive interview!

Keep on scrolling for more about A Spark of White Fire and don’t forget to enter the giveaway (open INTL) to win a copy for yourself!

About Sangu Mandanna

Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. The Lost Girl, a YA sci fi novel about death and love, is available now. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids.

All About Sangu

You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired A Spark of White FIre?

The story was inspired by the Mahabharata, which is one of the ancient epics of Indian mythology. I’ve wanted to write a story inspired by my own history and culture for a long time, but didn’t have the right way to approach it. Then my toddler became obsessed with space and planets, which forced me to become obsessed with space and planets, and I suddenly thought “what about Indian mythology IN SPACE!” And then the ideas just tumbled out from there.

Introduce us to your main character!

Esmae has grown up far from her home, an apparent orphan who works in a kitchen and takes lessons in the royal schoolroom for reasons no one can understand. She’s clever, brave, and terribly lonely carrying all her secrets by herself. Then she reveals herself as the princess of a kingdom in the middle of a civil war, wins the world’s most dangerous spaceship in a competition, and goes back to her home to infiltrate her usurper uncle’s regime and help her exiled brother win back his crown. And then it gets a little more complicated…

Walk us through a day in the life of Sangu Mandana.

I sleep in the mornings (when I’m allowed to!) and then spend a couple of hours with my kids if it’s not a school day or just with my toddler if it is. Then I usually disappear upstairs to work for a few hours, which can involve anything from answering emails to brainstorming to editing a draft to writing a draft to sketching to freelance work. I come back down when the kids get home from school to hang out with them for a while, then go upstairs in the early evening to sleep for an hour or so. After that, I eat dinner with my husband and we watch a movie or TV or play video games together for a couple of hours. Then he goes to bed before midnight and I normally stay up until four or five in the morning to get some more work done. And then I go to sleep and start again! (I do sometimes do other things, like going out to dinner with friends or taking my kids on playdates, but otherwise this is pretty much my day!)

Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?

Write the book you want to read. Yes, audience and market matters once your book is in agent and editor hands, but until then, your audience is you. Write for yourself. It’s hard being an author and there’s a lot of rejection, a lot of disappointment, and a lot of uphill battles. The thing that makes it worth it, though, is knowing you’re writing for yourself above all else and that you love your story.

I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?

I’m so glad you understand the trauma of trying to choose just one! My current favourite is Holly Black’s The Cruel Prince.

Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?

It’s inspired by Indian mythology, it’s a space opera with trickster gods and interfering goddesses, and it features a totally awesome heroine and a snarky sentient spaceship!


Fun Stuff!

Describe yourself in 3 words.

Persistent, obsessive, loves hugs (I know that last one is cheating, but what can I say? I do love hugs! I’m like Olaf in Frozen.)

What is your most embarrassing memory?

When I was several months pregnant with my first child, I had morning sickness pretty badly. And one time, on my way to an ultrasound, I threw up. Literally just there, on the sidewalk, no warning. It was. Um. Not fun.

What is your Hogwarts house?


Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?

Kyra, easily.

A famous movie producer wants to make your books into movies and they want you to cast your characters. Which actors/actresses make the cut?

Hmm maybe Naomi Scott as Esmae? If I could make Chris Evans fifteen years younger, I’d totally cast him as Max. And if I could make Chadwick Boseman about twenty years older, he’d be the perfect Rickard. So basically I’d need a magic wand to do the job!

You just won America’s Got Talent. What’s your talent?

Musical theatre. I love it, so it’s what I’d do on a show like AGT. And in this fantasy world I’m good enough to win!

Radioactive space rock fell from the sky and turned you into a superhero/villain. Tell us your new name, describe your powers, and what does your costume look like?

Moon Elf, I can fly, and my costume is a black and silver costume that looks like Link’s elf outfit in Zelda.

This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?

Ancient Greece. Maybe. Or Italy during the Renaissance. Gah. One of those two!

Coffee or tea?

Iced coffee or hot peppermint tea with a ton of sugar.

Best ice cream flavor ever?

Baskin Robbins’ mint chocolate chip.

Your theme song/personal anthem?

‘This is Me’ by Keala Settle.

Favorite quote?

I have a ton of them, but one of them is “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten” from Coraline by Neil Gaiman.

What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?

You deserve love, respect and magic, no matter what anyone else says!


About the Book

Author Interview with Sangu Mandanna
A Spark of White Fire
by Sangu Mandanna
Series: The Celestial Trilogy #1
Published on September 11, 2018 by Sky Pony Press
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 400
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.

Buy It!
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Tour Schedule

September 25

September 26

September 27

September 28

September 29

September 30

October 1


One lucky winner will receive a copy of A SPARK OF WHITE FIRE!

Open internationally. Ends October 8, 2018.

This giveaway is sponsored by a third party. NovelKnight is not responsible for winner selection or provision/shipping of prizes.

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4 responses to “Author Interview with Sangu Mandanna

  1. This book sounds incredible, I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it before. I love reading things based on different histories and mythologies than the ones I’m used to.