Posted on 02 November 2015.
Our intrepid TA Margaret Z. ’17 interviews Nayanika K., Castilleja senior and the author of Skye’s the Limit and The Accidentals.
Favorite Novel: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Favorite Song: Ocean by Andreas Moe
A prominent theme in both of your books is the importance of friendship. What role does friendship play in your own life?
Friends are a crucial part of my everyday life. They are cool as heck, and they always make me laugh or smile. I think it’s important, especially during the high school years, to have a good support system inside and outside of school. You really need people who you can count on during this time of life.
What I value most in my friendships is loyalty. You can never really build deep connections with someone unless you know they’re going to be there for you through everything and make you a priority in their lives. It’s hard to open up to someone if you know you’re just a backup.
Your books also focus on social status and popularity in school. What role did popularity play in your life when you were in middle school?
Popularity actually did not play a large role in my middle school life. I went to Castilleja for middle school, and at Castilleja, there aren’t as many distinct social levels as there would be at, for example, a public, co-ed school. I had friend groups throughout my time at Castilleja, but there was a lot of mixing of the friend groups, which is a totally different experience from what I portrayed in my books. Most of my knowledge about popularity and social status from what I’ve seen in pop culture and what my friends outside of school have told me.
Why did you write based on pop culture?
At the time, I wanted to write about stuff that a greater majority of the population would find more relatable. The Castilleja experience is not exactly relatable: what I experience in high school on a day-to-day basis is not what most people experience. I wanted my books to be accessible to a larger audience, and I made them more relatable by balancing my own experiences with what the majority of teenagers experience, in terms of high school at least.
Do you feel like you’ve missed out?
I feel like I haven’t experienced the “conventional” high school or middle school experience. But if I had the choice now to have gone to a different high school instead, I would not.
Do you have a favorite book? Why do you like it, and how does it inspire you?
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini, makes me feel intellectually stimulated. It’s such a real, raw story about a world that we don’t always get to see, and that is fraught with stereotypes in our society. I appreciated getting to see it from a different perspective. It’s also an immigrant story with a whole new twist.
Why do you write?
So that nice people like Margaret can interview me. Just kidding!
So I can be rich and famous. Just kidding! That makes me sound like a terrible person.
I write so I can connect with and understand people better. There are so many different perspectives and experiences in this world, and writing often allows me to better empathize with people through thinking about how their values have shaped them, or what feelings they may have been feeling in a certain situation.
What inspires you?
Cool people inspire me. By cool people, I mean people who want to make a change in the world, and who actually follow through with what they want. People who, despite obstacles, beat the odds and still end up helping people and doing good in the world.
Any advice for young writers who want to publish?
Just write. Get everything out, and don’t be upset if it’s not exactly what you want. As you grow as a person, your writing is going to grow, and your ideas are going to change. You’ll go back and find something in your writing that resonates with you on a deeper level.
In terms of the publication process, there are so many resources online. There are so many different options to explore for your specific needs and wants, and you’ll definitely find one that you’re happy with.
Nayanika’s books are available through Amazon >HERE< and at the Castilleja Library!