The tradition of storytelling is an ancient one, and one that spans the entire earth. I grew up reading, watching, and listening to epic tales that were grounded in the lush stories of my Indian heritage–everything from ancient Indian epics, like the Mahabharata, to classic children’s folktales, like the Panchatantra. In due time, as I switched to public libraries as my source of storytelling and inspiration, I fell in love with fantasy as a genre. It captured that same magic and wonder of the tales I had grown up with and offered to take me away on new adventures.
But it was years and years before I read a fantasy world that wasn’t just a standard medieval European mold. And I certainly didn’t see any characters who looked like me in the books I read as I grew up. It was a missing hole, and one that made me want to be a writer. But the good news? Things have changed.