First Language(s): Marathi
Second Language(s): English, French, Hindi, Chinese
Saumya Sawant is a young Indian-American writer from New York interested in writing, history, foreign language/linguistics, and science. She has been published in the Youth Author’s Anthology 2021 as well as the 2020 and 2022 KSSC Anthology. In her spare time, she enjoys maladaptive daydreaming, drinking boba, and cuddling with her plushies.
What was your favorite book as a child?
My favorite book as a child was originally the Harry Potter series due to its originality and incredibly deep world-building. However, that changed when I became eleven and discovered the Alex Rider books. I fell in love with the headstrong, sarcastic protagonist, Alex, and the James Bond-esque adventures he had. They provided a great escape from my own life at the time, which was filled with a lot of turmoil and unhappiness. In a way, the books, and Alex, in particular, became a friend to me that I could confide in. I even started addressing my journal to him as a way to vent and feel less lonely. The books also taught me many valuable life lessons; for example, the world is never black and white, only gray and shades in between. To this day, I fondly reminisce over the books and what they mean to me. They will always be an integral part of my life even as I get older and further away from the “intended target audience” of the stories.
What was the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?
As a young kid, I’d always enjoyed making up stories and play-acting with my brother.
The earliest known story that I wrote was an illustrated book of nursery rhymes. However, I nearly gave up on my writing dream altogether when I got a bad score (of all things) on the NY Standardized English Test. Ready to give up and declare myself solely as a “STEM person” like the rest of my family, it was thanks to my fourth-grade teacher, who read a fictional story that I wrote in her class about having to fight off hungry bears in the wilderness, that I began to seriously pursue my creative writing dream. She was the one who first said to me, “Saumya, you could be an author when you grow up.” The rest is history. As for motivation, I’m a bit of an escapist, and getting to put the worlds, characters, and stories I see in my head down on paper for others to experience is incredibly rewarding, and also, I hope, a way for them to understand why I am the way that I am. Additionally, it allows future-me a chance to re-experience the world through past-me’s eyes.
What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?
The most thrilling thing I’ve done is go white-water rafting with my dad and brother despite not knowing how to swim in rough water. After nearly drowning and getting rescued by a group of Boy Scouts, I realized that I should probably stay away from any violent bodies of water for the foreseeable future (or at least, until I learned how to swim properly). As for adventurous, it would probably be living away from my mom and brother for two and a half years while in middle school. I gained a lot of independence during this time period, though I did miss them tremendously.
Do you listen to music while reading or writing?
I do listen to music while writing, but not while reading because it takes away from the reading experience, in my opinion. However, I admit it can be a bit distracting while writing, but only if the music I’m listening to doesn’t match the mood of the piece. Additionally, having to repeatedly change songs also can take me out of the mood. Ideally, I try to make playlists for each piece that I work on, or if that doesn’t work, I at least try to have a song I listen to on repeat until I can finish the piece. I also like to listen to music when maladaptive daydreaming about my pieces because it inspires new scene ideas/dialogue for me to include in my works.
Dead Girl Summer
Issue Fall '23