4:30 pm EDT, April 22, 2016

10 images that inspired ‘The Star-Touched Queen’

The Star-Touched Queen is one of the most read books of the spring. Author Roshani Chokshi gives Hypable a look at her inspiration for this beautifully written story.

About ‘The Star-Touched Queen’

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only 17?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most… including herself.

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.

Author Roshani Chokshi shares her inspiration


I’m a fan of anything remotely creepy, so this image of a girl riding a skeletal horse immediately struck me as AWESOME, and helped shape Maya and Kamala’s relationship. I wanted to know where she was riding to or away from, and I wanted to know why the horse needed to be skeletal.


The Hades and Persephone myth heavily inspired The Star-Touched Queen, and I wanted to play with the idea of what that forbidden fruit would be and where it appeared. This luscious, sinister apple helped me envision the orchards in the Night Bazaar.


I loved the idea of a queen wearing stars like an incandescent gown. Even the shades of the cloth in this image — plum and pink, rose gold and charcoal — inspired me because it reflected the transition of evening to night.


I started writing The Star-Touched Queen around Christmas, and I loved how at a distance Christmas trees could look positively Otherworldly. I started thinking about whether those lights were something more…


I’d never heard of skeleton flowers, but AREN’T THEY GORGEOUS?! They looked like they were made of glass! Hence, the glass garden in The Star-Touched Queen :)


Again, The Star-Touched Queen has a lot of Hades and Persephone overtones. What I loved about this image was how the seeds looked like edible jewels. And then I thought… why can’t jewels be edible?

black and white

Lakshmi Menon is exquisitely beautiful, and refreshingly different from the usual ultra-fair beauty standards of South Asia. My main character, Maya, is also dark skinned.


I adore elephants because duh. And one of my favorite elephant characters in Indian mythology is Airavata — a white elephant who spins clouds.



I have a soft spot for sinister palaces and the Mohabbat Maqbara in Junagadh is no exception. This was the main inspiration for Amar and Maya’s palace in Akaran.


Last, I think there’s always something mysterious about a beautiful door. You never really know what’s behind it. One of my favorite fairytales (Bluebeard) made great use of creepy doors, and I liked that Maya herself possessed inner doors where she could surprise herself when she looked inside.

‘The Star-Touched Queen’ releases on April 24

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