Get to Know a YA Author: London Shah

Welcome to our newest feature on B&N Teen Blog, Get to Know a YA Author, in which we pose the same questions to different YA authors so readers can get to learn a little more about them, what they write, what they read, and what they love! Today’s interview stars debut London Shah, whose The Light at the Bottom of the World is a can’t-miss fantasy. So come get to know London, the book, and more!

Describe your new release in 5 words.

Thrilling. Fun. Intrigue. Shocks. Water!

This is a YA book blog, so tell us 3 YAs you recommend!

Argh, it’s absolute torture to only pick three, but off the top of my head I recommend:

The Bellesby Dhonielle Clayton, because it’s original and imaginative and scrumptious and oh, so deliciously deviant! I love, love, love it. It has one of my all-time favorite contrasts—the seemingly delicate and innocent, paired with the, What. The. Actual. F*ck?! Clayton executes this jarring but glorious match to perfection. What an exquisite and stunningly imagined world and unforgettable cast of characters!

All-American Muslim Girl, by Nadine Courtney, because it’s incredibly important people read Allie Abraham’s story. Allie, a non-practising Muslim girl, explores her identity and realises her growing desire to practice her faith. It’s fascinating for so many reasons. I’d never even heard of Circassian Muslims before. It’s also a great reminder of how every group of people is made up of thinking, feeling individual human beings. The story has been executed so skilfully, considerately, and honestly, with the authenticity only an author who shares the identity of the main character could ever weave. In fact, this story tackles so many anti-Muslim biases and stereotypes it should be required reading in schools. It’s a truly poignant tale of self-discovery and finding your place in the world—and exactly what we need right now.

The Girl from Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig. I fell in love with the premise when I read it and oh gosh, did the author ever do it justice. Time travel! History! Pirates! And so much in between. Beautifully vivid descriptions bring everything to life. Heilig’s writing is so very skillful, detailed, and considerate. I absolutely loved the story and adored all the characters. Nix is such a nuanced, interesting, and inspiring main character. It’s just a page-turning wonder of a tale. There’s also Kashmir—that’s all I’m saying. Go check it out if you haven’t already! The good news is the duology is complete and unlike myself, you won’t have to wait to be reunited with this very brilliant band of sailors.

What do you do when you’re not reading or writing?

I’ll happily spend forever curled up in front of a good film.

What’s your dream book tour city/stop?

Anywhere in Japan or Korea

If you got to retell any story as a YA novel, what would it be and why?

Oh gosh! Off the top of my head, maybe one of Enid Blyton’s fun creations. Something like The Faraway Tree series. It’d be really satisfying to try and transfer those absolutely bonkers concepts and characters to the young adult readership!

What’s your favorite way to reward yourself for publishing a book?

I’ve no idea, yet, but it’ll probably be something extremely boring like a beloved meal. I think all my immediate celebrations ever, have always revolved around food.

What are you working on now?

I’m just wrapping up the second half of The Light at the Bottom of the World, as it’s a duology, while also carrying out some promotional duties in preparation for my debut’s release.

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