What is Inspired Muse!? Inspired Muse! is Reena Bhojwani's self-publishing and freelance writing company. She aims to tell stories like no other, in both content and style. Reena hopes to challenge her readers to think outside the box and get in touch with the storytellers within them.
What are the challenges of self-publishing? Actually, “coming up with the idea and writing it” is the easiest element of a self-publishing journey. Let me tell you. It is not easy to do any of it, but the experience is very fulfilling after you go through it. I wouldn’t change anything looking back, but while going through it I thought: “Oh…dear, I’m not ready for any of this! I don’t have the talent required or the expertise… I’m not a numbers person, so it’s been quite challenging to talk to printers and come up with specifics and, you know, negotiate prices. I’m also not very comfortable tooting my own horn.” These are all things that come very unnaturally to me. It’s been quite a learning process. I’ve been blessed to have a very supportive family and incredible friends and colleagues. I think self-publishing has changed me as a person. So, I appreciate it. It’s very humbling.
Does Inspired Muse! only publish children's books? No. Though, the first couple of projects lined up for Inspired Muse! are for children, it is not limited to that age-group. Reena Bhojwani has been publishing short stories (for older readers) with the Hong Kong Writers Circle for their annual anthology for many years.
What inspires Reena? Almost anything can be a source of inspiration, so Reena's eyes and ears are always open, waiting for the muses to strike. However, many of her stories have taken shape while she's asleep. Reena tends to have vivid dreams and often draws inspiration from those. Oh yes, food too.
What's Reena's next project? Reena is currently working on the second book in the Marble Mangosteen series along with another picture book that she intends to illustrate. Additionally, she has a poetry book in the pipeline, as well as a middle-grade fantasy novel. At this point, all she can say is that the last two involve one of her favourite topics: food! She's also planning to put together a short story collection.
Who are Reena's favourite authors? Reena reads a wide variety of genres and authors. For children's books, Reena likes Robert Munsch, Oliver Jeffers, Emily Gravett, Shel Silverstein, Roald Dahl, Brandon Mull, Vivian French and J.K. Rowling. She hasn't been reading too many adult books recently, but she enjoys reading Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic series. She enjoyed was The Golem and the Djinni by Helene Wecker. She was given A Long Way to a Small Lonely Planet by Becky Chambers as a gift and would highly recommend the second book in that series - A Closed and Common Orbit. It has joined her list of favourites!
What are some common themes in Reena's writing? Without realising it at first, Reena's writing often featured food and the weather. While the weather doesn't appear as much in her children's stories, the theme of food is quite prominent in both her short stories for adults and in Surprising Mrs Rhubarbson!
What was the first piece of writing Reena published? In Year 9, Reena had to write a story based on a childhood memory. She chose to write about the time when her arm got burned because of a cup of hot tea. She called the piece "Chicken Arm" and her teacher decided to have it published in the school's literary magazine (ROAR) that year. That's when Reena knew she should try to take her writing more seriously. (Fast forward to her first year at the University of Melbourne, she submitted the SAME story - unchanged - for a writing competition and it won 3rd prize!)
How can people find out about you, your work and your books? The ebooks are available on Amazon (please see below for links). If you want to learn about me, read the Author section. For more events, please visit our Facebook pages: @inspiredmusehk and @MarbleMangosteen.