Rajani LaRocca and I discuss the importance of finding a community of writers and how that led her to publication, as well as her newest novel, MUCH ADO ABOUT BASEBALL. We talk about the “slight fairytale” that led her to finding her literary agent, her time as a pitch wars mentor, plantsing, coordinating publicity and school visits (even during a pandemic), her Stem Women in KidLit podcast, the value of an author’s time, how doctoring makes her a better writer, and so much more.
Rajani LaRocca was born in India, raised in Kentucky, and now lives in the Boston area with her wonderful family and impossibly cute dog. A graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Medical School, she spends her time writing novels and picture books, practicing medicine, and baking too many sweet treats. She is also the cohost of the STEM Women in KidLit Podcast. Her middle grade debut, Midsummer’s Mayhem (Yellow Jacket/Little Bee Books), an Indian-American mashup of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and competitive baking, was an Indies Introduce selection, an Indie Next pick, a Kirkus Best Middle Grade Book of 2019, and a 2020 Massachusetts Book Award Honor title. Her middle grade novel-in-verse, Red, White, and Whole (Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins, 2/201), has received multiple starred reviews and is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection and a Spring 2021 Indie Next Top Ten Title. Her third middle grade novel, Much Ado About Baseball (Yellow Jacket/Little Bee Books) will publish in June 2021 and is Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. Her debut picture book, Seven Golden Rings: A Tale of Music and Math (Lee & Low, 2020) is set in ancient India and introduces the basics of binary numbers. It received multiple starred reviews and is the winner of the 2021 Mathical Book Prize for grades 3-5. She is also the author of the forthcoming picture books Bracelets For Brothers (Charlesbridge, April 2021), Where Three Oceans Meet (Abrams, 2021), The Secret Code Inside You (Little Bee Books, September 2021), I’ll Go and Come Back (Candlewick, 2022), Masala Chai, Fast and Slow (Candlewick, 2023), and more. Learn more about her at www.RajaniLaRocca.com and on Twitter and Instagram @rajanilarocca.