Roopa Farooki

What books did you read when you were a child?
My favourite books were big fantasy epics, like The Lord of The Rings, or adventures with mythology, like the Iliad and The Odyssey. I loved sci-fi too, especially comic sci-fi, The HitchHikers Guide to the Galaxy was laugh-out-loud funny.

If you could be a storybook character who would you be?
I think I'm definitely Alice, from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Alice through the Looking Glass. Curiouser and curiouser!

What is the best thing about reading?
Getting lost in another world. When I first read The Fellowship of the Ring, I read it through the night, and fell asleep hearing the Black Riders galloping though the forest.

What is your all time favourite book?
Definitely The Return of the King, it's got all the appendices written in delicious detail by Tolkien and I loved finding out what happened to all the characters after the books finished.

Other than reading books what is the most important thing a parent can do to help develop their children's communication skills?
I read a chapter out loud to my kids every night, and we chat and argue about the books, complaining about some characters' decisions and defending our favourites. Making up our own stories together is fun too.

How big a part did your parents play in encouraging your writing skills?
They got me a diary when I was seven, which is what started me off! I still have that diary, I filled pages with funny stories about my family, and did a lot of complaining about my sisters.

How do you encourage your children or grandchildren to read, what books do you enjoy reading with them?
I think that if children see that you love reading, they'll love reading too. It's really important they pick a book they enjoy, rather than one you think they should read. I always read out loud a band above to what they're reading, and have read out the whole of the Harry Potter series, The Lord of The Rings and His Dark Materials. When my kids were younger, I loved reading all the Julia Donaldson books with them, for the great rhyming and stories, and the Roald Dahl books are timeless.

Roopa Farooki is a junior doctor working for the NHS in London and Kent. She has four children (twin girls and two boys).

Roopa is also the award-winning author of six literary novels for adults that have been published in over twenty countries, and has been listed for the Women's Prize for Fiction three times. She received an Arts Council Award and Author's Foundation Prize for work that increases understanding between cultures. She lectures in creative writing at the University of Oxford, is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow and is the Ambassador for the Family for the relationship charity, Relate.

Roopa's new middle grade series for Oxford University Press, The Double Detectives Medical Mysteries, featuring Ali and Tulip, #SuperSmartBraveBrownGirls as heroes, is out in January 2020 with The Cure for a Crime.

She says that doctors, detectives and writers have something in common, they all like to solve mysteries, and work out what makes people tick.

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