In this week's Undiscovered Voices writer interview, we're delighted to introduce Serena Patel.

Tell us what you write

Fiction for younger readers (7+) and Picture Books.

Why did you enter Undiscovered Voices?

It seemed like a great opportunity to put my work out there, I didn't really believe anything would come of it!

Tell us about the book you submitted

The new title of my book is Anisha Mistry, Bridesmaid Detective.

Anisha Mistry is having a bad day. All she wants is some peace and quiet to read her book about the universe; but the universe has other ideas. Tomorrow is her Aunty Bindi’s Big Fat Indian Wedding and Aunty is currently on the verge of a mega meltdown. Very, VERY loudly!

Just when Anisha (Anni to her family and Neesh to her friends) thinks things can’t get any worse, a ransom note is pushed through the letterbox. Uncle Tony – Bindi’s husband-to-behas been kidnapped and he will only be released IF THE WEDDING OF THE YEAR IS CALLED OFF!

This fact, Anisha knows for certain in her calm and scientific brain, will cause Aunty Bindi to explode. She must never find out. In fact the rest of Neesh's family are useless in a crisis too, so she must sort this out herself, with the help of her best friend Milo, a comically bad "animal whisperer".

Solving a mystery of this magnitude is not easy, especially when all the suspects are your family! Neesh must keep all her wits about her while pretending everything is fine. But with each hour that passes, her house is filling with guests and the wedding day is getting closer and closer.

Will Neesh find Uncle Tony in time to save the Big, Fat Indian Wedding, or is Aunty Bindi going to explode after all?

How did you feel about winning Undiscovered Voices?

Totally surprised and overwhelmed. It was completely unexpected but I feel so grateful to everyone on the committee and judging panel.

In what ways was the feedback from Undiscovered Voices useful?

It gave me validation that my story was on the right path. It also gave me a platform which brought so much attention to my manuscript, something I hadn't anticipated at all.

Have you had any success with your book as a result of Undiscovered Voices?

Yes, very excitingly I have signed a three-book deal with Usborne Publishers. The first book will be out in July 2019!

Tell us about about yourself

I'm a part-time law firm training co-ordinator, part-time mum, and part-time fixer and finder of all things in the house. When I'm not doing any of that, I enjoy writing stories whilst eating Maltesers (other types of chocolate also work). One day I would like that to be my full-time job (especially the eating Maltesers bit). I was shortlisted for the Asian Writer Short Story Prize in 2017 and a finalist in the Undiscovered Voices Anthology in 2018. I am also a member of the Golden Egg Academy and SCWBI.

You can download the Undiscovered Voices 2018 anthology here to read an extract from Serena's book.

Undiscovered Voices is an anthology published every other year by the British SCBWI and aims to help fresh, new voices in children’s literature – both writers and illustrators – find agents, publishers and ultimately readers. Undiscovered Voices has launched the careers of writers and illustrators, who have gone on to publish more than 200 books. These authors have been nominated for, and won, an amazing array of literary prizes: including the Carnegie Medal, Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Branford Boase Award, Blue Peter Award, the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and nearly 30 regional awards. Visit www.undiscoveredvoices.com for all the details and news when submissions will open for the next anthology.

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