Writer Wednesday: Author Interview with Swati Teerdhala on The Tiger at Midnight (+INTL Giveaway!)

I am just a bundle of gushiness about this book, and I wish I read it sooner so I could have hyped it up more to y’all BUT OMG IT IS FANTASTIC?

I adored reading The Tiger at Midnight this past weekend, especially for the enemies-to-lovers cat-and-mouse games, the sizzling chemistry, and lush world. All the swoons for this book. (You can read my review here!)

And I’m also not ashamed to admit that the hardcover gives me heart palpitations because THE SHINY SPINE. IS AMAZING. It’s so glorious in person and I wish everyone had a chance to experience it because it’s BEAUTIFUL.

So anyways, I only have a bunch of screams about this book, so I’m handing the torch over to Swati in an interview, so she can speak far more coherently than I could about her own book!

I hope you enjoy this interview, and stay tuned for a giveaway at the end!

Photo Credit: Swati Teerdhala

Hi Swati! I’m excited to chat with you about your debut, The Tiger at Midnight today! I’m so excited for the rich, ancient India-inspired world and all the cat-and-mouse games! For those who don’t know much about The Tiger at Midnight, can you describe the book–but only using emojis?!

One of the things that makes fantasy novels so appealing to me is how they’ve got a lot of things going on and are frequently tightly plotted. As I write this, I’m a decent way through The Tiger at Midnight and so many spicy things have already happened! When writing The Tiger at Midnight, were you a plotter or a pantser, and did you ever struggle with plot holes you had to fix along the way? (If so, what were they about?)

I’m a total plotter! But I do leave a bit of room for discovery during my writing process and that’s where some of the surprises and plot twists in THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT came from. But most of the reveals I had planned before as part of the larger trilogy.

Plot holes were definitely something I dealt with, especially when it comes to the mystery that Esha has to solve. My best plot hole fix is to write out each “moment” in that plotline out on index cards and tape them together so you can see the holes, literally. It’s a lot easier to then go in and put in the right information or tweak emotional reactions/plot occurrences after seeing what’s missing.

I’m such a sucker for high tension between love interests, and the fact that The Tiger at Midnight has a cat-and-mouse game going on between Esha, the assassin, and Kunal, the soldier, means that readers get to read a bunch of banter and sparks flying. What do you think readers will enjoy the most about Esha and Kunal’s romance, and do you have a favorite piece of banter between them?

I hope readers enjoy the slow burn between the two of them and how they force each other to realize just how wrong they’ve both been–and that there’s always more than one point of view. I think a good romance is one between two people who challenge and help each other grow, which is something I tried to showcase between Kunal and Esha. They’re both great as themselves, but together? They’re even better.

As for banter, there’s a scene deep into the book where Kunal finally starts to snap back a bit at Esha (who has been pushing his buttons a lot) and I loved writing that scene! Kunal is a total nugget but he’s got a bit of edge to him too and it was so much fun showing that.

You’ve mentioned before how The Tiger at Midnight is inspired by ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology, and it’s helped build up a really lush and gorgeous world, despite the political unrest in the story. How did you choose both which elements you wanted to incorporate into the story and how tightly you wanted The Tiger at Midnight to be associated with these elements?

I always knew I wanted to write a series of books that celebrated my Indian heritage and the mythological stories I grew up with and a homage to my childhood. The actual execution of that was a mix between being entirely organic and very carefully constructed.

I pulled a lot from the stories I grew up with, like the myth of how the Ganga river was brought to the earth, and my own imagination. I also did a lot of research into ancient Indian history and the topography of India to really nail the more tangible elements of the world down. While I’m Indian-American and I have my own knowledge and experiences about India and Indian culture, there’s SO much I didn’t know! It was really important to me to get that foundation right so I could layer my imagination over it.

The war between Jansa & Dharka is a large aspect of The Tiger at Midnight and has a lot of strong impacts on not only the characters, but also the whole world. If the war hadn’t happened, what do you imagine Esha and Kunal would be doing during the time The Tiger at Midnight is set?

Ooh, so I’ll try to answer this without spoilers! Esha would probably be a student at the University in Mathur, while also spending her time performing with local dance troupes and taking up activist causes. Kunal would be an apprentice to the artisan guild, specializing in painting, though he’d try his hand at all sorts of mediums.


AHHH! Swati is amazing and I have to say, that mango in the emoji description is top notch. I wholeheartedly support that mango. (Fair warning, you might get a little hungry at times.)

And omg I could totally see Esha and Kunal doing both of those if the war wasn’t happening! Ugh, I really want them to live those lives and be happy forever gah!

If you liked this interview, make sure to let Swati know on her social channels! Plus, check out this AWESOME trailer that was made for The Tiger at Midnight?! I am a puddle of swoons (and THAT DAGGER IN IT OMG).

More About the Book


The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published April 23rd 2019 by Katherine Tegen Books

Esha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.

Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.

Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross—and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces. As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.

Inspired by ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology.

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository

More About the Author

Swati Teerdhala is a storyteller and writer.

After graduating from the University of Virginia with a B.S. in Finance and History, she tumbled into the marketing side of the technology industry. She’s passionate about many things, including how to make a proper cup of chai, the right ratio of curd-to-crust in a lemon tart, and diverse representation in the stories we tell.

She currently lives in New York City.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram


I know #DVPit is going on, and this giveaway today is a special one for any aspiring authors out there!

Swati is giving away a query critique to one lucky winner, so definitely hop on that in the Rafflecopter button below! (Or on Twitter!) Swati is an Author-Mentor Match Mentor, a #DVPit success story, and a fantastic writer, so having her eyes on your query can’t hurt!

Good luck!

For those of you who are unfamiliar, a query is a short letter (of sorts) you send literary agents when you’re pitching yourself and your book to them!

*incoherent screaming* Are you excited? How do you feel about the cover?!

9 thoughts on “Writer Wednesday: Author Interview with Swati Teerdhala on The Tiger at Midnight (+INTL Giveaway!)

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