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Hanover Resident Publishes First Young Adult Novel

Nov 12, 2022 02:04PM ● By Steve Sears

In My Hands (credit Emily's World of Design)

Hanover resident, Sathya Achia, knows the thrill of sitting down and writing a fictional work, the characters created seemingly taking off on their own journey and, in a sense, now controlling your keyboard.

On Monday, October 8, 2022 she experienced the thrill of something else: seeing those same characters between the covers of her first published young adult contemporary, fantasy/adventure novel titled In My Hands.

“I wish I had,” Achia says with a laugh when asked if she took a vacation day from work on that specific Monday, when her book was officially released. “The funny thing is, I think it was the stir, the buzz leading up to that day. And in fact, the night before, I stayed up until literally 12:01 a.m. and I said to myself, ‘If I just stay awake a little longer, I’ll be a published author.’ That's kind of the headspace I was in.” Even though she did head to her job that Monday morning, she received congratulations from many via phone call, text, and in person. “But my head was obviously in the clouds and in the book and just reveling in all of it.”

Sathya Achia (credit Bhavin Misra)

 Achia grew up in Canada, but her grandparents still live in India. In My Hands is inspired by her grandparents, culture, and heritage. “It's pretty much a love letter to all of those things, because I wanted to preserve these amazing adventures,” she says. “Obviously, this book is fantasy, but I wanted to basically capture all of that. As a kid, when I was reading books, I really missed seeing the kids who were like me; I would describe that of basically someone of two worlds and two cultures. And I see my story as kind of ‘My main character is a South Asian protagonist, so she’s like me, like we've got these East Meets West roots.” In My Hands tells the story of 16-year-old Chandra S. Chengappa, who after her mom dies mysteriously, leaves her tiny town in Virginia and heads for jungles in India to find…it’s in the book. “I was a kid who celebrated these wonderful traditions and festivals of my parents’ homeland, but at the same time, I was a kid growing up in the west and I wanted to do all the things that everybody else was doing, I wanted to belong to both those worlds, but I didn't really have anything to model it after, and I didn't see it in obviously the media I consumed and I didn't see it in the books I was constantly reading. I wanted to change all of that. I wanted to show South Asian kids in a way that they haven't really been seen before: being their own heroes. I wanted to bust stereotypes. I wanted them to no longer be the sidekicks in someone else's story.”

For Achia, there were many emotions she felt during the writing of her novel. “Chandra goes through such a roller coaster of events,” Achia says. “And yeah, I did cry. Unfortunately, there were characters I had to say goodbye to. And just Chandra’s growth, because it's a slow growth, but she gets there, and I was proud of her in the end. Definitely there were tears, and there were moments that were lighter moments. There's romance there, the adventure of it, and it is very kind of heart pounding. And there's fear and there's anger there, too. She digs deep, finds out a lot about some family secrets she had no idea about. She's full of emotion, I'm full of emotion. We’re going through a lot of stuff together.”

Thus far, reviews of In My Hands have been favorable, and Achia, who has achieved her childhood dream of being a published author, now wants to give back. “I’m available to do school and library visits and do writing workshops with students in our area,” she says. “Sharing my love with young writers is a passion of mine.” Achia, 47, counts her family as her biggest supporters. Her husband of 19 years is Vikram, her sons Eashan and Naveen, and the family pup – and Sathya’s writing companion – is Luna.

Published by Ravens & Roses Publishing, In My Hands can be purchased at,, and Barnes & Noble Booksellers. For more information about Achia, visit her website at