Once Upon a Story
August 21, 2013

ProblemWithBeingSlightly_LoResCover (2)The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Abigail Halpin

Published by: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Release date: August 2013

Ages: 8-12


From the publisher:

Dini is back from India—with Bollywood star Dolly in tow! But life in the States isn’t all rose petal milk shakes…Dini and Maddie, very best friends, are back in the same country at the same time! Better still, Dolly Singh, the starriest star in all of Bollywood, is in America too. Dini’s only just returned from India, and already life is shaping up to be as delicious as a rose petal milk shake. Perfect. Then why can’t she untie the knot in her stomach? Because so much can go wrong when a big star like Dolly is in town. All Dini has to do is make sure Dolly has everything she needs, from a rose petal milk shake to her lost passport to…a parade? And an elephant?Uh-oh… It’s time to think. What Would Dolly Do? If Dini can’t figure it out, Dolly might take matters into her own hands—and that will surely lead to the biggest mess of all!

My thoughts:Soli Dustup_magazine spot (2)

You know how when you’re in that slightly awkward adolescent age, life just seems to be one big dramatic moment after another? That’s life for Dini.  She expects her time with her best friend in the U.S. to be perfect: after all, they’re playing hostess to one of Bollywood’s biggest stars.  They’re even responsible for being the opening dance at Dolly Singh’s U.S. movie premiere.

Except a passport is lost, a famous actress is on the verge of a panic attack, and an elephant is on the loose.
So let’s trade perfection for chaos.
Trying to regain control of this situation is Soli Dustup, the manager and owner of Bombay’s Starlite Studios.  Soli has his hands full, and rarely appears in public, but we’re fortunate to have him here today!

Hello, Mr. Dustup.  Thank you for joining us at Once Upon A Story while you’re here in DC. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?

Thank you dear lady and thank you to all the readers of this fine blog. Once Upon a Story. What a very fine title you have for your blog. Practically a movie title if I may say so. 

 Me? I am a fillum executive. Now I don’t know what that means in your Hollywood movie business–you Americans have your own way of doing things. But I am a Bombaywalla all the way from India, and for me being a fillum executive means that I carry the burdens of making a fine movie upon my shoulders. I tell you, it’s a big job, and sometimes my shoulders scream in protest. What did you say? Oh, what is it I do exactly? I tell you, that’s a big question! Finding a director, signing on the stars, raising money, importing equipment, supervising the shooting schedule, keeping screenwriters from throwing tantrums–I do it all!


I know that you work with the famous Dolly Singh. What is that like?  She has so many fans!

Our precious Dolly–I am her biggest fan, trust me. But can I tell you something? In confidence? Of all the jobs I have to do, all those challenging and troubling and toothache-causing jobs, the biggest job of all–I mean joy, JOY!–the biggest JOY of all is keeping our Dolly happy. She is a star, and naturally, stars can be temperamental. Such grace, such energy–terrifying. I mean amazing. And a lovely voice, lovely. But on the phone, when she gets mad–well, never mind. Just tell your public I’m overjoyed that America has embraced our Dolly so enthusiastically. 

I’ve heard that you got a private tour of our National Zoo’s Elephant House.  Do you have a particular love of elephants?

I did indeed. I have to say that the Zoo Director was a little huffy at first but then he came around when he realized that he was speaking to a professional. Elephants? I am quite fond of them, yes. There have been many fine Hindi movies with elephants in them. Although I must say that in person they make me a little nervous, you know, being wild and all. Mind you, that Mini was quite charming. Never let it be said that Soli can’t recognize a star when he sees one. 

Dolly is rumored to battle stress with rose-petal shakes.  What is your stress-buster?

I’m partial to antacids myself. I keep a bottle on my desk, in case of heartburn. People think of heartbreak when they think of the movie business, but really, it’s all about heartburn. My other stress-buster is a nap. I love my afternoon nap. It revives me like magic. I recommend it highly. Try it sometime. Be sure to turn the phone off, however, because a ringing telephone in the middle of a nap can induce instant–that is correct, dear readers and Dolly fans–heartburn. 

We hope that you enjoy your visit to Washington, DC.  What is one thing that you’d like to do or see before you go home?

I have it all planned. Dolly and Chickoo and me, we’re going to drop in at the White House. It seems the President wants to talk to us about shooting a scene there for Dolly’s next movie. Personally, I have heard good things about the South Grounds–good setting for a dance scene, I’m thinking. 

Uma Krishnaswami photo_low res

Uma Krishnaswami is the author of several books for children, including the first story featuring Dini, Maddie, and Dolly, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything. She is also on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Ms. Krishnaswami was born in New Delhi, India, and now lives in Aztec, New Mexico. To learn more, visit her website: http://www.umakrishnaswami.com/.



And thanks to Atheneum Books, I have a copy of The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic for YOU! Giveaway is open from now until September 4th (U.S residents only).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Be sure to meet the rest of the characters on the blog tour!

Mon, Aug 19
Tues, Aug 20
There’s a Book
Wed, Aug 21
Once Upon a Story
Soli Dustup
Thurs, Aug 22
The Compulsive Reader
Dini’s father
Fri, Aug 23
Chickoo Uncle
Sat, Aug 24
Booking Mama
Mon, Aug 26
Read Now, Sleep later
Tues, Aug 27
I Read Banned Books
Wed, Aug 28
Through the Wardrobe
Chef Armend Latifi
Thurs, Aug 29
The Book Monsters
Fri, Aug 30
The Brain Lair



5 Responses to “Interview and Giveaway: The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic”

  1. Oh, my go to stress relief is to chomp on my sad little fingernails. A horrible habit!

  2. Pragmaticmom says:

    Boxing. Better to hit pads and heavy bag than kids!

  3. My stress buster is taking a hot bath or reading – or both at the same time :)

  4. i would say reading!! thank you for the contest, the book looks great!

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