Each week, we're going to share with you a local mom that we think is awesome. We'll ask her some questions and hear about how she manages life with kids in our area. We hope you'll enjoy getting to know some of our neighbors.
Veera Hiranandani is a writer and a Montessori teacher. She lives in Hastings-on-Hudson with her husband David Beinstein and their two children, Hannah (8) and Eli (6).
1. How do you balance being a mom and working?
Veera admits that this is "the first year since I had kids where I've really had to perform a balancing act." After leaving publishing for time home with her young children, she focused on her book and wrote several children's books for specific licenses like Dora the Explorer and Blue's Clues. Over time, she became interested in Montessori education and spent last year getting my certification.
This year, Veera took a new position at a preschool on the Upper West Side in NYC. For the entire family, it has been an adjustment. Veera leaves early in the morning and her husband, a television and film editor, gets the kids ready and dressed and on the bus. Her job allows her to be home by 3 p.m. each day, so she can be with the kids in the afternoon. While Veera enjoys being back in a working environment every day, she does "miss the flexibility. Sometimes the only time I have to write is when the kids go to bed."
Veera's strategy is do "a lot of planning and discipline to fit in everything I want to do."
2. Tell us more about your writing -we'd love to hear more about it.
Veera's first novel, The Whole Story Of Half A Girl, was sold to Random House in 2010 and is being published next Tuesday, January 10. It's aimed at young readers (ages 9-13). The book is about a young girl in middle school who must switch from a smaller, private, accepting school to the public school after her dad becomes unemployed. The child, Sonia, finds herself struggling with her bi-cultural identity as the daughter of a Jewish-American mother and Indian father, as she meets new people in a less accepting environment.
For Veera, "Publishing this book is an incredibly satisfying moment in my writing journey."
She has been writing for many years after earning her MFA in fiction writing at Sarah Lawrence College. In recent years, she's published a few short stories and many character-based children's books, however for her, "this project is so personal and gratifying. It's based on some of the experiences I went through growing up, and I'm just so excited to share this story I've been chiseling away at for years."
She hopes to be doing local readings and signings in the months ahead. You can meet Veera at The Voracious Reader in Larchmont on February 4 at 2pm. Learn more about her and the new book on her blog.
3. When you find time for yourself, what do you enjoy doing locally?
Veera loves Hastings and shares that "it's amazing, for a small town, there are so many stores and restaurants that I love." She frequents Antoinette's for coffee with friends or Juniper for lunch. Veera also enjoys shopping at Chelsea's with her daughter, visiting Indigo or picking a book at Galapagos Bookstore. The family also enjoys the library and the farmer's market. Veera is excited to go with her husband" to catch a show or two at The Purple Crayon this spring!"
4. What are some of your top things to do around Westchester with your family?
Veera and her family enjoy outings to the Greenburgh Nature Center and Stone Barns and often can be found walking on the Old Croton Aqueduct. Like many families in the area looking for fresh air and fun, Veera has visited "every playground in the Rivertowns." One favorite summer activity is the resident beach in Larchmont, where her in-laws live.
5. What is your favorite thing about living in this area?
Veera and her family love "the people." After living in Manhattan and Brooklyn, Veera thought they'd miss living in a city. They had the usual suburban adjustments, but she shares "we have been lucky to meet so many great friends here. It's such a wonderful, vibrant community. And the city's so close. The whole relaxed, creative Rivertown vibe is really perfect for us."
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