About the book
When I wrote Outside In, I was inspired by the life and work of Nek Chand Saini. I’d visited the Rock Garden several times while living in Chandigarh, India in 2005. Ten years later I started writing about the place and its creator. I found I had two stories I really wanted to tell. The one I tell in Outside In features a fictionalized version of Nek Chand and his garden. That novel is steeped in the real story of Nek Chand and his garden, but mixes in elements of The Ramayana as well as the journey of that novel’s hero, young Ram.
Rock by Rock: The Fantastical Garden of Nek Chand grew alongside Outside In in my heart and mind. There were elements of this inspiring story that I wanted to tell in a different way, and for a different audience. So, as I wrote the novel, I also wrote a picture book biography manuscript. Much to my surprise and delight, my editor Caitlyn Dlouhy decided to publish both. I’m so thankful that she did, so thankful to Sam Boughton for her perfect illustrations, and so thankful that Nek Chand’s life and art and example will enchant and inspire young readers and creators.