Monday, April 28, 2014

Author Interview: Ksenia Anske: SIREN SUICIDES: an Urban Fantasy Set in Seattle

She was born in Moscow, Russia, and came to US in 1998 not knowing English, having studied architecture and not dreaming that one day she'd be writing. SIREN SUICIDES, an urban fantasy set in Seattle, is her first novel. She lives in Seattle with her boyfriend and their combined three kids in a house that they like to call The Loony Bin.

Welcome Ksenia!

Your real name and pen name? 

Ksenia Anske

Please share some of the best memories of your childhood

Persimmons. A sea of them. My great grandmother used to buy the on the market before they would get ripe. She'd roll out heaps of newspapers, put them under her bed. Place persimmons there. There could be hardly more than a couple pounds, but I remember them as a sea. I'd sneak into her room, look under the bed, and steal one. Or two. She never found out.

About your education

I'm trained as an architect, actually. Half of my college years I spent in Moscow, Russia, another half in Seattle, after moving to US. Imagine this. For 1 year I was in the Furniture Design program and I built (with my own little hands) 10 pieces of furniture. Like, REAL tables and chairs. FOR REAL. Yeah. If someone told me back then that I would be writing books, I'd look at them funny.

What career did you plan during your education days

I thought I was going to be an architect, of course. I studied in Moscow Architectural Institute.

What languages you can speak and write?

Russian, German, English. Although my German is a bit rusty right now.

What is your biggest source of inspiration in life

Love. There is only love, nothing else. When you go see the mountains, the mountains love you, and you love the mountains, and you get inspired. Same with puppies. Kittens. People. Sky. Anything. Love is everywhere.

What hurts you most in this world

Fear. Fear is the most debilitating creativity stopper. Fear makes people cause pain to other people.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced? How did you overcome it?

Believing in myself. I didn't believe I could write. My boyfriend believed in me. It's really him. I let him love me. I let hi tell me I could. I let myself believe. I started. Many times I wanted to quit. But he kept telling me, he believes in me. I even wrote a little blog post about this, on HOW TO BECOME A WRITER: LET SOMEONE LOVE YOU:

If you had to live a day of your life as one of the living or dead personality, who would it be and why?

J.K Rowling. To get inside her head.

What is your favorite genre and why?

Fantasy. Fantasy shows us that it's possible to defeat the monsters, no matter how scary they are. It gives monsters shape, those monsters inside us, fear, anger, hatred, depression. 

When did you start writing?
 What is the purpose of your writing?

I started creating stories in my head around age 5, but I didn't write them down. I started writing a diary and poems at 15, but I didn't think of it as writing. It was a place for me to share myself and hide it from others, it was for my eyes only. I wrote in school, of course, essays and whatnot. Later, I wrote marketing newsletters for my startup, and that's when people told me that I'm a good storyteller. They read those newsletters. I loved writing them. But I only started writing full time 2 years ago.

Which of your work has been published so far? Would you like to share a synopsis of your work?

I have published my first trilogy, Siren Suicides, it's about a teenage girl who commits suicide via drowning, turns into a siren and is being chases by a siren hunter, her father. I have published a few weeks ago my second novel, Rosehead, it's about a 13-year-old girl and her talking pet dog solving a mystery of a rose garden that eats people. 

What are your forthcoming writings?

I'm writing Irkadura right now, my third novel, it's about a 16-year-old pregnant homeless girl creating a feral sub-reality in her head to survive the reality of the chaos of Soviet Union in the 1990's.

What are your future plans?

Write more books.

What four top most things you take care of while writing a book?

Story. Story. Story. Story. There is nothing but the story about the characters. If we don't care for the characters, we won't read the book.

Your dream destination on Earth?

London. Never been. So want to go and see it.

Your origin of birth and other countries you have visited/ stayed. What best things you liked in these countries around the globe?

I was born in Moscow, Russia. I lived in Berlin, Germany, for 4 years. I now live in Seattle, USA. I love the diversity the best. Being able to travel is my dream. Traveling and writing, on the go.

Your favorite time of the day?


Your zodiac/ sunsign?

Aquarius. Year of the Dragon.

Your favorite color and why?

Blue. Like the sky.

Your favorite book and why?

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Because it's mad. I'm mad. we're both mad. And because I can read it from any place.

Your favorite celebrity and why?

Laika, the first dog launched into space. Because I cried when I was little, when I read what happened to her, and I carry her image with me since then.

Your favorite food?

Raspberries. I like putting them on my fingertips and sucking them off one by one.

Some quickies: Sun or Moon, Laughter or Smile, Morning or Evening, Coffee or Tea, Mountain or Sea, Long Drive or Short Drive, Silence or Conversation, Water or Fire, Air or Earth, Mars or Jupiter, Tulip or Rose, Red or Blue, Left or Right, Glance or Stare

Moon, Smile, Morning, Coffee, Sea, Long Drive, Silence, Water, Air, Mars, Moon, Rose, Blue, Left, Glance

What three words come to your mind for each – Technology, Life, God, Humanity, Terrorism, Racism, Childhood Abuse, Love, Parenting, Old age

Technology - obsolete, must, substitute;
Life - full, fun, short; God - absent, old, relic;
Humanity - warm, love, we;
Terrorism - sad, blind, fear;
Racism - why, color, different;
Childhood abuse - power, cowardice, pain;
Love - intimacy, together, merge;
Parenting - hard, happy, reward;
Old age - inevitable, wise, frail. 

State your signature line/ tagline/ best quote

I read. I write. And I fart glitter.

The last line of your autobiography would be…

I want to die face-first into a book.


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