Hi folks, welcome to another Book Squirrel Author Interview! Today we chat with Lyra Shanti, author of the brilliant space epic series Shiva XIV and a number of other incredible works.
I confess, I’m a little star-struck.
Oh, you sweet thing!
Right, where was I? Ah yes. Here we go! What inspired you to write?
Where to start? So many things inspire me! Great films, books, plays/musicals, music, anime/manga, poetry, laughter, sex, love, rain, moonlight, the ocean, tall ancient trees, mountains, lakes, and so much more!
Truthfully, everything affects me. I’ve been writing poetry, plays, and songs since I was a child of seven, but I didn’t start seriously writing stories till I was in my late 30s. I always wanted to try novel writing, but was terrified I wouldn’t be good enough. Then, one day, I felt the urge to try. I stared at the blank white screen and suddenly envisioned an infant, held up at an altar by a priest. It was Shiva XIV I saw, but I didn’t know it yet. Slowly, the story came to me, and the rest is history.
What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
I’ve read a few good ones, though I haven’t had a ton of time to read (spending most of my time writing and editing!) But I loved Sweet Vengeance by Aliya DalRae. Can’t wait to read book 2, Sweet Discovery! It’s such a fun, sexy paranormal series!
Oh, I’ve read those! They’re great! What are you working on writing now?
I just finished book 4 in my sci-fi series, Shiva XIV: The River of Time. Yay! I’ll be promoting that for a while, but my next book will be The Artist, a complete departure from sci-fi and fantasy.
It’s a story about a man named Apollo Antonius Vidali, an artist fighting his madness in search of true love. It will be a cross between historical romance and erotic freeform poetry! I can’t wait to get that done by next year. I think my fans will be totally surprised, and that’s exciting!
What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?
I have a strange aversion to whistling. Not so much when a person does it on key and it’s a song they know well… but when it’s meandering and slightly off key. I can’t explain why, I just hate it so much. I’ve yet to write that into a book… I may at some point. Maybe if I were to write a thriller or murder mystery. I could see a murderer whistling right after he’s killed someone. Terrifying!
What movie can you watch over and over again?
Lord of the Rings. All of them…The extended versions. Not even kidding! Lol
I would also repeatedly watch Close Encounters, Back to the Future (all 3), Titanic, The Wizard of Oz, The Muppet Movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and of course, the original Star Wars movies.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Basically what I am. 🙂 From the time I was 7, I wanted to be a songwriter… and playwright. I never envisioned myself as a novelist. That’s new, but feels right!
Sometimes you just have to run with what life brings you, eh?
What’s your favourite season? Why?
Winter… especially in S Florida. There really aren’t weather changes here, like, at all… so winter is the only time it isn’t hot and humid. I love cooler weather! I love sweaters and snow and holidays!
Autumn is a close second. If I were living where I grew up (in Bellingham, Washington), there would be beautifully warm colors in the trees and a crisp, cool breeze in the air. It would be heaven! Plus, Halloween!
Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?
Growing up, I loved Alice in Wonderland. I think Lewis Carroll had a bigger influence on my already wacky brain than I realized. Then, Shakespeare plays made my heart and mind swoon! And of course, I loved Tolkien and J.K Rowling. But my biggest influence and inspiration would be Hermann Hesse. Books like Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and Narcissus and Goldmund had a huge impact on me as a young adult, and as a writer. His stories were full of philosophical “East meets West” ideas, but also romantic relationships with flawed characters I deeply related to. I have to say, without his writing I would never have been a writer myself. His stuff was poetic and brilliant!
What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?
It’s hard work. A lot harder than some might realize… all the writing, editing, promoting, and worry over if anyone will like the story.
Ultimately, though, it’s worth all the pain. At the end of the day, I get to see my worlds born into a virtual reality where it will live on forever. And I can say I did it my way… like Sinatra. 😉
Name two things in life that you wish were easier.
Editing books! And a second thing? Hmm… Driving a car in the city. Driving itself doesn’t scare me, but other people in their cars do! They’re nuts!
Wait! Nuts are good!
Okay. I guess you could say they drive me crazy! *makes Fozzie Bear face* Get it?! Wakka wakka!
Moving right along…
Ah, I see what you did there!
So tell us, where can readers find your books?
Awesome! Where can readers follow you on social media?
Thanks for being here today, Lyra! You’re incredible!
Awww, thanks! You’re pretty special too, Book Squirrel!