Interview with Ksenia Anske, author of Blue Sparrow
One sunny day I got asked by one of my sunny Twitter followers to create a book of my tweets, because they loved them so much. I laughed it off, being goofy and feeling a little embarrassed. A book of tweets, who would buy that? But then another follower asked for the same, and another. At the same time I noticed that my tweets started being retweeted a lot, and I mean, a lot. The highest count was something like over 100 retweets and over 100 favorites. On a whim, I promised people that I will do it. I had just finished the final draft of my 1st novel, SIREN SUICIDES, and had free time, so I downloaded my entire Twitter archive for 1 year (since I started writing full time and tweeting a lot about writing) and selected 140 highest scoring tweets. Took me a whole week. Then my daughter drew a blue sparrow for the cover, and voila! The book was done. I published it and it’s actually selling well! I also have free copies of ebook downloadable on my site.
We never tell our interviewees what we think about their books, but we have to tell you how much we loved this book. This isn’t a question; we just wanted you to know that.
I never tell my interviewers what I think about them, but I have to tell you how much I love you for interviewing me. This isn’t an answer; I just wanted you to know that.
Touché. Who is this book aimed at? Will non-writers find something in it too?
Definitely. It’s more of a funny recollection of daily ramblings of a first time novelist, and some of it is about reading books, about being human and creating art no matter what life throws at you. Multiple artists, poets, musicians, painters, told me that they loved it and that it applies to their craft as well.
“Now that I’m an adult, I can finally be the kid I always wanted to be.” That’s quite possibly our favourite tweet from the book. What’s yours?
The first one. It defines me in 3 simple sentences. “There are only three things I do. I read. I write. And I fart glitter.”
You have, rather unsurprisingly, become something of a Twitter superstar. Many of our readers are authors themselves; how can they make social media work for them too?
For the longest time I was afraid of being myself, afraid of being bubbly and jumpy and gleeful like a 5 year old, literally jumping up and down from excitement and being myself. Gradually I came out of my shell, and my Twitter followers helped me by favoriting and retweeting my tweets that I thought nobody would like, both my internal struggles as a writer and my triumphs, all of it, without any filters. I started doing more of it, they liked it even more, and then it started snowballing. I can only give one word of advice – give. Give yourself away, give your work away, give to other people, and it will come back to you 10-fold.
You said something about a novel named Siren Suicides.
SIREN SUICIDES is my first novel that was supposed to be 1 book but in the course of 5 drafts expanded into 3. My editor is getting the final copies to me next week, and they should be published a few weeks after that!
It’s a story about a teenage girl, Ailen Bright, who commits suicide at 16 via drowning, but instead of dying turns into a siren and is being chased across the watery landscape of all 3 books by her father, who turns out to be a siren hunter. It’s like Alice in Wonderland, only all things water, songs, and plenty of adolescent angst and the attempt to understand life and find love.
Have you written any other books?
ROSEHEAD, my 2nd novel, is currently in the stage of waiting for me to return to it. I have finished 1st draft 2 week ago and am taking a short break before starting on 2nd draft. It’s a story about a 12 year old girl, Lilith Bloom, who, with the help of her talking pet whippet, Panther, discovers at the family reunion that her grandfather feeds something else as opposed to normal plant meal to his famous rose garden. What makes the roses so red? So resilient to bugs and long-lasting? It’s a fantasy and a mystery, with lots of mentioning of Sherlock Holmes and his detective techniques. I had fun writing this one.
My next novel after this will be IRKADURA, a dark literary novel set in the 80’s in Soviet Unuon, detailing my own childhood experiences through the eyes of Irka Marinova, a mute teenage girl who runs away from abusive home, gets pregnant and survives on the streets of Moscow.
My friend, mentor, and author of 25+ thriller novels Michael Gruber has pushed me into writing this one, having heard my personal story, and it will be dedicated to him.
We don’t think we’ve ever interviewed an author with that many books planned ahead.
After that I have planned a sci-fi novel called THE PAGE TURNER (temporary title) about 4 kids turning pages of the world like that of a book to time travel. Whew. I think I should stop right here. I have 8 more novels planned out, they are pouring out of me like crazy!
Have you got a website where we can keep up with all your plans?
Certainly, here you go: http://www.kseniaanske.com
Tell us about yourself.
Well, apart from that tweet about reading and writing, here is my official bio:
How can we follow you on social media?
More writing! And publishing SIREN SUICIDES in the coming weeks, a trilogy that took me 1 year to write, so I am super-excited about that!