Ksenia Anske. I live in my writing cave and hardly ever climb out.
But I do blog right here: https://www.kseniaanske.com/blog/,
and I do terrify writers into writing and readers int reading on Twitter https://twitter.com/kseniaanske
and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ksenia.anske daily.
- Tell us a little about your life outside of the world of writing.
There is life outside of writing? KIDDING. Writing is my life. And reading. And, of course, chasing my readers with a chainsaw to convince them (gently) to buy and read and review my books. It actually keeps me in great shape. Or coffee. Coffee is my life as well. Practically 18 hours out of my day I divide into 2 parts: first half of the day goes to my art (writing), second half of the day goes to my business (selling what I wrote).
- How long have you been writing? What genres have you written? They don’t have to be published.
It’s been 5 years already. Wow, yes. 5 years. Seems a long time, but often it feels like I’m only starting. I’ve written fantasy, dark fantasy, YA, and am going to be writing my first thriller and romance next. Though my readers tell me my books touch on magical realism and horror, and they know better.
- What has been the greatest influence to your writing? Other authors, life experiences, etc…
Oh, Russian fairy tales, mostly. I grew up on dark stories, and I write dark stories. Of course, the big names like Chekhov and Kharms and Akhmatova and Nabokov. Most recently Tolstaya and Petrushevskaya. And in my 20s I’ve discovered Stephen King and decided I wanted to try writing scary stories too. Little did I know I’d really be doing it, and in English to boot—not my first language (I’m from Moscow, Russia).
I’m revising the final draft of TUBE, a dark fantasy novel about a woman who goes back into her violent past to win over her abuser by visiting compartments on the train (creepy, cold, and drafty). I started it as part of my 2015 Amtrak Residency Program, and 3 years later the book is almost done. It’s launching on March 17th, 2018. Be scared.
- How do you typically begin your projects? Do you create outlines and character profiles or jump in head first with the initial idea? And do you focus on just one at a time?
I used to just sit down and write. Not anymore. Now I don’t write down a single word until I plot my novel to death. Have gone into too many dead ends with TUBE, so learned my lesson. Plus, I love plotting. I get such a thrill. It’s like solving a puzzle and then sprinkling in clues for the reader to discover. Nothing could be more exciting.
- What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
Discipline is my strength. I won’t quit until I’m done, no matter what. And discipline is my weakness, as well. Sometimes I won’t be able to bend and adapt because I’m so dead-set on finishing a project. It’s a balance. My readers tell me they love my sentence rhythm and how I make them feel. I do hope my books give them delicious nightmares. That is certainly my goal.
- After publishing, the next trouble facing writers is marketing. What do you typically do when marketing your novel? Do you have tips you’d like to share?
I jump on every rooftop and shout about my books until I lose my voice, then do crazy dances for my readers’ entertainment. Well, actually, I market my books from the very start, before I even start writing them, as soon as I have an idea. It’s the only way. I’d type up a whole essay here if I were to give advice. Email me with detailed questions. But here is one thing I’ll tell you: share your process. Share everything with your readers, and if you do that, you’ll also market your book, so by the time it’s done, your readers will want to buy it and read it if only to see the result of your very hard work.
- What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
Never quit—NEVER EVER QUIT NO MATTER WHAT—and write and read every day. If you do this, if you write for only 1 hour daily, by the end of the year you’ll have a book written. Build discipline, hole up and write. Don’t listen to anyone. It’s your art. You’re the only one who knows how to make it. I believe in you. You can do it. Get on it!