Saturday, April 27, 2013

Author Interview with Sirisha Billa

Hi!! This is a long awaited interview with upcoming author Sirisha Billa (Anachronessence).  Since her very first book came out, I've been lucky enough to keep in pretty good contact with her and I am so glad I was able to score an interview with her about her work and writing in general. Its an absolute honor and I'm super excited to share it with you, my dear reader.

Q: When did you first start writing?

I first started writing when I was in second grade. Actually, I wrote twenty pages for this one fictional writing assignment and that is when I discovered my love of writing. My 2nd grade teacher was so surprised when I did that and I remember feeling elated for making her proud. I reread it a couple years ago and I remember reading about the main character and realizing that this was a Barbie doll character rip-off. Nevertheless, even if it started with poetry that rhymed too much and fictional stories about characters that were rip-offs of Barbie, I have gotten far.

Q: How do you feel about having a book published at such a young age?

I felt really nervous. It was nerve-racking when my dad told me he wanted to publish my book. I wanted to wait, but he told me that if you wanted it to happen, you had to go for it, and so I did. Honestly, I wasn't scared that people wouldn't like it. I made it broad enough so that despite the spelling mistakes and stuff that I was not patient enough to correct (GRRR), I realized that there had to be SOMETHING that a reader could take out of my book, whether they read it for the adventure, the stuff about reincarnation, or the minimal-ish I wasn't scared, people wouldn't hate it completely. I was nervous because I thought it'd be a waste----of time, of money---in the end, it turned out to be a good experience, not a waste (Hallelujah).

Q:Who inspired you to become a writer? 

I was inspired to become a writer one that I can think of actually. It was more like I wanted to become someone that could speak so well that everyone would understand what I was saying. When it didn't work with speaking, I switched to writing my thoughts down because I communicated better that way. When I speak on a day-to-day basis, I switch words, I forget words, and I search for the words that I need. When I write, it's like my body has a mind separate from the one I usually use (my body has a mind of its own) and all the words are just THERE, for me to weave into the tapestry that I want. Everything comes to me when I write, so easily as opposed to when I speak.

Q: What were your inspirations for Anachronessence?

My inspirations for Anachronessence...hmmm...honestly? I can't think of anything for the characters. I guess I was inspired by my friends and family...? The setting was my birthplace and mostly, places that I've lived or places I've visited. The plot line was created when I was in India one summer and I was bored. Three years later, I dug my diary from that summer up and I found the idea again and used it for my most recent story.

Q: Can we expect more adventures for Flynn and Aydan in the future? 

Honestly, I really really do want to write about Finn and Aydan, because they are a part of me. Sadly, I don't think that I will have the time to write a sequel. If I did though, my original plan was to have Zenith come back and have an epic showdown type thing with his first wife--remember her? Her name was Zakuro. Anyway, she's wicked cool and wicked strong, and I was going to have her be the benefactor of the school that Aydan would attend in the second book. That was my plan. Now though, I have so many other projects going on, I can't make any promises.

Q: Which authors do you look up to?

I look up to Rick Riordan, I look up to Shakespeare (my favorite plays are As You Like It and Romeo & Juliet). Um...let's see...I look up to Amy Plum, too. I am crazy about Colleen Houck's writing. She amazes me. I love her Tiger series with Ren and Kelsey. I <3 it! I look up to Brandon Mull, too. His Beyonders series is pretty cool, albeit a little hard to get through in a short amount of time. I needed lots of carrots and cucumbers to eat while reading his books.

Q: What projects are you currently working on?

I have turned in circles and circles thinking of what exactly I should tell you the title of this next series is going to be...and I realized it doesn't have to be complicated so I ended up titling it "The Ambassadors" and it's the one I blogged about earlier with the stalker. (For those interested, here is the link: Listen Up: You Are Being Stalked) I really felt like I grew in this one, and its MUCH shorter than Anachronessence, but I LOVED it and felt I could see the three-dimensional-ness of the characters so much more. They EXISTED so much better when I wrote first person (which is what I used for the book I'm working on) versus from third person (which is what I used for Anachronessence) and I personally enjoy writing first person better, so I hope my happiness comes out through the writing.
     Anywho, the first book in the series will be titled Shadows of Strength. Its about a character I've been dwelling on for a long time: Terry Griffiths. I've written several stories centered around her...but none of those stories have endings! The whole book starts with her in a coma...the day she gets hit by a car (and as a result, falls into a coma) is the day she acquires a stalker, though she doesn't know him yet.
     I'm not quite sure how much I can give away, but I suppose I can tell you that this book revolves around one of my major goals: to introduce a new world, introduce the characters, introduce a sliver of several plots to come...and basically, to write to create the canvas on which all the other stories will be laid. I didn't write the first book to dive into an adventure that will be played on for the next fifty million books. I wrote it as a sample. Sort of like a pilot episode for a serial or something. It gives you a taste of what's to come without becoming the main plot...and I felt this way the easiest way to do it, because Shadows of Strength has too many details to be a 0.5 novella, and too abrupt of changes to be considered a full-blown fantasy. This book was my way of trying to get the reader to understand the abruptness, without resolving most of the questions. It's not to get them reading. Its simply to make them understand. I'm working on several other stories as well, which I am excited about, but Shadows of Strength is the most recent.

Q: What were some of the hardships you faced while writing Anachronessence?

Editorial problems. As a writer, I can't read my own book exactly like a reader would. I am a very, VERY avid reader, yes, but I'm not a great reader of my own tales. If I had been able to find a pre-reader, that would have made things much easier and my book would've had many less grammatical errors. If it was someone else's book, I would have been able to read through it and find all the mistakes, but since it was mine, I found myself unable.

Q: How did you come up with the title Anachronessence?

The anatomy of the word anachronessence: an anachronism is something out of its chronological order, or out of its time. I wanted my characters to be the essence of that. Hence, Anachronessence.

Q: What do you think makes a good character?

A good character...hmmm...well I can tell you what a good character is not. A good character is three-dimensional...but not necessarily our dimensions. When an author writes, I've heard them say that the characters have to be "relatable" or "understandable" and stuff like that, but if writing has taught me doesn't matter if you create them as such or not. For me, the character is all about his/her reactions. You don't need to make their personalities or preferences relatable. All you have to do is make the reactions relatable and understandable according to that character's unique personality. If the glove fits, then you don't have to make the characters FOR the reader. In my opinion, a good character is one that elicits reactions from the reader when they react to something in the story.

Well, this is the end of the awesome interview with Sirisha Billa, author of Anachronessence. You can buy her book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble if you follow the provided links. 
Anachronessence @ Amazon
Anachronessence @ Barnes & Noble

To read more about Sirisha and Anachronessence go here:

Apologies Long Overdue

I have been super inactive with this....and to any of you who were nice enough to be a consistent reader, I apologize sincerely. Even the post that I just published before this was an old one just sitting around and I didn't want to delete it so I figured it was good enough for the publishing.

For those who do not know, I am about to finish up my first year of college. Ah ha! So there's the reason for my absence. I am a full time student and most of my time has been committed to attending class, completing assignments and attempting to maintain a social life.  Political Science has been kicking my butt, but I'm finally getting a handle on it and realizing that my not-so-great subjects, aren't really all that difficult if I just set my mind on pushing through them...which is no easy task.

In addition, I am an involved student on campus and have been going to meetings as the vice president of an organization. I can't say for sure how much work I do there, but we meet twice a week so my time is used up there too. I think most would agree that school is pretty important compared to other things, like blogs for example. It will be much time before I do...anything much on here. My internet presence will be severely limited in this regard. I might be needing to revise my approaches to my blog and what I'm trying to accomplish with it.

Also, I've been trying to get a lot more reading done and have found myself mostly successful, but I am still very behind. I have stacks of books I've won, been given, and have purchased....many of which are unread still. So if any of you readers are authors who have given me books, I apologize deeply for not getting to your wonderful works just yet, I promise I will in time.

I only have a few more weeks left in my freshman year and its been quite the learning experience. I actually have to study for one thing. While classes are shorter than they were in high school and there are less, they definitely require more effort. Sleep is very important and should not be neglected....but these are all just basic things everyone can assume really.
Its almost summer time, so its almost time for our yearly excursion. This year will find me in San Antonio, visiting a friend and in Dallas, taking care of business. I'm hoping to get more reading done here as well.

One new bit of info...I am finally working on my first novel. Many ideas and delays later, I have something that might pull through as time passes and I continue work on it. It is not much at this point, but in time I am certain it will improve into something worth reading. I've had a lot of help in getting it going and I'm very grateful for that. (Thanks to my parents, sister and Mr. FancyFish for all their support thus far in everything I've chosen to do)

In case any of you readers are ever bored and in need of something to do, might I request a small favor? My novel has much to do with dolphins and a marine park, so if you run across any links that would be useful in this regard (animal training, marine mammals, trainer-animal relationships, running marine parks, behind the scenes tidbits) I would be most grateful and ask that you link them here in a comment.

Again, I apologize for my inactivity, and hope you all can have some patience with me.
Thanks! =)

Book Review: Paradise

Welcome! I am starting to try out new formats for my reviews, so please bear with me.

I haven't read very much YA. I've read a decent amount, but nothing so wonderful as to make me want to read more of the genre. After taking a trip to the library, I found a book that I thought would change my mind. It was very promising.

What I'm Listening To:

  • Dirt Road Anthem by Jason Aldean
  • Friday Night by Lady Antebellum
I really love Texas. There's something really special about it that I adore. Cruising through the library I picked up this book:

Its called Paradise and its by Jill S. Alexander. The main character is Paisley. She wants nothing more than to play her drums. The country band shes in (The Waylon Slider Band) is getting ready for Texapalooza, a band competition that takes place in Austin. Paisley lives in a small Texas town, so I thought this would be a great read. I picked it up and was super excited to get started. 

I give it a 3/5. 

It started off strong. I was really enjoying the characters and I was getting caught up in all that was happening. I felt all the frustration and confusion as all the characters were feeling. But at some point, it all stopped for me. I don't want to spoil the book, but certain things just irked me. This could just be me, but I hate when guys don't let girls know how they feel. Because honestly, we probably don't have any idea until a guy says something to us (I speak from experience). At some point, you have to step up and take the chance, no matter how scared you are! Even when the perfect opportunity is presented, the character refuses to do anything (I'm not mentioning who). 

Second, what was up with that ending?!?! Mrs. Alexander took the easy way out. There was barely any actual explanation as to what happened. I'm still confused. I finished one chapter and got confused on the very next. What is up with that? You don't do that to your reader! You make everything tie up and make sense. In the end, some stuff was tied up nicely and some characters developed nicely, but there was so much that could have been done better. 

This book left me disappointed. What started off as a good Texas YA novel, turned into a "what-in-the-heck-did-I-just-read" book. I'm sad and I really hope I'll recover. Maybe I'll find a good YA novel in the future, but as of right now, I just want to go back to the Fantasy, Adventure and Thriller genres. I might even go for a little Sci-Fi. Anything but that YA novice novel material.