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 romance...so 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 by...no 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 anything...it 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:
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/6/prweb8584285.htm


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