Geetanjali Mukherjee

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How I Write: Authors on Their Writing Process - Lyra Shanti

This week's author interview is with sci-fi author Lyra Shanti

1.        When did you first start writing?
I began writing songs when I was just seven years old. I then wrote my first little play when I was nine. It was in my twenties that I started to write poetry, which allowed me a better knowledge of how to express myself. It wasn't until my thirties that I took a chance on writing a full-blown novel. I was scared and didn't know if I had it in me. But here I am now, having just finished my fourth book in my Shiva XIV series. I've come a long way since my insecure youth. 

2.        What are your books about? Are you self / traditionally published or hybrid?
I am currently an indie author, and my Shiva XIV series is about a boy named Ayn who is predestined to become the great messiah of his planet so he can save their planet from disease and war. Having been raised by priests in a secluded palace, Ayn is unsure how to do become what they want him to be, and his life takes many twists and turns as his destiny unfolds. It's a science fiction adventure with elements of fantasy and myth.

3.        What led to your love for literature? Any favorite books / teachers / writing mentors?
Herman Hesse, the author of Steppenwolf and Siddhartha, inspired me from the age of thirteen with his poetic, philosophical stories where East meets West in the discovery of individual awakening. However, I've had so many influences from Tolkien to Rowling to my own partner and spouse, Timothy. So many people and stories played their parts in creating the ripples that turned into the waves that moved me to write. 

4.        What's your writing process like? Do you outline? Do you write by hand / type / dictate?
I could never write by hand! My handwriting is a mess as I think faster than my hand can write. Plus, I've lost countless notebooks in the past. I only use a laptop now. Thank the Gods for modern technology! 

5.        What's your editing process?
I hate editing so very much. Love writing. Hate editing! But, I know it's a necessity, so I do it nonetheless. Usually, I begin formatting and checking the chapters to see if they all make sense, aren't too huge, and have proper titles and such. Next, I check for spelling and grammar. After that, it's all about re-reading the entire book, trying to look for needles in haystacks. I tend to go through all that about five times, and I'll still find little mistakes, even after publication! Bleh. I truly hate the process.

6.        What did you find most / least useful in learning to write?
Self expression is most useful, and learning to be confident about one's ideas and feelings. I personally don't think there is anything useless about writing. It's all about expression and inspiration, which is wonderful!

7.        Who or what inspires you? Where / how do you get your book ideas?
Everything inspires me! A good movie, a beautiful song, a yummy meal, an interesting conversation! It all can seep into my brain and trickle down into my subconscious. Sometimes, I come up with an idea from a dream as well, but for the most part, I'm constantly inspired by life itself.

8.        Do you have a writing routine / schedule? Any specific rituals?
I don't have a routine. I'm not good with feeling forced. However, I have a strong sense of wanting my stories out there, and that drive has become a diligence inside me that just won't quit. I try to make the time, even if I'm dead tired. It's important to know when you need to recharge your batteries, but a writer must keep writing, no matter what.

9.        Do you listen to music while you write? What kind of music?
Absolutely! I have playlists for each book I write. It can be anything from Loreena McKennitt to Tori Amos to Bjork to Seal to Led Zeppelin – just depends on what mood I need for the particular story. Music is an integral part of me, and it always helps me write.

10.    Do you ever get writers' block? What are some ways you get around it?
I don't usually get writer's block. I may have a little trouble here and there with where I want the plot to go, but I write a huge amount of notes and talk about the problem with my other half, who happens to be a writer as well, so I'm lucky that way. I like challenges, and I usually find my way through the spider webs of story-writing.

11.    How much research do you do? What kind?
In sci-fi and fantasy, research is sort of open-minded. I mean, I sometimes find myself Googling about quantum physics or electromagnetic energy – stuff like that. But I don't do hard core sci-fi, so my research is pretty loose.

12.    What project are you working on now?

I'm editing book 3 of my Shiva XIV series for an Autumn release this year, and I've just finished writing book 4. I'm also gearing up to write a new YA fantasy series.


Lyra Shanti is a novelist, poet, playwright, and songwriter who currently lives in Florida with partner and spouse, Timothy Casey, and their two insane cats.

Shiva XIV Series

Prophecy rules, science rebels, and the fate of all depends on a boy named Ayn. Predestined to become the great messiah of his people, Ayn must save his galaxy from disease and war. But can he do it, and should he? Is it even his true place? Ayn must decide before it's too late!

Book One begins with Ayn's birth and follows him as he discovers the world outside the palace he was raised. A coming of age story amidst galactic turmoil, Shiva XIV has action, romance, mysticism, and magical creatures. Join Ayn and his friends as his journey to become a heroic legend unfolds.

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