Author Interview: Lyra Shanti

Interview Purple

Hi folks, welcome to another Book Squirrel Author Interview! Today we chat with Lyra Shanti,  author of the brilliant space epic series Shiva XIV and a number of other incredible works. 

Hi, Lyra. 

Hi, Squirrel.

I confess, I’m a little star-struck. 

Oh, you sweet thing!

Right, where was I? Ah yes. Here we go! What inspired you to write?

Where to start? So many things inspire me! Great films, books, plays/musicals, music, anime/manga, poetry, laughter, sex, love,  rain, moonlight, the ocean, tall ancient trees, mountains, lakes, and so much more!

Truthfully, everything affects me.  I’ve been writing poetry, plays, and songs since I was a child of seven, but I didn’t start seriously writing stories till I was in my late 30s. I always wanted to try novel writing, but was terrified I wouldn’t be good enough. Then, one day, I felt the urge to try. I stared at the blank white screen and suddenly envisioned an infant, held up at an altar by a priest. It was Shiva XIV I saw, but I didn’t know it yet. Slowly, the story came to me, and the rest is history.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I’ve read a few good ones, though I haven’t had a ton of time to read (spending most of my time writing and editing!) But I loved Sweet Vengeance by Aliya DalRae. Can’t wait to read book 2, Sweet Discovery! It’s such a fun, sexy paranormal series!

Oh, I’ve read those! They’re great!  What are you working on writing now?

Lyra Shanti Shiva XIV 4 The River Of Time

I just finished book 4 in my sci-fi series, Shiva XIV: The River of Time. Yay! I’ll be promoting that for a while, but my next book will be The Artist, a complete departure from sci-fi and fantasy.

It’s a story about a man named Apollo Antonius Vidali, an artist fighting his madness in search of true love. It will be a cross between historical romance and erotic freeform poetry! I can’t wait to get that done by next year. I think my fans will be totally surprised, and that’s exciting!

What is your pet hate? Have you ever built it into a character or used it in your writing?

I have a strange aversion to whistling. Not so much when a person does it on key and it’s a song they know well… but when it’s meandering and slightly off key. I can’t explain why, I just hate it so much. I’ve yet to write that into a book… I may at some point. Maybe if I were to write a thriller or murder mystery. I could see a murderer whistling right after he’s killed someone. Terrifying!

What movie can you watch over and over again?

Lord of the Rings. All of them…The extended versions. Not even kidding! Lol

I would also repeatedly watch Close Encounters, Back to the Future (all 3), Titanic, The Wizard of Oz, The Muppet Movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and of course, the original Star Wars movies.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Basically what I am. 🙂 From the time I was 7, I wanted to be a songwriter… and playwright. I never envisioned myself as a novelist. That’s new, but feels right!

Sometimes you just have to run with what life brings you, eh?

Absolutely right!

What’s your favourite season? Why?

Winter… especially in S Florida. There really aren’t weather changes here, like, at all… so winter is the only time it isn’t hot and humid. I love cooler weather! I love sweaters and snow and holidays!

Autumn is a close second. If I were living where I grew up (in Bellingham, Washington), there would be beautifully warm colors in the trees and a crisp, cool breeze in the air. It would be heaven! Plus, Halloween!

Who are your three greatest literary inspirations?

Growing up, I loved Alice in Wonderland. I think Lewis Carroll had a bigger influence on my already wacky brain than I realized. Then, Shakespeare plays made my heart and mind swoon! And of course, I loved Tolkien and J.K Rowling. But my biggest influence and inspiration would be Hermann Hesse. Books like Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and Narcissus and Goldmund had a huge impact on me as a young adult, and as a writer. His stories were full of philosophical “East meets West” ideas, but also romantic relationships with flawed characters I deeply related to. I have to say, without his writing I would never have been a writer myself. His stuff was poetic and brilliant!

What would you like people to know about being an Indie author?

It’s hard work. A lot harder than some might realize… all the writing, editing, promoting, and worry over if anyone will like the story.

Ultimately, though, it’s worth all the pain. At the end of the day, I get to see my worlds born into a virtual reality where it will live on forever. And I can say I did it my way… like Sinatra. 😉

Name two things in life that you wish were easier.

Editing books! And a second thing? Hmm… Driving a car in the city. Driving itself doesn’t scare me, but other people in their cars do! They’re nuts!

Wait! Nuts are good!

Okay. I guess you could say they drive me crazy!  *makes Fozzie Bear face* Get it?! Wakka wakka!

Moving right along…

Ah, I see what you did there!

*laughter*

So tell us, where can readers find your books?

My books are all on my Amazon page and my website at www lyrashanti.com.  

Awesome! Where can readers follow you on social media?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks for being here today, Lyra! You’re incredible! 

Awww, thanks! You’re pretty special too, Book Squirrel!

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Book Review: ‘Fateful Attraction’ by Lucretia Stanhope

The third book in the series, this sequel to ‘Blessedly Bound‘ and ‘Burning Captivation‘ takes the central character Gwen and the reader on another emotional roller coaster of danger and discovery as she seeks answers and justice, which are equally difficult to find. There are plenty of heart-in-your-throat moments as the story unfolds, especially as the distinctions between good, bad and sheer, unrepressed evil become clearer.

As with the previous books in the series, the central mystery and some of Gwen’s questions are solved, but other challenges and quests remain for future books. There is nothing repetitive or boring about this story or this series of books. The story just keeps on developing and building with each new phase.

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Golden Acorns

Yet again, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Lucretia Stanhope’s work. It’s another Golden Acorn from me.

Book Review: ‘The Celtic Curse: Banshee’ by D.J. Doyle

D.J. Doyle The Celtic Curse Banshee

 

A deliciously creepy story, ‘The Celtic Curse: Banshee” tells the story of the origins and then the conclusion of one family’s experience of a banshee’s curse.

Perfect for lovers of the Gothic and the macabre, this tale is permeated by plenty of classic horror, superstition and dark supernatural power, which are in part balanced by the normality of the central characters who unwittingly fall under the curse.

I found this novelette to be perfect reading for a stormy late September afternoon, given that both Friday 13th and Halloween are approaching.

The Celtic Curse: Banshee is available via Amazon for kindle or in paperback.

Book Review: Sweet Discovery by Aliya DalRae

Having thoroughly enjoyed Sweet Vengeance, the first book in Aliya DalRae‘s Jessica Sweet mysteries, and Bittersweet, the back story of Malcom, I was keen to read Sweet Discovery.

Aliya DalRae Sweet Discovery

Not until I started reading did I realise how ironic the title is – many more questions than discoveries were arising in the most fascinating and heart-stopping ways. Absolutely, 110% intrigued, I had to keep on reading to find the answers to my own questions and theories, as well as Jessica’s.

This book is a fast-paced roller coaster of emotions, complete with loop-the-loops and tilt-a-whirls of mystery, secrets, horror, and intense personal conflicts for a number of key characters.

It’s a mark of a great writer that a story can take you on the journey not just of the main characters and the key plot, but also of the other characters through sub-plots that weave seamlessly with the main story. Characters I disliked intensely in the first book became more likeable not only through the development of their personality and actions, but also through gaining a greater understanding of their motivations and histories. Other characters that I quite liked in the first book underwent an almost opposite kind of transition. Once again, DalRae reminds us through this fabulous book that no matter how confident we might be that we’re right about people or situations, or even that we know something for sure, things aren’t always what they seem.

If you’re looking for delicious paranormal mystery adventure laced with more than a dash of hot sauce and romance, look no further. DalRae’s Jessica Sweet mysteries are the books for you.

Now, I’m waiting with bated breath for the next in the series. I’m definitely hungry for the next course.

Aliya DalRae’s Jessica Sweet mysteries are all available on Amazon.

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Book Review: First Floor On Fire by Michael Russell

Michael Russell First Floor On Fire

This book is full of discord, anger and tension, experienced through immediate immersion in the life of the main character, Nevaya. The reader experiences her anger, her disadvantage, and the acid burn of prejudice and discrimination on her soul.

Russell’s portrayal of Nevaya is confronting, yet the reader cannot help but feel empathy with her, despite her cynicism and anger at the circumstances of her life. Her character is developed through her thoughts and responses far more than her words or behaviours, although those are as bold and defiant as her thoughts and attitudes. Her language is powerfully written in the gangland style of North Philadelphia – the writing is so sharp and cutting, one cannot avoid reading this book in Nevaya’s voice. The reader is strongly positioned to see her point of view and develop a strong sense of identification with her, despite her rough edges, and (in my own case) having no experience whatsoever of the kind of life she has lived.

The reader also gains insight into some of the reasons for the failure of schools and social authority structures to understand the motivations and actions of young African-American people, or to meet their needs in any real way: the cumulative effect of decades’ worth of disadvantage and segregation, even within their own communities, is too great to be overcome. Russell delivers this message powerfully through this fringe-of-gangland narrative.

The most uncomfortable part of this story for me, however, was not in the brutal violence or raw language. I found it incredibly difficult to stomach the actions and self-justification of those authority figures who should have been looking to protect and nurture the kids, but instead were only seeking to serve themselves. Had it not been for the perspectives of the two teachers who really did nurture their students and seek to improve their chances in life, the picture would be very bleak indeed.

This is a gritty, angry story, brilliantly told.

You can purchase this ebook at Amazon.

I’ve given it five glowing stars.

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