Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
My name is Ksenia Anske, but you can call me Bob. It’s easier that way. Last time I checked, I was 5. I think I’m 5 perpetually. It’s awesome.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I’m from Moscow, Russia originally, but I currently have a writing cave in the deep dark woods in Washington state, in Seattle.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I was trained as an architect. I never thought I’d be writing books for a living. And not in my first language, either! Now I’ve got 7 novels written, and a whole lot of short stories. And another 15 novels outlined, ready to be written next.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m working on the final draft of TUBE, my upcoming novel that launches on March 17th, 2018. It’s the novel I started writing when I boarded the train for my Amtrak Writers Residency in 2015, so of course it’s about a train and a young woman who has to visit compartments to recover her long forgotten and unsettling memories of her violent childhood. Here is the official summary: “To overcome her fear of intimacy with her dancing partner and lover, a Russian ballerina must take a memory train to her past, to remember her sexual abuse and to forgive her abuser.”
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
My road to light had dark beginnings. I was suicidal. My therapist asked me to journal, and that’s how my writing started, as a diary to get out of my darkness. Then it became a story idea. Then it became my first trilogy. And then I couldn’t stop and wrote and wrote and wrote. Now writing is my life. It quite literally pulled me out of the other end.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I published my first trilogy and held it in my hands. I thought, “I did it. I wrote a book. I’m a writer.”
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
The many unspoken memories of being a suicidal teenager, quietly writing poetry and thinking about jumping off something high, like a tall apartment building or a bridge. I didn’t have the guts to follow through, but I wrote about this in Siren Suicides where my main character, Ailen, jumps off the Aurora Bridge to commit suicide but instead of dying turns into a siren.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It was a great alliteration. A book about sirens and suicide. So it became Siren Suicides.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
My style was called minimalistic, stark, weird, and fantastical by my readers.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Every book has parts of me and of people I know. I can’t say how much and I don’t think about it. I just write.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
When I wrote my first trilogy, I did extensive research, the kind you’d do when scouting movie locations. Siren Suicides is based in Seattle. Since I live in Seattle, I went to every location and enacted every scene. It was exciting but also exhausting. I no longer do this. It takes up too much time, so I write about what I know, to make sure my writing is authentic.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
My daughter Anya Milioutina. She’s really amazing.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Whatever my readers grasp from my writing is what they want to see. It’s different for everyone, and once my books are written, they no longer belong to me. They belong to my readers.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Lately it was Anna Starobinets and her short stories. And my favorite writers always change, depending on what I’m reading currently.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
I have a friend whom I met on my way home when I quit my then-current job. His name is John. We bumped into each other on the street. “When will you finish that trilogy?” he asked. I promised him I’ll do it. That day was the day I started writing it in earnest, and John is still one of my biggest supporters, and fan number 2 (my fan number 1 is my partner Royce).
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I see it as a life, a way of being.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Yes! I would’ve plotted it first.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Lots. For one, I’m plotting now. So much rewriting time saved.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
Depends on which book. There are many!
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Yes. Write and read every day, and never stop, no matter what anyone tells you. It’s the only way to grow and get better, through daily practice.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I love you all to death. Deep fried. With ketchup. But you already know that, don’t you?
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Hasty for the Dark: Selected Horror by Adam Nevill. Perfect Halloween reading. And if you haven’t read his The Ritual, I highly recommend it.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I think it was either a book of Russian fairy tales or animal stories by VitalyBianki. You can tell they’ve influenced me, with all the darkness and whimsy and animals in my books. And dark woods.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
Anything, really. I laugh or cry easily.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Stephen King, to tell him his book Thinner is what got me thinking about writing my own scary books.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Reading! Books are my life.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Coffee. Black. Silence.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
I don’t want a headstone. I want my ashes secretly smuggled into every library in the world so that I rest for eternity with as many books as I can.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Sure thing! Subscribe to my newsletter for scary monthly news, IF YOU DARE: https://www.kseniaanske.com/subscribe/And you can find my books right here (and download ebooks for free): https://www.kseniaanske.com/, plus you can find me on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. And under you bed. You don’t believe me? Go look…