What have you written so far?
I have published books 1 and 2 of my sci-fi series called Shiva XIV, but books 3 and 4 have been written as well. Book 3, The Riddle of the Gods, will be out fall of this year with Book 4 slated for release the following year. Adding to my Shiva XIV series, I have a spiritual fantasy novella called The Rainbow Serpent and a poetry collection titled Sediments.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
In the first book of my Shiva XIV series, the galactic world is introduced, and we get to know the characters, especially about Ayn who has the intense burden of being “The Bodanya,” which is his people’s term for “savior.” He knows he must save his planet from disease and war, but at the tender age of fourteen, he’s not really sure how to do it. By book 2, The Veil of Truth, the story of Ayn continues as he must find a way to survive outside the palace he was raised. As he grows up away from home, he meets new friends and foes. It also goes more in depth about why the rebels on his planet went to such extremes. I personally think book 2 is even more exciting and intriguing than book 1, and I hope readers feel the same.
Tell us more about your main character. What makes him or her unique?
Ayn is born on a planet that believes him to be their messiah, and at an early age, he is raised by priests who expect him to “balance the universe.” It is a giant task and one that Ayn takes very seriously. He is brave but vulnerable, and he hides a very difficult secret about his identity. I think his childlike vulnerability makes him unique among the hero/messiah types in most of the stories out there.
When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing stories, plays, and songs when I was a young child. It was just always in me. But it wasn’t until my mid-late thirties that I tried my hand at full length, novel-sized writing. I was quite scared, actually, but something in me called, and I felt drawn to creating other worlds and characters that needed to live on the page.
Do you work to an outline or plot sketch, or do you prefer to let a general idea guide your writing?
I do a combo of both. I usually let myself begin a story completely in the subconscious zone, allowing myself to write whatever flows from my mind to my fingers. However, at a certain point, I have to gather my thoughts, hunker down, and storyboard out what the plot will be. I have notes upon notes for my Shiva XIV series, and a lot of times, I’ll even list scene-by-scene what I want to happen in a chapter. It just depends though. For example, if I know that Ayn is going to have a dream sequence or a vision, then I will allow my mind to freely wander around, letting the character speak through me. But if it’s a huge battle scene, well, that definitely has to be planned out, and in great detail!
Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
I was greatly inspired by the poetic, philosophical writing of Hermann Hesse. His books intensely affected me during my teens, and they really shaped who I am as a writer.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I think there’s room for both, and each method has its pros and cons. I love the freedom and control that indie publishing can bring, but marketing one’s own books is quite challenging. On the flip side, conventional publishing doesn’t always mean they’ll market you any better than you would yourself. Despite loving the creative control of self-publishing, I am thinking of going the traditional route for my next series and just seeing where it takes me. I think being an open-minded hybrid writer is the way to go.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Don’t give up! No matter how difficult writing or editing can be or if you get a bad review, just keep writing, and don’t let anything stop you from realizing your dream! Finish that book and get it out there!
If your book was made into a movie, who would you cast?
I’d want unknowns for the lead characters, since I think it lends credibility when you’ve never seen the actor before. As for the side characters, I’ve always imagined Ken Watanabe as High Priest Meddhi-Lan, the priest who raises Ayn. I’ve also pictured Bollywood actor, Hrithik Roshan, as Lord General Hynfir Astire. He’s gorgeous and talented. He would be awesome!
What is your next project?
I’m getting Riddle of the Gods (Shiva XIV, Book 3) ready for the end of the year, and then I’m beginning a new series about a boy with a long ago past that leads him to dragons and wizards. I’m excited to do a more YA, full on fantasy type of story. I will also be finishing up a dramatic story about a tortured artist. I have so many stories inside my head, ready to be born!
How can you discover more about Lyra and her work?