'Once you begin putting your ideas down, don’t stop'

Lyra Shanti is a poet, writer, playwriter and songwriter and the author of Science Fiction novel Shiva XIV + I think she is awesome!

Look out for a review of Shiva XIV next week Wednesday.

Introduce yourself in ten words: My name is Lyra Shanti, and I am a writer.  
Your novel Shiva is obviously a Sci-Fi and your website background is full of planets. Why is it that you like looking up to the stars and not (perhaps) the sea?
 Actually, I like looking at both. Deep sea is almost like a universe of stars with its own amazingly weird and wonderful fish and largely unknown creatures. I actually made that exact correlation in the fourth book of my Shiva XIV series, though it isn’t ready for publication just yet. I still have to release the third book, hopefully this coming autumn.  
But in a science fiction environment, anything is possible. There are no limits to what you can imagine. You can have any species with whatever future you wish it to be, and that freedom is irresistible to me. The only rules you somewhat have to follow is that it has to seem in the realm of possibility. You still have to follow logic and scientific fact enough that the incredible seems credible. Other than that, the possibilities are endless.
One of the things I like about Shiva is how refreshing the characters are. Do you base your fictional characters on real people or are they completely your own imagining? 
I do a bit of both. There are elements of myself in almost every character, Ayn especially. I’ve also loosely based a few characters on people I’ve known. However, characters often come to me as if they were always there, just waiting in my subconscious for the moment to be born on the page. 
How did you come up with all the made up names in Shiva XIV, like Bodyana? Do you have any advice for naming for fellow sci-fi and fantasy writers?
Every writer comes upon names differently. For me, I usually hear them when I’m thinking of who they are. I imagine them talking, and the name comes to me. Again, it’s often a subconscious, instinctive thing. Sometimes I get stuck, so I’ll do some research online. It helps to have a knowledge about other cultures and myths. In sci-fi/fantasy, you are free to mix and match words and names you’ve known, but then combine them with other sounds that may be foreign to you. It’s one of the things I love about writing in the sci-fi or fantasy genre. That freedom is incredibly healing for me. 
What was your lowest point when writing and why did you continue, even when you could have stopped? 
My lowest point came during the first book of Shiva XIV. I knew where the story was headed, but my main character, Ayn, literally wouldn’t let me continue. I had “writer’s block” for several months. It may sound a little mad, but authors often bond with their characters to the point that they’re almost real. Ayn just wouldn’t let me write what I knew had to happen. In the end, I was forced to give him what he wanted, and I soon got past that delay, and have now finished the fourth book of the series. Yes, my fictional character sort of temporarily hijacked my brain. It happens.  
Have you always wanted to be a writer, poet, playwriter, songwriter and musician?  
I knew when I was seven years old that I loved writing songs and singing. I originally thought I’d be a singer-songwriter, and I still have hopes to release my own music at some point (I have about 5 albums worth of music!) However, I fell in love with playwriting when my mother exposed me to theater. She was involved in local theater, and at an early age, I loved the idea of dress-up and make-believe. I wrote my first play when I was nine, and I often forced my school-friends to be in my plays and ballets. I was like a little Really Rosie. I then went through an awkward adolescence where I gave up a lot of my writing dreams. I went inward for a while, and it took me until my twenties to gain the confidence to write again. I met Timothy Casey, who went on to become my partner in love and music, and we began writing plays and musicals together. I think stories have always been inside me ever since childhood, but it wasn’t until my thirties that I had the confidence to try writing novels. I knew I had stories that needed to be told. Shiva XIV was inside my head, and it needed to be born, no matter how initially scared I was to do it. I didn’t think I was good enough, to be honest. But eventually, I got past my fears and became more confident with each book I’ve written.   
Do you have any advice to teens in the process of writing novels? 
The first step is allowing yourself to try. A lot of people – teens or even older – can’t get past the initial fear. I know how hard it is to believe you have what it takes. But if you don’t try, you’ll never know. The second step is not giving up. Once you begin putting your ideas down, don’t stop. Never tell yourself you can’t do it. Just keep going until the story is done. Don’t think about rules or what has been written before, just get your own story out there. You can always polish it up later once you’ve finished.  
Describe your writing routine?
I don’t really have a routine for two reasons: life gets in the way, and I’m extremely freedom oriented. However, I may be rebellious in nature, but I’m also diligent. So, even if I don’t have a specific time and place for writing, I make time, and I often force myself to write, even if I’m dead tired. The trick is to know when you need a break, and let yourself take it. Afterward, get back to the writing. Don’t stop ‘til the story feels done. 
What was your favorite book when you were 5, 10 and 15 and why? 
Wow, that’s going back! At five, I didn’t read all that much, but I think my favorite book was Alice in Wonderland. If I recall, that was the very first book my mother ever read to me, and I was entranced by the idea of going to a crazy fantasy world, then meeting wonderfully weird beings who spoke in rhyme. It’s still one of my all-time favorites. At ten, I think I liked Count of Monty Cristo. I love a good adventure tale, especially when there is revenge and treasure. At fifteen, I was all about Hermann Hesse. I was introduced to Siddhartha first, and adored it. I went on to devour Damien and Narcissus and Goldmund. He wrote about philosophical loners who want to discover the meaning in this world through experiences of knowledge, love, pleasure, and failure. I was absolutely fascinated with his work. I still am. If there is any author who affected my writing the most, it would be Hermann Hesse.  
Do you have a recommended read? 
Well, besides my obvious love for Hermann Hesse, I also love the more well-known books such as the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Harry Potter series. However, lately, I’ve been reading more indie books. As an indie author myself, I made the decision to discover new talent, and I’m loving it. There’s so much out there! I just finished reading Daniel M. Quilter’s extremely fun sci-fi adventure, A Soul Divided. It’s his first in a trilogy, and I highly recommend! 
What is your favorite line from any of your works?
“Ayn knew the deepest truth: in the mind, everyone is free.” – The Veil of Truth (Book 2 of The Shiva XIV Series)  
Find out more about Lyra Shanti at her Website


  1. The advice about writing is so true! This was an awesome interview!

    Carrie @The Book Goddess

    1. Thanks, but it was Lyra who did most of the work for this XD

  2. This was such a great interview! Lyra Shanti sounds like such a lovely person to talk to!

    1. Thanks and yes she was :)

    2. You're too kind, Julia. Thanks!


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