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article imageSuicidal thoughts reflected in Ksenia Anske's debut novel Special

By AR Vasquez     Dec 18, 2012 in Lifestyle
Seattle - More teenagers every day experience suicidal thoughts. Recently in BC, Canada, Amanda Todd took her own life after years of cyber bullying. Ksenia Anske's own experience inspired her to write her soon to be released novel, Siren Suicides.
With over 15,000 Twitter followers, Anske blogs and interacts with her audience as she writes her book. Digital Journal interviewed Ms. Anske to learn about her unique writing process which involves constant feedback from her social media followers, her thoughts and experience about suicide and what inspired her to write Siren Suicides.
When asked by Digital Journal how she feels about writing Siren Suicides, Ksenia Anske responds: Writing my book is the best thing that ever happened to me. Finding courage to write my book is the toughest thing I ever did in my life. Believing in myself enough to be able to actually finish my book has probably changed me forever. I know all of these statements sound impossibly grand, but that's how it feels to me right now.
The following is the complete interview with Ms. Anske:
Digital Journal:What genre is your book Siren Suicides?
Ksenia Anske: I think it's Young Adult Urban Fantasy. I say "I think" because I'm not sure. This is my first time writing a novel, and from what I've read and researched, this is the best category that fits it. Perhaps is can also be called paranormal, as some people told me. Some people told me it reads like magical realism. I suppose once the book is completely done, I'll know for sure :)
Digital Journal:What kind of readers will Siren Suicides appeal to?
Ksenia Anske: Teenagers. So far teenagers are the ones liking it most. Curiously enough, my 9 year old son also likes it, and some of my friends who are in their 50's also like it. I would say if you like fantasy, not the unicorny rainbowy happy stuff, but the dark brooding uncertain and at times horrific stuff with periods of intense imagery that is border-line poetry, I think you'll like it.
Digital Journal:What inspired you to write the book?
Ksenia Anske: I ran away from home at the age of 16 and have been battling suicidal thoughts, until I got pregnant with my daughter at 17 and gave birth to her at 18. She gave my life a new meaning, yet at age of 33 I started having suicidal thoughts again and decided to examine what it was that drove me to wanting to kill myself when I was a teenager. You can read more about it on my blog.
Writing my book was, in fact, part self-therapy, part an attempt to reach out to teenagers and hold their hand, hopefully stopping them from taking their life. And, even though my book is not published yet, I have managed to help one teenager talk about wanting to end his life - and I felt like my life was accomplished at that moment.
Digital Journal:Do you have a favorite excerpt from the book? If so, could you please share it with us?
Ksenia Anske: There are several places in my book where Ailen, the main character, fantasizes about affection that she would like to experience from her dad. This is one of those, probably my favorite for the moment:
"This is my lucid dream. My one minute of fantasy that’s better than nothing, worth every second, paid for with suicide. Daddy coming to change my clothes, to swaddle me up, to sing me to sleep. A private solo for me only. An exquisite déjà vu. He yanks me out of the tub, but I think he lifts me with a soft smile. He throws me over his shoulder, but I feel like he strokes my face, telling me what a bad girl I am to wet myself from head to toe. He bumps my head on the doorsill, but I imagine he throws me into the air so high that I brush the ceiling with the back of my head. He carries me into the corridor and enters another small room, drops me into a chair, rips off wet gauze, but I know he means to unwrap me, give me a warm bath, hug me in a towel, help me with pajamas and tuck me in, kissing my forehead good night."
Digital Journal:Tell me something about yourself.
Ksenia Anske: Well, I'm originally from Russia, Moscow, and when I came here in 2002, I didn't know any English except Hello, Goodbye, and I love you (which I picked up from The Beatles songs). Little did I know back then that in 10 years I'l be writing a novel (!) in English. This is how my face looks like when I think about it: O__O Yeah. What else? I have two kids, my daughter is in college and my son goes to elementary school. I live with my boyfriend and his three teenage kids, so our house is a mad looney bin type of place on most days. As of May 15th this year I finally decided to stop resisting my urge to write and quit my career to become a full time writer.
Digital Journal:Where or when is your book available for sale?
Ksenia Anske: I don't know yet. I finished writing Draft 4 last week and the response from about 50+ Beta Readers has been very positive so far, but the book is not ready yet, I still need to clean up many little details in it and am starting to write Draft 5 this week which should take me about a month to complete. In the meantime, you can follow my progress on my blog, on Twitter, and all these other places (wow, I'm everywhere!):
Blog: kseniaanske[dot]com
Twitter: @kseniaanske
Facebook: facebook[dot]com/ksenia.anske
Digital Journal: Do you have a marketing strategy? If yes, could you please share how? Was it effective in increasing sales or exposure? If not, why?
Ksenia Anske: I used to do social media marketing for money, so, naturally, my strategy is sharing my writing process via social media channels like the ones you see above, the main two ones being my blog and Twitter. So far it's been fantastic and self-esteem boosting. I have started timidly sharing myself in May on Twitter with 2000 followers, gradually gained confidence and now have 15,000 followers, which is crazy, if you ask me. I never thought people would be interested in hearing what I have to say. Based on my experience, I think every writer should hop on Twitter. The support I received there was fantastic. In fact, I think Twitter IS my support group, and, if not for my followers and their cheering, my novel would have never happened.
Digital Journal: If you were given one wish to make a change in the world, what would it be?
Ksenia Anske: I'd plunge us back into the woods, back to being hunters and gatherers, into screaming hordes of grown-up kids chasing baboons from palm tree to palm tree, living in the moment without dwelling on the past and with no clear picture of the future. Well, I'm kidding, of course, it's not possible. But for whatever strange reason I believe we were happier back then, about ten thousand years ago, before we started OWNING stuff. Before we settled, grew attached to the land, to our possession, houses, cars, things. I think this is where our violence started - when instead of killing to survive, we started killed for fun because we got bored sitting in one spot and growing complacent unhappy and depressed. My book is about teenage suicide and one of the issues I'm raising is the question of WHY are teens so depressed. What is the cause? That's my wish to change in the world, stop kids from killing themselves.
Digital Journal: Do you have anything you would like to say to Digital Journal readers?
Ksenia Anske:Be yourself no matter what anyone tells you. Right at this very moment when you're reading it, stop for a second and realize that there is nothing but now. Your past doesn't exist, neither does your future. Do what you want to do with your life. Life is too short to dwell on what others want you to do. You never know when you'll be hit by a truck. In fact, I've been biking home from work one evening two years ago when a truck hit me head-on. I woke up in the hospital and realized, I can't doubt myself anymore, I want to write. I need to start writing now, there is no tomorrow. And ever since then I've been the happiest I ever was in my life (though totally broke at the moment!).
Digital Journal: What is next for you?
Ksenia Anske:I want to write, write as much as I can before I die. When I decided to write, it's like a flood has been opened, as if my whole life has been a preparation for this moment. I've got eight more book ideas planned out, and more are circling in my head. It's crazy. To add to this, a whole new road for me will be publishing my books. I don't know much about it yet, as I haven't gotten to this stage. My focus right now is to finish my first novel, SIREN SUICIDES, and then research publishing routes, both indie and traditional, and decide which route is best for me. I'll be blogging about this whole process as I go through it.
Digital Journal: How can readers find you?
Ksenia Anske:If you type in my name, Ksenia Anske, into any search engine, there I'll be staring at you from the gazillion of links!
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