Monday, March 25, 2013

Author Ksenia Anske: A Writer in Bloom

I am cartwheel-flipping, hand-clapping, unicorn-dust flinging, happy to introduce you to one of the most innovative and unique writers I know: Ksenia Anske.

What makes her so special? Behind that beautiful face, Ksenia is a courageous woman and YA urban fantasy writer who uses her writing as a platform to exorcise her pain and help others in the process. And nothing's off limits, as her 32,000+ Twitter followers can attest! 

Just yesterday she was interviewed by Book Riot for her innovation in book publishing. As of now, she plans to GIVE AWAY--yes, you read it right!--her first novel to readers who ask for it. Siren Suicides, her debut novel, will be available this spring. All she asks is that if you enjoy it, you consider making a small donation to help keep her afloat so she can keep writing. Any amount YOU can afford and want to donate. As a beta reader for Siren Suicides, I can promise you this: it's one you'll want to read; probably, even twice.    

What I'm even more thrilled about is that Ksenia has agreed to visit my blog today and talk about her upcoming work in progress which is screaming at her every day to hurry up and be written! AND...drum roll, please...she's also revealing its BRAND SPANKING NEW title!   

Let me introduce to you, Ksenia Anske, writing about the inspiration behind her next manuscript: ROSEHEAD

{WARNING! Ksenia is a very honest soul, and has disclosed some very painful experiences from her life in her guest blog post below. As she says, if you are of the faint at heart, you may not want to keep reading. But, if you do, I'd also add: grab some tissues!}
ROSEHEAD, by Ksenia Anske

This new idea for my novel has been brewing in my mind for months now, and, naturally, because I'm still writing Siren Suicides, I've been trying to keep it at bay like crazy, taking notes here and there, because I simply can't start writing another book right now. Once I do, I won't be able to stop.

Of course, I loudly complained about this on Twitter. And, of course, Colleen (who'd previously asked me to write a guest blog for her), requested that I write about ROSEHEAD and my inspiration, as in, where it came from and such. (Shhh, don't tell anyone, but until two days ago, I didn't even have a title for it. This blog post prompted me to think about one.) 

WARNING: Do not keep reading if you're of the faint-hearted variety.

Every time I want to call my mother back in Russia, I put it off for as long as I can. Because every time I call her, she tells me a horror story. A true horror story, that actually happened last month, last week, yesterday, or the one she's in right now. For me to even attempt to explain here the full extent of what she is going through and why, and what I went through and why, would take a whole book.

But I got distracted. Back to ROSEHEAD. Last year I called my mom to wish her a Happy New year, I think it was in December. And the first thing she tells me is: "Your grandfather burned my arm." I guess I need to step back here a little more. 

My whole life I have been led to believe, by my father, that my mother was crazy. They divorced when I was four and my father took me into his family when I was eleven, "to make me into a proper human being." So, in the past, when my mom told me these stories, I dismissed them. ALL of them. It was not until I remembered my own abuse several years ago that I understood: it was my father who was crazy, and not my mom. After this, I slowly started realizing that everything she ever told me was true.

Back to my call.

My mom picks up the phone and says (she doesn't usually do any social niceties, just barges into stories as her way of coping with them), "Your grandpa burned my arm."

I stop breathing and ask tentatively, "How? What did he do?"

My mom says, "He scalded me. With boiling water."

I still don't breathe, and still ask the same question, "How? Why?"

"Oh, he hates me," she says calmly, "and I came over to bring him food, so he tried chasing me out of the house, picked up the tea kettle, and..."

There was more, but for the purpose of this post, I will spare you from it. In short, again (I hope I can keep it short), this image disturbed me so much that I couldn't get it out of my head for weeks, until one night I woke up from a nightmare--a complete scene from ROSEHEAD--as if played out in a movie. I quickly jotted down the details.

What I saw was an old man, a typical, sweet grandfather figure, who'd invite beautiful ladies to his house for tea, then, as if by accident, he'd scald them with hot water, apologize, and lead them into a separate room to change, where he would kill them. Wow, nice, right? My hands are shaking as I'm typing this. One thing led to another. 

 The main character would be a teenage girl, of course, because it's like me investigating it all, reliving it in a way, back to the time when I didn't believe my mother. The girl, of course, would be an introvert and very smart, and she would be shunned by other kids (my childhood). So, she would have to have a sidekick to talk to, right? Right. I grew up among dogs, whippet-mutts, and I had a whippet as a pet recently. Naturally, she would have a pet, maybe a talking one? It would be a whippet. Panther would be his name.

And how would grandpa bury those women? Why, in the garden, of course! My great-grandma had wild roses in her garden. Bingo! Those women [he killed] would turn into roses (I don't know how, yet). And how would it all start? Well, grandpa would be this famous gardener and he would host a big family reunion, and Lilith Bloom (main character's name) would come and she would realize that the roses smell wrong. They smell like...well, like dead people.

There. I think this is enough horror for you in one post, is it? I'm starting to write ROSEHEAD sometime in May, after finishing SIREN SUICIDES in April and taking a little break. 

* * * * *

Thank you so much, Ksenia, for your brave story sharing, and for letting readers get a glimpse into ROSEHEAD and Lilith Bloom's life, and for the awesome title reveal on my blog. You ROCK!

Can't get enough of Ksenia? Connect with her at:

{Skull photo credit goes to LazyOasis. Whippet art created by Elle J Wilson and is available on Etsy.} 


  1. Thank you so much for posting this - it means a lot to me.

    1. It means alot that you would do this for me, and for our readers. SO many people will be touched and inspired by your post and your novels! xx

  2. I just posted an official intro to ROSEHEAD on my blog.

    1. If our readers loved this blog post, they will REALLY love your new intro on your blog! It was fantastic and so heartbreakingly honest and touching. Don't ever change. You have turned out just perfectly despite such a rough start! Mwah!