Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester is happy to shine our Friday spotlight on Canadian author, Caryn Lix, author of the YA Speculative Fiction (Science Fiction) Sanctuary series.
Hi, Caryn. Can you please tell us briefly a little about yourself and your writing? How would you like us to introduce you?
My name is Caryn Lix. I’m a middle school teacher and an author living in southern Alberta, near the Montana border. I love to write and I’ve been doing it since I was a teenager. I did a lot of freelance writing prior to Sanctuary, including a book for Reading A-Z and a lot of video game reviews, but Sanctuary was my first published novel.
She also added: I love Japan and I’ve lived there twice (once right after university and once again just a while ago). I recently adopted a baby who is seven months old and amazing. I have the world’s most amazing three legged dog and the world’s most obnoxious boston terrier. I like to read, draw, play games, and devour sci fi in any form.
Where can people find your work? (Besides Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester–though they should totally check here first!)
Absolutely check Annie’s first! But aside from that, just about anywhere: Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Chapters for you Canadian types, and lots of awesome indie bookstores.
How can we follow your work and share your awesomeness?
I am most active on Twitter and Instagram as @missrithenay. I also have a website, www.carynlix.com. If you follow me on insta, you get lots of babies and dogs as well as book stuff, so… bonus!
For readers unfamiliar with your work, how would you describe what you write? What can readers expect from Sanctuary?
I often describe the Sanctuary series as a love letter to the things I enjoy. It’s heavily inspired by all my sci fi faves: Alien, Firefly, even the old Star Treks I watched as a kid. There’s probably a touch of cyberpunk in there somewhere, and then a massive dash of survival horror culled from my favorite video games. I still remember playing the first Silent Hill game as a teenager (to date myself), and that moment when you enter a room of phones and none of them work. You give up and start to leave and suddenly the phone rings. The camera zooms in and the music changes and… that moment stuck with me so hard. I want to replicate the feeling of that moment for my readers, the combination of dread and curiosity.
What character did you love or hate the most while writing? And why?
Like most of my readers, I absolutely adore Mia and Alexei. Mia started out as a Pathfinder (RPG similar to D&D) character that I was playing and everyone else absolutely despised because she wasn’t a “team player!” I was like fine, you guys hate her, I’ll put her in a book. Of course, Mia took on her own life and by now is quite different from the original character I was playing, but I fell more in love with her every time she changed. I identify with her spirit and her stubborn refusal to give up even when faced with her own internal cynicism. And I loved writing Alexei alongside her because they’re such contrasts, both so strong in such different ways.
What is/are your passions when you’re not writing? How do you make time for your non-writing hobbies/things you love?
I am known for my ridiculous number of hobbies and activities. My husband says if I sit still too long I’m afraid I’ll vanish into the furniture! At various times I’ve dabbled in knitting, taiko, pottery, painting, drawing, cartooning, computer programming, martial arts, yoga, dance, and a whole lot of other things. I study Japanese, read books, cook, all the things. As for time, well…. Being a lifelong insomniac certainly doesn’t hurt, but I also just tend to rotate between the things I enjoy. I’ll go weeks where I’m reading voraciously and get through ten books but don’t touch a video game or do a lick of knitting. Then I’ll get really involved in a knitting project and suddenly I haven’t read anything in weeks.
What has been your favorite adventure during your writing career?
Although it wasn’t related to writing directly, right after my second book, Containment, was published, I moved to Japan for a year to teach in an international school. What was really fun about that was getting to be there as both a teacher and as an author. I loved sharing my writing with my students (it was a bit old for them as I taught grade 4, but they were pretty excited to have an author as their teacher – way more so than my Canadian students!). I also got to talk to the middle school students about my book, find it in an international bookstore in Shinjuku, and now it’s been nominated for a Sakura medal, an award given to writers by international schools in Japan. So all of that was very cool!
Writers very often have furry or feathered or otherwise non-human companions to “help” them through their work. Do you? What do you have? How do they “help” (or, “not-help”) with your writing?
Oh yes. Yes. I do. I have a wonderful dog named Aleiah. She’s a three legged lab mix, and she loves to lie by me on the floor, my silent and constant companion, being wonderful.
Then there’s Archer. Archer is… a special little guy. He’s a boston terrier who thinks he’s a pitbull. We can’t go to the dog park anymore because of him, because he attacks every dog in sight. He’s twenty pounds of pure anxiety. When I’m writing, he stands on his hind legs whimpering and pawing at me, because WHY IS HE NOT IN MY LAP. Eventually I sometimes pick him up and then he sits on me, perched uncomfortably but triumphant, and gets in the way while I try to type.
Do you have any favorite foods or drinks that must be in the vicinity (or must be avoided) while you’re writing or editing a piece of work?
If I had my way I would never not be eating ice cream. Ideally with cookie bits in it. For obvious reasons, I try not to keep it in the house.
Thanks so much for answering these questions for us, Caryn! Also, thanks for agreeing to be interviewed for Annie’s Book Stop of Worcester’s YouTube channel!