Let me introduce to Sanzaki Kojika, author of The Dragon Pillars and The Archive of Sinners Series. You can catch her at couchcon.org June 25-28 along with loads of venders and artists, plus cosplay events, and panels.
Do you drink coffee or tea or both?
~Not a big coffee drinker, I mostly just drink tea. I like loose leaf tea the best, and I have a small stash of it. When I do drink coffee, it's always super sweetened. I prefer things like mochas and frappes over outright coffee. Not a fan of the bitter taste, though I do enjoy the smell.
How are you balancing writing, every day life, and this health crisis?
~Like so many others, I'm currently not working as I worked for a small business that had to close down. Instead, I've been taking on a lot of extra commission work. I try to write when I'm not keeping busy with that, but I have far less time than I do when I'm working regular hours. I just finished a big comic project, so I am hoping to have more time to write. Staying indoors and not really having the ability to go out and do anything else is giving me more time to get caught up on things at least.
What inspired your leading character?
~I actually went in without much thought to Garred, who is probably the closest thing to the main character, as there are several characters I feel share that role. As I worked with him, I wanted him to be that type of person people would meet and feel like they wanted to be his friend. I saw him as the protective type, which is why the Water Dragon who acts as a "shield" was the perfect fit for him. The only other traits I had in mind are that he would be stubborn and loyal. Basically, his standout elements were those couple traits and the concept of water.
If you could give advice to your younger self about this chosen path, what would it be?
~Don't be afraid, and just write. I was a very timid writer to begin with, and still haven't quite gotten over that hesitation, but you can't get anywhere without actually putting yourself out there. So write, write, all you can and actually let other people read it.
Do you watch tv shows? If so, what kind interest you?
~ I do actually watch quite a bit of shows, I use them for background noise a lot, especially when drawing (music is better for writing). I watch a lot of anime, but I also love supernatural shows, mystery shows, and fantasy series. I have abused my Netflix account quite a bit going through some of their great original shows. I don't have cable, so everything I watch is streamed. I'm really a big fan of folklore and mythology, so anything centered around that always catches my interest. Asian folklore is some of my favorite, and I watch a lot of series, especially anime, based around that.
What is the best part about publishing? Do you self-publish?
~ I currently self-publish, but I have worked with two different publishers before. Honestly the first one was horrible and the second one was better, but it became this weird back-and-forth by the end that drove me crazy. I retained the rights to my works, which helped a lot. Both of the publishers were during my first book trilogy, The Fall of the Dragon, and only during books 1 and 2. I opted to go the self-published route afterwards and have been pretty happy with it. I like having full control of my work and how it's presented. I'm an artist as well as an author, so I do my own illustration, too, plus even do my own formatting. Having someone take care of some of the busy work would be nice at times, but I love to see the finished product that I poured all of myself into. It's also been great to talk with other indie authors and hear their stories. With all of that said, I still wouldn't mind working with a publisher again, especially in regards to the marketing angle. I have a lot to learn, and as a self-published, every burden, including the financial, falls directly on me.
Do you fall into the author cliché` of having depression and/or anxiety? (There is no obligation to discuss this issue. It is something I struggle with and discuss on my blog.)
~ Oh, I have a lot of anxiety. About everything and nothing, so much some days that it makes it hard to do anything. Fortunately, not a lot of it actually comes directly from the author profession, but I have a lot of health issues, too, that can way down on me heavily. I've always felt that writing and drawing help escape that, so I grew to love them both. I've been getting my anxiety under control as I can, but for anyone who has it, I'm sure they can understand how that isn't really a simple task. I had a horrible bought of depression back at the end of 2019, too, a side effect of one of my medications. For two months I was horribly off, and it wasn't until I stopped those meds that I felt the fog lifted. It's a hard fight for everyone, and I feel it's okay to talk about it, for those who want to. In fact, I think it's good to. It's always nice to hear that people that seem perfectly "normal" or "functioning" suffer through the same struggles.
What do you wish to accomplish with your writing?
~ I write just because I have stories I want to tell. My imagination is always running rampant with ideas, and sometimes I just have to get them down on paper. I want to share them. I want to breathe life into them. For me, the greatest achievement is always when someone messages me or visits me at a convention/event and tells me what the story meant to them. I can see the way their face lights up when they loved something, and I can even see that look in their eyes when they talk about a moment that hurt them (I get a lot of those). I've had a reader who kept me updated as she read one of my books and it was so interesting to basically get live updates to her reactions as she went through it. I really want to give people the same feeling I got from reading the books I grew up with. That immensely pleased yet slightly lost feeling when you finish a good book...it's so satisfying, but it leaves you craving more. I want to help others escape into the worlds I build and come out feeling better and stronger because of it.
Sanzaki Kojika thank you for answering our questions. I'm sending you a virtual hug. You are a beautiful soul.