- this yogini is a medical editor (by day) who escapes into writing YA, MG, and PB stories by night, featuring her East meets West roots, South Asian folklore, and nature.
Readers, let’s give a good, hearty welcome to this week’s guest!
Sathya Achia was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, where she grew up devouring books and playing along the pebbly shores of Lake Huron, before moving to the United States. Sathya’s creative work is influenced by her South Indian Kodava culture. She grew up spending summers in the remote hills and lush jungles of the Western Ghats in India, where she learned the art of storytelling from her grandparents.
As a young reader, she missed seeing heroes like herself—of two worlds and cultures—so she enjoys writing stories inspired by her East meets West roots, mythology and folklore, and the natural world. She believes in the importance of diversity and representation in children’s literature and creates stories of adventure and discovery for picture book, middle grade, and young adult readers.
When not spinning stories, Sathya can be found trying a new yoga pose, exploring the great outdoors, traveling the world, or wrapped up in her greatest adventure of all: Motherhood.
Sathya, thanks for agreeing to be here today. Most interviews start off with the boring stuff, but I know what readers REALLY want to know.
If you could have any pet (real/fantasy/no-allergies/no worries about feeding it) what would it be?
I’ve been lucky in the real-life pet department—my writing partner is our family pup who is the best critique partner a girl could ask for. I seem to always have her undivided attention and she just wiggles and waggles the entire time I read a chapter. She’s got this way of making me feel like a rockstar (regardless of whether she likes what I’ve written…Hahaha). She’ll pounce on me should she find a plot hole. Lick my face to oblivion when she approves.
Now, if I were talking fantasy pets … that would have to be a DRAGON!
I love a friendly puppy, but of course fantasy pets are on the table!
What do you write? And how did you get started?
I write diverse stories of fantasy and adventure for YA, MG, and PB audiences.
I started writing stories around the time I was in kindergarten—I had to do something with all my wild, overly-active imagination, so that meant pulling out the crayon box and putting what was inside my head onto the paper. And the stories just kept coming.
I’ve always enjoyed a good story, and I had the magic of my hometown library that my Mama was always ushering my brother and I off to. Additionally, my grandfathers were phenomenal storytellers. Their stories kept me dialed into my culture and traditions with the folklore of our ancestors in India. Told with the theatrical gusto that only they could provide, I lived for those summers when we’d go stay at my grandparents’ home in a remote village at the edge of a lush rainforest in the Western Ghats region of India called Kodagu.
My love affair with words and stories has never stopped—I’ve worked in the communications field for more than 20 years. I’ve worked as a journalist, in public relations, and in medical publishing and advertising. Throughout my career, I’ve had the opportunity to pair my curiosity about what makes the world around me tick with writing stories about those ‘A-HA!’ moments in a scientist/health professional’s life. It’s all so fascinating to me.
While my writing and editing during the day is non-fiction, by night, I spin fiction.
A lovely childhood and an excellent mix of stories!
What do you like to read?
I have a weak spot for fantasy, fast-paced adventure, and mystery/thriller, but from time to time, I love a fun rom-com. If the story is one that piques my interest, I’ll just dive in! I love other worlds and cultures—especially world mythologies.
Sounds like a great to-read list to me!
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that doesn’t work for you
Write every day!
Like many of us, I wear many hats and can’t always carve out the time to sit down and write each day. But, while I don’t physically write each day, I am ALWAYS working out character arcs and plot lines on some level, in my head. I do some of my best thinking when I step away from the computer, take a long hike with the family, or gardening, or just out in nature.
So true! I can do it for a month or so, but not forever.
Name one commonly accepted piece of writing advice that works for you
The art of revision.
It took me many, many, many moons to fully appreciate that the true heart of a story is found in the revision process. After I’ve knocked out that first draft and do my little happy dance, I let the manuscript sit a bit.
While finishing any manuscript is an awesome milestone, the true magic begins when I re-enter the world with a new perspective, and I sift and sort through the pages in front of me. At this point, I’ve had some chats with trusted CPs too, and I go back in and deep dive into the characters, plot, setting—really dissecting each piece, moving around chunks of text, and rewriting where needed. Believe it or not, it’s become something that I look forward to doing!
It’s not an easy process by any means, but I’ve seen my manuscripts improve and evolve remarkably through the revision. Embrace the revisions process!
So true! I love seeing what I can shape that rough draft into, it makes all the frustrations worth it.
Shameless Self-Promotion time!
Available for pre-order and coming out August 8th:
In My Hands
Sixteen-year-old Chandra S. Chengappa, a competitive classical dancer, passes for an average American teenager. But she has a monster of a secret: She can see evil in the form of the rakshasi-a demon supposed to exist only in South Asian folklores.
After discovering a glowing disc hidden among a collection of ancient Indian artifacts in her mother’s yoga studio, Chandra starts having strange visions of a past she cannot remember, and the kind of future she does not want. The ruthless rakshasi wants what Chandra does not realize she has-a map to the Golden Trishula, a powerful, celestial weapon once wielded by the Hindu Goddess Durga — that controls the past, present, and future.
When tragedy strikes, Chandra and her sister are forced to leave their hometown in Virginia and travel to India to live in a remote jungle village devastated by the rakshasi. With the help of a cunning fortune teller, a fashion-forward Lambadi historian, a handsome daredevil, and a kind-hearted cow herder, Chandra must forge ahead into the unknown and prepare for the fight of her life before the people and the jungle she has fallen in love with are plunged into a supernatural darkness forever.