Fun Facts 6: Interview with Sathya Achia
Updated: Aug 31, 2022
It's good to "see" you Write Voicers!
I really love our monthly chats about books and being able to do these interviews with authors like Sathya. I'm hoping that next year these interviews can be done on a Write Voice podcast, but I'm not sure how many people would be interested in that. If any of you are, let me know and I'll make it happen.
But, for now, I'm content with being able to share these fun facts with you via this blog. So, let's get into today's interview with the lovely Sathya Achia.
Fun Facts Interview
Jaleesa: Sathya! Thank you so much for reaching out to me for this interview. I'm so excited to
speak with you!
Sathya: And I’m excited to chat with you!! Thank you for the opportunity—I love the concept
of sharing these fun facts with you and readers! 😊😊
Jaleesa: I’m glad! I think readers like to know a bit about their favorite authors. That said, I
guess the first thing I want to start with is the fact that you were born and raised in Canada. I
have to ask, is Canada as nice a place to live as they say it is?
Sathya: YES!!! I grew up in a small border town in Southwestern Ontario along the pebbly
shores of Lake Huron. Talk about getting to experience all four seasons!! …Oh, but
winter…well, winters were the WORST! I’m not a fan of the cold, but I have to say, I’ve always loved snow and boy did we get a lot of it. Growing up, my family lived in this cul-de-sac, so the snowplows would push all the snow off the street and dump a MOUNTAIN of it in our front yard.
Besides experiencing the seasons, Canada offers a lot of outdoor adventure with all the
provincial parks, and Canadians are SUPER friendly and wonderful people. 😊😊
Jaleesa: I’m from Georgia where it’s almost always hot, so that much snow sounds unreal to me. But I’m happy to hear that the rumors are true. Since Canada was so great, I’m curious about
how the experience of moving to the U.S. as an adult was for you. Did you have culture shock,
or were you already used to how Americans do things?
Sathya: There wasn’t too much of a culture shock because I grew up in a border town and we visited the U.S. often. But once I moved here, I realized that the pace of life here moves at warp speed, and everyone is always on the go. That took me some time to get used to. Back home, the pace is much calmer and slower (including the traffic! Haha). There are some funny language differences between Canadian English and American English—like telling my friends here to put their ‘toques’ (knitted caps) on in the winter so their heads stay warm. My friends always get a good chuckle.
Jaleesa: I bet they do! Especially since people within the U.S. make fun of the accents and
colloquialisms of people from different states.
Sathya: My friends and fam here in the states say they can still hear bits of my Canadian accent in how I pronounce certain words—especially when I say ‘about’ (a-boot) and ‘home.’
Jaleesa: That sounds about right. Speaking of accents, you mentioned in our emails that you
spent many summers in India. Is your accent a mix of Canadian English and some of the official
Sathya: No, not much of an accent here (other than when I say certain words above). English is
my first language. I grew up learning French in grade school until I went to college. Because the
part of South India my family is from is very remote (called Kodagu, located in the Western
Ghats region of India), the language is a dialect specific to the region known as Kodava Thakk. I
cannot speak it well, but can understand/follow a conversation somewhat, particularly because
my parents would switch from English to Kodava Thakk when they were talking town or
neighborhood news that wasn’t privy for children to hear—and my brother and I were
determined to decipher the conversation! [Laughs]
Jaleesa: That’s still pretty amazing though. I would love to be able to decipher conversations in
any language that’s not English. It just seems like a kind of superpower to me. Especially since I
struggle learning new languages. But, back to you. Can you tell me more about your summers in
Sathya: Yeah! So, my parents immigrated from South India to Canada, and my grandparents
were still in India when I was growing up, meaning that I got to spend a lot of time there.
Jaleesa: I would LOVE to visit India one day. What are your happiest memories from there?
Sathya: I would have to say that my happiest memories involve listening to my grandparents'
fantastical stories of South Asian myths and legends and adventuring with my brother and
cousins through the rice paddies, coffee plants, jungle grasses, and banyan trees. And, of course,
I loved the wild elephants!
Jaleesa: Wild elephants? Don't tell me that y'all rode them?
Sathya: Nope! Wild elephants would roam onto the coffee plantations and walk over the fields.
My grandfather was never happy when a wandering elephant trampled the crop and caused a
mess, but he taught us to respect those giants and steer clear of them. He was all about respecting
the natural world in all its forms and so many of those teachings live on in me today.
On the flip side, I did ride an elephant once while we were on a jungle safari during one of those
trips to India. That elephant was no longer wild and basically living among humans. Riding high
atop one of those magnificent creatures as it made its way through the lush vegetation was an
experience permanently etched on my heart! Pure magic.
Jaleesa: Awww, I’m smiling just imagining it. Sounds like it was a great experience.
Sathya: It was more than half a lifetime ago, and I can still feel that sensation!
Jaleesa: Well, something like that is bound to stick with you. So, this is a bit off-topic, but I've
been watching the new Disney+ series Ms. Marvel. Have you seen or heard of it?
Sathya: Yes, I’ve been watching it with my family, and we’ve been enjoying Kamala’s journey!
I wish I’d had a show like that featuring a South Asian superhero protagonist when I was
growing up. I missed seeing fierce South Asian protagonists in books and media as a kid—which
is what prompted me to write stories about my East meets West roots—with the hopes that kids
like me, my children, and generations to come, could see themselves in the stories they reach for
on the shelves.
Jaleesa: Well, even though it’s only one perspective, I was going to ask if you thought the show
was a good representation of South Asian culture and history, but you beat me to it!
Sathya: That’s a good point to underscore—the show is only one perspective of culture and
history. Within the South Asian diaspora there are hundreds upon hundreds of cultures and
traditions and ways of life—the diversity within is incredible—which means there are so many more stories and perspectives to be shared.
Jaleesa: As a black woman I totally get that, and I definitely agree. I can’t wait until mainstream
media recognizes that and starts lobbying for more diversity. But that’s a topic for another day
because I could go on and on about that. So, going back to your fun facts, you said in your email
that you've practiced Ashtanga for more than twenty years. What is Ashtanga?
Sathya: Ashtanga is a form of yoga that involves a set sequence of postures, but you flow
through the movement, and it feels more like a dance versus standing and holding postures for
long periods of time. That’s what I love about it: the flow (hello, sun salutation—my fave set of
moves). There is a heavy focus on linking breath with movement and this centers your mind and
meditation. My practice really centers me. When I’m overwhelmed or have a bout of writer’s
block, my practice pulls me out of the slump and truly reinvigorates me!
Jaleesa: I follow Yoga with Adriene on YouTube, but I think her practice might be a different
version of yoga. That said, Ashtanga sounds like something I should try. Do you have any recs of
YouTube videos me or our readers could try in order to get a feel for it?
Sathya: Hmm, good question. The videos are super old, but Sri Pattabi Jois is sort of the
founding father of Ashtanga. Ashtanga Yoga 45 - 60 minute home practice (Modified Half Primary) by Pranidhi Varshney may be good for newbies.
Why don't you all give it a go? I know I will.
Jaleesa: Thanks! I’ll have to try that! I almost forgot to ask, did you learn Ashtanga while in
India, Canada, or the states?
Sathya: My first yoga teacher was my Mama. She’s practiced yoga for as long as I can
remember, but I generally didn’t have the patience for it as a kid. Then, in my early twenties, my
editor at the magazine I was working at took me to an Ashtanga yoga class, and now more than
twenty years later, I haven’t stopped.
Jaleesa: I find that sometimes we have to step away from the things our parents teach us so that
we can appreciate it more when we’re older.
Sathya: Absolutely! I completely agree with this! All the things my Mama would say when I
was a kid are coming back to haunt me. She was so right. About everything [but don’t tell her]
…And now, I’m attempting to pass wisdom on to my own kids—I’ll let them tell you how that
goes years from now… [Laughs]
Jaleesa: [Laughs] I’ll look forward to it. So, let's tell the Write Voicers a little about your
professional life. You've got a book coming out soon called In My Hands (which y'all should totally read!), but what did or do you do for your day job?
Sathya: Through the years, I've worn many hats in the communications field where I've told many non-fiction stories by day. For instance, I've worked as a journalist—specifically as a
health/science-medical writer and editor; in public relations for higher education and healthcare
PR; and healthcare advertising.
Jaleesa: Wow, that's a lot. But, I guess like my day job, it pays the bills, right? [Laughs]
Sathya: For sure! But I must admit, I have a passion for those many hats I’ve worn and continue
to wear. I love my work and I truly enjoy the communications field and telling all sorts of stories.
Jaleesa: I get that. My day job is as a Legal-Writer Technical Editor. The last agency I worked at
was great because I got to focus on my favorite thing next to writing: Editing. My current job
focuses more on formatting, which is okay, but I miss reading and editing stories. But, enough
about me. We're down to your last fact, and it's all about love. So, tell the readers about how you
met your husband.
Sathya: Okay, okay. So, when I was two years old I kissed a boy.
Jaleesa: I feel like all kids have done that, but continue.
Sathya: Well, many, many moons later we got hitched.
Jaleesa: That's really sweet. But is that all you're going to tell us?
Sathya: What else do you want to know?
Jaleesa: Well—and this might be a challenge—could you tell us (in five sentences or less) about
your romance from that fated kiss on the cheek to now? But, only if you want to.
Sathya: Our dads have been best friends since they were eight years old (they are 75 years old
now!) and have kept in touch all their lives. Our families would meet up every few years and my
hubs and I are born eight months apart. But it wasn’t until I’d moved to the U.S., and we met-up
(more than fifteen years later) that something most spectacular happened! We fell for each
other…made a life of adventure together, and now our amazing dads share grandchildren
😊😊…You can bet there’s a story about all that in the works!
PS: (kiss was on the lips … and we have a picture of our toddler selves!!)
Jaleesa: That’s amazing and I can’t wait to read that book! Well, Write Voicers, that's really it
for the interview. Sathya, was there anything else that you wanted to tell our readers?
Sathya: Thanks readers for being here—this was a lot of fun.
Jaleesa: It was! Thanks again for letting me and the readers get to know you through this
Sathya: Thanks for interviewing me, Jaleesa!
Sathya Achia is the author of In My Hands, which is a crossover of Tomb Raider, Wonder Woman, and South Asian myth. In My Hands is available for pre-orders on her website and will be in bookstores on August 8th.
If you want to connect with her, you can find her on IG, TikTok, and Twitter.
Do you have any follow-up questions for Sathya? If so, drop a comment below. Otherwise, don't forget to like and subscribe to The Write Voice.
Want to know more about In My Hands? Check out this review.
Thanks Write Voicers!
I'll talk to you next month when we interview Anita Kharbanda and Adam Sass!