Ann, are you a panster or a plotter? How do you approach a new idea?
I’d love to claim “plotter”, so I could avoid the whole “panster” thing. That word makes me cringe, because it sounds like “panties”. And we all know “panties” are underwear with itchy lace and hideous pink and yellow flowers on them. So ugly.Plus, if I were a plotter, I’d be cool like J.K. Rowling.Unfortunately, my outlines only pen me in, and I end up arguing with them. Plus my characters are disobedient. On the other hand, I have a hard time writing chapters out of order. It feels dirty. Like I’m cheating somehow. So I’m a little of both. I know where to start and have an idea of how it all ends. Writing each chapter helps connect the dots.
Do you have the same critique partners for all your work or do you have different sets? And why?
I currently have two sets of CPs. One on-line and one in person. Why two? Because I’m impatient, and want to work on my WIP all the time. My CPs are vital to my writing career and my sanity.
Along with CPs, I’m lucky to have several wonderful beta readers. They each contribute something different, pointing out what elements in my manuscript need tweaking (that’s “tweaking”, not “twerking” don’t get confused). One lifelong friend is a cheerleader. That’s something every writer needs. There’s enough rejection in this business.
When I started, I wrote in a vacuum, which is a big waste of time. Now I’ve got so much support and help, it’s wonderful. Yes, at times you can receive conflicting opinions, but that’s when you have to decide as the author what is right for your book.
What is the most difficult aspect about being a writer? How do you manage to find to write with your schedule?
Time management is difficult. I squeeze writing in when I can, here and there, little bits at a time. It’s not a perfect system. For one thing, I should get more sleep, but it’s the one time the house is quiet.
What are your top three nuggets of wisdom you would like to share with unpublished writers?
1) join a writing critique group
2) make sure the critique group provides you with good quality, respectful feedback
3) give the same level of feedback in return
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
Meeting all the characters, the excitement of figuring out exactly what happened, and making myself laugh on the page. (That last one might make me sound like a weirdo. Too bad.)
Do you have other stories in the works?
Book two of the Under the Blood Moon series is getting close to finished. The title is HOW TO DITCH DEAD GUYS.
I just finished the first draft and a full book edit on a Young Adult dystopian. I wish I could tell you the title, but it always takes me forever to settle on one. It drives me (and probably my critique partners) nuts.
I wrote a blog about self-doubt being a new demon I encountered. Do you have any writing demons?
Writing demons don’t scare me. Degenerative neurological diseases do. My mother has Alzheimer’s. Sometimes I wonder how much time my brain has left. Nothing else seems terrifying when compared with that. I need to make the most of my life before I’m gone.
If someone wrote a book about your life, who would star as you?
Could I please choose Helena Bonham Carter, along with her hairdresser from the movie Room with a View? (see attachment) I’d love for people to believe I have that much lovely hair. Author Bio:
My to-do list dictates that I try to cram 48 hours of living into a day instead of the usual 24. I’ve chosen a life filled with animals. I train for marathons with my dog, then go to work as a small animal veterinarian, and finish the day by tripping over my pets as I attempt to convince my two unruly children that YES, it really IS time for bed. But I can’t wait until the house is quiet to write; I have to steal moments throughout the day. Ten minutes here, a half hour there, I live within my imagination.
Like all busy American mothers, I multi-task. I work out plot holes during runs. Instead of meditating, I type madly during yoga stretches. I find inspiration in everyday things: a beautiful smile, a heartbreaking song, or a newspaper article on a political theory. For example, a long drive in the dark listening to an NPR program on the SMILEY FACE MURDERS theory made me ask so many questions that I wrote HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS to answer them to my satisfaction.
I’d love to have more time to write (and run, read, and sleep), but until I find Hermione Granger’s time turner, I will juggle real life with the half-written stories in my head. Main characters and plot lines intertwine in my cranium, and I need to let my writing weave the tales on paper so I can find out what happens next.
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Series: Under The Blood Moon
Genre: new-adult, urban-fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: July 15th, 2014
College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice: “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts”. But when charming Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.
Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back. Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell. The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury. As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he isn’t the only one.
Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a desperate victim determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first. More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows. Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.
Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will ignite the secret powers hidden deep within each of us.