CHAT WITH JULIE STOCK

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Julie Stock is an author of contemporary romance novels and short stories. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme and an Associate Member of The Alliance of Independent Authors.

When she is not writing, she works part-time as a teacher. She is married with two teenage daughters and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.

What is your latest book?

My latest book is also my debut novel and it is a contemporary romance called From Here to Nashville. It tells the story of Rachel Hardy, who dreams of being a country music singer in Nashville, 4,000 miles away from her life in Dorset in the UK, and Jackson Phillips who is in the UK for his cousin’s wedding and scouting for talent for his record label, back in Nashville.

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Is your recent book part of a series?

No, it’s not part of a series, although there could definitely be more books about the characters in From Here to Nashville.

How did you choose the genre you write in? Or did it choose you?

I’ve always loved reading romance stories of all kinds so it made sense to me to write in that genre. The story of From Here to Nashville kind of presented itself to me, fully formed so I went from there.

I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?

I am just about to self-publish From Here to Nashville. It will be available w/c February 16th, 2015.

If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?

‘I Love You From Here to Nashville.’

What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

There is still the belief that if you self-publish, your book won’t be as professionally produced as if you were traditionally published. Most indie authors I know are working really hard to have their books professionally edited and proofread, as well as organising professional cover design. The Alliance of Independent Authors is doing lots of work to show how much pride indie authors place in their books, along with a number of other organisations around the world.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

I love the freedom you have when you’re writing your first draft. I find the rewrites after that very draining. I hope this is something I will get better at as I become more experienced.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

I write a first draft, without editing and when it’s finished, that’s when the editing and rewriting starts.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

I think you have to try and write every day, in some form or another. This could mean working on your current work in progress or it could mean writing your blog. My blog has been such a source of pleasure for me since I started it in 2013. I write a post every Monday and I take part in #MondayBlogs which has helped me make many new friends on Twitter, some of whom have become writing partners. I have interacted with a whole host of writers on Twitter and via the organisations I’ve joined and this has helped me to improve my writing as well. In addition, you should go on as many writing courses as you can afford and read everything you can lay your hands on to help make your writing better. I clip all my useful articles into Evernote and can then go back and refer to them whenever I want. You need to try and keep learning all the time.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

I started writing my debut novel nearly two years ago. I had an idea for the story and just wrote until I reached the end. During this time, I joined Twitter and found out about National Novel Writing Month in November. I took part that year and also used some of their Camps to help me finish writing From Here to Nashville. I heard about the New Writers’ Scheme run by The Romantic Novelists’ Association and decided to try and join at the beginning of 2014. I was lucky enough to get on to the scheme and had my book read and critiqued by a professional author. That gave me the confidence to push on and finish my rewrites. By this time, I was pretty much decided on self-publishing and so I joined the Alliance of Independent Authors as well, after hearing one of their members speak at the RNA Conference. Since September, I have sourced my own cover, had my book edited and I expect it back from the proofreader’s this week. It is very hard work to self-publish, there’s no doubt about it but I am pleased that I’ve had the freedom to do what I wanted to do for the first book and to understand how everything works.

Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?

I did invite a few close friends and family to read my first thirteen chapters before I’d even finished the first draft. They all loved it, of course! I found my first proper beta reader via NaNoWriMo/Twitter. She read my very first draft and gave me lots of detailed feedback. I also sent it to the RNA for a professional read-through. I then asked another RNA friend to read the final version after it had been professionally edited. I don’t think I would show my next book to anyone before the first draft is finished.

We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

My cover design was very important to me. I’d had a provisional cover for a long time and I wanted the actual cover to be very similar to it, just much more professional! I was lucky that my cover designers were very patient with my lack of knowledge about cover design and although it took a while to get there, I’m so pleased with the final result.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I live in a small, rural village in Bedfordshire in the UK. I would like to live by the sea, either in Norfolk or in Cornwall. I don’t think I’d like to move country, although I love to travel, especially to France. I did live in France for the best part of a year when I was at university and that kind of convinced me that as much as it’s wonderful to travel, it’s always great to come back home.

Trains, planes, automobiles, or boats

I don’t mind travelling by train, plane or car but I really don’t like boats that much. I can manage a ferry across the English Channel but you would never catch me on a cruise! I have a bit of an irrational fear of large expanses of water – Titanic syndrome perhaps.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I learnt the piano for a few years when I was young but I gave up. I really wish I hadn’t so that I could play confidently now and accompany other people. It’s so much harder to pick up when you’re older though.

What might we be surprised to know about you?

My degree was in French and I also learnt Spanish and Italian. My love of languages came from my grand-dad who was born in Czechoslovakia but moved to France during the war. I have kept my spoken French going all my life and as a result, I still speak it pretty fluently. I love speaking the language when I’m there. I hope to go there again this summer to the Alsace region. My next book will be set there.

What music soothes your soul?

I love all kinds of music but my favourite band of the moment is Lady Antebellum. I have all their albums and often listen to them on a constant loop! I was lucky enough to see them in a small gig in the UK last October and I’m seeing them again in March. My character, Rachel, sings one of their songs in ‘From Here to Nashville,’ along with a number of other country music songs and some of her own songs.

Music has always been an important part of my life. I have always loved to sing and in fact, I met my husband when we were singing in the same London choir nearly thirty years ago!

If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?

My husband and I are knee-deep catching up with Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones at the moment. We really enjoy them both. We also love the TV show Nashville which inspired my book but we’re not sure yet if the UK will get the third series. We’d be really disappointed if we didn’t get it!

What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?

One of my favourite films is Truly, Madly, Deeply with a very young Alan Rickman and Juliet Stevenson. I can hardly ever watch it without crying my eyes out. One of my favourite books is The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, which has exactly the same effect on me!

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From Here to Nashville (Amazon UK)

From Here to Nashville (Amazon US)

 

 

CHAT WITH CAROL ROSE

Carol_Rose

Carol Rose is an award-winning author of contemporary romances. She has written twenty books, including Always and Forgotten Father. Her books have won numerous awards, including a final in the prestigious Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Award.

Her husband and she married when she was only nineteen and he was barely twenty-one, proving that early marriage can make it, but only if you’re really lucky and persistent. They went through college and grad school together. She not only loves him still, all these years later, she still likes him—which she says is sometimes harder. They have two funny, intelligent and highly accomplished daughters. Carol loves writing and hopes you enjoy reading her work.

Time to chat with Carol!

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

I am a word freak and I love the characterization in writing. I write romance because relationships are most vital to me. I am, however, plot-challenged. This part is vitally important to how stories unfold, but I rely a lot on my critique group to assist me with this.

Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?

I’m also a consecutive kind of person. I like order and writing scenes in sequence is most natural for me.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

I need to know the ending of my books before I can functionally plot them out. If I don’t have this in sight, I tend to wander astray. Not a good thing.

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How important is the choosing of character names to you? Have you ever decided on a name and then changed it because it wasn’t right for the character?

I love names. I actually gave my two daughters four names each—in addition to their surname. I’m still apologizing for that. I tend to name characters early in the process and sometimes they come to me with names attached. I don’t think I’ve ever changed a primary character’s name, probably because I’m so focused on these in the first place.

Have you ever written characters that you truly despise?

This is a tricky issue, but I have to say no. Not that all my characters are nice, upstanding folk without personal issues. Nothing could be further from the truth. I just happen to find people fascinating, even in their imperfections. We all have needs and wants and challenges. My awareness of this is probably tied in with my other profession of therapist.

What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?

My favorite books are those written by word people. I like words and I’m fascinated by good—not to say literary—use of language. I have a doctorate, but I never wanted to write, nor do I like to read, academic works. I’m told that I’m told that I’m picky about characters being accurately depicted. I also like fiction that makes me laugh. It’s a weakness of mine that my husband is very grateful for—my love of laughter.

Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?

Yep. I have a critique group that reads—and gives strong feedback–on every book, chapter by chapter, as I go along.

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

I’m a morning—not to say early morning—writer. I can write at night when I have to, but it’s not my preference. I like writing at my desk in the office I share with my husband. My half of the room needs to be uncluttered. Clutter distracts me. I like flowers and candles. They’re just nice, but I don’t always have these when I write. And water. I drink a lot of water. Go figure.

How would you define your style of writing?

Not long ago, I spoke with a marketing person about this and really struggled. We finally came up with the word “snarky.” I don’t think of myself this way, but I’ve come to realize that I naturally tend to be sarcastic and ironic. Sounds mean, but I never intend it that way.

A lot of authors are frustrated by readers who don’t understand how important reviews are? What would you say to a reader who doesn’t think his or her review matters?

This is frustrating, but I don’t think readers realize how important reviews are, especially to indie writers. Our ability to advertise is based on reviews. On the writing side of this, I like knowing readers’ responses to the characters and situations I craft. Even if it’s not favorable, I still want to know. On the other side, really appreciative reviews have brought me to tears. Yes, readers. We writers want to hear what you think.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

My husband grew up in western New Jersey—the really pretty part. We love going to New York City. I’m a city girl through and through and I love visiting lots of cities, but NYC is my favorite. I currently have a daughter finishing her ER residency in Brooklyn, so going to visit is a wonderful coming together of good things. Naturally, I’ve lived my whole life in the hot South and my husband tells me that I’d die in the cold. (I think I’d like to try.)

What’s your favorite comfort food? Least favorite food?

Pretty much anything sugar. Gonna be honest. I love cheesecake with every fiber of my being.

What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?

When looking through some financial accounts one day, I realized one credit card had a huge balance of which I was unaware. When I called him about this, my lovely husband confessed that he’d found a low-interest card and borrowed a chunk on it. He then invested it in account that would make more money. This was even more of a shock because he and I had always taken joint responsibility for our money. Then he told me this money was to buy me the sports car after which I’d always hankered. Made me cry. I’d always driven boring four-door family cars to this point, but he promised me that from then on, I’d always have a car after my heart. You should see what I drive now.

What was your favorite year of school? Why?

The year I graduated with my Ph.D. in counseling. It was my favorite because I never had to go back to school again.

What music soothes your soul?

I’m a fifty-six year old woman who drives a snazzy yellow sports car way too fast and the music blaring from the speakers isn’t classic rock. I like most current music, just not a lot of rap. Not typical by any measure.

What simple pleasure makes you smile?

Sounds cheesy, but I really like spending time with my husband. He makes me laugh and although we married young, I’ve learned a ton from being with him.

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CHAT WITH JULIE SHACKMAN

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Julie trained as a journalist but writing romance has always been a dream of hers. When she hasn’t got her head in a book or drafting one, she writes verses and captions for greetings card companies. Julie says writing at home seems to be incredibly difficult for her — she usually requires coffee, music and noise!

Rock My World is her first contemporary romance novel. Julie has just finished writing her second novel (a rom-com) and is polishing that at the moment whilst beginning to do some research for her third. These are also contemporary romances with a good dose of humour (hopefully!). Julie is married, has two sons and lives in Scotland.

Rock My World New Cover - 27 March 2014

Time to chat with Julie!

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

All the time! They seem to take on a life of their own and lead me with the story, which I think can only be a good thing.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

I love just the whole concept of writing, especially trying to create atmosphere and describing my characters and settings – basically using my imagination.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you? 

I try to do a bit of editing as I go, but usually I concentrate on getting the first draft down and then the polishing and tweaking stakes place after that.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

Don’t give up! I know it’s a cliché but it really is so true. Read as many books as you can and take note of what you think works and doesn’t. I think you can’t be a good writer if you’re not an avid reader. Just try to find your own voice and keep writing. You’ll get there.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

Like many writers, I received a lot of rejections before I was offered a publishing contract. I got lots of positive feedback but no offers. It was disheartening at times but I just kept going until I struck lucky with Not So Noble Books. Years ago, I had two childrens’ picture books published but it was always romance that I wanted to write. I think being a writer, means you have to expect to receive rejections. Just don’t let them get you down. Read lots, write lots and persevere!

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

I love engaging with readers, other authors and bloggers, especially on Twitter – in fact, I think I’ve become a bit addicted to it! There are so many supportive people in the writing community and it’s an honour to be part of such a special group of people. The downside is it can distract you from your writing sometimes if you let it, so I try to be as focused as I can.

What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?

I just love the rom-com/chick-lit genre. There are so many talented writers out there and the plots and characters are so sharp, varied and imaginative. What I like least is the criticism that’s sometimes aimed at the genre. I think it is unjustified. I want to laugh, cry and escape when I read a book and this genre does all that, in my opinion.

How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?

For Rock My World I researched 80s rock music (which I love) and did a bit of note-taking about the politics and social aspects of the era, just to get a feel for it. It brought back a lot of memories!

Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?

I don’t tend to, no! I run ideas past my Husband, two sons and a couple of close friends but I don’t tend to let them read what I’ve written until it’s finished. I think sometimes that can kill the excitement of my work and I like to try and surprise people.

Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?

The feedback about Rock My World has been unbelievable! It is such a special feeling to know that readers love your writing. I’ve had comments from people saying they couldn’t stop thinking about the characters. Other ladies said they had developed a huge crush on Matt (my hero) and another said she got so involved in the story, she had to make herself put her Kindle away at work as she found herself taking sneaky reads!

Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?

I write verses and captions for greetings card companies. I’ve been doing that for a few years now and really enjoy it. The card designs are gorgeous and when I see cards in shops that have my verses in, it really gives me a buzz!

Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?

I’ve always wanted to be an author. Right from an early age, I loved creative writing and have always had an obsession with books. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, nor would I want to!

Are you an early bird writer or night owl? And do you have any must haves like coffee, chocolates, wine, music or something else?

I seem to be more of an early bird, not only with my writing! I think I have more enthusiasm and energy in the early part of the day.

I make sure I get out for a brisk walk every day, even if it is just for half an hour and have to have music playing whilst I’m writing. I also enjoy a nice coffee whilst writing – I love a good Latte!

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love listening to music; reading and watching movies, especially rom-coms. I also love getting out and about for lovely walks in the fresh air and spending time with my Husband and two sons. Family time with them is very precious.

Thank you for this fab interview Lisette! X

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CHAT WITH RACHEL HANNA

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What is your latest book?

My latest book is called Unbreakable. This is a new adult romance featuring a heroine named Sophie Morgan. After having a tumultuous time in her teenage years, her parents decide to send her off to stay on a farm with her aunt and uncle in another state. That’s where she meets our hero, Miller Rhodes. And, of course, sparks fly!

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What else have you written?

A lot of the books I’ve written up until now have been in the contemporary romance genre. Recently, I’ve also started to write in the new adult romance genre because I find it interesting to take characters from youth until they become adults. Often, these books are filled with more emotion and angst than a typical contemporary romance. For me, that’s fun to write. But it’s also fun for the reader because they get to go on a journey with the characters.

What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?

I think the greatest misconception about indie authors is that we are inexperienced. Personally, I have a degree in journalism and a long history of working in that field, so writing is nothing new for me. However, a lot of people think that indie authors are somehow lesser than a traditionally published author, but that is simply not true. There are creative people in all walks of life, and some people just haven’t had the chance to get traditionally published.

What part of writing a novel do you enjoy the most? The least?

The part of writing that I like the least would be just the beginning sections of the book where all of the introduction has to be done. I love to write the action parts of the book, so it’s hard for me to go through the early process of letting the readers get to know the characters before jumping into the action.

The part of writing that I like the most is creating characters and situations out of thin air. I especially enjoy writing dialogue as I think it lets readers really get to know and identify with the characters.

Some authors, like me, always write scenes in order. But I know some people write scenes out of order. How about you?

I write all of my scenes in order. It’s just easier for me to do it that way. If I try to jump ahead and write scenes out of order, I risk losing some of the continuity of the story or missing out on important facts that I’ve included elsewhere. Also, if I write the action first, it becomes even more difficult for me to go back and write the less exciting scenes.

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

When I start writing, I have at least some idea of how the book will end. However, I am more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer. Plotting and outlining is something I’ve tried, but it seems to stifle the creative process for me. However, before I start a book, I know who my characters are, at least somewhat, and I know what the overall idea for the story is. The title usually comes to me about halfway through the book.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

I don’t do a lot of heavy editing or revisions of my work, so the final draft is very much like the original draft. However, I do edit for spelling and grammar, and I do that as I go along. So I write for a period of time and then go back and edit that work before I start my next section of writing. I also run my book through a professional editor for spelling and grammar checks before it’s published.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

My advice for first-time authors is to just keep writing. You will improve your writing skills the more you write. You have to keep your butt in the chair and consistently put words on the screen in order to be successful in this business. If you allow people to knock you down or make you feel like you aren’t a good writer, you’ll quit too soon. Take the criticism constructively and use it to better your writing.

Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least-favorite parts of it?

My favorite thing about social media is that I get to interact personally with my readers. I spend a lot of time on Facebook and Twitter chatting with my readers, doing polls and doing giveaways of Amazon gift cards and other things. I’ve gotten to know a lot of my readers personally, and I know that they are a loyal fan base. I really don’t have a least favorite part of dealing with social media as I think it’s one of the most fun parts of being authors in this day and age.

We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?

Cover design is probably the second most important part of publishing a book. In fact, it might be the most important because no one is going to read your content if your cover doesn’t look good. I place a lot of importance on covers, and I hire mine out to a designer for that very reason. When I used to try to design my own covers, it was very obvious that they were homemade even though I used expensive software to do them. I think that most people should hire out for professional covers instead of creating their own even if they know how to.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I live in Atlanta, Georgia, and I was raised here. While I love the South and a lot of my books are set here, I would love to live closer to the beach. Maybe one day I’ll be able to do that! My big dream is to get a motorhome and be able to travel all around the United States anywhere I want to go at any time.

Care to brag about your family?

I have an amazing family. I’ve been married for almost 16 years to my husband, together for 18 years. We have three children ages 13, 12 and 10. They are turning into super people and are involved in lots of different activities including martial arts, music and ballet.

What music soothes your soul?

I love all kinds of different music, but I’m especially fond of piano music, blues and some jazz music. I listen to all kinds of music with the exception of very hard rock and alternative music, but when I write I like to listen to things that don’t have words so that I don’t get distracted.

What was the most valuable class you ever took in school? Why?

Being that I’m a writer, I would have to say that English class was the most valuable class I ever took in school. It was also the class that I always had the best grades in!

If you are a TV watcher, would you share the names of your favorite shows with us?

I do watch TV, and I get lots of ideas for my books from doing so. Some of my favorite TV shows… I really like reality shows like Survivor, Big Brother, The Voice and others. I’ve also been watching Days Of Our Lives since I was in the eighth grade, and we know soap operas can give you some great plot points for books!

What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?

Being from the South, it’s probably no surprise that my favorite film and book are Gone With The Wind. I’ve always loved that movie and have seen it dozens of times since they shared it to us in our classroom in the eighth grade.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

My biggest pet peeve is when people are late. I’m always early or right on time, and I can’t stand it when people are late. I feel that it shows a lack of respect.

What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?

The first thing is to dream big. I think that a lot of people put themselves in a box and don’t dream big enough to make real changes in the world. The second thing is to be kind to other people even if you don’t understand who they are. A lot of times we are unkind to people simply because they’re different from us. The third thing is to step out of your own problems and help other people. When you do that, your problems will seem small in comparison and you will be focused on helping them rather than what’s going wrong in your own life.

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CHAT WITH ANN SWANN

AnnSwannAnn lives in West Texas with her handsome hubby and three rescue pets.  All For Love is Ann’s first Contemporary Romance novel.  She is the author of the Middle Grade/Young Adult books: The Phantom Pilot, and The Phantom Student.  She is hard at work on Book Three, The Phantom of Crybaby Bridge. Though published by a small press, The Phantom Series is currently available only through the author.

Time to chat with Ann!

What is your latest book?

My latest is a contemporary romance/family drama called All For Love. It’s the story of a woman who will do anything for the man of her dreams. Even after she discovers that he just may be the worst thing that ever happened to her. It was published by 5 Prince Publishing.

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What else have you written?

I’ve also written The Phantom Pilot, and The Phantom Student. These two books are part of a series for Middle Grade/Young Adult readers. I recently reacquired the rights from the company who first published them. Now, I am trying to decide whether to go with another small press, or simply publish them myself. At this time, they are available only through me. I’m almost finished with the third book in the series, The Phantom of Crybaby Bridge. When it is finished, I will have to decide how I want them to be republished.

How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?

My characters do surprise me sometimes. I love it when that happens!

Is it important for you to know the ending of a book before you write it? The title?

Yes! I have to know the ending or I get completely bogged down. I think I just have to have that goal to work toward. Titles are actually the fun part.

Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?

I write as much in the rough draft as I can, but when I start anew each day, I usually go back and edit some things just to get my brain back on track. It sort of jump-starts my thinking.

Do you have any advice for first-time authors?

Pay attention to your point-of-view from the very beginning. I have a lovely novel in my “ugh” file that needs to be completely rewritten because I thought I could do 3rd person omniscient. Come to find out, I can’t. In my version, it simply devolved into whiplash-inducing head-hopping.

Can you tell us about your road to publication?

I’ve always loved making up characters. I took a fiction elective in high school, and I was hooked. In college, I won a few short-story contests and that gave me the confidence to enter other contests. Locally, I won quite a few (plus one in The Alfred Hitchcock Magazine).  Then I met an editor through my writer’s group, and she steered me toward small press publishing.

What do you like best about the books you read? What do you like least?

All I will say is that life is too short to read bad fiction. If it doesn’t grab me within the first few pages, I put it down and move on.

Do you allow others to read your work in progress, or do you keep it a secret until you’ve finished your first draft? Can you elaborate?

I do allow my critique group to read it, especially things I’m not sure about. They give awesome feedback.

Do you write anything besides novels? Care to share?

I write short stories and dabble in poetry (doesn’t everyone?). You can read a couple of each on my blog. I also tried my hand at self-pubbing a short story, Chems. It’s the tale of a chemically altered soldier who was given some of the characteristics of a zombie. I love that story, but I think it needs a better cover. I also don’t promote it like I should. It was sort of an experiment on my part.

Do you dread writing a synopsis for your novel as much as most writers do? Do you think writing a synopsis is inherently evil? Why?

I used to dread it. Then someone told me about this One-Sentence Pitch that made it so much easier. Once you fill in these blanks, then you can write the synopsis.

My novel is about ________ who must ________ in order to___

________.

Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?

I live in West Texas alongside coyotes, rattlesnakes, and scorpions.

If I could afford to live anywhere in the world, I would choose a beach house on a bluff somewhere in the good old USA. In fact, I love Texas, but I wouldn’t mind a vacation home for eight or ten months a year.

What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?

My husband surprised me on my birthday once by renting our entire community pool for the party—we lived in a small town at the time—and inviting everyone we knew. And somehow, he kept it all a secret!

What are the most important traits you look for in a friend?

Acceptance and an open pocketbook. Er, I meant to say an open mind!

Care to brag about your family?

Yes I would! My dear hubby is very supportive—he is my backbone. And my lovely daughter is also an author. She writes under the name Sara Barnard. You can find her work on the 5 Prince website, too.

If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?

I would love to have the gift of gab. I am terrible at socializing.

What makes you angry?

Abuse of innocents—human or animal.

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Email Ann at: swannann76@yahoo.com