1. Tell me a about yourself. What got you started in writing?
I grew up as the daughter of a history buff. We spent every vacation and many weekends visiting museums and learning about history. My dad was also a closet writer who wrote historical fiction in his spare time. He is an amazing story teller and I always admired his ability to spin a tale. I guess I inherited at least a little bit of his talent. I ended up marrying another history buff. My husband encouraged me to try my hand at writing when he heard the passion in my voice about some of the stories that could be told about the things we saw in a museum one Saturday afternoon. I did and I was hooked. Publishing as an Indie was an easy decision by the time I had written my first few stories.
I try to make time to write every day. There are days where I only outline or do research, but for me all those things support my writing process. Mornings are when I normally feel most inspired, but I will always sit down to write if the mood strikes me.
3. How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?
I have an office with a desk where my big monitor sits. That’s where I do most of my writing. I like to see my words on a big screen. There are times when I take my laptop to my favorite Panera Bread for a bagel and some juice for a change of scenery. The library is also one of my favorite places to do research and get inspiration. I’ve tried to use dictation devices and that did not work out well at all.
4. What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
I love writing historical fiction. It’s easy to lose myself in the research and create scenarios that must have happened at that time. Being able to put those daydreams into words on a page is true joy for me. Putting characters I create into action and giving them breath is an amazing process. My least favorite part of writing is that it can be lonely when I don’t come up for air. I have to be aware of my tendency to withdraw from society when I’m deep into a project. It’s usually during the editing and rewriting process that I need to force myself to take some time to unwind into reality.
5. How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?
My ideas mainly come from my research. As I read about historical events, it’s easy for me to create events and characters to fit in. I don’t write about actual events, but I do use them as inspiration. My characters are often named after people who are important to me. I don’t always match personalities, but I do give them a small tribute by using their names. I’m writing short stories and novellas right now. The shortest time I’ve written a book is about ten days and the longest it’s taken me is seven weeks. (Wow! I have never personally done that). I always have several projects in process at one time so I rarely start one project and finish it in a straight line.
6. What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
A big part of my marketing effort is continuing to write and publish. I find that my readers are always waiting for the next one to be published and they let me know they want me to hurry. I also use Facebook advertising and from time to time some of the promotion sites. I have a Facebook page and try to interact there as much as I can. Every book I publish contains links to my other works and this simple addition has made a big difference.
7. What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
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I’m currently working on a Christmas Western Romance series of three books. The setting for all three is Wyoming with snow and good cheer. This series has been a joy to write and it should share holiday cheer with happy endings. All three should be published on Amazon by early November. I also recently published the eighth and final book in a series of short stories and novellas. This book is called “A Leap of Faith” about a mail order bride who goes to California to escape being under the thumb of her wealthy and domineering parents.
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
I am also working on a series about three sisters who are trying to make their way and take care of their mother after the Civil War. Their father was a chaplain in the Southern army and he was killed in battle. Their small Georgia town is weak and failing. The girls know they must leave their home town if they are to survive. The oldest sister plans to go west to marry a man who needs a wife. I’m still trying to figure out how the girls and their mother are going to get to their new life and what difficulties they’ll face. Of course there will need to be some handsome men for these girls to meet!
8. What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
I think practice is the key to gaining confidence. Write as much as you can, as often as you can. Find successful authors to network with. Learn from writing and learn from what you see successful authors do. Read as much as you can in the genre you want to write in. Take classes and read about writing methods. Learn to take criticism, but develop a filter to know which advice is valid and which is not.
My question for you is how do you learn about new marketing methods? How do you know what works without sinking a bunch of money into an idea only to find out it’s a bust?
What a great question, and one I get asked - a lot. You may not realize it, but most of the marketing you do doesn't have to cost you a penny. You may also not know that I've published a marketing book on that very subject: "Marketing Your Book on a Budget." This book comes out every January with updates, because there are always updates in the book marketing world.
A few ideas to get you going. You can make your own book trailers using Animoto.com. This is a great way to get the word out about an upcoming book or a book sale or even to announce an event you'll be signing at. Post this trailer on your website and make sure it gets out on social media. Book trailers are free at Animoto as long as your trailer is 30 seconds or less. Yes, you can have a short trailer that works.
Do a book signing in a place other than a book store. I sell most of my books at craft boutiques believe it or not. And make sure your book is on Amazon.com. I sell many books there as well.
Thank you, Annie!
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