Well, first off let's meet the writers herself. Describe yourself, what you write, and any miscellaneous tidbits the readers might like to hear. :)
This is a very tough question! I describe myself as a writer of paranormal
and historical romance...I love both. I also have to say I never wanted to
be a writer when I was young as so many authors say. In fact, I hated
writing in high school and college. Give me a theme (or an interview : ) and
I freeze. I'm never sure what to say.
But I do know that I like to tell stories and entertained my little sister
with stories before we went to bed at night as well as making up stories for
my son and daughter. I think I also told my mother a few stories about
where I was on a few Friday nights...but that's a different story, so to
speak : )About me...
I was born in England and raised in the Phila. area. My dad was in the
British Royal Navy and my mom is of a Scottish background. I grew up with
tales of England and have been back for visits to family. I love the
castles, cathedrals, and immense sense of history there. I like to use the
places I visit in my stories as well. My husband and I have traveled
extensively in the United States and I use my favorite places as settings in
both my historical and paranormal books--altered for the alternative reality
books, of course. I like to "feel" the settings, "hear" what's going on and
When did you first start writing, and what's your writing background been like?
I have no formal writing background other than the obligatory college
courses. I have a teaching background (in my "other" life, I teach fifth
grade.) I started writing when I got a laptop and it's just blossomed from
there. I can't write at a desk, so mostly, I write in bed, at the kitchen
table with my daughter as she does her homework and so on...BR>
What jobs have you held, and how have they influenced your writing, if at all?
I've been teaching for over twenty years. I do use my teaching skills when I
give a workshop etc, but I'd say my writing has more been influenced by my
students rather than the other way around.
I've really learned, through examining my own work, how to get across some
writing techniques to kids. And I can't say enough about the freedom of
thought I find in children. They aren't thinking about guidelines and are not
afraid to try new ideas. It's so refreshing to read their work or just toss
out an idea and watch that idea bloom into something terrific. I'm probably
too easy a grader as a result of my writing...I know how hard writing can be
and a "budding" writer will always get the benefit of the doubt from me.BR>
How on earth do you think up such wonderful characters!? I have to admit, I'm in love with Vad, but your characters are all very awesome.
First, thank you for the compliment! Unfortunately, I don't know where they
come from! Somewhere in my brain, I guess. I picture my brain as this
marvelous swamp and things just bubble to the top and pop out! I definitely
don't use real people. That said, my husband is one of my personal
heroes--and I do try to put some of his qualities in my heroes for
Dorchester's Perfect Heroes line.
What books and authors do YOU like to read?
Wow. I could fill a page with this answer! I'm an eclectic reader. I love
time-travel/paranormal and historical romance best. I read Gabaldon, Terri
Brisbin, Tracy Fobes, Lindsey, Lowell, Quick, Woodiwiss (author I started
with) ... Gee I could go on for days. I especially like to try out a new
author. I like to get my recommendations from friends whose taste is like
mine. I do read other genres as well: Anything Dick Francis, Nelson
Demille, John Sandford, Stephen King...
I've found that when I'm writing, I tend to read non-fiction stuff for the
time period like letters, journals, biographies of historical figures,
research stuff. I can't start a book while I'm writing or the writing stops
and the reading goes on until I finish the book. Which is not good when
there's a deadline looming :)
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Write write write. I think the most important thing you can do is write
constantly. Some days the writing will end up in the trash file, but no
matter what, be disciplined and do it. I also recommend contests, ones that
offer an entree to an editor. That's how I sold my first book. I entered
the Golden Heart, finalled in that and then went on to enter a contest by the
Valley Forge Romance Writers with the same manuscript and the editor who judge
d the contest bought the book. So I didn't really go through the usual send
it out, get it rejected stuff. I had not yet gotten up the nerve to start
sending it out... I'm not the world's most confident person. I have a
wonderful critique group that pushes me to be better...work harder...and
without them, I never would have put my work before the public.
What is your next book(s), and when is it/they due out?
My next book is called VIRTUAL DESIRE (0-505-52393-0) and is due out August
of 2000. It's another virtual-reality book and features Vad who was the
friend of the hero in my first book, VIRTUAL HEAVEN. It's a quest story and
I hope the readers will like it. I had a lot of fun with Vad who is too
good-looking to be believed. What a tough life he leads...all that adoration
: ) Readers can check out an excerpt on my website and I've just put up the
I'm working up a proposal for my fourth "perfect hero" book for Dorchester.
I've got one that is about Gabriel d'Anjou from LORD OF THE KEEP, but I also
have ideas for another virtual-reality story churning around. It will depend
on what my editor wants next. Hopefully, both : )
What attracts you to the paranormal?
Good question. I like danger and risk taking I
suppose. Writing about it is a good outlet. There's
a lot of romance in dark and dangerous and you get
tormented heros. Definitely my kind of thing. I
like the unknown and the worlds I can create. I'm not
a sci-fi writer, although I love reading it and wish
for romances in it, but with shapeshifting I can
create unusual and wonderful worlds right here.
What attracts you to paranormal, or I guess in your case fantasy, romances?
I love the idea of possibilities. My agent and I discussed this once and he
told me that writing horror and romance are almost the same experience. Both
are emotional journeys for the reader, one a journey to be frightened, one a
journey to fall in love. I liked that idea. He then went on to say mystery
and sci-fi were also similar writing experiences. Both are an intellectual
exercises the reader goes through--one to unwrap a puzzle, one to open the
mind to new concepts. I think in some ways paranormal romance lets me
combine both those emotional and intellectual experiences. I get to combine
the incredible emotions of falling in love with a new possiblity--entering a
virtual reality game.
How much luck have you had in getting published? How long did it take
your first book to be published?
I guess I answered this in #6 except the how long...I sold VIRTUAL HEAVEN in
1997, but because it was one of the launch books for the "Perfect Heroes"
line, it wasn't going to come out until 1999! That was a tortuous 2-year
wait. I could say I sold a book, but it wasn't out anywhere! Also, because
VIRTUAL HEAVEN had no sales figures and the virtual-reality world made it
unique, the publisher wouldn't commit to a sequel, so that's why I sent them
LORD OF THE KEEP! Then I heard nothing for a long time...I remember well
that I had to call my editor about a workshop I was doing on perfect heroes
to ask her to describe what the perfect hero line was looking for in case any
writers asked about submitting to the line. We had a wonderful talk about
heroes and she kept referring to Gilles in LORD OF THE KEEP and I said, does
this mean you like the book? She laughed and said yes, she wanted to buy him
. . . it! I was tickled pink to have sold my second book before the first
one was even out. And although LORD OF THE KEEP is not paranormal, it has
that "over the top" hero element that she was looking for.
You picked a very unconventional way to introduce the hero: a virtual
reality game? That is definitely an original theme! How did you come up with
the idea, and what has been the fan comments on it?
Thankfully, the fan comments have been overwhelming in favor of it and I hope
they let my editor know : ) It all started when I was watching my daughter
play a game where she appeared to be underwater swimming about to grab gold
coins. Sharks were going by etc. Well, I'm watching this on a screen (she's
in a little booth) and I was really getting into it and thinking "Wow, what
if she got sucked into the game?" The idea for VIRTUAL HEAVEN just bloomed
from there. Of course, the game *I'd* want to be sucked into would have to
have warriors and quests and swords and all my favorite stuff... So,
that was the seed of the idea. Add to that my love of legend and you have
Lord of the Keep
A novella in Paradise
Ann Lawrence's Website