Fiction Writing and Other Oddities

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Guest Author: Anne K. Albert

Do you like cozy, funny mysteries? Want something to keep you warm over the holidays?
Then you definitely want to check out Anne Albert.

Why did you decide to write?
Until I reached a ‘certain’ age, okay, middle age LOL, I never imagined ordinary people could be writers. It seemed like such an incredible occupation--this ability to create worlds with words.

It was the late 1980s, I was a display advertising sales representative for a small weekly newspaper and I came face-to-face for the first time with a computer. I fell in love with the sound of fingertips flying across the keyboard. As strange as this sounds, that’s what inspired me to write my first book! I love that sound. It’s music to my ears.

Do you have a favorite theme or message for your readers?
I write to entertain. If I can make readers smile, laugh out loud, or give them an ‘ahhh’ moment as they’re reading one of my books then I’ve succeeded.

When do you write/what is your writing day like?
My writing day is mainly devoted to promotion and marketing, I’m afraid to say. This came as a huge surprise since getting published. Like most people, I just thought an author writes a book, turns it over to the publisher, and then begins writing the next one. Whoa! Talk about a reality check. The publishing arena is changing, and so is an author’s list of responsibilities.

On the bright side, I’ve met some incredible people along the way. I really believe my life is enriched because of it. It’s a wonderful time to be an author!

As to when I write, I find afternoons and evenings are my best writing time. When I’m really in the ‘zone’ it’s usually after midnight!

What is the best advice someone has given you about writing? The worst advice?
The best advice came from my editor. She said promotion and marketing is a marathon not a sprint. That has really helped me to keep at it day after day. She also told me to stop applying so much pressure on myself to write the next book. I’m working on book 3 and having a much harder time in that regard! I wanted to have it released months ago, but that didn’t happen. Protecting Hope, book 2 of the Piedmont Island Trilogy series, will be available soon, however…really!

As for the worst advice? That’s easy. Years ago, before this surge in e-books, a multi-published author advised to jot down how long it takes to write a book. Then, when an editor asks, you’ll have a good idea.

It sounds like a great idea, but it’s no longer applicable. Promoting and marketing on Facebook, Twitter, etc. is a huge commitment. Having all day to write is a luxury few authors have.

With zero interruptions, I can write a book in about 8 weeks. I know because I kept track on both Defending Glory, book 1 of the Piedmont Island Trilogy, and Frank, Incense and Muriel, book 1 of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries. When I spoke to my editor about book 2 for the Piedmont series, I used that calculation/information to set a deadline. Needless to say, that deadline came and went, and I’m still writing Protecting Hope. I haven’t even begun to write book two of my mystery series…ack! I can feel my blood pressure rising. I have to stop and breathe… ;-)

How do you approach a new book? Outlines? Just an idea?
Definitely just an idea. I’m a pantser who writes to find out what happens next. That is literally from one sentence to the next. I have no idea who will say or do what, or where the plot will go.

Which, now that I think about it, may be part of the problem with Protecting Hope and why it is taking me so long to complete. I wrote the synopsis at the request of my editor before I’d completed chapter three. I realize I don’t have to stick to it exactly, but writing the synopsis first just feels all wrong! While I’m proud of Protecting Hope, I don’t think I’ll write the synopsis for my next release until after I’ve written the book!

How do you develop your characters?
I usually have at least one trait in mind for each character when I begin writing. He’s determined. She’s spontaneous. The villain’s just plain old bad! Then, as I continue writing the first draft, they do something that shows me they’re so much more than that.

It’s very much like meeting a person in real life, actually. You develop a snap first impression of them when you’re introduced. The second time you meet you gain a little more insight into who they are. With each additional encounter you get a deeper understanding of what makes them tick. By the end of the first draft, I know my characters better than they do!

What makes a great book in your opinion?
A fast-paced plot with intriguing characters works for me. I have to care about them. I want to hit the ground running and not be caught up with a lot of backstory. Add a mystery or murder to solve, a dash of romance, a laugh, and a satisfying ending and you had me at Chapter One!

Where do you see yourself as an author in five years?
Writing. Promoting. Writing some more! Oh, and traveling, too. Thank you so much, Amy, for featuring me today! It’s been such fun.

Bio
Anne K. Albert’s award winning stories chill the spine, warm the heart and soothe the soul…all with a delightful touch of humor. A member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and married to her high school sweetheart for more than a quarter of a century, it's a given she'd write mystery and romantic suspense. When not writing she loves to travel, visit friends and family, and of course, read using ‘Threegio’ her cherished and much beloved Kindle 3G!
Book Blurb

FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL is set the week before Christmas when the stress of the holidays is enough to frazzle anyone’s nerves. Tensions increase when a friend begs Muriel to team up with a sexy private investigator to find a missing woman. Forced to deal with an embezzler, kidnapper, and femme fatale is bad enough, but add Muriel’s zany yet loveable family to the mix and their desire to win the coveted D-DAY (Death Defying Act of the Year) Award, and the situation can only get worse. This cozy, comedic mystery is recipient of the prestigious 2011 Holt Medallion Award of Merit.

To read a sample of Frank, Incense and Muriel click here: http://amzn.to/pg67sx .


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Thank you Anne and Happy Holidays!

5 comments:

Anne K. Albert said...

Thank you so much for featuring me today, Amy! Happy holidays, happy writing, and of course, happy reading!

Anonymous said...

I love your interesting descriptions of how your books develop. This was inspiring. Thanks.

--BrendaW.

Amy said...

Thank you so much for dropping by. I really enjoyed the interview and I'm glad you did, too!

Anne K. Albert said...

Hi Brenda, when I first started writing a published author told me all I had to do was figure out how I write, and then write! It sounded so simple, yet took me years to figure it out. Now I understand it's an ongoing process. How I write changes for each book, just as I change through the seasons and years. Weird, huh?!

I wish you all the best with your own writing!

Anne K. Albert said...

I did, Amy, very much! Thanks so much for everything.