MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ANN LISTER!
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
My name is Ann Lister and I write mainly in the MM erotic romance genres, but I also have five titles in the MF romance. My niche is rock stars, which means most of my stories involve musicians falling in live. I have several series in print, too. The series I most known for is The Rock Gods Series. I am also the author of Guarding The Gods Series, Band Of Brothers Series, and The Illicit Heat Series.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
The release I have next is Book 9 in The Rock Gods Series, titled Reinventing Us. This is a story about my triad characters, Alex, Chase, and Danni who are in a committed relationship. Big changes happen for my triad in this story and it is deeply moving, but through the emotion in the story, a lot of growth comes from it and it has a wonderful ending. It’s been two years since I released a Rock Gods story and I’m really excited to get back to these characters! I already have Book 10 in this series outlined and I’m ready to get writing!
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I started out many years ago writing short, MM stories, then took a break from writing. When I came back to writing, I was writing full-length MF contemporary romance stories. Then one day I had a very vivid story idea hit me for a full-length MM story which ended up being, Fall For Me, Book One in The Rock Gods Series. From there on, I’ve mainly been writing MM.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I already had a lot of knowledge about the music business and what it’s like to be backstage, which helped to create a realistic plot for Fall For Me. The love story between Dagger and Ryan also had to be powerful and that took a fair amount of research to accomplish. In the end, I feel I wrote a strong MM, rock star story!
Can you tell me about your Series?
I have several series, but since I’m most known for The Rock Gods Series, I’ll tell you about that one. The series starts out with Dagger falling for a journalist hired to do a feature piece about his band, Black Ice. The band has four musicians and I wrote a love story for each member of the band. Their best friends in the music world are the guys in another band, Ivory Tower. That band has five members and I’ve written stories for all of them. There are eight books in The Rock Gods Series now, but Book 9 will be releasing in early October 2018. I can’t wait to share that story with the readers who have followed this brotherhood of musicians I created since the beginning!
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
I seriously do love every one of these stories. Each book is laced with pieces of my own life. For instance, Book 7, Beyond The Music has a main character with Multiple Sclerosis which is a chronic disease I also have. It was therapeutic for me to write my own life health issues into Lincoln’s story, and show how he deals with the disease and manage his life to a level where he is still productive and happy. There are other parts of myself in every book I’ve written and those who know me well, would know which parts are me.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
I managed to combine my love for rock music and my passion for a sexy love story between two male musicians. I can’t get enough of it!
Was it always meant to become a series?
When the inspiration for Book One came to me, I realized I could easily make this a series by giving each band member his own story. From there, I decided to write a spin-off series involving the security detail hired to watch their backs. Each of the body guards are getting their stories told, too.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
In the morning, I try to market a bit and respond to emails. The afternoon is generally dedicated to writing, but almost anything can alter that schedule. If I’m close to a release date, I might spend the entire day writing and not doing anything else. I work at home in a nice sunny office and I do have the luxury of having a flexible schedule since I work for myself. The one time of day I rarely write is at night. I’m usually too tired by then to form a complete thought, never mind write a full sentence – that also makes sense!
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
My next release will be Reinventing Us, Book 9 in The Rock Gods Series. That will release in early October. After that, I have another novelette length story to add to the Illicit Heat Series. That one is titled Billionaire’s Toy and it should be ready by November.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
My main characters names are important to me and I’ll toil over them sometimes. Other time, like with Fall For Me, the character’s voice was so strong in my head that he told me what he name was: Dagger. Once I heard that, there was no way I could ever call him anything else. I like creating unusual names that will stick with people which also have a double meaning. Several years ago for Book 4 in The Rock Gods Series, I wrote a character with the name of Rooster. His last name was Roostarelli and his band mates shortened it to call him Rooster. I thought it was safe to say the readers wouldn’t forget a character with the name of Rooster! Another fun thing I like to do is give last names to my character of people I know in real life. I’ve done that several times now over the years.
Where do your ideas come from?
My story ideas come from so many different avenues. Lyrics to songs, photographs, but mostly my stories come to me in dreams which have always been more like movies to me. When I wake up, I’ll have full scenes in my head, complete with dialog and I’ve always been blessed with the memory to remember these dreams, too!
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
The next genre I am going to tackle is FF. Many years ago I wrote a short story childhood girlfriends who find each other again years later. I never had that story published, so now I want to revisit the manuscript and build on the characters to see where it takes me. I might release this story early next year.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
Hands down the hardest part of this job for me is the marketing. Writing the story truly is the easy part for me and it doesn’t feel like work, either. Plus, I’m never at a loss for story ideas. It’s all the “stuff” that comes after the story is published that feels so daunting to me. That’s when this all feel like a job. LOL.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I love watching book trailers but only have one myself. Down the road I hope to have more though.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
I think my greatest accomplishment is the fact I’ve been in this business for as long as I have (my first book was published in 2009) and I now have 21 published books with #22 releasing in just a few weeks. Never in my wildest dreams did I see that happening! It’s as much a shock to me as it is to all my friends!
What’s the best thing about being an author?
Knowing that my stories have made a difference in people’s lives, touched them in some way, or maybe changed the way they thought about something. I’ve written about some really tough subjects, like childhood sexual abuse, depression, PTSD, chronic disease, etc. and I’m always floored by the private messages I get from readers thanking me for telling “their story” and putting a face to the subject. That’s when I know I’m doing what I was meant to do. This isn’t a job for me, it’s a passion so intense I don’t feel I could walk away from it if I had to. Writing is so much more than the story the author tells and that’s the best part of this gig.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
My dream would be to see Fall For Me and some of the other stories in The Rock Gods Series combined to make one incredible movie! I’d love for that to happen sometime in the next decade, but every author says that!
Have you always liked to write?
I’ve been a storyteller for as far back as I can remember!
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I would tell them to write every day – even if it’s just one sentence, a paragraph or one page. Just write and keep on writing until you find your voice. Once that happens, buckle up and hold on!
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
I’m an artist, so whatever job I did it would have to be creative in nature. I’ve had a lot of jobs in my life and most have been creative. Another passion I used to do was design and create stained glass pieces. I loved doing that and seeing the finished product on display. I have the scars on my fingers from that particular job!
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
Every once in a while I will read my reviews – the good and the bad. I don’t mind the bad reviews at all, as long as the critique is about the story and constructive. If I can walk away from bad review having learned something, that in my mind is still a good review. I once had a reviewer say they doubted I had graduated from Junior High English. That’s not a review in my eyes. It’s a personal attack against the author. But real reviews about what the reader liked or didn’t like about the story are always welcomed and appreciated!
What are you working on now?
I have several stories I’m working on right now. Some are near completion, while others are only in the outline stage, but soon enough they will all be published!
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
I wish I could share a teaser with you, but so much about this story would give away the plot and this close to release I just can’t risk that.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
This genre chose me. The idea for the first full-lenght MM story hit me so hard I simply could not ignore that. There was something there that I just had to write and I’m so happy I listened to the voices of those characters! Writing that series has been one hell of a ride!
Where did your love of books come from?
As a kid, books were the ultimate escape for me. I could fall into a story and disappear into the world the author had created. It saved me back then so many times and I’m honored to be able to offer that escape to readers now with my own stories.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Too many to list and it wouldn’t be fair to the others that I may forget to mention.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
I get asked this question a lot and it really is like asking to pick your favorite child. I love all my characters because there are parts of myself in each of them. That’s the best way I can answer that question.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing the story is exhilarating to me, but my eyes get tired from staring at a computer screen all day.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Distractions of any kind will quickly derail my writing mojo and sometimes it’s difficult to get back into the right head space again to finish writing that day.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I think I have enough books in print now that readers have a very good idea of what kind of a story they can expect by reading one of my books. My books are always emotional, and very erotic stories, with a nice dusting of humor and angst to keep the pot simmering. I write from my heart and I think that shines through in my story lines.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
My best friend in the author world passed away suddenly last year. Our friendship grew out of her mentoring me in all the different aspects of this book business. I have her to thank for getting me started on the right path. But there have been other authors who have been a great influence for my writing and also my business. Ella Frank and Brooke Blaine have been an enormous support for me, as has TL Travis, Mary Wasowski, and Rebecca Thein.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
I’d call it: “Watch Out For The Quiet Ones”
Where can your fans find you and follow??
I’m all over most social media sites and easily found – or stalked there. LOL.
My website is: www.annlister-author.com
My Author Page on Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAnnLister/?ref=bookmarks
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤
And, many thanks to you for allowing me to babble on about myself while I answered all these really good questions! Your support is greatly appreciated! Xx