MY INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ANNA L. WALLS
What’s your name and what genre would you consider your books to be?
I mostly write straight up fiction, but I’ve hit on science fiction a little, and I’ve touched on what might be considered western. I pretty much write what comes pouring out at the time.
Tell me about your book. How did you come up with that (story, angle, idea)?
Most of my books came about because of some odd dream I had (I seldom have normal dreams), but some were just a mood that moved me and I decided to create a character and just write.
How did you get interested in writing this particular genre (historical novels, mysteries, sci-fi, children’s books, etc.)?
I write what I like to read, and ever since I moved to the wilderness, and far from any bookstore, I’ve learned to read a lot of different genre. I will always have my favorites, but I appreciate other styles too.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I think possibly my largest kind of research would be setting. I love maps, and most of my books take place in some kind of real world setting – it gives me distances and mountains and roads I can use. There is a table in Dungeons and Dragons which tells me how fast a person can travel over the different kinds of terrain and using different modes of transportation (not counting motorized vehicles)
Can you tell me about your Series?
My series – The Making of a Mage King – came out in one whole chunk (sorta). It did, however, naturally fall into three parts, and since I was such a newbie, everywhere I looked, they told me no one would publish that book under one cover, but a series is very popular, so I was willing to do that. It has always been my best seller, even after my publisher went out of business. Since publishing on my own, I’ve republished the series under brand new covers, and I’ve even published it under a single cover – I don’t think that one has sold at all, but it’s out there.
Do you have a favorite book out of this series?
Writing that book was such an adventure for me – I can’t claim a favorite. Start at the beginning and buckle your seat-belt.
Where did you get the inspiration/idea for your series?
This book was one of those times when I just created this character. Your average American city boy who grew up in New York – you can’t get much more city than that, in my opinion. Only thing is, he really wasn’t from here. And that was the beginning. I had to answer all those questions: Where did he come from? Why was he here? Who was he really? And then as the story developed, how would your average american city boy handle all those things that were thrown at him?
What kind of research did you do for this book?
This is one of those books where I needed landscape, and with the help of that landscape, I had different societies to meet, and destinations to reach in self imposed time constraints, and obstacles to overcome. Of course, I didn’t know why I had those time constraints until like three quarters of the way through the book.
Was it always meant to become a series?
It was a single story, but at well over a thousand pages, it had to be divided. It was kinda like the Lord of the Rings series. Tolkien had always wanted that book to be under a single binding, and I think it was better that way. I think the same about this book – it’s better under a single binding, but it works as a series.
What’s a typical working day like for you? When and where do you write? Do you set a daily writing goal?
I like writing when it’s quiet, and I’m a morning person, so that works out well for me since no one else in my family is a morning person. This series, however, pretty much took over my life. Many’s the times when I’d be up at like three or four in the morning writing the next scene. Lately though, I write when quiet strikes.
Do you have a new book in the making and if so, what’s the name of your upcoming book?
Currently, a story I’ve so far dubbed The Secret Agent’s Secret is rolling along nicely. I usually reserve a page count of one hundred pages before dividing it into chapters, but this one had distinct cuts just crying for chapter headings. At the moment it is 109 pages long, and growing by the day. I just have to figure out how my girl is going to be a secret agent.
How important are character names to you in your books? Is there a special meaning to any of the names?
Names are pretty much my weakness. It would seem that I have a few set in concrete in my brain, but I do try not to use the same names from book to book. For my more exotic names, I turn to a name list I have from Dungeons and Dragons (I do like that game, but it’s full of information to make the game realistic) My one sci-fi – The Speed of Dreams – makes good use of this list. For most of my names, I turn to, of all places, the dictionary.
Is there a genre that you’ve been wanting to experiment with?
I have an idea which has been seeded with dystopian-type dreams. This one may develop at some point. We’ll have to see how the mood moves me.
What is the hardest part of writing for you?
I’ve been known to get stuck from time to time, but mostly it’s because I don’t have enough time to think of a transitioning idea. My quiet times can sometimes be few and far between.
What do you think of book trailers? Do you have a trailer or do you intend to create one for your own book?
I think book trailers can be awesome. I had an awesome one for my trilogy way back when, but it’s content is now way out of date. I might make one for each of my books, but really I have no idea how to do that, and I just don’t have the finances to pay for it either.
What do you consider to be your best accomplishment?
My best accomplishment? That would have to be actually publishing my first book. You can pick either one: King by Right of Blood and Might – my very first published book, published through AuthorHouse (A choice I would not recommend to a beginner, but it is one of the better choices out there), still available from me through my website, but now republished by me under a new cover – Crown of Steel. Or the first book I published through Amazon’s CreateSpace, The Fortunes of Magic, which first came out as a blog novel, and is still available there.
What’s the best thing about being an author?
As an avid reader, I’d have to say the best thing about being an author is reading that utterly brand new book – you know no one else in the world has ever read that book before. And of course it’s just amazing when you meet someone who has read your book and tells you how much they liked it. It’s also rather cool when, at work (my boss allows me to display my books there), I get the opportunity to sell a book to a guest and I can sign it right there in front of them.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
At 63, the next ten years will probably be very life changing for me. I honestly don’t believe my husband and I will be able to continue to live out in the Alaskan wilderness any longer by then, so the plan is for us to move in with our kids down in Kingman Arizona. Other than that, it will be to continue to write, write, write, until the day come when I can’t anymore, probably when they close my coffin lit.
Have you always liked to write?
I kinda think I always liked to spin a good story, but as a kid, it wasn’t something I had a lot of time for – you know how busy a kid can be, and I had horses to ride. My brother tells me I came from a long line of cowboy storytellers, meaning that many of my ancestors were the campfire storyteller during those long cattledrives, so I guess it’s in my blood.
What writing advice do you have for aspiring authors?
The first and best advice given to me is “If there is ever anything you need to explain about your book, you need to put that in the book.” This advice was the reason my first book acquired a prologue, because it wasn’t readily obvious that the book took place along the east coast of America AFTER some great civilization collapse and another major ice age. What we know here today was completely wiped away, leaving only a few memories and names, and maybe a few hubs of civilization located there because they were a good survivable location.
If you didn’t like writing books, or weren’t any good at it, what would you like to do for a living?
Of late, I’ve always thought it would be really cool to run a small bookstore. Of course, in my imagination, I’d be living upstairs – I believe it would be more financially economical. Plus I could putter around down in the store after hours, and not have to worry about getting home in time for supper.
Do you read reviews of your book(s)? Do you respond to them, good or bad? How do you deal with the bad?
I do read my reviews, but I do not respond to them. Now if someone sends me a message about one of my books, that I’ll answer. I am always glad when someone likes my books. So far, I am happy to say that I have never received a bad review in any form.
What is your least favourite part of the writing / publishing process?
I’m sure any author will tell you that the promoting is the most grueling. The hardest part is getting self published books on real shelves.
Can you give us a few tasty morsels from your work-in-progress?
Here’s what started my story, The Secret Agent’s Secret:
We had the same goal, the ruling government and I, just not the same purpose. We both wanted to find my father. The government wanted him because he’d disappeared; they thought he’d joined the rebels, and I guess they worried about that quite a lot. Me, I just wanted to find him. He was my whole world. He was all I had left. I simply had to find him. Of course at ten, I didn’t have a chance in hell of doing that, or even surviving, more than likely.
You see, they take orphans, if they can find them. They take them to the city and sell them on a slave block and everything; it’s televised all across the district, which is all one huge city. I suppose the proceeds go toward supporting the whole ruler-worker status, or maybe it buys the overlord’s daughter a new dress. I have never seen more than a slip of copper in all of my life and that was at a distance. We in the outlying districts weren’t allowed money, though we got away with trading amongst ourselves most of the time, provided it was sufficiently on the sly so as to go unnoticed by the authorities.
Of course, if you volunteer before they take you, they train you for whatever you volunteer for. Everyone knew that. I volunteered for the military.
Sidney Brenner is only 10 at the beginning of this story but she grows up quick. At the moment she’s 24, having just graduated from officers training school. At the moment she’s on the run because someone wants to either capture or kill her (not sure which yet). perhaps she’ll find out when she finds her father.
Why did you choose to write in your genre? If you write in more than one, how do you balance them?
Why does anyone choose what they write? That would be like asking why a reader likes what they like to read. I write what I like to read. If a story doesn’t interest me, I simply can’t get it down on paper (or on the computer screen, as the case may be).
Where did your love of books come from?
I think books have always held a fascination for me. I remember, long before I could read a single word, I positively loved this knitting book my mom had. I could look at those pictures for hours. I have no idea what my first book was, but books with horses were probably right up there. Black Beauty is something that comes to mind, and there are several of those books.
Do you have any favorite authors or favorite books?
Tolkien is probably my most favorite author, but back in the day Edgar Rice Burroughs was huge for me. I think I owned every Tarzan book he ever wrote, and his Mars series was also popular. Ha – I just went and looked up his books – there may be some I haven’t read.
Of all the characters you have created, which is your favourite and why?
Picking a favorite character is like picking a favorite book. But, since I get asked this question quite a lot, I think Canis from Half-Breed is my favorite. However, they are all my children, and a part of my soul.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
I think I can claim that writing consumes me, especially when I’m on a roll. It’s distractions which can exhaust me as I must pull myself out of the zone and then regroup, usually multiple times – which is why I prefer to write during quiet time – less distractions.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
That would have to be those distractions. Things like fixing meals, washing dishes, or making the next pot of coffee (or getting the next cup of coffee for my husband).
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
The only time I try to deliver what readers want is when I’m ghost writing for someone. It is, after all, their story, and they are paying me to write what they want to read. Otherwise, I write what I want to read. I know there is no way I can please everybody, so I don’t try. There are enough people out there who will like what I like, and that’s good enough for me.
What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?
Thanks to Facebook, I am familiar with quite a lot of authors, but in real life, I do not know any other authors. Some years ago I had the chance to talk to a lady who was a guest at where I work. She had a short story in an anthology, and just last year I met a man who was writing a story about his near death experience. I have no idea if he had any other published works. Both these people left me feeling like I was more ambitious in my writing goals. The woman only had the one story, and the guy didn’t seem interested in anything other than is work in progress.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
Actually this has been suggested to me many times because of where I live and how I ended up here. However, writing about myself is incredibly difficult for me. I did compromise on this idea by creating a blog where I tell many of the stories of my personal life. I call it Anna of Alaska.
Where can your fans find you and follow??
You can email me at AnnaLWalls@gmail.com
My Twitter tag is @AuthorAnnaWalls Find me
My LinkedIn profile is www.linkedin.com/in/authorannalwalls
My Facebook profile is https://www.facebook.com/AnnaLWalls
I can be found on Goodreads too https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3063977.Anna_L_Walls
And I belong to a wonderful writing group http://agentqueryconnect.com I highly recommend you join.
Thank you for taking your time to do this interview ❤️
It was my pleasure – thanks for doing this for me.