**AUTHOR PEEK** Interview with ANNIE ACORN
Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a full-time writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.
Honestly, I’m from all over the place. I was born in Indiana, and I’ve returned there many times through the years. I spent the first seven years of my life in Ohio, and I often blog about those early times and life in The Double, as we called our duplex, with my paternal grandmother and great-aunt living on the other side. Then my family moved to Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where I learned to hike and camp in the Smokies and Cumberland Mountains, forming the basis for my Luna Lake Cabins series. As an adult, I lived all over the Deep South, as we followed my husband’s career moves wherever they took us. Finally, I’ve ended up in the metro D.C. area, surrounded by family and friends although, in my heart, I will always be southern.
In May, 2014, I retired from doing contract medical/technical writing to devote myself full-time to my personal fiction and nonfiction writing pursuits and the running of my boutique publishing company Annie Acorn Publishing LLC, which operates following a traditional publishing model. Over the years, I’ve owned several other businesses, including a tri-state, medical outsourcing business, and I once flipped a five-store retail chain.
In my ‘spare’ time, such as it is, I read, play cards, watch PBS, the History Channel, and the Hallmark channels, and enjoy the company of family and friends, often in wonderful restaurants or while giving their due to wonderful potlucks.
At this point in my life, one of my greatest joys is having the opportunity through AAPub to mentor young writers as I enable them and other talented writers to publish their work – well edited, formatted, and presented with a great cover created by the talented graphic designer/author Angel Nichols (@Angel_Nichols).
1. What genre(s) do you write and why?
My Captain’s Point series that begins with A Clue For Adrianna, written collaboratively with Juliette Hill as Charlotte Kent (@CharlotteKent20), is romantic women’s fiction/family saga. My own Luna Lake Cabins series would also fall within this genre.
My cozy mystery Chocolate Can Kill was a Malice Domestic Contest finalist, and my Murder With My Darling combines mystery with humor, as do some of my published mystery shorts.
I have written a number of Christmas shorts that can be found within the pages of my Annie Acorn’s 2011-2014 Christmas Treasuries, and I have just launched an Annie Acorn’s 2015 Valentine’s Day Treasury that includes two Valentine’s Day shorts of my own. Other fictional offerings include a faith-based, children’s chapter book titled The Magic Sand Dollar that’s based on the legend of the sand dollar.
In addition, I have written or contributed to several nonfiction books, including A Tired Older Woman Loses Weight and Keeps It Off, two finance books, and the recently released Pen & Ink 2014 – a book on writing, editing, and publishing drawn from the Pen & Ink writing project that contains expertise and tips from twenty highly successful authors.
I am currently working on a non-fiction book with Angel Nichols, completing Love’s Second Chance – the fifth novel in my Captain’s Point series as Charlotte Kent, making headway on Love Heals – a novella in my Luna Lake Cabins series, and editing a mystery/romance/fantasy novel titled Bright Treasures.
2. If you were to choose one superpower, what would it be?
I graduated with a major in history, and I would love to be able to travel back in time. Imagine what it would be like to be Jane Austen’s friend, to be a member of the Detection Club with Agatha Christie and her pals, to lunch at the Algonquin Round Table with Dorothy Parker, or to attend one of Georgette Heyer’s cozy dinner parties.
And, of course, I would pause along the way and buy a couple of shares each of McDonald’s, Microsoft, Exxon, and Dell among others on the day of their first offering.
3. Do you ever get stuck when you’re writing a book? What do you do to get “unstuck”?
I can honestly say that I’ve never been ‘blocked,’ although I have often been surprised by a direction in which my characters wish to go.
It’s my belief that most writers ‘block’ because of one of two reasons:
- They overthink the piece, continuously returning to the beginning to either edit or rewrite until very little of what inspired them to tell their story in the first place remains, and they find themselves going in circles, or
- They fail to listen to their characters, who are desperately trying to tell them a better way to reach their goal.
My own Luna Lake Cabins novella Love Heals has not yet seen the light of day, despite the fact that I had already prepared a detailed 3500 word synopsis of the story complete with dialogue, descriptive passages, and text, because at about 2500 words into the actual manuscript my characters took a sharp turn to the left. Now, I’m writing blind, which is fine with me. A new story is unfolding before my eyes, as I follow them on their journey.
What about my original story line? As a seasoned author, I recognize that I now have two great ideas, and my original story’s time will come soon enough. In the meantime, my laptop’s keys are clacking happily along.
4. What is your least favorite part of writing?
At this point in my writing career, I embrace every part of the actual writing process, including rewriting and editing, because I’ve long since become comfortable with all of them and recognize that each plays an important part in making my work the best it can be.
On the other hand, I breathed a sigh of relief when I retired from contract medical/technical writing early in 2014. This type of writing is basically writing by committee, and the process that is most often employed is time consuming, frustrating, and makes little sense to most writers who make their living from it.
I will say, though, that if I wrote to the demands of a traditional publisher – the deadlines and requirements to change my storylines – I would answer very differently. Thankfully, I have designed the box within which I pursue my craft in such a way that my creative instincts are given total freedom – pure joy!
5. If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
Whatever you chose to order at Clyde’s restaurant. Since this is the restaurant upon which I based Montgomery’s restaurant in my Captain’s Point series, you would not be disappointed, especially if you ordered at least a cup of their cream of crab soup.
6. What is your typical day like?
A zoo – still, I somehow manage to get a tremendous amount accomplished.
Every day begins with my PT exercises as I watch the Weather Channel. Next, I prepare my pitcher of espresso, enjoy a light breakfast, do my Bible study, and turn on my laptop.
I treat myself immediately to recording AAPub’s sales from the previous day, eager to see which of our authors have sold what or how a particular launch is going. After this, I answer emails that have arrived through the night time hours, many of them from overseas. I then open the Word .docs that keep me on the straight and narrow as I visit @AAPublishing LLC, @CharlotteKent20, and personally do @Annie_Acorn, generally getting in at least a few good tweets on the latter.
Now, my actual workday begins. On Mondays, I have a standing meeting with Juliette Hill at eleven, during which we discuss promotion and storylines for our Captain’s Point series. Most afternoons from 3-5:00, I have editing appointments with various AAPub authors as we move towards launching their works.
Generally, I write at least 1,000 words per day, and I try to accomplish this first thing, so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Often, this stretches into more words, which is great.
I tend to prepare interviews for Book Bench or Merrie Housdon’s wonderful blog during the early evening. I also work on my Pen & Ink http://annieacornpublishing.com/pen-ink comments during this timeframe. If no such need is there, then I will work on a blog post or return to a WIP.
I generally eat a light supper around eight in front of the TV, and then I do some serious tweeting, while I half watch whatever is on. Then, if the words are really flowing, I may return to my WIP and write for several hours, often surprised to find that it’s two or three in the morning when I next glance up.
Hopefully, once I get into bed, I’ll be allowed to stay there, but my Captain’s Point alpha males are known for waking me in the middle of the night with full chapters that must be immediately committed to a page.
7. What is most difficult for you to write? Characters, conflict or emotions? Why?
I would have to answer None of the Above, and I see that as a good thing. If you’re characters aren’t well-rounded then readers won’t identify with them. Conflict is the engine that drives plot, so you had better involve it in your storyline, and emotions are what allow your reader to participate in your story.
8. How likely are the people you meet going to end up in your next book?
I’m not consciously aware of this occurring in my work with one or two notable exceptions.
Warren in Chocolate Can Kill was based on my husband, and Charlie’s description would describe my father. Patrick and Max were both rescue dogs that filled my life with great joy, and their true stories appear in the same book. Max has also starred in all four Captain’s Point novels and will continue to do so.
David Eskar, DDS, in my Captain’s Point series, was deliberately based on my actual dentist who, when I told him I was working on a book titled A Man for Susan, informed me that Susan needed to fall in love with a dentist. Since this is a romantic women’s fiction/family saga series, his story will continue to unfold, which has brought him great pleasure.
9. Tell us about your hero. Give us one of his strengths and one of his weaknesses.
At this point, I have many heroes in my body of work, but I’ll concentrate on Chase Sheffield in A Clue for Adrianna for this answer.
One of Chase’s greatest strengths is his ability to keep plugging forward, despite the roadblocks that life continues to place before him. On the other hand, he has worked himself to the point of complete burnout over many years, pursuing what he sees as a correct course, while denying himself any meaningful female companionship. Then he meets Adrianna, and his whole world is turned upside down.
10. Tell us about your next book & when is it being published?
I just launched Annie Acorn’s 2015 Valentine’s Day Treasury, which contains a variety of Valentine’s Day shorts, novelettes, and novellas, including two of my own – one, A Valentine Surprise, from my Captain’s Point Series as Charlotte Kent and one, Valentine Goodbye, from my Luna Lake Cabins series as Annie Acorn.
I will also be launching on February 6, 2015, a collected works of my Luna Lake Cabins pieces titled Luna Lake Cabins – The First Year.
As Charlotte Kent:
A Clue for Adrianna: http://amzn.to/1aWTgGL
A Man for Susan: http://amzn.to/1d3Rc4E
Love’s Journey: http://amzn.to/18T4JWa
Love’s Surprise: http://amzn.to/1pw83CS
One Sweet Christmas: http://amzn.to/1y5ffJp
A Magic Cup of Christmas Tea: http://amzn.to/1zBNlFF
As Annie Acorn:
Annie Acorn’s 2015 Valentine’s Day Treasury: http://amzn.to/1CWxaCF
Chocolate Can Kill: http://amzn.to/GUp7Ph
Murder With My Darling: http://amzn.to/1gSdFBz
Love’s Third Chance: http://amzn.to/1ih6HbZ
Love’s Plan: http://amzn.to/1ymA2aa
A Tired Older Woman Loses Weight and Keeps It Off:
The Magic Sand Dollar: http://amzn.to/11xYt4k
Annie Acorn’s 2015 Valentine’s Day Treasury Includes:
A Valentine’s Surprise by Charlotte Kent
A Taste of Love by Juliette Hill
A Prince for Valentine’s by Merrie Housdon
A Rose by Any Other Name by Angel Nichols
A Valentine’s Day to Remember by Susan Jean Ricci
At the End of the Day by Peggy Teel
Valentine Goodbye by Annie Acorn
Link to the From Women’s Pens page on annieacornpublishing.com:
BE SURE TO COME BACK to read more about Annie, her new release, and an excerpt from Annie Acorns 2015 Valentine’s Day Treasury, A VALENTINE’S SURPRISE by Charlotte Kent, on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench. Happy Reading!