Blog Archive

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Write At Your Own Pace; Author Interview with.Anne Willow

What made you decide to write your first novel? 
I live in the town where my first book take place. We are an artist-centered small-town on the shores of Lake Superior, just about 45 minutes south of the Canadian border, in Minnesota. I like the idea of there being something just beneath the surface of any small town. 

Who encouraged you along the way?
My husband is my biggest fan and encourages every word. There is a character based on him in the upcoming book, Julia (the MC) meets him while working on her next mystery.

Who helped you with the editing?
I did a lot of passes on my own, then my publisher assigned an editor to work with me. That was amazing because she found small details that could be expanded upon. In the end it made the story much more robust and engaging.

Are you active with any writing critique groups?
I do belong to a few writing groups on social media, but not a specific critique group. I have a few friends who are happy to be honest about my writing and then the beta readers help polish up things I might have missed.

What is the hardest part of writing for you?
To be honest, sitting down to flesh out the story in writing is the most difficult part. I can have an entire story play out in detail, but when I start to write it out, it never seems as vibrant or cool as I thought it would. I think I'm my harshest critic.

What’s your inspiration for creating your stories imaginary locations? 
I based the story off a real town, but used how it looked about 20 years ago, so the shops are there, but under different names. I couldn't ask for a better waterfront location.

What does your editor remind you to do most often?

My editor is fantastic. She has to remind me to slow down and flesh out the meat in the middle and not rush to the action.

What’s the best encouragement you’ve had in your writing?
My family first and then the amazing feedback my first book received. I was struggling with health issues, which put my next book on hold for a bit, especially since the pandemic, but having readers email me asking about Julia's next adventure was so encouraging.

What has surprised you the most in writing/publishing? 
I like to please everyone and negative reviews make me want to reach out to the reader to fix whatever might have bothered them. I want them to like my stories, so that's frustrating, but I'm sure I'm not the only author to think like that.

What do you know now about writing you wished you had known sooner?
That comparing myself to another author isn't healthy. There are authors who can produce 3 to 5,000 words in a day, but my writing doesn't come like that. Once I accepted that my pace is that - my pace - then things got a lot easier.

What is the best writing advice you’ve received or could give?
Write at your own pace. You don't have to push out a novel every month and like I said before, don't compare your word count to another author's. You be you.

Can you give me a short synopsis of your newest book?
I'm working on two books, both linked to my Past Imperfect series. The second book in the series brings in more of Julia's past when she visits her best friend from college for a weekend reunion. Her (newly made) ex-husband will be there to cause trouble. Interwoven with this is the mystery - native artifacts that cause her to hear drumming and at times see images from the past.

I worked closely with a friend who is part of the Grand Portage reservation. She was amazingly helpful in understanding their artifacts and stories.
That's all for today's interview. If you'd like to learn more about Anne's books, here are the links to do that.

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