Welcome to Chat & Chow: a Q & A series.
Confession: I’m beyond excited about today’s guest, writer Anne Marie Becker, for two reasons.
1. I’ve known her since the eighth grade.
2. She’s letting me do a giveaway!!!
Anne and I survived not only high school together, but also JROTC (shout out to the TX782nd), driving school (their motto: “We taught a burro to drive, people are easy” — not kidding), and a rather awkward double date freshman year.
Today, Anne’s an award winning author (not that any of the previous contributed to this…) Check out her website here.
Last year, Carina Press, a digital-first imprint from Harlequin, released Anne’s first book in the Mindhunters series, ONLY FEAR.
Her second novel in the series, AVENGING ANGEL was released just last month.
Seriously, not for the faint of heart.
Anne’s currently writing the third installment while also developing yet another series. Oh, and she accomplishes all this while having three young children at home.
I bow down to her.
The Q & A
1. When do you like to write?
Whenever inspiration strikes! (Wow, wouldn’t that be nice?)
2. When do you actually get to write?
Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., for the most part, and if I don’t feel I’ve done enough that day, I’ll tack on some time in the evening, about 9 - 10 p.m. I spend the first hour or two of the day responding to emails, putting in an appearance on social media, and getting a bit of exercise. I find exercising in the morning helps wake up both my brain and my body.
3. How the heck do you find time to write with three kids?
Good question. I’m not really sure how I finished those first couple manuscripts, when my kids were babies. Somehow, the work gets done if I make it a priority. And now that the kids are in school most of the day, it’s gotten easier (as long as I continue to make it a priority).
Setting goals is key for me – big ones, small ones…long term, short term. And then prioritizing them. Putting my writing in front of other things like laundry and dishes (unless they become the main goal that day because they threaten to overtake the household).
For a while, I felt guilty putting the writing first because I wasn’t making a lot of money at it. I viewed it as a hobby. Realizing that my writing is important to my sanity and relabeling it as a career helped a lot.
4. There are quite a few categories under the romance novel umbrella. What drew you to write “romantic suspense”?
If you look closely at the world of romance writing, you’ll find about eight to ten subgenres. Romantic suspense comes naturally to me because of what I grew up reading. The thrills of Stephen King, the mystery of Agatha Christie, and the romance of…well, whoever I could get my hands on. They all colored my writing style. I’m told my sense of pacing is natural to thrillers, as is my chilling portrayal of the villain’s point of view. In fact, people who know me are surprised at how “scary” I am in my writing.
5. Every person has a unique breaking in story. Can you single out a sliding doors moment you feel would’ve taken your career in a different direction had it happened the other way?
That’s a tough one. I’m not sure I’ve “broken in” yet, but I’ve definitely reached a few milestones. In 2009, I signed with an agent, won a major award, and got a real taste of the next “level” of submitting. I’d been toying with a contemporary manuscript (no dead bodies or big mysteries) but the agent was most interested in my romantic suspense manuscripts, so I continued within that market.
I almost gave up in 2010 when romantic suspense tanked as the economy went south. It seemed publishers weren’t as interested in taking a risk with debut authors and readers wanted happier, lighter stories when reality was so tough. Things seem to be turning around now and I’ve heard of more authors selling.
Each time I’ve been about to give up on my writing career (or, at the very least, take a break for a few months), something would happen to pull me back in or push me harder. In late 2010, I received the offer to publish with Carina Press. Another sliding-door moment. I love being published with them, and having the resources of Harlequin (Carina’s parent company) at my fingertips.
6. When reading someone’s manuscript, what’s the main thing that’s turns you off or keeps you from finishing it?
I so love a great voice, so I look for that when I start a book. But what keeps me from finishing something? Characters who act in a way that doesn’t make sense for them, or a story that doesn’t seem to go anywhere.
7. What’s the biggest rookie mistake you see writers make?
For unpublished writers, not starting in the right place in a manuscript, and not keeping things moving.
For published writers, getting lost in social media and promotion instead of creating the next great story.
8. Your advice to writers in 3 words.
How about a math equation?
(Great) Story + Persistence = Success
9. Multiple choice question: Spicy, sour or sweet?
AND she was our valedictorian.
Follow Anne on Twitter: @annemariebecker
To celebrate Avenging Angel’s recent release, Anne & Carina Press are being pretty dang cool by letting me give away a copy to one of my readers. All you have to do is leave a comment below stating which ebook format you’d like to read it in (Kindle or Nook) by midnight, Pacific time, on Sept. 3, 2012. A winner will be picked at random. Make sure you include your email address.