She might be the most unorganised, beautiful writer in the world, but I am super excited to have Anna on the blog for an interview. I don’t remember how I found her, but social media has been good at giving me amazing, incredibly talented and kind hearted writing friends. But enough of my gushing - let’s get to the interview!
Hi Anna, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
What were you like at school?
That depends on the grade-level, actually. In elementary school, I was extremely shy and barely spoke to anybody ever. In middle and high school, however, I was a social butterfly. In college, I was a strange combination of both.
Performance-wise, I’ve always been a “slacker.” I don’t consider academia to be an adequate measure of one’s intelligence or competence . . .
Life’s too short to give a damn about your GPA.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m currently working on several projects simultaneously, including the long-awaited sequel to my debut novel, When Stars Burn Out, as well as a new fantasy series, a stand-alone ghost story, and a book of poetry.
[Ha, I love that we are both serial project workers]
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
I think the most “special” characteristic about Eos Europa is the fact that she doesn’t give up. Period.
There’s something inexplicably magnetic about those who don’t panic in high-stakes situations — those who not only survive, but flourish and thrive, in life’s most challenging moments.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I’ve always pictured Emily Browning playing Eos, for whatever reason! I think it’s the baby-face paired with the quiet ferocity she’s so excellent at depicting.
How much research do you do?
Not enough, probably. I’m of the opinion that research distracts from your writing — which is true, but for science fiction, it’s usually helpful to do *some* research!
If I’m writing fantasy, however, I don’t really research at all.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
No, but I’ve got plans to! :)
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Part-time, currently. I’ve got a day job and can’t wait to scrap it in favour of writing full-time eventually! That’s the goal, at least.
[Girl, that’s my dream one day too]
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I try to write whenever possible, whether that’s at 5 AM (with all of my lovely 5 AM Writers Club friends!) or late into the night, if the option of waking up early isn’t available. Again, I do work a full-time job, which forces me to cobble in writing time as it presents itself throughout the week.
Weekends, however, are my creative domain! I typically shoot for writing ten hours a day on both Saturday and Sunday.
Where do your ideas come from?
They don’t come from anywhere, particularly — but I am most inspired by being outdoors, which tends to lead to fresh ideas. There’s nothing that stokes the flames of my creativity more than a five mile run in the forest! :)
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Primarily, I’m a plotter. I can’t fathom writing anything without some idea as to how the journey unfolds and, more importantly, how the story comes to an end . . .
That said, I allow for some flexibility. I’ve been writing novel-length fiction since the age of thirteen and have thankfully gleaned some measure of writerly intuition — so if I have a gut feeling that’s encouraging me to temporarily abandon my outline and explore an alternative, then I will.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Well, that depends. Writing the first draft of a book rarely takes me longer than two to three months. A final draft that’s polished and thoroughly edited, however, takes me a lot longer . . .
Since I’ve published When Stars Burn Out, I’ve had a slew of massive, life-changing events disrupt my publishing schedule, and I’ve had to accept that that’s okay. Really, every publishing journey demands differing timelines!
[2-3 months for a draft? Please, dear god, teach me your ways]
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
Not often, actually. If I do, it’s typically because I’ve made a wrong move with the story somewhere — perhaps I didn’t begin the story in the right place, or the dynamic between two characters is off, etc.
This usually means I’ll do some back-tracking and explore what *doesn’t feel right* about the narrative. Once I’ve figured it out, I regroup, form a plan of attack, and I’m right back to writing! :)
[I love this. My plan of attack is to usually switch projects so that my creative fires are still burning]
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
Whenever I begin developing a story idea, it always seems to turn out to be a “big picture” concept that’s best expressed by a series of instalments instead of a single book.
By that I mean: I love writing book series, and likely always will. Even the stand-alone ghost story I’m working on has the distinct potential to become a full-blown series.
It’s just how my mind works, I guess.
[Serial Plotter Alert]
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I LOVE THEM. The trailer for When Stars Burn Out was one of the most exciting projects I’ve ever worked on! I fully intend to film an additional trailer for A Dark Sky Opens, when the time comes.
[Yes, I actually LOVED the trailer for your book Anna. And I am now even more excited for book two]
Advice for aspiring authors?
Keep going. Never give up. And when you feel your balance checked by a gust of self-doubt, remind yourself why you starting writing in the first place and hold tightly to that memory.
Remind yourself that you do this because you love it — and no matter what happens, that will always be enough.
When Stars Burn Out:
When a plague turns people into monsters, the only safe place left to live is the Ora, a spaceship beside Earth's moon. Aboard are the specimens of the next generation, genetically modified to develop powerful abilities, which they must use to fulfill their life's purpose: exterminating those infected by the plague and stopping the apocalypse.
From the day Eos Europa was created eighteen years ago, she's cared about little else. But when she fails to develop an ability, everything she's worked for is lost—that is, until soldiers start disappearing only seconds after reaching Earth's surface.
In an act of desperation, Eos is sent to Earth to find the missing soldiers. But what she discovers challenges everything she's ever been taught—about who she is, where she's come from, and how the apocalypse really began—leaving her to decide whether she'll continue to play the puppet she was created to be, or disappear like everyone else.
When Anna Vera was a girl, she would've told you she was secretly a mermaid, could see ghosts, and teleport to other planets. Now that she's a mature adult, she keeps these things to herself.
Anna currently resides in Arizona, where she continues to write about fantasy realms, post-apocalyptic worlds, and alien invasions. When she isn't writing her own books, she's helping others polish theirs through her editing company.
Her other interests include: reading, videogames, hot yoga, horseback riding, nature hikes, and expert-level earth muffining.