I am happy to introduce a fellow VHP Author, Anne K. Albert. Thank you, Anne, for being my Spotlight Author on TUESDAY TALKS.
Hi S.R. Thanks for having me here today.
Before we get started talking about your books, tell us a little about yourself. What is your occupation outside of writing?
I’m an art college and university graduate who taught junior high and high school for seven years. I also sold display advertising for a small town weekly newspaper, again for seven years. I worked alongside my then self-employed hubby for seven more. Next, I worked at a national brand water company—again for seven years.
Do you see a pattern emerging here? While all of these various occupations were interesting and rewarding, none can hold a candle to writing. (I now write fulltime.) Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I surpassed the seven year mark as a writer more than seven years ago!
Do you have any pets? If so, what kind and tell us their names.
We’re currently pet-less, but only because we used to drop off our cat at my mother’s whenever we left town for a few days. Mom fell in love with the little fur ball, and after a number of kitty-sitting episodes, suggested the cat stay with her. Permanently. We agreed, and the once wild and crazy feline who refused to let any human cuddle her, now sleeps in my 87-year old mother’s arms like a baby!
What are your favorite books to read?
Romantic suspense. I can’t resist a dead body, a puzzle to solve, a hunky hero, a spunky heroine, and a happily-ever-after.
Where is the most unique place you have traveled?
Istanbul, but I also have to mention Machu Picchu, Cornwall’s Port Isaac, Ten Mile Lookout on Manitoulin Island, Jemez Springs, New Mexico, and the rugged Minnesota coastline along Lake Superior. Each hold a very special place in my heart.
Aside from your successes in the writing industry, what in your life has given you the greatest sense of accomplishment?
My relationship with my husband and my daughter. They’re amazing.
How many books have you written and how many of those are published?
I’ve written five books so far. The first will never see the light of day, but the others placed or won various writing contests. DEFENDING GLORY, my debut novel, is actually book number four. Released last October in ebook format, it is now available in print. Book number five, FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL, a romantic suspense with a delightful dash of humor that takes place the week before Christmas is also available in ebook format. The print edition will be released mid 2011.
How much character and plot detailing do you plan out before you begin writing a novel, or are you a “pantser” (fly by the seat of your pants)?
I’m a pantser…well, okay, make that an extreme pantser. I start with nothing more than a vague idea that someone is going to die. Who, how, and why are never clear. In DEFENDING GLORY, I began with the notion of who the villain would be, but before I’d completed the second chapter my hero found the guy’s dead body! Writing myself into a corner was not what I intended, but having done it I was forced to figure a way around it. I did, of course, and realized the great unknown is why I sit down at the computer each day. I write to find out what happens next.
Prior to becoming a published author, how many rejections did you receive? How did you handle the rejections?
I’ve lost count, but I’ve probably been rejected by at least thirty agents and ten editors.
In the very beginning, it hurt, but I refused to give up. I entered writing contests for feedback. I wanted specifics of where and how to improve my work. Eventually, I moved up the contest ladder to final in the top five. No longer needing as much feedback, I entered contests with the soul intent to fast-track my way onto an editor or agent’s desk.
The rejections, however, continued.
On a plus note, they transformed from “form” rejections to personal notes and then full-fledged letters. The comments were encouraging. “You have a great imagination,” one agent wrote, “I love the premise.” “You’re a talented writer,” said another. But there were no offers of representation. No offers to publish my book.
That’s when I realized writing, like art, is subjective. As one agent explained in her rejection letter, it’s “why some people adore the book on the top of the NY Times bestseller list, and other’s don’t.”
Rejection is part of being an author.
Out of all the books you’ve written and the characters you’ve created, which is your favorite character and why?
I’m very partial to Val who is a secondary character in FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL. She’s an eccentric in her mid-sixties with a heart of gold. I admire her spunk.
If you could step into the world of anyone else’s novel or meet with any character, which/who would you choose?
I can’t choose just one, but I can narrow it down to two. I’d love to ogle Janet Evanovich’s Ranger from a safe distance (!) as much as I’d cherish a one-on-one conversation with Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. One brains, the other brawn. Two utterly fascinating men.
I couldn’t agree more with you on the Ranger character…though I wouldn’t mind ogling Morelli either. Whew! Okay, now that you got me all hot and bothered, let’s get back to your writing career…
If you could give one piece of advice to writers trying to get published what would that advice be?
Keep writing. Take all advice and criticism to heart, but stay true to yourself. And never, ever give up.
What's up next for you and your writing?
I’ve always got a number of books on the go at any given moment, but my main focus right now is DEFENDING HOPE, the second book in the
series where troubles outnumber residents. The hero, Deputy Abbott, made an appearance in DEFENDING GLORY, and from the moment he walked onto the page, I knew he deserved a story of his own. Piedmont Island
Next in line is VAL AND
TYNE DAY’S MURDER, second book of the Muriel Reeves Mysteries. As you might guess from the tongue-in-cheek title, a murder takes place before Valentine’s Day, and Val in smack dab in the middle of the action…much to Muriel and Frankie’s dismay.
Where can we read more about you and your work?
It has been a pleasure getting to learn more about you and your books, Anne. Thank you for being my Spotlight Author on TUESDAY TALKS.