Hello everyone! Today we have the fabulous Annika James, author of Wanted! Give her a big welcome!
Marion: Tell us about yourself, Annika!
Hello! I’m just a small-town girl who likes to read and write about things that don’t exist, so far as we know right now. :) I grew up in and around Chicago, but moved to rural Wisconsin in high school. After college, I moved back and settled here. I live with my husband of 8 years, and our two over-active kiddos. I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, and only this year realized my life-long dream of getting published. I absolutely love the cover Marion did for me, and have received many, many compliments on it.
Marion: What was the first book you ever read that really blew your mind, that you couldn’t stop thinking about after you’d finished?
The first one I can remember is Queen of This Realm by Jean Plaidy. I read it in grade school, and it fueled a life-long obsession with Elizabeth I and Tudor England.
Marion: How do you start thinking about a book? Is it the characters that first pop to mind, or the setting, or the plot? Where do you usually start?
Most of the time, I start with a situation or scene, then I build the story around that. I’m one of those by-the-seat-of-my-pants writers, and the story comes to me as I write. Often, I’ll jot down ideas for later in the book or other scenes I want, though, so I have some idea where I’m going.
Marion: When was the last time you just had to write, and what inspired that feeling?
After a few friends read WANTED, they demanded a sequel. The more I thought about it, the more my characters demanded one also. So, I sat down and started it. At first, the words just flowed, I had to get it down.
Marion: What one scene do you think you spent the most time editing? What was it about it that you couldn’t seem to get right?
The scene where Matt and Conor come to Cora’s house to break the news to Ash. I just couldn’t get the dialogue where I wanted it. I have an analogy in there, and I’m still not happy with it. I just couldn’t come up with one that made me happy.
Marion: What’s your worst writing habit? Something you know you shouldn’t do, but just can’t seem to stop?
I don’t write enough. Is that a habit? I often start a day with the intention of writing, but end up forgoing it for other things. Then, I’m mad at myself for not writing. I really need to buckle down and somehow get myself to write a little every day.
Marion: What’s the one thing you wish you were good at, but just can’t seem to master?
I wish I was better at world building. For some reason, I just can’t relay all the details I see in my head. My brain works faster than my fingers and I get impatient and just end up skipping all the boring detail stuff. I really wish I was better at creating a world the reader could really feel a part of.
Marion: There are a lot of concepts about what writer are like, what’s the one you hate the most? Like the most?
Many people have assumed that since I have one book published, I’m suddenly going to be rich and famous. I don’t know where people get the idea being an author makes a lot of money. Sure, if you’re on the best seller list many times, you probably can live on just writing, but I’m not there yet. :) I do enjoy the assumption that since I’m a writer, I’m good at writing, though. When something needs to be written, an article or something, people look at me and say, “You’re a writer, you can do it.” That’s a nice stroke to the ego. :)
Marion: What project are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on the sequel to WANTED. Ash, Matt, and Conor really wanted their story told, so I started in on that.
Marion: About how long does it take you to get from first draft to polished manuscript? What does that process look like?
For WANTED, my only finished and published manuscript, it took about two and a half years. Most of that time, it sat unfinished. I hurried to complete it for the 2011 Muse online conference so I could pitch it. That was October, 2011. I received my contract in June of 2012, my first editor and I worked through it during September and October- that was content editing. Then came line edits, and the book was finally ready in December.
Marion: Is there a writer whose style or talent you envy? What is it about their writing that draws you in?
Kim Harrison. She has created a world that is fantasy, but seems like it could be so real. It is a world I want to live in. Her books are full of action, romance, heartache, romantic tension, friendship, intrigue, and humor. Her characters are real people - none of them is perfect, they are all flawed in some way, yet the reader has still fallen in love with them. I absolutely love the Hollows books, and wish I could write half as well as she does.
Marion: Any parting words?
I really hope everyone enjoys reading Wanted as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please let me know what you think on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, or anywhere else.
Marion: Thanks for dropping by! You've been a lovely guest!