Welcome to Readers Write to Know! I asked you, my readers, what questions they would ask their favorite authors if given the chance, and the authors visiting my blog answered them! This week, I have author Anne Carol as my guest. I really enjoyed this interview, and not just because we were both in 6th grade in 1984 (heh). I love the way that God inspired Anne to write edgier fiction for Christian authors. Those of you who have read me know that many of my books would be classified under “edgier”. It’s wasn’t easy to put those first ones out on the market nine years ago because oftentimes, readers felt the need to lecture you and bring you back to the sweet and clean writer fold. But I discovered a HUGE audience for that type of fiction. I also love that this book series follows the story of one couple. I LOVE series like that! I hope you enjoy this interview as much as I did. Read on to see how you can enter to win an autographed paperback of Anne’s latest release!
Tell us a little bit about yourself: I was born and raised in Northern California, in the same town where I currently reside with my husband of 22 years and two college-aged sons. Technically, one son is away at college and the other will move to college in the fall. So we are almost empty nesters! I am not a full-time writer (yet); I work part time as a CPA, full time during tax season. I enjoy traveling, wine tasting, hanging out with our church small group, and watching Hallmark movies. I’m also a big music geek who loves making music playlists. My favorite type of music is classic alternative (80s New Wave).
Tell us about your current release: My new book is titled Never Give Up, and it is the fourth and final book of my Faithfully Yours series. This series chronicles the love story of David, a London musician, and Beth, an aspiring writer from California. They meet as teenagers in the first book, Never Let Go, when Beth spends the summer in London. The series takes you through their relationship journey from long-distance teen romance to early marriage, through the ups and downs of his music career, to starting a family, dealing with his addictions, and a few other challenging events which threaten their relationship. This fourth book is about transitions in their family life and how those big shifts affect both David and Beth. You’ll also see how they learn to put God in charge of their lives. Their faith journey over the four books is subtle but most prominent in Never Give Up. This installment took me over two years to write, and I really felt God’s presence and influence as I wrote it.
If you knew ahead of time your book would benefit only one person on their spiritual journey, would you still write it? I like this question because I feel like this is close to the truth for me! I feel largely “under the radar” in the writer world and have come close to giving up many times because I didn’t think my books mattered. There are so many talented authors out there, why should I bother? But God has made it clear He wants me to keep writing, and every so often He gives me a “God wink”: a hint that my efforts are not wasted. Moreover, I benefit spiritually from the writing process, as I work out my own issues on the pages. In addition, trusting God with the finished book stretches my faith. He knows exactly who needs to read my stories, and even if I never know in this lifetime the impact the books have had, I am confident God knows what He’s doing! I’m just the instrument He uses to reach people (or one person).
Do you feel pressured to compromise your standards in order to reach a larger audience or be more successful? Not anymore, but I did several years ago when I wrote the original versions of my first two books. I wrote in a style and with a heat level that was not representative of me or my comfort level. I regret it deeply, and even though I revised and re-released the books, I still fear it hurt my chances of success going forward. But I also know God’s plans can’t be thwarted by our errors.
Do you write your books for your own enjoyment or more for what you think people would want to read? I write for my own enjoyment as well as what God has placed on my heart. Writing is my “side gig”, so at this point, I don’t feel the need to write to market. But I’m sure my writing will evolve as I gain more experience and knowledge.
Who do you envision your typical reader to be? A reader of my books will be: okay with edgier subject matter/redemption stories, a fan of romance, open to reading young adult or college-age fiction, a bit nostalgic, and comfortable with a Christian worldview. Loving music isn’t a requirement, just know most of my stories will involve music somehow. Age-wise, I’ve had my 16-year-old niece enjoy my books as well as friends in their fifties. Christian and secular readers alike have read my books.
I’m always intrigued by how writers get started…did you always have these books inside you and knew that you wanted to write them or did the idea just pop into your head one day and you decided to put pen to paper? The idea for my first book came to me when I was in sixth grade (circa 1984), when I had a mad crush on a member of an English rock band. I had a vivid imagination which wouldn’t stop, and one day I decided to write a story about a girl from California who spends the summer in England, where she meets and falls in love with a future rock star. Fast forward twenty-five years, that story still floated around my imagination, so I decided to write it for publication. The original story from my preteen mind evolved into four books!
What do you think is lacking in Christian Fiction? Straight off, I’ll say rock star romance. It’s my favorite genre and what I write, but it’s very hard to find clean or Christian rock star fiction. You will find scores of rock star books in secular romance, but they tend to be steamy reads. One of my writer friends is self-publishing a Christian rock star series soon, and I cannot wait to read her books!
What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Write from the heart and stay in constant communication with God. Don’t worry about whether you’ll make a bestseller list or earn awards, just enjoy the process. Join online and in person writing groups. Attend conferences. Read books about writing, marketing and the publishing process. Read well-written books, especially ones that are in your genre. Don’t compare yourself with other writers. Be patient and persevere.
Find Anne online:
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