Thursday, March 19, 2015

Straight from the Mouth of 'Dark of the Heart' Anne K. Edwards

Anne K. Edwards lives with her husband and a batch of bossy cats.  Anne enjoys writing, but her schedule is erratic. She is an avid reader, writes in several genres, and has self-published through Amazon Dark of the Heart, a book in the dystopian genre.  She also reviews some genres, and enjoys meeting all sorts of people in the writing field. She says so many of them are really interesting with great tales to tell.

Q.  Thanks for letting us interrogate you!  Can you give us a go-for-the-gut answer as to why you wanted to be an author?

A.  My wanting to be a writer started as soon as I learned to put words into sentences. It fascinated me to be able to create worlds in which people lived and build lives. It still does. I also was able to visit worlds of the past and future like the old West and the coming space age by imitating authors like Zane Grey and Isaac Asimov.  In spite of all the early rejections of teenage tales I wrote, the love kept me going.  And lastly, I found writing to be an exciting change of scene or a form of escapism in which I controlled everything that happened which served me well in a crowded, noisy childhood home.

Q.  Tell us (we won’t tell promise!) is it all it’s cracked up to be?  I mean what are the perks and what are the demands?

A.  The perks are great in that an author can communicate with others through writing and meet some wonderful and highly intelligent people at conferences or through groups and reviewing great books. A huge perc is meeting people who enjoy books and being able to spend time talking ‘books’ with them. They bring new perspectives to ways of looking at things. It’s amazing what I’ve learned from all of these people. It is the people who make writing and having written so rewarding. 

     The demands are trying to find time to write when life is getting in the way. Another is being forced to endure wasted time while busy publishers and agents tell the writer a book is rejected without them looking at it. Dealing with writer’s block and trying to find a way out or running into a wall when writing and the story goes flat or I lose interest in it as I absolutely detest having to rewrite something I thought was finished. Dealing with interruptions when the story is going so right. Learning how to accept having paid an
editor or reviewer to read your work and have them return a nonconstructive document that often proves they didn’t read the work.  Spending long hours in lonely silence to be able to create is also a demand and perhaps the biggest of all.  One needs the patience of a saint to be a writer.  

Q  Which route did you take – traditional or self-published – and can you give us the nitty gritty low down on what’s that like?

A.  I took the traditional route to publication, however, I’m finding out about self publishing that actually takes as much or more effort to achieve that goal. There are just some books we want published that a publisher says don’t fit the markets or genres. The traditional publishing route gives an author a sense of security in some respects when they can submit their work to certain publishers who are interested in seeing whatever that author writes. On the other hand, a writer looking to self-publish must face finding out how to publish, where to publish and how to avoid scams, where to find an editor, and how to sell and promote that book. They must also struggle to find reviewers willing to read the book and that may be the most difficult task of all.  The self-publishing author, whether their work is good or poorly done, carries the entire burden and will find it is actually a more time-consuming job with the most disappointments, but on succeeding, will find a great deal of satisfaction for a job well done.

Q.  Tell us for real what your family feels about you spending so much time getting your book written, polished, edited, formatted, published, what have you?

A.  I don’t come from a close family. Mom encouraged me in my writing but others scoffed or were indifferent, saying it was a waste of time.  Mom’s encouragement was enough to soothe hurt feelings and give me the will to keep going when I was a youngster. As time passed and I turned into a senior citizen, the encouragement comes from friends who are closer than family and dearer in many respects, especially those who nag me to continue writing. 

Q. Do your pets actually get their food on time or do they have to wait until you type just one more word? 

A.  My pets do not wait.  They will stomp on the keyboard, erase pages, add spaces or weird combinations of letters to my work, often not found until a final edit. They will jump on me, start fights with females who will scream like a panther to get my attention and believe me, it works. They are cats, and I am their slave, to do with what they want, when they want. Their view of writing is that it serves them no purpose.

Q.  Are your plants actually still alive? 

A. I don’t dare keep plants. The cats would find other uses for them that aren’t meant, so unless I get a monster Venus flytrap that eats cats in spite of hairball danger to itself, I must forego the pleasure of plants.

Q.  In writing your book, how did you deal with the phone ringing, your family needing dinner or your boss calling you saying you’re late?

A.  The telephone doesn’t ring when I’m writing as I unplug it. My family is a husband and bunch of cats who will eat when they want providing the food is there. It’s a matter of each being hungry at differing times.  I have no boss as I have been retired for years, unless cats qualify as bosses and to them, I’m always late.  Their idea of on time is being able to read their minds ahead of time and know exactly when they’ll want a lap to sit on, something new to eat, or perhaps the right to chew on something or someone to get a good game of chase going.

Q.  What was the craziest or insane thing that happened to you in the book publishing process? 

A.  I don’t think anything I’ve experienced can be called crazy or insane unless having people ask if the backdrop I created out of my head was real. Lots of good things have happened with excitement that made me want to dance in place.  And I can’t dance…

Q.  How about the social networks?  Which ones do you believe help and which ones do you wish you could avoid?

A.  I’m only just learning about the networking sites.  The few I’ve signed onto turned out to be for people with no interest in books or those who want to sell me something, older folks to post family photos and keep in touch.  I’d love to find one with where only writers, readers, groups and anyone in the writing or publishing fields could get in touch. That seems to be a void that will never be filled.  I don’t understand how one can find new writers on line unless you know their names and sites ahead of time. What if you don’t know their names or the titles of their books or what genres they write in? Maybe I need to become a mind reader.

Q.  Book sales.  Don’t you just love them (or lack of?)?  How are you making the sales happen for you? 

A.  This is another area I’m just beginning to get reacquainted with.  The markets change so rapidly and I have fallen behind. It is hard to find what to look for first and where to look. One must take time to learn. And I’m learning slowly.

Q.  What is one thing you’d like to jump on the rooftop and scream about?

A.  I think that is time wasted, a thing caused by people who think writers exist to wait on their whims. Some agents build a stable of writers they never communicate with, but use them to impress agencies they want to join. Often those agents change agencies and never let the writers know. We find out the hard way the old or new agency doesn’t want our work. The agent’s focus is only on getting the next, better job using a hapless bunch of hopefuls, often collecting new writers as stepping stones.  I know it’s part of a writer’s education, but it also sours trust in these people. The Internet gives writers an option that doesn’t need an agent and the same could-care-less agents do not like that one bit. They maintain the fiction one needs an agent to get published.  Hello, out there, not true if an author will try Internet publishers or decides to self-publish. I know millions of books are being published and most do not have agents. It may mean I’ll never get published by a large house, but I am very satisfied with the Internet publishers. They waste much less of a writer’s time and are aware that their livelihood depends on the writer, not the other way around. Without writers, millions of people in agencies and large publishing houses would have to find other work.

Q.  Okay, too much sugar for you today!  Here’s a nice cup of Chamomile tea and come on over and sit under the cabana and watch the waves roll in.  Now…can you tell us what you love about being a published author and how all those things above doesn’t matter because it’s all part of the whole scheme of things and you wouldn’t have it any other way?

A.  There are many reasons I love being a writer. I find satisfaction in creating, having created, and seeing that creation on the market, hoping it will reach out to others to provide information or pleasure, depending on the genre. I love the many helpful and friendly people I’ve met. They are like gold in one’s pocket. Most problems become small and serve as learning tools as one is published.  They taught me so much, that I feel my entire success could rest on having had to face those problems. It would be wonderful if one could skip the problems and just go on to success as an author, but it doesn’t work that way. We need to struggle, to fight to win the battle of getting published and when we reach that goal, we find we are equipped for the next battle.  So while I dislike all the disappointments and wasted time, I learned how the craft of writing and publishing works and, yes, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Look at the void in my education I’d have without those troubles.

Thank you for letting me visit you.  I’ve really enoyed it and hope to see you all again soon.  Anne K. Edwards

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