(Laughs) I do my best to focus on the project in front of me, but there are some characters who are quite strong-willed and eager to have their story told. Some of them even act out scenes in my head or stand impatiently with their arms folded across their chests! When that happens, I start a separate document, write the scene, then go back to my current work. That usually satisfies them until I can get to their story. In my writing world, the characters have quite a say in what happens. If I give them free rein (for the most part) they almost always get it right.)
You chose to publish as an independent publisher. Why and how overwhelming is it to do it yourself?
I found myself spending too many hours researching, creating query letters, and tracking the rejections. Many publishers don’t even respond (“if you don’t hear from us, we’re not interested”), and the time between query and a possible response is sometimes months. It was frustrating, discouraging, and it took too much time away from my writing, which is what I wanted to do. Today’s authors have to take on a significant portion of book marketing and publicity, even if they sign on with a publisher. They require a significant social media presence, an astonishing number of followers , and they look to see what you've already done to market the book yourself. I have a small, amazing team that I work with to bring my stories to life. Self-publishing allows me to decide when the book will be released, and I have the final say on the appearance of the cover and interior pages. I can market the book where and when I think it will reach readers who might be interested in my story.
What lesson can you share with unpublished writers looking up at you?
I f you have a story to tell, there’s someone out there who wants to read it! Prepare yourself to tell it as best you can. Join a writing organization. Learn about the genre’ you’re interested in writing (read a lot). Readers expect certain actions and outcomes in the genre’ they read, so you’ll want to be aware of what they are and avoid the pitfalls. Join a writer’s group where you can get honest feedback on your work while you learn from other writers. Remember that critiques are about the writing, not you. Lastly, put something down on the page. Anything. And go from there.
Any upcoming projects or events you wish to share with your fans?
A new set of characters have been impatiently tugging at my sleeve, so I’m immersed in building them the world of my next historical fiction novel. It will be set in Minnesota, England, and have an added, unexpected element of time travel. No title yet, but it will reveal itself when the time is right. As I did with The Ghost Writer, I plan to post blogs (as the story unfolds) on my website with background information and interesting research bits that may/may not appear in the finished version of the story. Website link: www.annehawkinson.com
85 Thank you again for visiting us. I can hardly wait to see you next book!
You’re welcome! I am so grateful to be the recipient of The Jack Eadon Memorial Award and for the opportunity to share a bit about me and my work.
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