Sunday, September 25, 2011
Friday, September 16, 2011
1. Every author I’ve met has their own unique story of how they found their way into writing. What path led you to become a multi-published author?
I’ve been writing since I was about six years old. I always loved it. I was always writing stories and plays as a child. Once in college, I got away from it for awhile, when I got into film and theatre production, and I spent many years working backstage. I started writing audition monologues for actress friends, because they were having trouble finding good material. That expanded into scenes and plays, and then I went back to writing prose. Eventually, I had to make the decision between staying in backstage work and writing. I chose writing.
2. You publish under at least six pseudonyms and in various genres. Can you tell us a bit about each of your writing personalities and their work?
Annabel Aidan – romantic/paranormal suspense
Devon Ellington – sports (both fiction & non-fiction), most of the articles and interviews, teaching, urban fantasy, mystery, some fantasy
Ava Dunne – romantic comedy
Cerridwen Iris Shea – tarot, runes, esoterica, herbalism, aromatherapy, fantasy, magical realism, paranormal (I wrote for Llewellyn Worldwide for 16 years under this name)
Jenny Storm – YA, YA mystery
Christiane Van de Velde – house & hearth essays, articles, novels
Christy Miller (sometimes Christy Garnet Miller)– literary fiction, mostly short stories
3. You’ve got to be one of the busiest women in writing. In addition to writing under several pseudonyms, you also offer workshops. How do you keep yourself and your work organized? What’s your writing style—plotter or pantser?
The more contracts I land, the more I’ve learned how important it is to outline. I don’t create prisons, just list possibilities. I jot down a few ideas, write three or four chapters into the piece, and then sit down and do a rough outline. That way, when I sit down in the morning, I can just pick up with the next scene, instead of wondering where I meant to go.
I’m very dependent on my calendar to keep all my deadlines straight. Once something is contracted, it goes in the calendar, and then I work backwards from there. I don’t do daily To-Do lists. I keep a rough idea of what gets done and then do it.
I like large swaths of uninterrupted and unstructured work time. If there are lists and schedules and the day is micro-managed, I get resentful and don’t do anything. It’s too much like working in an office. I made a choice not to work in someone else’s office, so why would I put myself on that same type of negative schedule?
4. What aspect of the writing process to you enjoy the most? What part of the process do you dread?
I love the actual writing process. I love to sit down and create. First drafts are wonderful, even when they’re difficult. I enjoy editing a lot – I believe in cutting. The red machete is my best friend.
The hardest part are the final galleys. When I hit “send”, I’m always slightly nauseous, worried that I missed something!
5. Can you tell us a little about your most recent book?
In ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT, released in both print and digital formats by Champagne Books, witchcraft, politics, and theatre collide and combine as Morag D’Anneville and Secret Service agent Simon Keane fight to protect the Vice President of the United States -- or is it Morag who needs Simon’s protection more than the VP?
Witch and theatre professional Morag D’Anneville is annoyed when she’s assigned to dress the conservative Vice President as he makes a surprise appearance in his favorite Broadway show. Even more irritating, she has to teach Agent Simon Keane, part of the security detail, the backstage ropes in preparation. A strong attraction flares between them which they both recognize is doomed, and Simon must also fight his superior’s prejudice that Morag’s beliefs make her a threat to the Vice President. When Morag is attacked, Simon’s loyalties are torn between protecting the man he’s sworn to protect, and protecting the woman he loves.
6. What can readers expect in the coming months?
I’m working on the next romantic suspense under the Annabel Aidan name, THE SPIRIT REPOSITORY. The protagonist in that book is Bonnie, a minor character in ASSUMPTION, who helps an attractive man when someone is “stealing” the ghosts of his ancestors from his bookshop. I’m negotiating for a new publisher for the urban fantasy Jain Lazarus Adventures (the previous publisher went out of business), and I’ve got several other books either on submission or about to go on submission. It will be interesting to see what lands where!
7. Where can you be found on the web? (web site, blogs, social network links)
My blog on the writing life is Ink in My Coffee, under the Devon Ellington name, at http://devonellington.wordpress.com/
There’s an Annabel Aidan web page on the Devon Ellington website: www.devonellingtonwork.com/annabelaidan.html
The Devon Ellington site also has a workshop page, listing where I’ll be teaching, both in person and online: www.devonellingtonwork.com/workshops.html.
You can find me on Twitter at @DevonEllington.
Keep in touch! There’s always something going on!
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Annabel Aidan writes romantic suspense with a hint of magic. She publishes under a half a dozen names in both fiction and nonfiction. She spent over twenty years working behind the scenes on Broadway, in film and television, mostly working wardrobe. Her plays are produced in New York, London, Edinburgh, and Australia. If you run towards her undoing buttons, she will tear off your clothes and flip you into something else — and then read your tarot cards.
Monday, September 12, 2011
I've been reading a lot lately on blogs about Women's Fiction--both pro and con. Not for or against the books themselves, but the term in particular. Women's Fiction was, initially, an umbrella term encompassing writing that targeted women readers, stories that would primarily appeal to women. It also included chick lit and romance. As a female reader and then writer, I gladly embraced the term. If I wanted to find a book that would provide a good story about a female heroine overcoming some obstacle, finding her own inner strength, and succeeding with or without a man in her life, I knew exactly where to look.
As a budding author and former psychotherapist, I found a niche for my writing--stories featuring heroines older than thirty who stand strong in the face of adversity. And, yes, some of them do find a romance along the way. But its not integral to their story.
Now I'm reading about authors, some of whom are well-established, who run from the term 'Women's Fiction' like someone dropped it in an outhouse at the county fair. One argument is that there is no genre titled 'Men's Fiction'. Okay, that's true. We tend to think of men as being drawn toward police drama, mystery, sci-fi, and some literary drama. And the shouts of 'sexism' rise.
Why? Sci-fi isn't only for scientists. Paranormal isn't geared toward an audience of vampires and ghosts. Law enforcement and criminals aren't the intended audience for police dramas. Okay, I'm being facetious.
Seriously, why has Women's Fiction as a genre term taken on such a negative value? I read a lot of different genres. Not only because they're entertaining, but because as an author, I need to have a diverse reading base. There was a time when some readers and authors alike would refer to romance novels as those heaving bosom books that denigrate women. Now romance in all its sub-genres has risen to a new height of respect among readership. Is Women's Fiction the new pariah?
I admit to a certain confusion in the publishing industry. I'm published with three publishers. One classifies my books as Women's Fiction and the other two as Mainstream Fiction. One actually lists what I submitted as Women's Fiction under Mainstream Romance.
I'm proud to say I write Women's Fiction and I love the feedback I receive from the women who read my books. I was approached by a man at a book fair who picked up one of my books and asked, "What kind of books are these?" I said, "Women's Fiction." He set the book down like it had burst into flames and said, "Oh, women's stories." Unoffended, I smiled and said, "My books are about women and are stories women would enjoy, but they're also stories from which men can learn." He bought a book for his wife, then asked, "So, should I read it first?" I thought that might be a good idea and told him so.
My point here--Women's Fiction is no more only for women than, as I said, Sci-fi is for scientists and Paranormal is for vampires and ghosts. If we can only get past the semantics.
What about you? Does the title Women's Fiction offend your senses and stop you from picking up a book in that category?