Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mystery and Mayhem: Meet Ann Charles!!

Hey, Hey, Hey! It's Friday, TLN'ers!!

No need to settle for a re-read this weekend. Oh no! Satisfy your cravings with a heapin' helpin' of the witty and oh-so fabulous ANN CHARLES!

With multiple titles and awards to her name, Ann is definitely an author to keep on your radar. She's driven and disciplined, a combination destined for greatness.

The face of publishing has evolved over the last few years and with change comes opportunity. Ann's journey into publication is a perfect example of perseverance and success. If the old ain't working for you anymore, scoot on up to the table and dig into the delectable advice Ann is dishing up!

Bon appetite!

1)If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

When a half-crazed, mischievous witch named Ann Charles mixes a glob of mystery with a few drops of romance, throws in a dash of humor, and adds a pinch of horror and paranormal, a crazy concoction of stories ensues. Will her heroines ever escape the dastardly plans she has for them? Will her heroes chew their way free from the binds of conflict she uses to ensnare them? Will the voices in her head ever shut up? Only Ann (and her therapist) know the answers … or at least they will after 300 more hours of therapy.

2)Using three words, describe your voice.

Quirky, witty, colorful (these are common adjectives I have received in reviews of my books)
3)Tell us a little about how you "Got The Call".

I never did. I had to create my own “call,” by joining up with Corvallis Press, learning how to format and publish books, hiring editors and a cover artist (who happens to be my brother) and a cover designer, and publishing my own books. I made it to acquisitions at Mira and had several editors at other houses interested, but the common reason for rejection after rejection was that there wasn’t a big enough audience for my book. In other words, sales and marketing didn’t think the book would sell enough copies to make it a worthwhile investment. So far this year, I’ve sold over 15,000 copies of the first two books of the Deadwood series without the distribution arm that the big publishers have. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I listened to my gut and decided to try getting that first book out to readers with Corvallis Press’s help and let readers decide if it’s marketable or not.

4)What's been the biggest challenge you've had to overcome in your writing/career?

Time management. I have a full-time day job, two very young kids, and a husband. Trying to make time to write, promote, keep building my platform, support my writing buddies, and yet still spend ample time with my kids and husband so that they don’t stage an intervention has been very stressful. There are times when I’m away from home from at a writing conference or book signing and struggle with guilt from not being there to help raise my kids. I worry they will grow up and sing that sad “Cats in the Cradle” song that goes “when you coming home, son, I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then…” all because I have this career I’m trying to build instead of spending as much time as possible with them. On the other hand, my success in this writing career means we can afford to have more fun adventures, and I’m a happier person when I’m writing and allowing my brain to work on story-telling.

5)Any tips for novice writers on building a platform?

Remember: Baby steps. If you try to build your platform too fast, it can quickly become overwhelming. Pick a couple of areas you want to focus on and start with baby steps. For example, five years ago, I wanted to teach workshops, but what was I going to teach? While I wasn’t a newbie at writing (I’d been a finalist in the Golden Heart and the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary contest), I wasn’t published yet and had little credentials from my day job that I could roll over into the fiction writing world. So, I hooked up with a long-time critique partner and we submitted a workshop proposal about how to get your manuscript ready for entry in the RWA Golden Heart contest to our local chapter’s yearly writing conference coordinator. The coordinator took us up on it. From there, I just kept building my workshop teaching resume one class at a time. I took baby steps. Now I am fortunate enough to have people contact me to do workshops both in-person and online for their writing chapters and conferences, and I even get paid sometimes (something that surprises me still after doing workshops for free for so many years).

6)What kind of advice can you dish up on balancing real life and writerly life? Inquiring minds want to know!

I wish I had ten-steps-to-balancing-success tips to rattle off to you, but I don’t. Mainly, try your best not to procrastinate. This sounds simple, I know, but so many of us get a task and put it off for later. I’ve found that if I just bat out the tasks as soon as I get them, I get so much more done each day and I have more time for writing fiction. Also, on the family front, communication is extremely important. I try to share as much as my husband is willing to listen to regarding my writing so that he doesn’t feel shut out from this part of my life. Some days his eyes glaze over, other days he’s very curious about everything I have going on, so it balances out. The key thing is keeping the communication flowing from both sides. The same goes with your kids. Explain to them why it’s important. I’ve told my four-year-old that I need to finish a chapter because it will help me finish the book, which I will sell for money that we can use to buy her some new toys. That really works—ha! But I do have to get those new toys for her because she has the memory of an elephant and won’t let me forget our “deal.”
7)Give us the good word! Any news you'd like to share?

My newest book, the first in the Jackrabbit Junction Mystery Series, DANCE OF THE WINNEBAGOS, will be available in print December 15, 2011. Currently, you can purchase the e-copy of the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iStore, and more online venues.
Thank you, Sarah, for having me on your blog today!

It was my pleasure, Ann! I know I'm not alone when I say your advice speaks straight to the heart. Thank you so much for the gift of your knowledge and time. Both are appreciated immensely! If you'd like to know more about Ann Charles and her books, please follow these links:

BUY NOW page on my website:
Facebook (Personal Page):  
Facebook (Author Page):   Twitter (as Ann W. Charles):  
Twitter (as Deadwood Violet):  
My Main Website:  
My Deadwood Website:  

THANK YOU, TLN'ers! It's been a sickness filled last few weeks, but everyone at Casa de Simas on the mend, which is why I'm totally noshing on Ann's spectacular answers! Whether you're gonna be flippin' or fillin' pages this weekend, here's wishing you tons of productivity!


D. M. Kenyon said...

I will have to try the Ann Charles child bribery technique, but I really want to know how she gets her spouse to have those attentive moments. As a big fan of Ann and her books, I have basically started a cult following and am contemplating a religion based on her views.

Great Interview, guys. Good job Ann, go get 'em.

D. M. Kenyon

Jacquie Rogers said...

OMG, a religion based on chocolate, frozen coke, and tequila. OTOH, you don't get any sleep, so there are trade-offs. ROTFLMAO

Ann Charles said...

D.M.--LOL! I use drugs on my spouse to make him listen. ;)

Jacquie--Those sound like excellent components to me. Who needs sleep?

Thanks for the comments, guys!