Please welcome multi-genre writer and reviewer Anne K. Edwards, whose latest book, This and That: A Collection of Light and Dark Tales, was recently published by First Realm Publishing. Anne also enjoys writing picture books and a humorous monthly column from her muse’s point of view. Find more about Anne at her website.
Congratulations on the release of your latest book, This and That: A Collection of Light and Dark Tales. When did you start writing and what got you into the various genres?
I started trying to write around age nine, but it wasn’t until I retired that I had the time necessary to do the job properly and learn the rules of the craft and then learn which ones I could break. For instance, writing what you know. I ventured into the mystery world as it is my preferred reading for relaxation, but when it came to solving a murder, well, I must admit I knew only what I read in fiction and saw in movies or on television. They were in no way real, but were a starting point. I quickly decided to inject my own reactions and emotions into those of my characters and exaggerate them. Common sense also served my characters well in resolving the crime along with trying for realism in all the details of a story.
I still love the mystery genre best, but will try my hand at any story that takes me into another genre if it interests me. The lines of the genres are blurred more and more today, giving writers the chance to try new ideas that fit only the blurred joinings of the genres and the readers and publishers of the Internet are responding to these new offerings with enthusiasm.
What is your book about?
This and That is a collection of characters and their situations, each in their own story. For instance, there is a brief tale of an old man who hears hoofbeats in a snowstorm or a vampire who has a problem new to his kind. If you like a short tale taken from a boy’s life, give “My Pet Chicken” a read. One story deals with the end of the world and another with bio-robotic Companions, and other tales in the form of mysteries, particularly those where Death hires a detective to solve his problems. Then, the devil outsmarts himself. The total collection of tales takes the reader into new worlds and differing genres where new things await.
Did you have any struggles or difficulties when you started writing?
If I understand the question correctly, it refers to the time I started trying to write my first tales as a child. Yes, there were difficulties. I had several younger siblings and most of my free time was spent watching them. Often that meant just sitting and being bored to death unless they were in the mood for one of my weird tales. If I had five kids to watch, I had to watch in five different directions at the same time such as one sister feeding a younger brother a mud pie or a brother that climbed trees and got stuck. Then there were two who liked to take their clothes off outside and my panicked efforts to get them recovered. They were fast on their feet for two-year-olds. So by day’s end I had no urge to write. Just getting a few minutes to write an idea down was a victory.
Another problem, and a very big one, was the lack of information or help in learning to write properly. School work did not include such coaching and the library of the day carried no books on the subject. Writing was not considered worthwhile in a blue collar town. There were few real readers in the hardworking population who often had two jobs or a small farm and little time to read. Encouragement to a beginning writer just wasn’t a priority so it took me several decades to learn the craft of writing and produce a story someone would be interested in reading.
What was your inspiration for This and That?
Each of the stories in this collection has its own inspiration. Some come from people I see but don’t know, some come from the news, others from an idea that appears out of nowhere and sticks. With the idea always comes a character and the setting, and the story begins to unwind. I like to let the characters pull me along to see what they will do next. Sometimes, the story is short and only about a moment in someone’s life, as in “The Lonely One” which deals with loneliness. If the reader has ever been lonely, they’ll identify with the character and feel what she feels. Inspiration for a series of tales about Death hiring a detective was merely “what if…” The story line deals with how a person might see Death if he could be seen by them and what problems might happen to Death if he was a messenger new to the job.
What do you do when your muse refuses to collaborate?
This happens frequently as we have a running argument about who’s the boss of writing. I know a muse is supposed to be a “she” but mine is a disagreeable, whiny “he” who has his own column on my website. He complains about everything and everybody. He has made a sulphury-smelling mire out of my mind and then complains when the water gets cold. He brings in unusable characters and complains he can’t get rid of them. My only defense is to ignore him or hope he’ll sleep off his bad moods. I keep him around because he provides me plenty of interesting ideas, even some I couldn’t use because I can’t write in a certain genre or don’t like the theme. He’s called Swamp Thingy and is threatening to write his own books. Am I worried? Maybe. He just might do it and succeed. Then where would I be?
Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about your work?
I have a website and a blog within it, but I’m afraid readers won’t learn much about me there. I don’t like reading things that hark back to “me, me, me” unless the person is really interesting in what they say or do, so I try not to write about myself like that. I’m rather private about things, so I prefer to use a website to promote my books or books by other good authors. Since I’m a writer and others in my world are in the same field or other parts of it, offering a reader information about writing, writers, publishers, publishing and so forth gives them a chance to expand what they know and not be bored silly by what my very dull days are like.
Writing is in itself somewhat dull, as a writer spends hours alone without visitors or phone calls. How is that interesting, I asked myself, and found out it isn’t. Our travels and the people we meet would be, but how many times can a writer describe a conference or meeting and make it interesting without it becoming repetitious? We need to offer a visitor to our website something new and different, hence my muse’s column, One Muse’s Opinion, and believe me he has opinions.
Where is your book available?
This and That: A Collection of Light and Dark Tales is available at Amazon, the publisher First Realm Publishing, and several online book stores. This is probably the time when an author like myself wishes the brick and mortar stores were doing well in selling ebooks also, but alas, that is not the case. It is available in various reader formats also.
What is your advice for aspiring authors?
Read as much as you can in the genres that interest you, take a writing course, join an author’s group, subscribe to at least one magazine about writing, write as much as you can in practice and then write more. Study what you read and hone your writing craft. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and for help when you need it.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00SI0GK2Q]