Anne K. Edwards has authored and coauthored books in several different genres, from children’s books to mystery to speculative fiction. Currently, Anne is working on a new mystery novel, second in the “Death” series, to follow Death on Delivery. She’s here today to talk about her latest release, Shadows Over Paradise. Visit her website to find out more.
Why don’t you start by telling us a bit about Shadows Over Paradise? What inspired you to write it?
Shadows Over Paradise was written to show a heroine can stand on her own two feet and does not always need a man to make her a whole person or to rescue her in all situations. Julia Graye is such a woman, however, she does accept help if offered and needed.
The inspiration comes from my youth when almost every female character ever written was incomplete without a man to make her decisions and tell her what to think and do. It was the day of when a real man could spank a woman or even slap her in the face and this was considered appropriate behavior. This was and is abuse and I could never understand how a woman would or could love such a man whether in real life or fiction.
Yet these same men weren’t above leaving a woman to raise a batch of children alone while they went on to a new life. I had to ask could a weak, incompetent woman do this and survive? Yes! Because they did. So I modeled my heroine after that type of woman, yet she is able to love and look forward to marriage and a family.
Julia Graye, the heroine of Shadows Over Paradise must make some fast decisions when she finds herself kidnapped, accused of murder, and nearly killed. The act of merely walking down a street puts her in danger.
Do you use index cards to plot your book?
No, because my plots are so full of twists and turns and I don’t outline at all when I begin to write. However I use these cards for notes, clues, a list of loose ends to tie off before the last page is written so I do recommend keeping a bunch handy.
Have you suffered from writer’s block?
Yes. There are just some days or weeks when I lose interest in writing and even reading and am content to sit and stare at anything on the TV. I call this a creative burnout and it never lasts long. It’s as if the mind just wants a change of scenery for a while, then goes back to work. There is no time in particular for it to happen or length of time to last.
How was your experience looking for a publisher? What words of advice would you offer those novice authors who are in search of one?
My experience was varied, with several lessons. I learned to ask other authors about publishers, to check submission times, to query about submitting and to read contracts before signing. Would you believe I had a book tied up for seven years by one publisher because I thought their contract was standard? I know others who did this too. Some contract points can be negotiated also, so if you have questions or doubts, get them out in the open. Don’t believe verbal promises. Get it in writing. I had to buy the rights back from one publisher that posted the book on the site and let it sit. That same publisher made a book into a multi partnership. They didn’t pay artists or editors, but gave them a part of the proceeds when the book sold.
Does the publisher edit a book? This is very important in smoothing lapses and bumps in an author’s writing. My advice to any writer is to proceed with care. I’m sure it’s such experiences that leads some authors into self publishing and all the work it entails, but I lucked out when I discovered Twilight Times Books. I’ve been with them for over 10 years and never had any doubts that I was satisfied. There are many good presses out there and I heartily recommend authors give them a try.
What author or type of books do you read for fun?
I read Anne Macaffrey for fantasy and real adventure with real people but not necessarily those written by others under her name. I love a good mystery like Agatha Christie. I have read some great historicals, but the romances I read must not be full of love scenes, but have a good story. There are several different subgenres here and almost any reader can find one or two to please them.
Do you think a critique group is essential for a writer?
This depends entirely on the author and their needs or what they expect from such a group. If the author wants honest feedback, they should search out like-minded writers for such a group. In other words, a children’s author is not the best judge of a slaughterhouse thriller, but they can give helpful comments on related genre writers’ work, just as another thriller author can helpfully critique the slaughterhouse thriller. The author must realize that any critique group members may give widely varied comments to the work. One may merely be jealous and seek to make the author feel less able than they are, one may over praise because they are afraid of hurting an author’s feelings, and yet another may offer advice that actually is parroted from the group leader or founder if it has a founder who thinks he or she knows all there is to know about writing and is yet unpublished. The group is meant to be an ego trip for that person.
Do you have another novel in the works?
Yes. It a second in the series of Hannah Clare’s investigations.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
Yes, if you are a reader, insist on a well-told story and if you are an author, insist on crafting a well-told, edited, well-written story. This way everyone who loves books will be satisfied. A writer writes for the reader and the reader will look for that writer’s work to enjoy.