Please welcome guest author, Anna Hackett. Anna is a mining engineer by day and a writer by night. She loves combining action, adventure and a healthy dose of romance in her stories. Her latest release, Taken by the South Wind is available from Silhouette Nocturne Bites and all online booksellers.
Leave a comment and you will be entered into a drawing to win a free download of one of Anna's stories!
Q: Welcome Anna! Please tell us about yourself and what you write.
A: Thanks Kelly for having me here. I’m married to the love of my life, Karl and we live in an isolated mining town in northern
(beautiful beaches but lots of crocodiles, sharks and killer jellyfish.) I’m a mining engineer by day and writer by night. I spend my work days in a hard hat and boots and my weekends hunched over my laptop lost in my own worlds. Australia
If I’m not writing I have my nose in my Kindle. I’ve always been a reader and it was that love of reading that sparked my interest in writing. That or the creative side of my brain needed an outlet since my days are mostly numbers and calculations!
I currently write paranormal romance and have several short stories published with Harlequin’s Silhouette Nocturne Bites line. I also write action-adventure romance. I love combining adventure and my love of history with a happily ever after. That’s why the paranormal and suspense genres suit me so well.
Q: How do you manage your time to ensure that you will write consistently?
A: For me, not writing isn’t an option. I have this obsessive/compulsive urge to write. If I’m not writing I’m pondering plot problems, brainstorming my next scene or thinking about my next story idea. I am fairly disciplined and do treat writing as a job. I do the bulk of my writing on the weekend.
I have an office…and have to force myself to sit in there sometimes. I can write on the couch, out on the patio, at the kitchen table and at the coffee shop BUT I’m more productive at the desk in my office. What I did was track how many words I wrote at all my various locations and the numbers don’t lie! I’m working hard to get into my office more.
The most important thing for me in finding the time to write is my supportive husband. Sometimes he chases me to my desk! And he’s a fiend at putting visual reminders up about how many words I said I’d write today or how many chapters I said I’d revise. Then he checks in every few hours to see how I’m going. I think writers need to set some “rules” with their families and carve out some writing time where the family knows they can’t disturb them. Get your family involved in helping you succeed – make them a part of it too.
Q: Some writers believe in writer's block, others don't. What's your take on it? Can you give us a strategy that's worked for you?
A: I try not to think about writer’s block too much. I moved country and jobs a year ago and my writing certainly suffered until I was settled and back in a routine. I think writer’s block is probably a reflection of what’s going on in your life at the time. I don’t think there’s a magic pill to solve it except hard work and perseverance. Try not to dwell on it and get down. Make yourself write, give yourself permission to write crap and keep pushing until the words flow again.
Q: Can you tell us about a time that you got a great idea at an unusual time-- say when you were in line at the grocery store or when falling asleep-- and how you incorporated that into your work?
A: I get ideas all the time – usually in the middle of a movie (action movies are my favorites!) My husband’s accustomed to me saying “Press pause, I just got a story idea and have to write it down.” I keep a list of ideas and reread it every now and then when I’m thinking about my next story – it varies from a couple of words to a half page on a premise, character or setting.
I also keep a notebook beside my bed. Falling asleep or waking up are good times for ideas to strike. As I’m falling asleep, I often think about the next scene I’m going to write and it often heads in a different direction than I had planned.
My first Bites, Savage Dragon is about modern-day dragon knights who hunt down dragons turned wild. It was when I was falling asleep one night I had the idea to have different types of dragons with different powers (based on the ancient Chinese elements of earth, metal, fire, wood and water). I was thrilled with how my dragons turned out.
Q: Some writers use daily statements like "I write easily and well every day" as a way to stay motivated and keep creativity levels high. What do you do?
A: I have a list of affirmations that I look at when I need them. I have one I think of every day “I am a #1 NYT bestselling author” – why not aim high! To stay motivated, I love to read and watch movies. Reading a brilliant book or watching an exciting movie motivates me like nothing else and helps my creativity.
Q: Which do you like better: first drafts or revisions? Why?
A: Gosh, this is a hard question. When I’m doing a first draft, I like revisions better. When I’m revising, I like first drafts better. The grass is always greener! When the story is flowing, the first draft is wonderful. On the flip side, my engineer brain feels quite happy with a list of revisions. I start at the top and work my way through them. I do find it a little easier to make myself sit down and revise because I know what I need to get done.
Thanks for being here Anna!
Please leave a comment if you want to be entered into the drawing for a free story. For more about Anna, check out her website and blog: www.annahackettbooks.com and www.annahackett.blogspot.com