Welcome fellow Resplendence Author Anna Mayle. So Anna,where are you from?
I was born on Drummond Island, in a log cabin my mother built with her own two hands. In the summer we lived in a teepee in a large clearing in the woods. We held rendezvous there where trappers and traders and Native Americans would gather to live a tiny bit in a time that had already been and gone. Later we moved to New Mexico and even later we came back to Michigan, even if it isn’t the island anymore, but I’ve always considered myself as being from that tiny piece of yesterday that we worked so hard to hold on to.
Q: When and why did you begin writing?
I can’t remember a time I wasn’t creating stories. At first it was just something fun to play around with. Later it became a way to shape the world into what I wanted it to be. I hid in my writing for a long while. Actually, I only surfaced to find friends and join the real world a few years ago. Before that it was always my family and my writing, nothing else mattered.
Q: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve always considered myself a writer, but I guess I really saw the possibility of being a professional writer when I finished my first novel ‘Such Bitter Heaven’. It still isn’t published yet, but I have hope for it. ^_^
Q: What is your writing process? Do you outline, fly by the seat of your pants or a combination of both? Do you use mood music, candles, no noise, when you write?
I make up the characters first, and write a scene (not necessarily the first one), then I just let them play. Even I don’t know how my book will end before it does. Sometimes I have a vague idea, but the characters usually go somewhere I was really not expecting. Honestly, it’s a bit like having a multiple personality disorder sometimes. My head gets very crowded.
As for the physical conditions, it depends on what I’m working on. Usually quiet or soft instrumental music (my current favorite for my WIP is ‘Song of a Secret Garden’) is preferable. I fix a hot cup of spice tea then curl up at my desk, feet on the chair or tucked under me because I can’t stand sitting with both feet on the ground. Occasionally a cat or lizard will join me while I’m working and keep my head, neck, or lap warm while I type.
Of course, those are preferable conditions, all too many times I’m scribbling on a napkin, or scrap paper at work while I’m on break, on the bus, or in a loud room while family and roommates play and I try to drown out just enough of the din to focus, and fight the cats away from my keyboard since they think it’s the neatest toy ever. *sigh* good times.
Q: What books have most influenced your life most?
Monica Furlong’s ‘Juniper’, I always wanted to grow up as strong as the Dorans in that story. Kahlil Gibran’s ‘A Tear and A Smile’, the lessons in that book are what I was raised on. While some kids are quoted bible verses, I was quoted bits from those pages. More secrets of life and happiness were found in ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupery and ‘The Big Friendly Giant’ by Roald Dahl. ‘The Last Unicorn’ by Peter S. Beagle was my favorite book as a child, I must have worn out three or four copies of that book. And ‘The Last Trail’ by Zane Grey, that one not for the contents of the book as much as the memory of being curled up with my brothers, beside our mother in the guest room at my Great Great Uncle Bill’s house in Newburry, snuggled warm against the cold while she read to us in her soft, musical whisper. I remember looking up and seeing my Grandad looking in on us from the doorway and thinking ‘all is right with the world’.
Q: What are your current projects?
I have a full length novel finished and awaiting approval (fingers crossed) called ‘In The Shadow of A Hero’. It was supposed to be for the Handcuffs and Lace line, but it ran away with me and got too long. The story is about a homeless man, Maxwell Thomas, full of self-loathing and hiding from his past by trying to save the city he feels he wronged. When Nick Kenna, a truly good hearted cop, stumbles upon him and tries to pull him out of the darkness, they both end up caught in a fight for their lives, and Maxwell’s sanity.
I’ve also got a short story in progress about a young musician who stumbles across the journal of a soldier from WWII. The more he reads the more he sees the shade of the soldier in his dreams, the more he dreams, the more they blend with reality until he isn’t sure what’s real anymore, or what he wants to be real.
Q: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Nature. I can’t begin to tell you how many times, when life began to pull me down, I would retreat to my garden or the woods or water. Without mother Earth about to ground me… it’s terrifying to wonder where I would be today.
Q: Would you tell us your story of getting “the call?”
The call hmm?
Metaphysically I think it was more like a telegram buried in the annals of my psyche. I had to keep writing more and more because if I didn’t, I started to talk out scenes to myself…out loud. It was scaring people. My dad thought I was going insane. ^_^
If you mean the physical ‘you’re going to be published’ kind of call. The Email actually got eaten by my Hotmail account. I waited for a month or so and the gave a tentative message to Resplendence asking if I’d just not been chosen or if the story hadn’t been read yet. Instead of the brush off I was expecting I was told that I was going to be published.
Honestly, I think I almost fell out of my chair, I was so shocked.
Q: Where can readers find you on the World Wide Web?
www.annamayle.com, it’s not much yet, but it’s a start. I also used to write a lot of fanfiction under another name, but that’s a s-e-c-r-e-t. shh.
Join me on Saturday when we read an Excerpt from Anna’s Bedtime Stories for a Stolen Child.