Saturday, February 23, 2013

Interview with Author Ann Snizek

Give us a quick introduction on yourself and your book. Thank you for interviewing me! I am a home-schooling mom working on an empty nest. Recently, I have become a volunteer tutor for our local Adult Learning Center. Writing has always been my passion, and now have the confidence in my writing to publish. I am my own worst critic, and a hopeless book addict.
What inspired you to write your first book? It started as a way to escape from daily stress and a challenge to myself that quickly grew. I had wanted to write for NaNoWrMo, but due to family life and obstacles it was a month late. I don't remember where the idea came from. My youngest daughter was a great assistant with feedback and as a sounding board for me.
Do you have a specific writing style? I write Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi in what I consider a natural style. Life is a mixture of elements and I try to make my characters come to life for the reader as much as they do for me.
How did you come up with the title? Well, with my first book (Tunuftol's Fortress of Light ) the Tunuftolates originated as creatures I created for a writing exercise with my children. The Fortress is the destination in the story. With the second book of this series (Secret of the Shielded ) the title came from one of the poetic "prophecies" at the end of book one.
However, with To Eris - Human (Payton Chronicles book 1 ), The title came before the story ended as a play on words. I watched the movie of The De Vinci Code and they mentioned A. Pope... My daughters did research papers on him and I played off the quote, "To err is human, to forgive divine." I'm working on book 2 for this series, already named For: Giva De Vine .
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? I don't write with a specific message in mind. My only goal is to encourage my readers to use their imaginations and never give up on their dreams. It is a constant battle, but don't give in to the negative.
How much of the book is realistic? All of the names and situations are only as realistic as my imagination allows them to be. I try to visualize my stories as if watching a movie, only I "know" the characters as if they were real.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Some of the experiences are drawn from a blend of my own life, others take inspiration from a blend of people that know. I don't focus on any one event or person, but try to be consistent with the traits of each character blend.
What books have most influenced your life most? This is always a hard question for me. I demanded to learn how to read early with the Dick and Jane books and Dr. Seuss. Books were always encouraged and I loved to read everything I could. The first books that I became "lost in" were Madeline L'Engle's series of A Wrinkle In Time . Then I fell in love with Anne McCaffrey's Pernbooks.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Definitely Anne McCaffrey, then Madeline L'Engle and Orson Scott Card. Although there are many new writers that I have fallen in love with also. I'm a sucker for series, but love when I can find a stand-alone book that catches me.
What book are you reading now? I am actually working on reading seven books. Thunderstormby JM Schroder; Tasting Never by CM Stunich; Unraveled by Gena Showalter; The Vampire Chronicles by Jodie Pierce; Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins; Hummingbird by Kimberly Greene Angle; and Castles in the Air by Christina Dodd. It all depends on where I am and what mood I'm in. Most are from Indie Writers that I have just met. I also have a long list of books I want to read.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? JM Schroder, Tressa Messenger, Jodie Pierce, and CM Stunich are some Indie Writers that I have found. While they aren't necessarily new authors, I have absolutely fallen in love with Suzanne Collins Hunger Games series (read them all before the movie), and The Mortal Instruments series by Clare.
What are your current projects? I have several projects going right now!
Two blog tours that I've organized (semi-organized to release two books in March (Secret of the Shielded & To Eris - Human );
I am co-authoring two short stories and wrote an independent short story for a charity anthology In Vein being collected by Jodie Pierce - author of The Vampire Queen{} (one with a single co-author, the other with 2 co-authors);
There are several other short stories that I have started; I am working on editing The Jewel of Nirel (Tunuftol Book 3 ), finishing The Sword of Israj (Tunuftol Book 4 ) and For: Giva De Vine (Payton Chronicles Book 2 );
I volunteer tutor at the Adult Learning Center and facilitate a Creative Writing Club there and on Facebook. I have also begun a new project that I am looking for contributors to: writing Adult interest level stories at low reading levels.
I have two blogs going, I'm participating in a few other blog tours, and I'm editing/formatting a book of poetry by another author.
Other than that... just life, home-schooling, being a grandma, and trying to keep what sanity I have left. (Oh, and I sleep sometimes too!)
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members. My laptop. :D
Do you see writing as a career? Yes, absolutely. I have been working more since I published my first book on 12/12/12 than I thought I could.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? The only thing I think I would change is that I would have started building up an interest in my writing and learned a bit more about the marketing and networking before publishing.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I remember begging people to read to me when I was little, but with the writing... I have an elementary school friend that told me she remembers me sitting under the slide during recess writing away.
Can you share a little of your current work with us? I can tell you that the short stories I'm working on for In Vein are the first vampire stories I've ever attempted and the first two stories I've ever collaborated on. It is an interesting and exciting challenge all around.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? One of the most challenging aspects would be finding time, another would be creating awareness... getting my name and work out there so people know about it.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?My favorite author is the great Anne McCaffrey. Her death stunned me as I'm sure it did many people. All of her books are powerful, visual, and honest. I dream of accomplishing even a fraction of the impact she reached in her life. The characters in her books became friends, enemies, and family. The worlds are places you wish you could visit.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)? I have to travel often, but not far right now. We don't have internet at home right now, so I have to go to town to access the wi-fi.
Who designed the covers? I have designed all my covers with input from my family.
What was the hardest part of writing your book? The hardest part of the actual writing for me has been finding people to provide constructive criticism and editing assistance. I don't have a budget to work with. So, I try to work in trade with other authors. I enjoy the revisions, although organization is not my strength, because I am constantly trying to improve.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it? I am learning to separate my style from my editing. The "professional terminology" is difficult for me to learn, but I'm getting better.
Do you have any advice for other writers? Don't be offended by someone trying to help them with editing. Remember that no matter how much you have written or how much you have improved, even the greatest writers are imperfect and everyone can become a better writer.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Thank you!!! and Tell your friends!! LOL Also, I love to hear back from people who have read my work. I work well with feedback, even if it is about something that you felt didn't work or was missing. Please feel free to talk to me. I may take some time to get back to you, but I will do my best to respond to everyone.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life? Narrowing things down to what I absolutely need. I tend to go off on tangents. I don't always remember to write everything that I'm thinking about either. So, sometimes my written stories have gaps that I can answer... I just don't realize it's missing.