Hello Annie, how are you? Tell us a little about yourself?
Hi! I’m great thanks, and I hope you are too. A little about me? Hmm... well I’m a corporate stooge/mum/writer/reader/avid coffee drinker! I love music and have a little (okay a big) obsession with Shemar Moore... yummy!
Tell us your latest news?
I have just released my debut novel, Breaking Free: Una Familia Segura. It’s the first book in my Breaking Free series and I’m really excited by it!
Are the stories old ones you have stored or new?
I have so many manuscripts started on my laptop... some of them over five years old! With Breaking Free, I stared it back in 2013. It was just an idea I had and so I wrote some things down. It was September 2014 before it was finished.
When and why did you begin writing?
Writing is something I’ve always done, even as a kid! I get these ideas and I just have to get them down! Sometimes they’re fruitless and other times, like Breaking Free, it turns into a full story!
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Oo, good question. Well, only very recently actually. As I said earlier, I’ve always written but I guess now my book is out there for the world to see, I actually feel like a writer.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Well... I’d got the idea stuck in my head and started to just jot things down. I told a couple of friends about it and they pushed me into finishing. In all honestly, I never thought I’d actually publish it! But, when it was finished and they read it, they loved it so I took the plunge.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’d say I do, yes. I think all writers have their own style of writing. I’ve had mine described in so many ways; quirky, bouncy, and more. I write as I hear it in my head and almost always write from 1st person. I get myself into the mind of my character and write as though I am them.
Who was the easiest character to write for and why and hardest and why?
Ha, the answer to this is the same character – Anna. She is the main character of Breaking Free and such a complex person to write about, but also really fun! She was easy in the way that by the time I got really into the story, I knew her. However because of how in depth she is, it was really hard at some points.
How did you come up with the title?
So the title... which part? HA! Breaking Free was chosen because that it what the book is all about. Anna, breaking free from her past. Una Familia Segura is a Spanish endearment which is heavily themed throughout the story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Of course, there’s always a message. I want people to feel when they read this. I want it to stay with them and make them think about how cruel life can be and how important it is to have family.
How much of the book is realistic?
I tried to keep it as realistic as possible, but it is fiction. There will be moments when you do stop and think, “Like that would ever happen,” but isn’t that what reading is all about? Getting lost in an imaginary world where anything can happen!
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Some things are based on experiences, some things are not. A lot of the character traits can be found in myself and the people around me. Hazard of being an author, I think!
What books have most influenced your life most?
So many to list! My favorite book, if I had to choose, would be The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld. I read this for the first time when I was a teen and now I read it at least 3 times a year. Absolutely fantastic writing.
Tijan is a hero of mine too!
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I actually have a mentor already, and she’s amazing. Angie Martin - author of False Security, Conduit and Boy Club – has taught me so much about the writing world.
I’d also love to have coffee and talk books with Nora Roberts, but who wouldn’t?
What book are you reading now?
At the moment I have three books that I’m reading! False Security, Angie Martin. The Falling of Grace, Marisa Oldham and Endure, Beth Maria.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’d say Marisa Oldham. I’m fangirling all over the place for her!
What are your current projects?
Right now I’m working on the second book in the Breaking Free series, Learning to Fly. And a standalone new adult novel.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I don’t think so. I originally published the book in September last year and then with some amazing advice from my PA (Amanda Walker) and my editor (Angie Martin), I decided to re-release with some edits. Now, I’m perfectly happy with it.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
Well, I’ve always had an active imagination. I kept diaries as a kid and even know, I never leave the house without my journal or notebook. I’m not sure how I started, just something I’ve always done.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
If course. Here’s an excerpt from Breaking Free: Una Familia Segura.
David finds me an hour later. I look up after doing another lap and I see him sitting on one of the sun lounger smiling at me. I get out the pool, wrap myself in the towel I left on the side and walk over to him, sitting in the seat next to him.
“Hi, Princess, good swim?” he asks me. He doesn’t look me in the eye, and I can tell something is wrong.
Oh no, is he sending me back? Is this because of last night? I knew this would happen. I never should have got attached to them.
“It was ok,” I reply in a small voice looking down, waiting for the inevitable.
“That’s good. Look, darling, there’s something I need to talk to you about,” he says as he hands me a cup of coffee.
I nod and wait for him to say more.
“I received a phone call today, Anna. From someone who wants to see you, your grandparents. They have been trying to find you since the news of your mother and they finally got through to me. They want to come out and see you. They’re fighting me for custody of you.”
I barely register anything he says after grandparents.
What do they want me for? My head starts spinning as I begin to recall the last time I saw them. Before I can stop myself, I’m lost in the memories. I hear her words as though she’s right next to me saying them again.
Usted no debe estar dejando moretones que la gente pueda ver.
You should not be leaving bruises that people can see.
I feel the tears fall down my face as I remember the harsh words and harsher beatings. I can hear David saying my name, but it’s no use. All I see is them. All of them. My stomach turns to ice as my breathing becomes laboured and sharp.
David touches my arm and I flinch. I look up and see the horror on his face. I take a steadying breath and say only five words to him before running off up to my room.
“Don’t let them take me.”
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
There are some sensitive issues portrayed in my debut book, tissues are definitely a must. I guess the challenge in it was making sure I stayed true to the story, and didn’t cross any lines.
What was your favorite book growing up as a child?
Ah, again so many! I’m a Disney girl at heart though, and I had them ALL. I loved Beauty and the Beast.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Nora Roberts, for sure. I love the books that she writes under the pen name, JD Robb. They are amazing and so different and fresh. I’d recommend them to EVERYONE!
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
At the moment, no. But I’m still a newbie! I do have two book signing events coming up though, Aberdeen in August and Liverpool in March of 2016. I’m also hoping to get over to America soon to give my PA a big hug!
Who designed the covers?
My covers were designed by Amanda Walker, my PA. She also designs my teasers. She’s such a talented person!
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think getting it into words. I had it all in my head, but getting it down in actual comprehendible sentences was difficult.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learnt to be more patient, definitely! I also learnt a lot grammar wise, and about different cultures.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just write. Don’t worry about the after-bits or the grammar at first. If you have an idea, just write and see where it ends up.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
THANK YOU! I cannot even begin to tell you all how grateful I am that you read my work. It means everything to me and I love hearing from you so hit me up!