Welcome Annette for an interview!
Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I pursued acting throughout high school and college. Creative writing was mixed in, but not my main focus until later. I still love acting and sometimes miss it like crazy. But I’ve found a tremendous amount of gratification in being able to create my own characters and stories, and share them with others.
How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
Just Ella took seven years. (Yeah…) Missing Lily took me two. So, hopefully I’ll just keep getting faster. *crossing fingers*
Do you have a schedule of when you write?
Nope. I have four young kids, so I write during naps, play dates, etc… And I write in the evenings, so long as my brain isn’t already fried.
How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
Balance is something I struggle with. Often I just have to force myself to either sit down and write, or step away from the computer and leave it alone.
What elements do you think make a great story line?
Relationships. I don’t care what kind of relationship it is (family, friend, romantic), the relationships have to feel real. They have to be layered. They have to have ups and downs.
Do you have a favorite character?
Hmm. Hard to pick a favorite. I loved writing Lylin, with her tendency toward candor. But I had so much fun writing Tobias. His character was very clear in my head from the start. And I find him fascinating.
Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
Yes. My sisters (I have 5) are the first people are go to for feedback. Most have the same taste in books as I do, and they have all loved my books so far. My husband has read the first half of my first book and was impressed by the writing, but let’s face it, it’s not really his taste. And my kids are too young to read them, but I’m excited to share my books with my girl when they get a little older.
What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
Find a bit of something that intrigues you and try to describe it, then see if you can make it grow from there. Write one scene; write it well. And if you like the idea and think it has promise, keep going and don’t get discouraged when you hit a wall. If you’re patient enough, and persistent enough, you can make it into something. Maybe it will be a single scene, a short story, or a chapter in the middle of the plot. Whatever it is, whether it’s good or bad, at least it’s a start.
What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
Favorite current author: Juliann Donaldson. Love Edenbrooke.
Favorite classic author: Charlotte Brontë. Jane Eyre played a huge roll in my love for reading, as well as my desire to write heroines that are strong, as well as soft.
Do you have any go to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
Yes. I have several friends who beta read for me. My sisters are always great at giving me feed back, and Jana in particular is my sounding board for everything, as well as my main editor.
Are you working on anything now?
I have three books started, each with just a scene or two. I’m trying to decide which one to pursue.
Just as I started to relax, the sound of voices made my eyes pop open, and I sat up, forcing my breathing to quiet. The doors at the other end of the stables slid open and someone entered, carrying a lamp and shaking water from their clothes.
“I’m not seein’ things, Lord Fallon. Someone is in here,” a voice whispered. I sat still, unable to move. The lamp shifted, casting two men in ominous shadow.
“I believe you, Giles. That’s why we’re here.” His Lordship sounded not at all concerned, as though he were merely humoring his hired man. He sounded more tired than anything.
“The lamp, Giles.” The light transferred to His Lordship’s hands, illuminating his face and leaving me astonished by his youth. He looked to be in his twenties, and I wondered how such a young gentleman held the title of Lord. “You’re sure it wasn’t an animal of some sort?” he asked as he took his first steps down the long line of stalls. He would find me soon enough, and yet this prospect didn’t terrify me as it had moments ago. Lord Fallon looked not at all frightening. He wore trousers, a loose fitting shirt that hung untucked, and a full-length coat that fell in languid folds from his shoulders. Water dripped from his rumpled hair, sliding down his face and into his well-trimmed facial hair.
“T’weren’t no animal, sir.”
“The horses aren’t agitated. They would be if someone threatening were about.”
When the light fell on me, Lord Fallon’s eyes widened. I tried to push myself to my feet, but he drew a sword that I had not realized was hanging at his side and pointed it at my throat. I fell back against the wall, crouching, my chest aching from the heavy beating of my heart.
“I don’t take kindly to vagrants on my property.” His fatigue had vanished. Now he looked menacing—terrifying.
My voice was barely audible as I forced a reply. “I’m not a vagrant, sir.”
His eyes narrowed in question. “Remove your hood.”
I raised my hand slowly and pushed the fabric back. His eyebrows raised, even more surprised by my appearance than by my voice. The sword lowered. “Giles, take her inside and put her in front of a fire. She’s freezing.” And with that, he walked away and I slumped back to the ground, numb with relief.
Author Annette K. Larsen I was born in Utah, part of a crazy, fun family of nine. I grew up in Flagstaff, AZ and St. Louis, MO before striking out on my own college adventure in Virginia. I decided to try my hand at writing novels after I was married and living in Idaho. I write clean romance because it’s my favorite genre, but often difficult to find.I have Charlotte Brontë to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally, a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it. I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.
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