Today I’m conducting a session with…Anni Fife!
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Me: Tell me about an experience that had a profound impact on your life.
Anni: Throughout my thirties, my husband and I struggled to have a child. I had numerous IVF treatments, and even tried with a surrogate. After a miscarriage, and many failed attempts, I had to close a door on this painful journey. It changed me in ways I’m still learning about. The stories I write are filled with characters that have suffered. My infertility has given me a sense of what it means to be deprived of the one thing you want more than anything else in life. A heartbreaking lesson, but one I believe makes me a better storyteller.
Me: That’s so rough, but I love the way you’ve channeled it into your writing.
What personality trait of yours helps you most as an author?
Anni: Most likely the analytical part of myself. This trait can be fairly dominant and sometimes hinders my ability to just let go, but it also greatly improves my perception of people, their motivations and what shapes their inner conflict. It’s also a great trait to have if you are a plotter, which I am. I plan every scene in my books before I start the real writing. This doesn’t mean things always go swimmingly, because sometimes my characters refuse to behave like I’ve planned. They might stop talking before the scene is finished. Or they don’t talk at all. I’ve learned not to freak out, but rather to get a kick out of it. And being such a planner, I make efficient use of cut & paste, and plop the misbehaving piece of dialogue or section of scene, elsewhere. The spooky thing is, the change is invariably for the better!
Me: Lol… Sometimes I think our characters know better than we–their authors–do.
What personality trait of yours hinders you most as an author?
Anni: Sometimes I can become too focused on my writing, to the point I don’t spend enough time with my friends or just with myself. This can hinder my creativity, because the creative element of my writing flows better when I’m relaxed, spending long hours on the beach, and making time to laugh and gab with my friends. So focus is good, but too much can be bad.
Me: Balance in all things, right.
What was your high point as a writer—a time when you were happiest, on cloud nine, flying high? What happened?
Anni: The best surprise for me was when I sent my first draft of Luke’s Redemption to my editor friend, Sarah. As this was my debut novel, she had agreed to read it and give her honest opinion. She had also warned me that my first draft would most likely be rubbish. The best news was when she called me and shouted down the phone: ‘This is great! Just bloody great!’ It was Sarah who convinced me to send my book to publishers. ‘You won’t have a problem getting a contract,’ she said. And she was right.
Me: That’s awesome!
What was your low point as a writer—a time when you questioned your path, a time when you felt really crappy about your writing? What happened? How did you get over it?
Anni: I haven’t gotten there yet. I recently finished my second novel, Gray’s Promise, and it’s gone off to the publisher. Now I’m excited to get started on my third one. I sometimes get cold feet about the slow rate of sales. This is a very competitive business and the publicity is all up to the author, which can be very challenging. But I’m not ready to give up yet…if ever. And the great reception and five star reviews I’ve received for Luke’s Redemption, keeps my spirits up.
Me: One of the things I didn’t expect about being published was how much I’d obsess over sales and reviews.
What do you collect? Why? What personal meaning does this item have for you?
Anni: When I sat down to write my novel, I had never tried to write a book or even a short story. The last time I wrote a creative essay I’d been a schoolgirl. As a TV Producer, I’d written a ton of creative proposals, but it wasn’t the same as writing fiction. What did I do? Where did I start? These daunting questions didn’t even begin to describe the sheer panic that turned my brain to mush. For days I trawled through countless blogs and websites. There was too much to read, so much I didn’t know. I began to hyperventilate. What had I done?! In a cold sweat, I’d shut my laptop and hit the beach. After walking in a daze for over an hour, I found a perfect pansy shell. It was just lying there in front of my feet, like a gift from the sea. Slowly, my breathing had returned to normal, and faith had magically warmed my heart. It was obvious. The place to start, of course, was at THE BEGINNING.
I’ve been collecting pansy shells ever since. Just when I doubt my creativity, or am torn on how to handle a particular story plot, the pansy shells seem to show me the way. I have over a hundred of them now, and still counting.
Me: What a wonderful story! And your pansy shell is beautiful!
What’s your life motto? Why does that motto speak to you?
Anni: Do what you love, and the money will follow. This is something I always used to advise my friends, but I never followed the mantra myself. Not until I made the life-changing decision to pack up my city life and relocate to the beach to become an author. This was the first time I ever consciously followed the beat of my own heart. I’ve had no regrets with this decision, but sometimes it’s scary when the business plan doesn’t always make sense. Then I remind myself that I’m finally doing what I love, putting my faith in myself. And I have to believe there are readers a plenty who’ll find my books and become fans.Do what you love, and the money will follow. @AnniFifeAuthor #AmWriting Click To Tweet
Me: I love your mantra! And I love your courage to move to the beach!
What’s your writer’s mantra? Why does that mantra speak to you?
Anni: Get up every day and write! I think this speaks for itself. LOL!
Me: Tell us about your erotic romantic suspense, Luke’s Redemption.
Chased by her criminal kingpin father, Katya Dalca runs to New Orleans and straight into the arms of Luke Hunter. Sucked into the carnal world of the French Quarter, she succumbs to Luke’s potent sexuality. He not only steals her breath, he steals her heart, and the only leverage she has against her father. She’s left with no choice but to pick up the pieces and rebuild her life alone.
Undercover DEA agent Luke Hunter thought his newest assignment—recover a stolen flash drive to gain the trust of the Russian mob—was like any other. But his target brings him to his knees, and after one taste of her intoxicating beauty, he’s in too deep. Doing his job means walking away, leaving his heart behind with nothing but a promise to reunite. It’s a promise he can’t keep.
When Katya’s past reaches out and her world unravels, her only hope is the one man she is most vulnerable to—Luke.
Me: Share with us a favorite paragraph or two from your newest release, Luke’s Redemption.
This excerpt comes deep into the book, after Luke and Katya have found each other again. They have made love and are relaxing in each other’s arms. Katya asks Luke about the tattoo of violets he has inked on his inner arm. I love this scene because it goes to the heart of Luke. It shows that although he ruthlessly betrayed Katya, his heart was always true. Equally, it gives Katya a reason to hope that her faith in Luke is not misplaced.
I rolled to face him, resting my head on a pillow. My fingers drifted to his bicep. Stroked. His muscle rippled and the flowers moved, like they were alive.
“What did you mean, violets like my eyes?”
Luke breathed deeply and tucked my hair behind my ear. “No matter what you thought, baby, it was never wham, bam, thank you ma’am.” He cupped my cheek and his thumb gently brushed my lips. “At least not for me, it wasn’t.”
My stomach knotted at the intensity in his eyes and I looked away, staring at his tattoo. “What does it mean?”
“It means I never forgot you, Katya. Never. The violets are for your eyes, the black stems for your long fucking lashes. And baby, it’s inked on my left arm, so that it rests right up against my heart.”
Oh my God. Luke had the memory of me tattooed against his heart!
My pulse raced and I couldn’t breathe. Luke’s arm circled my waist and he pulled me to him, folding me against his length.
“I don’t know what to do with this?” I whispered, my voice hoarse.
“You don’t have to do anything with it, babe. It wasn’t for you, it was for me.”
He was wrong.
Another tiny fissure deep inside me cracked.
Luke never forgot me.
I snuggled against him, his heartbeat a reassuring anchor beneath my hand.
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Abbie Roads writes dark emotional novels featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages. RACE THE DARKNESS and HUNT THE DAWN are available now! SAVING MERCY Book 1 in the Fatal Truth Series is now available for pre-order.