Monday, March 26, 2012

A Weekly Adventure Interview with Anna Banks

Introducing Author Anna Banks:

Anna Banks is an emerging author of YA Fantasy. Her debut novel, "OF POSEIDON" is set for release on May 22nd of this year, through Feiwel and Friends (an off shoot of Macmillan Publishing). Ms. Banks is another lovely writer I had the pleasure of meeting on Twitter! You can also find her on Facebook where she has her author page.

Born and raised in the Florida panhandle, where she still resides with her husband and daughter. Anna has a love for all things chocolate, and a hate for all things athletic. :)

And she was kind enough to give me this lovely interview:

Weekly Adventure: What is your genre of choice, and why?

Anna Banks: I love sci-fi. I love the endless possibilities of could-be reality. Paranormal sometimes has an unbelievable twist, or magic, and I don’t buy magic. But if you can prove to me that it could happen, even if it’s a stretch, I’m yours.
WA: How many books have you published?

AB: OF POSEIDON is my debut novel.

WA: Tell me about OF POSEIDON.

AB: It’s got a little bit of everything. Romance, sarcasm, upchuck, fish, betrayal, and some Lemon Heads.

WA: Where/When can I buy copies of your book?

AB: On May 22nd you should be able to buy it at any bookstore, online or otherwise.

WA: What are you reading right now?

AB: I’m reading THE PLEDGE by Kimberly Derting.

WA: What keeps you going on those days when writing gets hard? (like a favorite quote or a personal motto)

AB: I always say to myself, “You don’t write because you have to. You write because you WANT to.” Another of my favorites:

The only thing keeping me from my dreams is ___________________. You should NEVER EVER fill in this blank.

WA: What advice to you have for other writers out there?

AB: Writing is hard. Even Albert Einstein thought so. Also, your first draft is allowed to be poopy. So is your second. Go through as many drafts as it takes to make it shine. Do the work. Hard work and persistence pays off. Never give up. Not ever. 

WA: What cautions do you have?

AB: Don’t dwell too much on rejection. Rejection and the fear of failure will constipate your muse more than anything else. Keep writing. Keep your muse flowing. Don’t clog it up with doubt.

WA: Do you work on more than one project at a time?

AB: I tried to be a project whore, but I sucked at it, so I don’t do that anymore. If different projects have a markedly different voice, I have to just focus on one.  I’m just talented enough to juggle them. 

WA: Do you have a process? (outlining, character creation, location, etc)

AB: First, I download a playlist of songs that remind me of my characters. I already know my characters pretty well, because until this point, they’ve bothered me incessantly until I realized I had to write about them. Then I outline, but not like your English teacher taught you to outline. In the Banks household, that kind of outline is synonymous with (insert choice expletive here).  I don’t like outlining in depth, because I feel it inhibits creativity, but I do scrawl down a sketchy plan of where I’d like to go and a few ways to get there.  Then I lose that piece of paper, and make up something completely different. I like to call it drunk driving with navigation.

WA: Where do you get your ideas from? What/who inspires you?

AB: I watch a lot of science documentaries (nerd) and I used to make up stories as a child (liar). So: Exceptional liar + Nerd= Writer
Other than that, I don’t know where the ideas come from, but I’m always being haunted by at least three at a time. I’m inspired by Scarlett O’Hara and Anne Shirley. They knew what they wanted and they went after it. If you were looking for real live people, then you must understand that I don’t actually hang out with real live people.

WA: If you could do it all over, is there anything you would change about finding an agent and finally publishing?

AB: I would have spent more time on OF POSEIDON before I submitted it to agents. I know it sounds petty or picky of both, because I got an agent pretty quickly, who then sold it very quickly, but I wish I’d have spent more time developing it. Even now, I’ll be driving or laying in bed and I’ll think of something I could have done better, or could have added. If you know of any therapy groups for this disorder, please do let me know.

WA: What has been your toughest criticism? What has been your greatest compliment?

AB: As you can see from the previous question, I’m probably my worst critic. HOWEVER, I will say that my first editorial letter from my publisher was four pages long, single spaced. That…sucked. I ended up ditching the last 17,000 words of the manuscript and wrote 18,000 new ones. But those changes made it waaaaay better. 

My greatest compliment, to this day, is that my agent wanted to sign me after reading only the first 75 pages (because, does that ever really happen???) She said, “I don’t care if the rest of this document is blank, I know I want it.” Silly as it sounds, that’s still one of my proudest writing moments.

WA: Who is your greatest influence(s)

AB: I try not to get influenced by other writers. That’s not to say I don’t look up to other writers, because I absolutely do. In fact, I’m particularly jealous of Maggie Stiefvater and her ability to construct beautiful sentences. I’m jealous of Suzanne Collins for her simplistic writing style, yet brilliant plotting talent. I’m jealous of Marissa Meyer for her ridiculous imagination.

But I try to steer clear of being “influenced” in terms of execution and voice. I try to be my own, (incurably) snarky self.

WA: Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter & why? (authors, non-authors)

AB: I like to follow other authors because they “get” me. They get what I went through to be here. And I have so much to learn from them all. I also like to “Twitter-spy” on YA book bloggers. Yes, I’m ashamed that I’m so vain, but I won’t stop doing it, so there.

WA: Do you have any other passions besides writing?

AB: Yes, I love to run marathons and I’m always looking for a healthy recipe to try out. NOT. I despise exercising, and if it weren’t scandalous to eat fried chicken every single day, then I’d do it. I guess you could say I’m passionate about Reese cups, too. Also, I believe in the existence of sasquatch, so I DVR anything slash everything I can find on it.

WA: When did you know you wanted to write?

AB: I knew I wanted to write when I started getting praise for my writing ability in elementary school. I wrote all the time, filling up those humongloid five star notebooks with stories. Horrible stories, mind you. Stories that would make me blush now. Stories that I think my mom might have secretly kept somewhere; this fear wakes me up out of a dead sleep sometimes.

WA: Do you have a day job?

AB: Yes, I work at a bank during the day. No, really. I do.  

WA: Final question, why do you write?

AB: I think the reasons we write change with the stages of our writing careers. At first, I wrote to relieve myself of some stress during a hard time in life. Then I wrote because I thought I might actually have a shot at getting published. THEN I wrote because I was getting all sorts of rejections and it pissed me off and made me work that much harder. Then I wrote because I had a contract/deadlines/commitment.

But ultimately, I write because I can’t NOT write. Plots and characters and scenes won’t leave me alone. Period.

In Anna's Words:

I'm an emerging writer whose primary goal is to entertain smart, funny women like myself. You can expect all of my works to be centered around a love story, freckled with humor, and seasoned with sarcasm. And expect my heroines to be feisty! 
Reading and writing (arithmetic, not so much). I love old movies, can burn almost anything I cook, love pizza but not the way it creates cellulite. If you put chocolate in front of me, you must not have wanted it in the first place. Exercising is on my priority list, right under "Amputate my own pinky finger."

Pre-order a copy OF POSEIDON today! And take a moment to stop by and say hi to Anna on Twitter, Facebook or GoodReads

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