Welcome to the Five Year Project, Annalisa. Why don't we kick this off with you introducing yourself to the readers?
Thanks for having me over today, Misha. Well, I'm a pretty normal woman, two kids, dog, cat, Hubby. I live in a beautiful part of the world, sunny-ish Cornwall in the south west of England... and weird things keep popping into my head that I just have to write down. I always know when friends have finished reading my books, because they have a wary look in their eye!
Hahaha yes people do look at us differently when they see stuff that comes from our heads. Speaking of which, tell us a bit more about your new book.
It's a collection of three novellas, linked by being set in the same town. The bridge and the pub are significant, for different reasons, in each of the stories:
Ella’s Story – Ella has had the same dream, predicting her own death, since she was a child. When other elements of the dream start to become real, she thinks she’s on a downward spiral towards the end.
The Traveller – Sally meets Murray on a hot, sticky summer evening and is immediately captivated. She tries not to fall in love – nothing good happens when you meet strangers in pubs – but she can’t help it; even though the past is catching up with them both.
Our Beautiful Child – Rona discovers she can communicate with ghosts when a sham psychic arrives at the pub. Once she can hear them, the spirits all want to share their story with her. And a thousand years’ worth of tragedy is too much for anyone to handle.
Sounds awesome! What inspired you to write these three stories and to link them?
The first two were stand alone stories, but they both featured a pub, and they were both (very) loosely located in my home town. So, the connection flowed quite naturally. I knew I wanted a third story, but it took me a bit longer to find the right characters and plot.
I had the opening scene of The Traveller in my head, and originally I thought it would just be a 2000 word short piece - it just kept on growing. Ella's Story was an experiment in writing a stream-of-consciousness story - but it was rubbish, so I went back and wrote it in my usual style. Our Beautiful Child was inspired by a song - every time I heard it, I had this strange feeling in my stomach, I knew a story was there, but I couldn't quite reach it.
I also have songs like that. They always inspire me to write. Do you write to music? If so, what sort of music do you enjoy writing to?
I go in phases with music. At the moment I'm revising some short stories, and watching TV. But I like rock music to write longer stories too - I like words and good strong drums. I type faster when there's a good beat.
Once I'm really into a novel, there will be one CD that I just keep on repeat because it will get me into the right mood straight away. That CD changes with every project.
I'm the same. I actually make playlists for every book I write, though. What do you enjoy most about the entire process?
I love revising. I like seeing my initial ideas developing, and getting that goosebump feeling when I can see it all falling exactly into place.
I also love revising! So glad to see someone else does too. What's the biggest lesson you've learned about writing and publishing so far?
One thing that took me by surprise was how much marketing I would have to do. It really doesn't come naturally, and everyone else seems to do it so much better than me. I'm at a disadvantage because I love to be unique, and a lot of marketing is about following tried and tested methods. To me, those methods mean my book vanishes into a swamp of lots of other books.
I know what you mean there. Although I tend to be very good at marketing, I've yet to find a method that sets my books apart. Last question: Where can people find you and your new book on the internet?
At the moment, the book isn't on my publisher's website (but it will be soon).
Add to Goodreads
It's available for sale at Amazon.
Thank you so much for having me here today, Misha. It's been a lot of fun.
Thanks for stopping by Annalisa!
Anyone else think her new cover looks awesome? What's your favorite stage of the writing process?