I’d like you to help me welcome the wonderful Anne Douglas. I’ve worked with Anne in a writing group called EPIC. She’s a fantastic author and a more wonderful person who is generous and kind. She also knows more about Google documents than anyone I know.
Welcome to XtraOrdinary Romance, Anne!
At what age did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
Writing is something relatively new for me. I really wanted to be an artist…I even did a year at art school and all. Oh, and for some strange reason I wanted to learn how to read Hebrew. I still haven’t quite figured where that came from. But somewhere around 2004 I found erotic romance. Ellora’s Cave to be exact from the back of one of their print books, and from there Loose Id, Samhain, LSB etc. It wasn’t until late 2005/early 2006 that at the ribbing of some girlfriends that I sat down in front of the computer and attempted to write a story myself. That first story was an amalgam of all the things I wanted in a story – ménage, plus sized heroine, mmf rather than mf etc.
What has been your biggest influence on becoming a writer?
On becoming a writer? My wonderful editor Barbara at LI. Seriously, I am no grammar maven, and she’s been there to set me straight, offer critique on storylines, and make my stories better. I have some great CP’s that are more than happy to tell me where I went wrong – that’s a necessary too.
How did you feel when you got your first publishing contract?
Disbelief . Seriously.
Don’t get me wrong, I hollered and screamed with the best of them, but it took 3-4 more emails back and forth to Loose Id before I really believed it. I mean one month of writing, going over it for a couple of weeks of tweaking and then emailing it off with a wing and a prayer after studying half a dozen submission letter examples? Yeah, I was so going to get anything more than a belly laugh and a ‘thanks, but no thanks’ letter back. I was supposed to spend years and years slaving over manuscripts and refining my ‘craft’…not a month tapping away at the keyboard and a quick acceptance! (Don’t worry, that second story… well, I think the universal reply was ‘it sucks’ :-) )
How many novellas/novels have you published to date? When did you have your first sale?
My first sale was early 2006, and Persuading Jo released in July 2006. Since then I’ve had published 10 other short stories, novella and short novels. (I won’t list them all, you can find the pretty covers here: http://annedouglas.com/blog/?page_id=5 )
Tell me about your latest release. Please include if it is part of a series or a standalone book.
My latest release was quite literally yesterday!! Yes, His Intimate Submission (the follow on story from Curious Intimacies) released at Ellora’s Cave December 16th. Curious Intimacies was all about exploring through sex, but His Intimate Submission takes things a little further. No threesome this time, instead a flip to female domination with a little fetish thrown in for good measure.
Months ago, on a hot Florida night, three friends explored one another. It’d been good enough that they’d explored together some more.
But while the sex is as amazing as ever between the couple, Jason’s shutting Lucy out of the everyday things. He’s searching. Lucy doesn’t know what Jason is seeking, but she’s scared that might mean leaving her behind. It’s time for her to pull up her big girl panties and figure out what’s wrong before things go really bad.
Jason surprises her—he’s not cheating and he’s not about to leave her, but he has an overwhelming desire he’s worried to admit. Lucy will have to demand her lover’s intimate submission to set them back on the path to happiness.
What was your inspiration for this book?
I’d originally written Curious Intimacies for another publishers call for ‘summer’ – or partly written at least. I just couldn’t turn it into a romance so it petered out and I started on something different (which turned into Red Skirt, Cool Fountain…eventually). I kept going back to the first story and I finally hit on what was wrong, I was writing erotica but trying to make it romance. Ding ding ding, score one for Anne! LOL
When I got to the end of CI (only a short story) I wanted more for those characters, and at the end of CI the character Jason was heading somewhere quite different than I’d expected. There had been two tops in CI, and Jason wasn’t one of them. After that I had the burning need to write a story where the woman was dominant - and one that didn’t involve heavy BDSM and all that comes with.
How do you categorize yourself: pantser or plotter?
I used to be purely pantser, now I usually work with an expanded synopsis. Basically it helps me from waffling like I do in real life :-). But it also means I can make up what happens between those major plot points, so I get a happy medium. I don’t usually use plot boards or cards unless I get real stumped and have to get inventive: http://annedouglas.blogspot.com/2008/07/when-authours-get-desperate.html
How do you handle the editing/revision process?
I revise somewhat as I write. Usually I read back the last 500 or so words before I pick up and start with the next, that way I catch many of the typos and half-baked sentences. After the first draft is finished I print off a copy and edit by hand, then enter those edits on the document, then another read through again. I’ve just added moving the manuscript to my Sony Reader for a read through. The change of venue makes a huge difference at catching dead/needs reworking areas.
You’ve received some fantastic reviews...how do you feel about them and why?
I feel kind of awed to know people have read and like my book enough to write it a review. Good reviews are an ego boost for sure, but strangely, it’s the bad ones that usually do me the most good as they give me places to look at for improvement.
Share a little bit of the ‘real’ you with our readers. What do you do besides writing? Any hobbies? Dark secrets?
I like to think I’m a bit of a crafty person – that art school stuff coming out :-) - I also run Anne’s Addictions on Etsy.com where I sell covers for Sony eBook Readers. Before I started writing I was designing and selling children’s clothes on eBay and Anne’s Addictions is way of me combining my love of fabric and my tech whoreishness…and to reduce my stash of fabric (quite a considerable pile) out in the garage!
How much of yourself can we find in one of these books? Do you ever make yourself a character?
While you won’t find ‘me’ as a character, I think there’s a little of me in all my books – turns of phrase or some of the silly situations that you’ll find. The ironic sarcasm? That’s all me :-). I have written someone I know into a book though. I mentioned Kelvin Jones in Tea for Three (set back home in NZ), we’ve since lost him, but indeed he really was an actor in the area Tea for Three is set in.
Is writing a lonely career for you?
I do find it so at times, but at the same time I really don’t mind being by myself. After all, friends are only a phone call away. I think it’s more that I get bored, then I start wandering, then…well, then nothing gets done.
What does your significant other think about your writing?
Apparently, when I write a scifi or fantasy epic with lesbian protagonists he’s going to be the first one to read it. Until then I’ll have to live with the faint praise after being forced to read 2 chapters of “Hey, this really isn’t too bad”, the astounded surprise of ‘wow, people really pirate your books?!’ on finding a listing at bitorrent and ‘when does that royalties cheque arrive again?
What’s the first thing that comes to you: the story, the setting or the characters.
Actually, it’s often the title. Then from the title comes a snippet of how the story starts. From there the characters.
Is there a message you want the readers to take from this book?
That exploring your sexuality is a good thing. But sometimes, things just don’t go the way you planned, and that’s perfectly fine because mistakes can be good things. I also hope I show that contrary to much out there that is labeled FemDom it doesn’t have to be about humiliation, and that a strong man’s submission is a beautiful thing.
Do comments or letters you receive from fans and other writers influence you in any way?
Being that I’ve written a number of Polyamory stories, I often hear how they (ménage/poly stories) are pure fantasy, unrealistic or idealistic. Many stories are impossible set ups, it’s fiction; we’re allowed to do that. But now and then I get an email from someone you might least expect which makes me outrageously happy – like the guy who just wanted to say thanks for writing a bisexual male who was uneasy and unsure about his sexuality. It made the story so much more real for him because the people were human. Those emails don’t influence me so much as reassure me that’s it’s okay to write all variants of male, not just the alpha male who is so popular. Yes, I have a soft spot for geeks and beta males :-)
Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Anne’s BIO: Anne started writing sexy romance stories in 2006 on the advice of her girlfriends who declared, “You’ve read so much of that stuff you should be able to write it in your sleep!”
Turns out it wasn’t such a bad idea.
Not one to be shy, she jumped into the publishing pool with both feet and is now multi-published, as well as award nominated.
She’s a transplant, like most of the rest of Florida, although she came to the Sunshine Peninsular via Auckland, New Zealand.
No, she doesn’t know why she moved from such a lovely country (although her husband might have had something to do with it); no, she doesn’t know any hobbits, nor any orcs; and yes, her accent is kinda sexy!
She has an Eppie Finalist certificate hanging on her office wall, as well as top ten nominations in the Preditors and Editors yearly polls.
Thanks for taking part in my 2 for Thursday promotion, Anne. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about you and your writing!