What made you decide to be an author? Like most authors, I always had stories popping up in my head. On a trip with some friends, we started plotting a story. Nothing ever came of it, but the passion to write burned in me. I felt that if I didn’t get these stories down on paper, a part of me would shrivel up and die.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least? The thing I like best is taking characters on a journey. Sometimes they let me know where they want to go – and that part can be fun – and frustrating. I like creating a happy ending – or a happy for now ending. What I like least is the promotional work that goes with being published. It takes so much time from the fun part – writing.
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? I think a bit of my life experiences goes into each of my books. My grandmother, was a huge reader and loved to write. I started reading her romances when I was a teenager. Although she was never published, she urged me to follow my dream.
Have you ever felt as if you were being dictated to while you wrote a book--as if the words came of their own accord? If yes, which book did that happen with? Definitely. Except for plotting out characters and locations, I fly by the seat of my pants when I write. That way, when the characters tell me what they want, I don’t get frustrated if I’ve plotted something they don’t want to do. This happened in my short story, “Surprise Me” for The Candy Heart Series for The Wild Rose Press. I was struggling with the story, when Josie and Carson screamed at me: “We want a menage.” Surprised the heck out of me, but the story flowed from there. When I finished the story, they also informed that it wasn’t over, so “Surprise Me Again,” was developed, which continues their journey.
I write under two names. Under Anita’s name I’ve written four books, one of which I recently sent to my editor. Under my other name, I’ve written sixteen books. Currently, I’m working on two books, while promoting two others. Sometimes I can’t even recall my character’s names.
What’s your favorite time management tip? I wish I had a time management tip – except to write whenever I can. Somedays I think I’m going to get a lot written, and life interferes. I get frustrated when that happens, but I try not to let it get me down. Because I have several books that I’m either working on, promoting, or editing, it’s easy for me to get my character’s names mixed up. For a while, I was calling every child in my books “Tommy.” I finally created a file in Xcel where I have my books listed with the characters’ names. It saves me time sitting there wondering who I’m writing about. It also helps me come up with new names. I also have a separate file in Word for each of my books. In each file, I have my bio, blurb, excerpt, links, etc. so they are easily accessible.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? My biggest piece of advice is to never give up your dream. It may not happen this year, or next, but if you keep learning your craft, it will eventually happen. It took me ten years before I finally was offered a contract – and what a celebration that was!
Tell me more about Surprise Me Again. As I mentioned above, when I was writing Surprise Me, my characters told me their story wasn’t over. So I wrote Surprise Me Again, where married couple Carson and Josie learn more about themselves and what they want out of their love life.
Blurb: Charged with trespassing and indecent exposure on Erik Stenson's private beach, Carson and Josie Sandberg return to South Padre Island to take care of the ticket. However, their reunion with Erik is not what they expected. An invitation for a drink turns into a weekend of passion that fulfills fantasies and leaves all parties wanting to explore a threesome outside the bedroom. Will time, distance, and family issues stand in the way, or will they be surprised again?
"What about you?" Josie said. "Have you ever been married?""I was. Years ago. It didn't last."A flicker of sorrow passed over Josie's eyes. "Can you tell us what happened?" She frowned into her drink. "That is, if you want to.""It's okay. I married Jessica about…” Hell how long had it been? Where had the time gone? "I guess nearly twenty years ago. Like you, we met in college, fell in love, married. Things were good for a few years."Josie leaned to her side, allowing the waiter to place a plate before her. Ignoring her food, she folded her hands under chin and kept her attention on him. "What happened?""We wanted children. Jessica ached for children. It became an obsession." Eric took one of the large shrimp from the platter in the middle of the table and began peeling it with trembling fingers, giving him a chance to get his emotions under control. Lord, how he'd wanted children, but not enough to end his marriage."After a few years when we didn't conceive, we looked for answers. By that time Jessica was convinced she was the problem and fell into a deep depression. Nothing I did helped. She wouldn't agree to see a counselor. My mother finally convinced us to seek a fertilization doctor." Eric threw the shrimp on his plate and took a long swallow of beer. "Turns out I was the problem, not her. Seems those mumps I'd had as a kid did a number on my little swimmers. Killed them all.""Hell, that's awful, man," Carson said while Josie placed her hand on Eric's.Their sympathy nearly did him in. He swallowed around the lump in his throat and squeezed his damp eyes.After all these years, the pain was still buried under his heart only to surface on dark, lonely nights and like now as he recounted the story. They were the first ones he'd opened up to. None of the other people in his threesomes had even cared to ask.Carson took a sip of his beer. "What happened then?""I wanted to adopt. Wanted to create a family with Jessica. It didn't matter if the children were of our blood or not. The doctors had talked about in-vitro. Turns out Jessica didn't feel the same way." He took deep breath and tried to calm his pounding heart. He wiped his palms on his shorts."I came home one day with information on adoption and some on in-vitro fertilization only to find her and her stuff gone. She had left me a note, telling me she wanted children from her own body. Wanted to create them naturally. Didn't want to be married to a man who wasn't a man.""The creep," Josie said, her eyes filling with tears. "Oops, sorry. I shouldn't have called her that.""Don't worry. I've called her that and worse.""How the hell did you handle it?” Carson asked. “I would have been devastated if Josie had done that to me.""I drank and buried myself in my writing. I wrote my first novel during this time.""If I recall, that book was rather cutting against women," Carson said.Eric shook his head and chuckled. "Yeah. I enjoyed killing off my heroine. Coincidentally, she closely resembled my ex.""Did you get in trouble for it?" Josie asked, peeling her third shrimp."Since I use a pen name, I don't think she even knows I write. Besides, she was too busy finding another husband to father her eight children."Carson choked on his beer. "Eight?""Yeah. She really did want kids, but I'm not sure I would have agreed to that many. I was also told she's gained about a hundred pounds." Under Josie's quiet scrutiny, he dropped his gaze to his plate."It still hurts, though, doesn't it?" Josie asked.Eric shrugged. "It's not as bad as it was. I sometimes think about how I could have kids in college or be a grandfather by now."
Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?
The Wild Rose Press: http://wildcatalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-erotic/4932-surprise-me-again.html
Anita, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.