Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Interview with Anna Durand, Author of Intuition

What made you decide to be an author? I've been making up stories in my head since I was a little kid. I'd come up with whole plots populated with numerous characters, but I never thought about writing down my stories until I got into high school. Even as a little girl, though, my stories tended to be romances.
What do you like best about being a writer? What do you like the least? I love dreaming up crazy, yet somehow believable, events for my characters to experience. In Intuition, for instance, my characters have psychic abilities and wind up fighting a mysterious evil force with unlimited power. Far-fetched? Yes. But in the context of the story, it makes perfect sense. I used to say editing was my least favorite aspect of writing, but I've actually come to enjoy it. These days, I'd say marketing is my least favorite part. Tooting my own horn doesn't come naturally to me, but I'm working on that.
How do you think your life experiences have prepared you for writing? I've experienced weird things in my life that I couldn't explain, which helps inspire many of my books. I've also gone through painful times, something that aids me in describing my characters' pain, both emotional and physical. Having lived in many different places around the U.S. gives me a different perspective from people who've lived in the same place all their lives. Living in the Mojave Desert is a unique experience you can't fully comprehend if you just visit the area. So when I wrote about the Mojave in Willpower, I spoke from first-hand knowledge.
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? This hasn't happened while I'm writing, but ideas often pop into my head and then continue to develop in the back of my mind, as if another entity inhabits my brain.
You’ve written 10 books and are working on an 11th book. What’s your favorite time management tip? Since I run a business as my day job, writing gets squeezed in wherever I can find time. I've taught myself, through hard work and long practice, to write fairly fast. In October, I challenged myself to write a complete 20,000-word story in five days—and I succeeded. The best way to manage my time is to keep challenging myself to fit as much as possible into the limited time I have for writing.
Are you a plotter or a pantser, i.e., do you outline your books ahead of time or are you an “organic” writer? I often call myself a plotser. Though I never write an outline, I do think about the stories quite a bit before I start writing. I let them percolate through my brain until a good skeleton plot emerges. After I finish a first draft, I create a timeline and make notes to help me in editing, so I'm not completely flying by the seat of my pants. I gave up outlining because I discovered stories have a life of their own. I often switch course midway through a first draft, because the characters show me a better way.
If you had one take away piece of advice for authors, what would it be? Never give up. You can't go into a downward spiral every time you don't win a contest or you get a crappy critique. Writing is a craft, but it's also a business and you must treat it that way. Keep your eye on the long term, learn to weed out good critiques from bad, don't be afraid to toss out whole scenes, and above all trust your instincts. Success comes in many forms and often when you least expect it.
Did music help you find your muse with this book? If yes, which song did you find yourself going back to over and over again as you wrote? Music is always my muse! I have two degrees in music, so pumping up the volume while I write seems as natural as breathing to me. As I write this sentence, I'm listening to Taylor Swift singing "Enchanted." What a great love song! While writing my books, I mostly listen to film scores from epic movies, like Thor: The Dark World. I have a special playlist for love scenes and another for when I'm preparing to write, but for each book I also have certain songs that evoke the characters and world for me. With Intuition, I found Rob Thomas's "All That I Am" encapsulated the powerful connection between Grace and David.
Tell me more about Intuition,  the award-winning book 2 in the Psychic Crossroads series.
Torn apart by their haunted pasts, Grace Powell and her fiancĂ© David Ransom are struggling to reclaim their passionate bond and build a normal life — one without danger and paranormal powers. But David can't renounce his obsession with hunting down Karl Tesler, who abducts and tortures psychics. David endured Tesler's tactics himself, but despite what Grace believes, he's not out for revenge.
Tesler covets her unprecedented abilities and her mysterious connection to a source of limitless psychic power. David will do anything — even abandon and lie to her — to protect Grace from Tesler.
With a psychic stalker on her trail, Grace charges into a desperate mission to uncover the truth about David's obsession. But Tesler's agents are closing in on her, and a terrifying new enemy is rising…
As events drive Grace and David toward a battle of epic proportions, they must risk everything — their relationship, their lives, and even their souls — to defeat an enemy who wields unspeakable psychic power.
How about an excerpt from Intuition?
Grace rolled onto her side. Her nose bumped into David's pillow. She drew in a long breath. The spiciness of his aftershave flooded her senses, along with another scent—a subtle, masculine smell unique to David. Indescribable. Delicious. Warmth suffused her, seeping into her heart and mind, smoldering in parts of her that ached for him. She inhaled another draft of his scent, her body responding as if he were there, caressing her. He may drive her nuts at times, but…
Oh, the way he kissed. Her lips tingled from the memory of it.
A chill whispered over her skin. Every hair on her body stiffened. Her sixth sense burst out of its slumber, clanging alarm bells in her psyche. Someone is here.
She bolted upright and whipped her head left and right. Nobody there. She swung her legs off the bed and pushed up onto her feet, nabbing her .357 Magnum revolver from the bedside table. A chill trickled down her spine. Eyes watched. Invisible, ethereal, but real. She turned toward the doorway. Nothing lurked there.
Why couldn't she pin down the source of the sensation? Her paranormal radar was blanked out, as if overwhelmed by input.
Psychic energy crackled through her. Behind you. She whirled around, thrusting the gun up, clamped in both hands, and confronted—
The lamp.
Hell. She'd let her unease blossom into paranoia. Nobody hunted her anymore. Probably. Tesler wouldn't find her here.
 Her cell phone buzzed. A text message had arrived.
 David. She snatched up the phone, tapping the screen until the message popped up. As she scanned the words, a shiver rattled through her.
"Come to me," it said, "I can help you. 1325 Meroz Road."
She didn't recognize the phone number the message came from, and no name was given. Oh sure, she'd rush right out to the address texted to her by an anonymous whackjob.
The phone buzzed again. Another text message: "Your lip is bleeding."
Her lip? She dabbed a finger on her mouth. It came away wet. Blood stained her skin. How did the texter know she bit her lip? Her heart pounded. Without moving, she searched the shadows for a figure, a camera, something to explain this, though she knew she'd find nothing. A thick curtain shielded the window. The person sending the messages could either see through solid objects or had another means of viewing her. Extrasensory means.
The phone tumbled from her hand, clattering on the floor.
No, she was jumping to conclusions. An intruder must've stolen into the house. With the revolver in hand, she sprinted out of the bedroom, down the hallway, through the kitchen, and into the living room. Vacant. All vacant. She rushed back to the bedroom and dug through the closet, scoured the dresser, even dropped onto her belly to investigate the space under the bed. No cameras. No stealthy intruders. Not a damn thing. Which left her with one unthinkable possibility.
Maybe she should call the police.
What for? They couldn't help her with this kind of problem.
"You belong with me."
She jumped. Her head smacked into the bed frame. She clutched the gun tighter. Where had the voice come from?
No, no, no, not again. Nausea swelled in her stomach, bile rising high in her throat. The voice did not originate in this room, or from outside. The source was much, much closer. Someone rammed the words into her mind.
 A psychic intruder just hacked her brain.
Where can readers find more about your stories, books and you on the Internet?

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Anna, thank you so much for being with us here today. I know my readers will enjoy your work and your interview.

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