I’m so excited to share with you our next indie author, Anne Riley. I’m switching it up today and actually interviewing her so that we have some fun and lighthearted coffee related topics as well as her book and her road to being published.
A bit about Anne first:
Anne Riley is an author of young adult fiction disguised as a high school Spanish teacher. She lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her very attractive husband (some say he resembles Matt Damon) and her small, giggly daughter.
Her first novel is entitled The Clearing and is available for purchase in all the usual places. She’s always working on something new; you might say she is addicted to writing. And if you said that, you’d be correct.
My interview with Anne:
Eisley: Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. Tell me Anne, how often do you twitch, I mean drink coffee. Give it to us straight. How many cups a day? Be honest now. And tell us your favorite flavor combination And tell us the truth has your daughter gotten a splash or two?
Anne: Ha! If I had it my way, I’d drink at least five cups a day – but I don’t have time for that many when I’m working full time! I like it with creamer but no sugar, and believe it or not, Baby Girl hasn’t had any – although she does think our coffee cups are very pretty. She reaches for them every morning while my husband and I caffeinate!
Eisley: As coffee lovers, you and I both know that coffee is a stimulate for not only our brain, but our worlds as well. Does coffee appear in any of your manuscripts? More importantly is coffee in your debut novel The Clearing?
Anne: Natalie from The Clearing definitely enjoys coffee, although in the book, she’s more of a hot tea girl. In the novel I’m about to finish writing, my main character, Rosie, is a Starbucks junkie!
Eisley: Where did your idea for The Clearing stem from? I mean besides the coffee grounds in the bottom of your cup.
Anne: I had a dream about this guy and girl who were breaking up, and – wait, no, that’s Stephenie Meyer. Um, to be honest, I have no idea where it came from! I have always been interested in Druids and fairy rings, so I knew I wanted to write about them. Fairy rings have all kinds of myths attached to them, one of which is that when a person stands inside of one, they are sucked into a sort of time-vortex. I guess everything else stemmed from there!
Eisley: What has been the most amazing part of this journey from writer to published author?
Anne: Seeing the high schoolers I teach with my book in their hands! Sometimes I get up to start class and a student will be in the middle of a chapter in The Clearing, and they don’t want to put it down. It’s hard to tell them to close it!
Eisley: Has anything thrown you for a loop? Anything unexpected or harder then you first thought?
Anne: To be honest, this has been more fun than I expected. I love connecting with readers! I can’t think of anything that has been difficult or unexpected. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat!
Eisley: Many of my readers won’t know this, but you have an agent? Correct?
Anne: Yes. I have been represented by Alanna Ramirez of Trident Media Group since January 2009.
Eisley: She was part of this decision to go indie, right?
Anne: Yep! When The Clearing didn’t sell after three rounds of submissions, Alanna encouraged me to self-publish it as a way to connect with readers and make a little money. She believed in the story and wanted it to be out there, even if it wasn’t picked up by a traditional publishing house.
Eisley: What made you decide to go the indie route with The Clearing instead of waiting for a publisher to pick it up?
Anne: After three rounds of submissions, there wasn’t anyone left to pitch the book to. I’d already waited two years for the story to be read – I was ready to get it out to the masses! So I published it myself because it was quick and easy.
Eisley: The Clearing has been out since February and you are still getting buzz on it, which is totally super awesome. Now that you are on the other side of publication, do you regret anything that you’ve done during this journey?
Anne: One thing I regret is not taking more time with my cover in the beginning. There is an old version of the cover – brown with a leafy-type design on it – that I liked at first, but I made it in a hurry and didn’t take enough time with it. Covers are important, you know? So then I re-designed it this spring and it’s about a million times better. I cringe when I see that old cover posted somewhere!
Eisley: Do you have any advice for those who may be considering jumping on the indie wagon?
Anne: Depending on your story, it could be the right move for you. I did it because The Clearing had been read by multiple big-name editors who ALL enjoyed it. I got lots of suggestions from those editors and I took their advice. The book almost sold to a HUGE house, so I knew it was good. All those things combined, plus my agent’s encouragement, gave me the confidence to publish. So I’d say, just take a good look at your situation and decide if this is the road for you!
Eisley: Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you on your road to publishing.
(Please note: The lines between the terms “independently published” and “self published” are blurry. You can be with an independent publisher and independently publish a book, which in both cases makes you indie. This blog series embraces both the independent publisher and the independently published and the debate on who should have the right to call themselves indie does not belong on the comments of this post.)