#wcw You’ve seen the #wcw and thought what the heck does that mean? For those non-social media savvy peeps, it stands for Women Crush Wednesday. It it could be your mom, best friend, girlfriend,co-worker, celebrity or overall woman you think rules the world. She is simply the definition of a #badass. But what does this woman have that others don’t or aspire to be? She’s fierce, she has that fire to inspire kindness, create beauty, and make the world a better place. One Wednesday a month, I’m dedicating a #wcw post featuring one of those fabulous ladies out there. If you have a woman who has her own business, is a mommyentruepenure, craft or talent and think they would be great addition to this series, shoot me an email.
As an aspiring author, I wanted to do an informational interview with an author to learn about their experience as a writer. This week my #wcw is local San Diego author Annjea Morgan Llewor, author of Cards and Consequences and the soon-to-be-released Sunday’s Child.
“Something amazing happens to everybody, every day. If you remember that, and look for that little bit of amazing in each day of your life, you will find yourself in a better place tomorrow.”
Natalie Neece: How did you become a writer and what made you define yourself as a writer?
Annjea Morgan Llewor: I developed a love of books at a very young age, and found myself writing poems and stories easily. Perhaps it’s a God-given talent in a way. I wrote an adventure book in third grade, creating a set of twins who boldly solved mysteries that adults would not touch. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Robert Louis Stevenson by any means, but my third-grade teacher pronounced that I would be a writer. I think from that moment forward, I defined myself as a writer. This is a lesson, I believe, to adults, to always say positive things to children in our lives, because we never know how what we say might affect them deeply.
I also wrote several children’s books in elementary school, some of which I have considered reworking for publication. I wrote technical publications throughout college, one of which was plagiarized shamelessly by my professor in a paper she published. I’ve written news and information articles, comedy routines, and speeches, both for myself and others, throughout my life.
NN: What is the most important thing you can do as a writer?
AML: I think I can very safely say that every writer will answer this question differently! My opinion is that the most important thing a person can do, as a writer, is to make another person feel something. Depending on what is being written, the writer may be trying to make the reader feel something specific – like persuade the reader to a certain opinion. In other cases, the writer may just want to make the reader react to something. This type of response is, in general, my goal when I write a romance novel. So I want to evoke a feeling but I’m not looking for a specific feeling, but rather a feeling that is personal to the reader.
Anything written can evoke an emotion. Even news pieces evoke some kind of feeling in the reader – even if just a feeling of having been informed.
NN: What is your favorite and least favorite part about writing?
AML: My favorite thing about writing is the feeling of release when something is finished. When I say “finished” I don’t necessarily mean an entire piece (article, book) is finished – just some part that was being worked, perhaps a section, or a chapter, or even a paragraph or sentence. I use the word “release” because writing for me is a very physical experience. That’s not to say that if you peeked in my window while I’m writing, that you would see me gyrating around or doing weird things! But I become tense and stressed, I feel many emotions both mentally and physically, then experience physical release, as things progress.
Least favorite – I guess I would have to say major revisions of a long piece are my least favorite, because they can be very tedious. A book is like a tangled web. When one thing is disconnected it can disconnect many other things inadvertently, and they all have to be reconnected so the story makes sense.
NN: What is your writing process / routine?
AML: I have developed my own process over the course of my life. My process is very personal to me, and any other author’s process, similarly, will be very personal to them. For example, I am a very tactile person and so greatly value the use of a keyboard for writing. Having a thought begin in my head, filter around through my heart and soul, then flow out of my fingers is tantamount to my process. I call this my thought tornado.
When I write a short piece, such as a news story or article, I don’t do a lot of planning. I will typically organize my thoughts as the tornado flows around, then edit once or twice and be done. For anything longer than a thousand words, I will often do more planning. For a novel, I will spend about 15% of my time planning and researching on average, and even more than that if needed to support the story, such as if the setting is a city I haven’t lived in, or the characters have specific cultural customs that require fact finding.
NN: What do you value as a writer?
AML: U.S. Constitution, First Amendment – Religion and Expression: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
I value freedom of speech in America. We are so blessed to have it! Although our country has been through times when books were banned and burned, for the most part we have freedom of expression. This is a big country with all kinds of people in it! There are people who need to express themselves through the written word, and for every one of those people, there is an audience. The numbers alone pretty much guarantee that, simply from a statistical standpoint.
NN: How did you get your book published?
AML: This is a great question, because there are so many options to authors today. My book was published after I performed diligent research on all of the options and the pros and cons of each option. I selected a self-publisher that offered a high level of publishing assistance services, but I know authors who have gone the traditional route of working with an agent for conventional publishing, some who have published through self-publishers that offer few or no services, and I even know one who could not find exactly what he wanted, so he started his own self-publishing firm and is now helping other authors publish their books. Depending on your experience as an author, how much control you want to retain over your book, what your time-to-release goals are, and how much help you need with the artistic aspects of the design of the book itself, you will find yourself selecting the type of company that fits your needs.
NN: What is your genre and why?
AML: I’m a multi-genre writer. My current passion is steamy romance novels. My mind is a playground and I have found that it plays well with this type of story, which is interesting, since I have not read nearly as many books in this genre as I have in others. I like to write the romance genre, or, what I call the “new” romance genre (i.e., not your typical Cinderella story) because it allows the development and analysis of the psyche of the characters – similar to a psychological thriller, but in a softer way. I work hard to develop my male characters to be real, so that readers are not constantly thinking, “No real man would ever say or do that.” Therefore, my characters, both male and female, are flawed and the flaws are not hidden, nor are they superficial.
I also write business-related books and childrens’ books.
NN: What advice do you give to aspiring authors?
AML: I love to work with new authors! I have a talk that I give to groups of new authors in which I give them a set of, I will call them, tips and suggestions. Since every author is unique, advice can be a bit of a heavy word, so I would prefer to give several ideas to an author that might provide them inspiration or guidance, than give advice.
If asked for advice, I would try to give something narrowly pointed at a specific question the author has asked, rather than something blanket. That said, the blanket advice I give to everyone, author or not, is to consider my motto: “Something amazing happens to everybody, every day.” If you remember that, and look for that little bit of amazing in each day of your life, you will find yourself in a better place tomorrow.”