Saturday, April 17, 2010

Warm Welcome to Anna Small

Since about the age of 4, I have always had my nose buried in a book. I never thought about writing a book, however, until the summer I worked on our military base (my dad was stationed in England). There was little work for me to do, and my boss didn’t want the colonel to come in and see their “summer hire” teen with nothing to do. So he gave me the gigantic IBM Selectric typewriter and a stack of paper so I could write letters to my friends (we’re talking 1984, folks). This got boring after awhile, and I started thinking about an English pirate in love with a French governess, during the French Revolution. I don’t know how this story popped into my mind, but it overtook me until I had to write it down. I wrote 3 chapters that first day, and completed a 100,000 word novel by the end of the summer. I was almost 17 years old.

Before long, I completed two more novels before I graduated high school, and then two more in college. At first, I kept my writing to myself – embarrassed that people would ask how I dared presume to write novels! Only my family and close friends knew. Later, when I was 23, I joined the NJ chapter of RWA and made my first pitch to a genuine editor. After that, I gained the confidence to tell people I’d written six romance novels and was actively seeking publication.

Marriage and kids followed, and I stopped writing for a number of years. About three years ago, I realized I missed writing. I dusted off TAME THE WILD WIND and joined the Tampa chapter of RWA. About a year later, I contracted that book with The Wild Rose Press. Finally, from those early beginnings of sending hand-typed manuscripts with handwritten cover letters, I am proud to call myself a published romance author.

I don’t know where my ideas come from. Songs and movies and other books, most likely, but sometimes, a word or phrase, or even a pair of dark, handsome, haunting eyes will fill my head until a story forms. I recently finished a contemporary romance and am awaiting a (hopefully, positive!) response from a large publisher. I can’t seem to stick to one genre, either. My first seven novels are historical, and I have other works in progress that run from erotica novellas to steamy paranormals, with lots of romance, entanglements, and intrigues. I’ve watched the romance market bloom from a handful of large houses in New York to e-pubs and other publishing possibilities available to authors now that were only a dream when I was a kid. The constant changes and wide open market make it possible for an author to write every story she wants, instead of sticking to a formulaic story for one publisher.

My dream and goal is to write romance fulltime. I try to balance that goal with working a day job and raising two beautiful children (yes, they’re brats, too – and don’t know how to put an empty candy wrapper in the garbage!), along with being married to the coolest man I know. Seriously, he has “hero hands” – you know what I mean – big, strong, wide hands that never sweat, are always warm, and hold our family together. We live on Florida’s Gulf Coast next to a nature preserve, and I’ve recently heard that two pirate graves were discovered not far from our house, dating back to the 1700s. Hmm…pirate ghosts lurking about in my backyard? Sounds like a great story to me.

I always enjoy sharing ideas, thoughts, and dreams with aspiring or published writers, or just people who like to talk! You can write me at Anna_Small34667@yahoo.com or visit my website, www.annasmallbooks.com. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! I appreciate it.

Anna has generously offered to award one free download of her book (pdf) and one paperback to two lucky commenters. Please include your email with your comment (using AT, DOT, and spaces to fool the trolls). Anna will pick one name for each prize and pass it on to me and I will post the names of the winners.

Anna Small, author of TAME THE WILD WIND, a western historical now available from www.thewildrosepress.com, amazon.com, or barnesandnoble.com


Spirited Cassie Gibson journeys west to the New Mexico ranch she inherited from her father. She is dismayed to find a hard-edged, blue-eyed stranger already staking a claim to her land. Since neither of them has any money to fight in court, they are forced to become reluctant partners.

On the run for a crime he didn't commit, Jed Hazard only wants a quiet life. But Cassie's arrival changes everything.

Anna Small can be found hanging out at www.annasmallbooks.com and www.annasmallbooks.blogspot.com

12 comments:

Joanne Brothwell said...

Anna,
I'm amazed you wrote six romance novels before you started seeking publication, and two as a teen! I'll venture a guess that you were born to write.

I have no doubt you will achieve your goal of writing full time. I wish I could say I was as confident the kids would remember where the trash can is - but alas, I know better - I have "forgetful" children too.

Congratulations on your success.

joannebrothwell AT sasktel Dot net

Anna Small said...

Hi Joanne!
Thanks for stopping by. As long as I can remember, I've always loved writing.

And about the kids - I accidentally broke a large vase in the living room and it was filled with food wrappers!

Jana Richards said...

Hi Anna,
Thanks for joining us today.

I can't seem to stick to one genrre either. I like romantic comedy, romantic suspense, and historical (WW2 era). I read in different genres so why shouldn't I write in them as well? I'd like to hear your take on whether this helps or hinders your writing career.

Jana
jana dot richards at hotmail dot com

Karyn Good said...

Welcome to the Prairies, Anna. Congratulations on Tame the Wild Wind.

Thanks for sharing your story with us today. With all the talk of author branding it's nice to hear of an author writing in various genres and embracing the possibilities of each. I've got a couple of genres I'm interested in writing, romantic suspense and paranormal.

Happy writing and best of luck with Tame the Wild Wind :D

Anonymous said...

This is incredible that you have been writing for so long. I will be following you and reading everything that comes my way. Hope to see you up there in the Best Seller Lists.

Anna Small said...

Hi, Jana!
I've heard authors say you should try to stick to one genre, but why restrict yourself? I know a few authors who write one genre with one publisher, and other genres with others. Some have pseudonyms, some don't. I truly believe you should love what you write. I've also seen a lot more crossover stories - genre-mixing, like the new trend of a classic story with a comedic/paranormal twist (P&P With Zombies). A few years ago, no one saw that one coming! Even now, later in their careers, some big names in romance are switching genres. I don't see how that would hurt a career. In some cases, it has given new life to a sagging one.

Do our readers like to read multiple genres by the same author? I think it depends on the story.

Helena said...

Welcome to the Prairie, Anna. Your story is fascinating, and I would love to read your novel.

I wish I had made some time in my life (when I was working full-time and raising three boys) for writing. I admire anyone who does it, and so successfully! Good luck with all those lurking ideas that I'm sure we will see in print some day.


hekhmk(at) sasktel (dot) net

Tricia said...

Hi Anna,
I know I have told you this many times, but I am so glad you didn't let your dream die. Your first novel was absolutally awesome! You have inspired me to maybe go dust off a few of my early writings.
Love ya!
Tricia
greatestresource AT hotmail DOT COM

Anna Small said...

Helena, it isn't easy to follow any dream when kids and family are in the picture! I usually write on weekends or at night when everyone's supposed to be in bed. I think we mommies have to set our own personal goals and let the kids see that we believe in ourselves enough to try!

Tricia, thanks for stopping in! You really should dust your manuscripts off. "Some day" is now!

Lynnette Labelle said...

Great interview. I always love to learn more about authors/writers. I'm crossing my fingers for you with that big pub.

Lynnette Labelle
http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

lynnette_labelle at hotmail dot com

Heather said...

I am so happy i chose today to come back to 'Prairie Chicks Write romance' and again read their wonderful posts. I really enjoyed Anna's comments on how she became a writer. Thanks for posting her story.

Julianne said...

I love that you're so prolific, Anna. And that thought that there are pirates buried not far from your home, presents such interesting ideas! I look forward to seeing some of them in print, and on the best seller's lists!

No need to add my name to the giveaway. I already have a copy of her novel. :)