Ann, Thank-you for agreeing to an interview today.
Thank you for having me, Greta.
Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?
I’m an expat living in Mexico with my husband, two children, a spoiled (but very cute) dog, and owned by two Siamese cats who don’t like sharing me with each other. I have been a voice artist (at one time, if you called McDonalds’ corporate headquarters, it would be my voice on the automated menu), a clown, a clerk… but under and through it all, I’ve been a storyteller. Now I’m a published author—and still, always, a storyteller.
How long have you been writing?
Since… well, always. During “Career Day” in grade school I announced that I was going to be a writer. Mind, my teacher wasn’t too impressed—she said, “That’s not a real job, honey” and recommended that I pick something else. It’s taken me a long time and a lot of writing, I’ll grant her that, but hey! I’m a writer! 😀
What is your writing process like?
I am a workhorse writer. I sit down every day in the morning and write until I have three thousand words. Some days this takes a few hours and it doesn’t feel like work at all. Other days, it’s like pouring my own blood onto the page, drop by drop. Either way, I keep at it until I have my 3K each day. Mind, I don’t plot, so I basically fly by the seat of my pants until I reach the end. Usually, I hate that first draft (and no one else EVER sees my first drafts), but once I have something I can go back and fix whatever needs fixing. Like Nora Roberts says, “You can’t fix a blank page.”
Can you tell us about your newest release Doubleblind?
This is a different challenge for Jax. She is impatient, likes to act, to move. In Doubleblind she is forced by circumstances to become a diplomat. Let’s say that she is not happy, and becomes even more unhappy when it becomes clear that someone is determined to obliterate her chance to succeed. For a person who just a few months earlier would just as soon punch her way out of a situation than talk through it, diplomacy is a true challenge.
For readers, who maybe new to your work, this is the third book in a series with reoccurring characters, correct?
Yes. Jax and her universe were introduced in my print debut, Grimspace, which came out in February 2008. Jax is a jumper, which means she can navigate faster-than-light ships through a subspace known as grimspace. That’s like a fold in straight space, allowing them to cross great distances in a blink. Unfortunately, it carries a high burnout rate, and she’s the oldest jumper still working. She’s a survivor, first and foremost; she loves her own skin best. For some Jax is too abrasive; others love her because she breaks a lot of the feminine molds. She’s selfish sometimes, and she does what’s best for her. As the series progresses, she learns to value other people, and she learns to sacrifice. I think the series has a great character arc. If you like SF antiheroines, you might well enjoy it.
Can Doubleblind be read as a stand-alone or should Grimspace and Wanderlust be read first?
While I do try to give enough background information for a new reader—and doing this without boring readers who are already fans of the series is a tricky balancing act, by the way—I think that reading the books in order nets the reader the most satisfaction. Jax changes and grows over the course of each novel, but the change from the moment we meet her in the first scene in Grimspace to Doubleblind is quite significant.
I love the name, Sirantha how did you come up with that name?
Short answer, hell if I know. I made it up. Long answer, Walter Jon Williams penned an interesting novel called Aristoi, wherein he taps the idea that we possess fragments of other personalities locked away inside our brains; he called them daimones. These sub-personalities can think and feel independently and possess talents that we need. It’s an intriguing take on beneficial schizophrenia, and I sometimes wonder if there’s a kernel of truth to it.
Because the fact is, I don’t know where Jax (or her world) came from. She told me about everything as we went along, including her name. So I’m going to theorize that I allow these personality fragments to evolve into whole people, complete with history and everything, and then I listen to what they have to say (without going batshit crazy). It sounds marginally better than, “I write what the voices in my head tell me to.”
Do you write under any other names?
I write romantic suspense as Ava Gray. The first one, Skin Game, comes out in November.
Do you have any other books releasing this year?
As I mentioned above, Skin Game releases in just over a month. It is the first romantic suspense novel I’ve ever written and I’m very proud of it.
What are you currently working on?
I have just finished the first draft of Shady Lady, the third title in the Corine Solomon series (urban fantasy), and I’m working on the first draft of a young adult novel, tentatively titled Razorland, set in a post-apocalyptic world.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Dreams, sometimes. But I just always have a bunch of other people talking in my head. The one who shouts loudest gets his or her book written next.
As an author, you must be an avid reader. What books do you enjoy reading? Who are your auto-buy authors?
I am indeed an avid and fast reader, in many genres and most subgenres of romance. There are a number of authors whose work I love—it would take forever if I made this exhaustive because books are my great love, but I’ll name a few.
Mystery: Julia Spencer-Fleming, James Lee Burke, Casey Daniels
Science fiction: David Brin, Neal Stephenson, Jack McDevitt, Connie Willis, CS Friedman, Douglas Adams, Walter Jon Williams
Fantasy: Jeri Smith-Ready, Sharon Shinn, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin, Pauline Alama, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Charlaine Harris
Romance: Anya Bast, Lauren Dane, Eileen Wilks, Nalini Singh, Lara Adrian, Eve Kenin, Nora Roberts, Connie Brockway, Larissa Ione, Carrie Lofty, Anne Stuart, Linda Howard, Victoria Dahl, Carolyn Jewel
Whew. I have to stop. Just too many to list.
What books are on your keeper shelf?
Books by Larissa Ione, Carolyn Jewel and Anne Stuart
What was the first romance book you read or the one book that has stood the test of time for you?
I started reading romance as a kid. I stole my great aunt’s Harlequins, and the author I remember from the old days (who is still writing) is Margaret Way. I also still adore Sharon Shinn’s Samaria books. I bought her back when I didn’t even have money for food. I sold plasma to buy her books. She was the first author I read who combined romance with fantasy–and she did it with such deft elegance that my chest felt tight when I finished one of her novels.
If one of your books was made into a movie, which book would you like it to be and which actors would like to see as the lead characters?
Hmmm… interesting. Well, I can tell you which authors I see when I think of the characters in my Corine Solomon series 😀 Corine looks quite a bit like Christine Hendricks—only with red hair. Chance resembles Chat Tae-huyn (isn’t he gorgeous?), and Jesse brings Olivier Martinez to mind.
If you could switch lives with one of your characters who would if be & why?
Hm, I’m going to say none of them. Why? Well, I’m pretty hard on my characters. I put them through the physical and emotional wringer, and frankly, I don’t think I could hack it. I’d much rather be in my office writing about their harrowing adventures than having them.
When you are not writing or reading, what do you enjoying doing in your spare time?
I love action movies, as well as those cheap science fiction B movies with the bad effects and the jerky monsters? Oh how I love those! And video games. We have an Xbox, where I play games like Fallout 3, Mass Effect and KotOR. I also like to listen to music and go for walks with that spoiled dog I mentioned earlier.
If you could ask readers any one question, what would it be?
Why aren’t all of you reading my books?
Where can readers find you on the internet?
I’m everywhere! Well, not really 😉 I can always be found at my website (http://www.annaguirre.com/) and at my alter-ego’s, http://www.avagray.com/ I also have a Google group, Action and Attitude (http://groups.google.com/group/action-and-attitude) and participate in three multi-author blogs: The Bradford Bunch (http://www.thebradfordbunch.com/), Something Wicked (http://wickedauthors.blogspot.com/) and Writer Unboxed (http://writerunboxed.com/) You can also follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ann_aguirre.
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