Today I have an interview with Anna DeStefano, author of several books in the romance genre.
First, thanks for having me over to chat today! This is one of the more unique interviews I’ve given in a while. I’m always excited to get the chance to talk about the art of writing itself, beyond my own How We Write blog series.
For me, the hardest part is letting the planning go, then letting the drafting go (though, that’s much easier to do than the planning, because I love revisions so much), then DEFINITELY letting the revisions go. I love story and digging to the heart of characters, and I never, ever (once the ugly draft is done and I’m into the goodie of revising a journey into what it’s been meant to be from the very start) seem to want to let go. I want keep working on each story forever, though I realize that would mean that readers would never get to experience what I’ve created. Still it’s hard to turn loose of something you’ve put so much into and felt so completely consumed by for so long ;o)
Revision. Ah, revision. How I love thee ;o) I’m an analytical person by nature, which means I like to plan and then pick apart everything I do until those around me want to smack me because enough IS ENOUGH!!! Eh-hem. I was channelling my husband there for a moment…
But seriously, I spend as much time planning as I do draft writing that first ugly version of my book. Then I spend the most time of all rewriting and recrafting that raw material, until what I’d planned to do, and what actually comes to life on the page, becomes the very best reading experience I can craft.
I’m a character-driven writer, and I try to create story (and story through character) on as many different levels as possible. To make that work (and to not be repeating myself over and over again about a single point of growth or change that a character experiences), it can take many, many passes through the plot and the character’s journey to mine to the very core of what he or she is becoming with each new turn of the page. And then, of course, I need a kick-ass, well-paced external story to anchor the reader to the character’s experience.
When I freelance edit or work as a coach for a writer, these are the things I focus most on, too. Planning what you want to do, then executing that goal to the best of your ability—not just in the drafting of the story, but in the fine-tuning and the hard work of deep editing.
And, oh yeah, I find obsessing about story fun. I know. Weird. A lot of authors would rather have their teeth pulled with out pain killers, than have to revise a novel they just want to be done with. But I can’t seem to help myself. Rewriting is the good stuff for me! I’d keep digging for the heart of a story forever, if it weren’t for those pesky publishers ripping my babies away from me to do things like produce and release and promote them to readers… ;o)
It’s an exciting time in publishing, where authors have more and more options by the day: traditional print publishing; digital-first publishing; indie-publishing; and everything in between, like print publishers now offering digital first programs, and digital publishers following strong eBook sales with POD distribution.
I personally have published (and am now editing) across the spectrum, with some of the top print publishers in the business; with a traditional publisher that went digital-first; my latest release, June’s Her Forgotten Betrayal, is with the exciting Entangled Publishing, and I just signed a three- book women’s fiction/contemporary romance contract with Amazon’s Montlake imprint, the first book, Christmas on Mimosa Lane, to be released in October thanks to the fast-paced magic of digital publishing.
The key, I think, is to not limit yourself by worrying so much about what’s worked in the past. Each part of the industry is reinventing itself. You want to be riding the wave of that innovation, while working hard to make the most of the more traditional avenues still available. Take care of your business now, keep writing on as many projects as you can do well, but keep your eye firmly focused on the future racing toward us faster than ever!
The absolute best part of my job is interacting with readers and other writers. Whether I’m talking about how I write, sharing a particular story with readers who love what I write, or talking about my passion for reading in general, I keep remembering over and over again why I wouldn’t want any other career in the world.
We do this, us writers, because sharing story is how we first enter the world. We love words and how they can transform lives and the way people experience their day-to-day existence. We escape into what we read and create, and we long to hear from others who share the same passion for story, and hopefully OUR stories.
I try to see promotion as an extension of that experience. Yes, I’m also attempting to build excitement and sales momentum for a current release. But I’m mostly connecting, trying to share what’s most important to me about my vision for the world we live in, and longing to understand what’s most important to my readers. And when promotion allows me to spend time with both fans AND other writers—well, then, that’s just heaven.
In-person events or online events where writers and readers actually get to interact (like blogging, chats and forums, and social media streams like my popular Facebook and Pinterest updates) are wonderful ways to make that meaningful impact. Which, in the end, is the whole reason we’re doing this, right?
About Anna DeStefano
Anna DeStefano is the best selling author of classic romance contemporary psychic fantasy. She’s won and finalled in numerous national contests, including twince winning the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award and finalling in the National Reader’s Choice Awards, Book Buyers Best Awards, and the Holt Medallian.
She speaks and blogs regulary about both her writing experience and the fascination with metaphysics and paraspychology that inspired her to create her Legacy Series’ contemporary psychic world.