As you all know, Annie Woods is one of my favorite authors and people. She has been by my side through so much and her novels have tugged on so many of my heartstrings. It is with great honor that I bring to you this Author Interview! A huge thank you to Annie for taking the time to answer my many questions. You can grab her first two books from both Barens & Noble & Amazon!
Q: Where did you get your inspiration from when writing your main character?
A: I get my inspiration from just about anything really! Reading books and watching
movies. Overhearing a conversation on the subway. Remembering something that has
happened in my own life. Often the ideas pop up when I’m out running and then I stop
to write notes on my iPhone, so I remember the ideas and can write them down in the
evening. But mostly it’s the characters themselves that inspires me to write about them.
When it comes to my main character in the Angelheart Saga, Erica Lindell, I have to
admit though that she is very much based on myself. (But, as an author’s privilege, she
is a bit smarter and better looking lol…) But besides that, she’s just like me; clumsy, a
bookworm, something of “an old soul”, feeling out of step with her same age friends
and being too serious for her own good at times, a kind of bad driver, but a great runner
finding peace and quiet and respite from all demands out in the woods with her running
Q: If you could tell your younger writer self-anything, what would it be?
A: I wish so much that I could go back in time and tell the younger me to believe in
myself and pursue my dream to write much sooner, not to wait this long to do it.
Q: How much of yourself and your life reflects in your novels?
A: Way too much… In the Angelheart Saga, the main character is based very much on
myself and most of the places described in the books are based on my own experiences
and my own visits. I really love Cambodia and Vietnam, and I’ve done my fair share of
backpacking in Asia, which I hope shows in the books. And many of the things that
happen are based on either my own experience or inspired by something that has
happened to a friend.
Q: Who is your favorite author?
A: There are so many amazing authors out there! I love YA authors like Becky
Albertalli, Rainbow Rowell, Mackenzi Lee, contemporary authors like Maggie
O’Farrell, Curtis Sittenfield and Joyce Carol Oates. I also have to mention Stephenie
Meyer, since the Twilight series was the series that really opened up my eyes for the
YA genre, even though I’m not sure that I would love the series quite as much if I
reread it now.
But if I have to choose one author, it would have to be J.K. Rowling, for the way she
created a whole universe on her own and all the characters that you love and carry with
you in your heart forever. With Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling has also helped so many
troubled and lonely children, giving them hope and bringing them joy, it’s utterly
amazing. There’s even a research study proving that the Harry Potter books help
children to be more accepting of LGBT persons, so the books are literally making the
world a better place!
Q: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
A: First Came Forever is basically the first book I’ve written. Even though books and
reading have always been such a huge part of my life, and even though stories of my
own kept popping up, I never thought I could be a writer myself. Instead, I went on to
study other things and pursued another career, and never really did a serious attempt to
write. I guess I didn’t believe enough in the story or in myself… But when the story of
the Angelheart Saga came to me, I felt that it was so strong that I just couldn’t let it go
but had to try and write it down.
So I don’t have any half-finished books laying around, besides the third one in the
series that I am currently working on and will, hopefully, finish this fall. I do however
have a lot of ideas for new books in the future!
Q: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before
beginning a book?
A: So far I’ve written mostly about things I know without much research, like places
I’ve visited or things I’ve experienced myself. But I guess there will come a time when
I’ve used up all of that and I will have to do more research (or travel some more…)
Q: What did you edit out of this book?
A: Nothing major, I think. Instead, I added a couple of chapters when I re-read the
manuscript and felt that some things had moved too fast.
Q: How do you select the names of your characters?
A: This is such a great question! Selecting the names is so important and also, such a
fun part of writing a novel. For the Angelheart Saga series, I had some names decided
really early on. Like Alexandre/Sasha. I knew that I wanted a royal name that could be
turned into a personal nickname that wasn’t the obvious one. Therefore the nickname
was Sasha, not Alex or something like that. Then I chose his family names Ailes from the French word meaning wings. As a royal you don’t really use your family name,
therefore I wanted it to have a meaning related to being free for when he did use it.
As for Erica, I first had another name in mind, but after a while, it just didn’t feel right
and instead, Erica popped up in my head. It had to be a Swedish name that still would
feel international and be pronounceable in English, and I also wanted it to feel
“sporty”, which I think Erica does. (It might also have something to do with watching
the World Athletics Championships at the time, with Swedish high jumper Erika
Kinsey, even though I did not name my Erica after her per se…)
For the other characters, the name has either popped up or come naturally in some other
way or has been constructed. Tyler, Danny, Ricky, Jordan, Lexie, and Lynn just came
naturally for example, whereas the royalties (Andonian King Philippe and Queen
Estelle, and Swedish King Oscar, Queen Sophia and Crown Princess Christina) had
names that had belonged to royals in real life, just not anyone being a royal right now.
The name of the country, Andonia, is another story as well. When creating this place, I
was inspired by Monaco, Luxembourg, and Andorra, but wanted a fictional place to not
be limited to geographical or historical facts.
Q: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
A: You know, having your book published is almost as nervous and exciting as
sending your child off to school for the first time. It’s such an amazing thing to share
your story with others; the thought that there are people out there reading my work and
falling in love with and caring about the characters I’ve created is just overwhelming!
But it’s also so nervous and heartbreaking when someone is “mean” to the book or the
characters. But still, I try to read all reviews that are sent to me or where I’m tagged or
that I find out about in some other way. I also try to reach out and thank all reviewers
personally for taking the time to read and review my books.
I really do love the interactions with the readers and book bloggers, and getting
feedback, suggestions for the story and seeing all beautiful photos and aesthetics
created for the books and so much more. The book community is so supportive and
engaged and I’ve met so many wonderful persons and gotten so much encouragement
since the release of my books. (Like you, Erin, it’s been such a wonderful thing to get
to know you, I’m so happy and grateful for meeting you!) The amazing response I’ve
gotten is just unbelievable, nothing I could have anticipated at all! I feel so blessed to
be able to say that I’ve received mostly positive responses and good reviews. And with
good reviews, I mean honest reviews that are made with respect for the book and the
author, not necessarily five-star ones. Just as long as I know that my book has been
read and taken to someone’s heart, it is more than enough to make me happy!
Q: Do you have a book in the works?
A: Yes, very much so! I’m in the middle of writing the manuscript for the third and last
book in the Angelheart Saga trilogy. I’ve written all the major parts of the plot, but I know it will be a tough job still to finish the manuscript and wrap everything up. It will be a very strange feeling to end this trilogy. I have lived with the story and the characters
for so long, that I will surely miss being wrapped up in their world on a daily basis. So
I’m both very much looking forward to the third book being released and at the same
time dreading the empty feeling and how much I will miss my Angelheart friends…
Q: How do you determine what you want the cover of your book to look like?
A: I have great help from my publisher, Pegasus Publishers, here. It’s a process where
they start by asking me for my ideas and a mood board for the cover, then come back
with a couple of suggestions that we work from. Since the Angelheart Saga is a trilogy,
I also want the covers to resemble each other and have the same kind of look and feel
to them so that it’s clear just by looking at the covers that they belong together.
Q: What other genres do you hope to explore in your writing career?
A: Oh, I really don’t know. As it feels right now, I think I will stick to my current
genre for the foreseeable future. YA is my favorite genre both to read and to write. I
have always loved teenage love stories, with all their intensity and all-consuming
feelings; the coming of age and accepting who you are, and the characters you get to
know and love and hope for a happy ever after for despite all obstacles in their way. So
I’ve always kind of known that I wanted to write in this genre, to tell stories for
teenagers as well as for any adult who remembers his or her first crush and the
emotions of it all.
Q: What other books do you have in the works after your first series is complete?
A: I have some ideas already that I’m hoping to pursue. But I think I will take a break
though and not start directly after I’ve finished the Angelheart Saga. It has been a bit
too much at times to find time for work, family, friends and the writing…
Q: How do you separate your time between reading and your writing?
A: To be honest, I don’t really have any plan or schedule or anything. I just kind of try
to go with the flow and take whatever time I can to write… Besides being an author, I
also have another full-time job, where I sometimes travel quite a lot. And I have a
husband and two kids. And a dog. Which basically means that I have to try and write
whenever I can between work, being with my kids and driving them to activities,
walking the dog and my running practice. And on top of that, we also kind of alternate
between our house in Stockholm and our apartment in New York, especially during
winter time. As I mentioned earlier, I often get the ideas when I’m out running and
then I stop to write notes on my iPhone, so I remember the ideas and can write them
down in the evening. Therefore, I sometimes describe myself as a “nocturnal airplane writer” as I do most of my writing when the rest of the family is asleep or on the flight
I will be 100% honest with you guys. That was the first time I read Annies answers to my questions and right now the feeling I have is surreal. I can’t put this feeling into words. The fact that this author took the time out of her busy life to read my questions and answer them fully just makes my heart swell. I am blown away by these answers and I absolutely cannot wait to read the final book in The Angleheart Saga trilogy. I want you all to go check out Annie and her books! You won’t regret it I promise!
Annies Website: http://www.anniewoodsbooks.com/
Buy the first novel in The Angleheart Sage, First Came Forever, from Amazon.
Buy the second novel, Forever Disguised, from Amazon.
The third book will be out sometime next year so you have plenty of time to read the first two!
Until next time.
Keep on reading.
Photos are not mine! They were provided by the author!