Anna L. Walls – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

My one and only (so far) published book KING BY RIGHT OF BLOOD AND MIGHT is about a prince who, oddly enough, must learn how to be a good king from someone other than his father.  Thus begins his journey.  It is not the smooth journey it was supposed to be.  Not only did he need to learn how to manage his country, he had to reclaim it from near extinction and find the man responsible for everything.

Tell us something about yourself.

I live in the wilderness of Alaska, and have only had access to the Internet since last April.  Yes, there is life without WebPages and emails, though I have both now, as well as Facebook and Twitter.

About twelve years ago now, my son gave me my first computer – an old laptop – and I decided to see if I remembered how to type.  The rest is, as they say, history.  All that was left was for me to learn the necessary mechanics of writing – I hated English when I was in school, and therefore never considered that I’d be writing anything let alone several books.  And now, astonishingly, one of them has been published.

What inspired you to write this book?

Unknown to my son, who brought me the above mentioned computer, my husband would complain saying he didn’t want me to go back into the bedroom to read – my favorite free time occupation – reading with the TV going is annoying, so one day, I rounded up a notebook and some paper – leftovers from homeschooling – and started to write a story.  Ha – who knew.  This same story is now available on Amazon.

How did you publish this book? Why did you decide on that publisher?

For the longest time publishing was totally beyond reach.  I had no idea how to go about it and from what I could learn, I needed to mail out queries.  Mailing anything is nearly impossible, and totally impossible for half the year.  I did manage to get about twenty such queries mailed off to a list of publishing companies, not that it did me any good; what did I know.  When my flock of rejections either made it back or vanished all together, I learned that all those publishers required agents.  So, rapidly becoming disillusioned, I sent another batch off to a list of agents, only to find out that my list was totally out of date.  So much for publishing; I needed to get another list and for that, I needed to get to town, a very expensive, and almost never done, thing.

One day, I was looking in the phone book who I could call to find out how to make business cards, something we probably wouldn’t do but we were thinking about it.  And what do you think I found?  There was a section for publishers.  Phoning I could do.

Long story short, I ended up signing a contract with AuthorHouse.  I could contact them by phone and they were willing to work with my mailing problems.  AuthorHouse is a self-publishing place that does POD, which sounded logical to me, plus I reasoned that if I could get one book out there, I might also get noticed and a traditional publishing house or an agent would be willing to pick me up.  I’m still trying.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

For me, I think the hardest part about writing is catching up on all the tricks of the trade most authors have spent many years learning in school and after.  I never had much trouble with the story itself, other than such things as point of view and passive voice, but I’m learning.

How do you do research for your books?

Until recently, the only resource I had was the Encarta encyclopedia in my computer.  That, a lifetime’s worth of widely varied experiences, tons of books, a firm grasp of logic, and a vivid imagination.

Did you learn anything from writing this book?  What?

I learned so many things while writing this book.  I learned all the nifty little toys the computer had to offer, spell check to say the least, and paint.  The cut or copy and paste feature was delightful; it was so wonderful to be able to select a piece of text and move it or rewrite it right then and there.  That might sound simple to the rest of you, but remember, I’d never had a computer before – not ever.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Since I’ve learned so many new tricks over the last few months, I’ve spent most of my time editing what I already have written.  However, there is a work in progress, currently it’s about half done.  In this story, fifteen-year-old Derrick stumbles across the line into the hidden world of 20th century Dungeons & Dragons.  The war against the innumerable monsters has been long since been won and the magics that created them outlawed, but the remaining fantastical peoples still needed protecting and a good deal of this task fell to the society of druids.  The strange thing about young Derrick was that he seemed to remember prior lives of powerful clerics and druids among others, and therefore had a full range of spells modern druids had long since lost.

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

I think the best advice I could offer would be to enjoy the task of writing; enjoy it with all your heart and write for your story’s sake and no other.  To publish: develop a thick skin and be determined to learn from every rejection, and above all be tenacious and be patient.  Nothing worthwhile comes easily.  If you decide to self-publish, find a good editor and be very picky about your work.  Research the company thoroughly to make sure they are there to help you as least as much as they help themselves.  Publishing is a business, and just like any other business, it needs to make money but there are options out there.  I use to help me pick.

What are you doing to promote your book?

There are several things I wish I could do, but my physical location makes them impossible.  So I rely on Twitter and Facebook this time of year.  In the summer, I will once again be asking bloggers to review my book.  I can afford the price of postage for a little exposure.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

My web page has an ‘about me’ page as well as the synopses for several of my books.  It also has a tab devoted to KING BY RIGHT OF BLOOD AND MIGHT where you can read that synopsis, and there’s a widget where you can read the first 30 pages of the book.

On my blog I post samples of my writing from one or another of my books as the mood moves me.  There is also the same widget there.

You can buy my book on Amazon for a great price.

Just recently, I’ve started a blog novel THE FORTUNES OF MAGIC, and it has it’s own blog now. where I post a new chapter each week.