Please join me in welcoming Ann Everett to Journeys with Jana. I look forward to interviewing her and finding out more about her. Here's our interview:
If you could change something about one of your books that’s already released, what would it be?
That’s the beauty of self/indie publishing. You can change your book at any time. I just recently re-edited several of my books and added back matter teaser chapters to all of them. Since I now have out nine books, some part of a trilogy and some companion books, then it was important that I add those chapters.
Also, in the first book I published, I added a character just to make the mystery a bit harder to figure out. I also like that I can correct mistakes that were overlooked by my beta readers, critique partners and editor.
Do you have any words of advice to beginning writers?
I do quite a bit of speaking at conferences and workshops, and my number one advice is to join an online critique site and local group. The more feedback you can get, the better. The online site will provide you with a great cross section of the country/world, and also age diversity.
I’ve been a member of http://www.thenextbigwriter.com for many years and the help I get there is fantastic. There are other sites that work the same way. Pay a small monthly membership, review chapters of other writers to gain points, then use those points to post your own work for review.
When were you first published and how did that happen? Was it a long or short journey?
I never intended to publish. I started writing just to exercise my brain because I was keeping my grandchildren five days a week and some weekends. I learned quickly I could only watch so much Spongebob, play games, and entertain four kids, infant to age six, without going completely crazy! I’d worked all my life and the change was a hard one.
After writing for a while, I decided I’d like to get better at it, so I joined the online writing site I mentioned. One of the people reviewing me on that site suggested I submit one of my manuscripts to a small press publisher in her area. I did on a fluke, thinking I’d at least get some professional feedback.
No one was more surprised than I when they called and said they wanted to publish the book. I signed a three year contract and the relationship was a good one. During that period, I learned a lot about self/indie publishing and decided that was the route for me. When my contract ended, I chose not to renew. They were gracious about it and I will always be thankful for the experience. For me, self-publishing has been the best decision I’ve made in my career.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a little of both. I start with an idea and just write by the seat of my pants, but once I get the story going, I make an outline just so I’ll know if there are enough plot points to write a whole book!
If you could get rid of something in your life that would give you more writing time, what would it be?
Man, if I never had to eat, sleep, or go to the bathroom, I’d get a ton of writing done! But then again, I guess that would make me a robot!
What did you want to be (occupation-wise) when you were a child?
Until I started writing, I always said I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I’ve been a lot of things. Bank Teller, Dental Assistant, Sales Clerk, School Secretary. I’ve owned several businesses over the years. Gift shop, toy store, lawn and landscape business, cleaning business, and I traveled for quite a few years doing craft shows.
Most of my life, I’ve worked two jobs. A day job and a night job.
Name two authors we might find you reading when taking a break from your own writing.
So many I love. In no particular order. Jennifer Crusie, Lani Diane Rich, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Rachel Gibson, Jane Graves, and many more.
How do you choose the names and physical characteristics of your characters? Do you base them on real people?
Yes, I do base a lot of my characters on real people. In my Tizzy/Ridge Trilogy, almost every character is someone I know. I laugh when I get a review that thinks the names in the book are cheesy, because they are people who really exist! And, most are family members. Saint, Pattiecake, Sugarpie, Rayann, Synola, Jinx…hey, I’m not clever enough to come up with those!
In my companion book, Say You’ll Never Love Me, Raynebeaux Starr is a combination of two students who were on my campus during my years as a secretary.
Just about every name I use has history with me. For minor characters, I read the obituaries every day and make a list of names I like! Crazy, I know. But it’s a great place to get some really colorful Texas monikers. Since all my books are set in the Lone Star State, that’s important to me.
As for characteristics, I also take those from people I know or have known.
How can readers reach you or find you online?
The easiest way is through my website. http://www.anneverett.com I have my social network addresses and contact info there.
What’s your tagline? Why did you choose it?
Sass, sizzle, suspense…Texas style. I chose it because some of my books are light mysteries and some are full on romance. Each will have a sassy character and some steamy sex, and they are all set in Texas.
I saw a tee-shirt the other day and I’d wish I’d seen it earlier because I would have used it because it would work with my books. Classy, sassy, and a little smartassy. I love that!
If I was a first time reader of your books, which one would you recommend I start with and why?
If you’re a hard core romance reader, I’d suggest Tell Me a Secret. The characters are college age, so it is really young adult, but written in a way that also makes it a bit like women’s fiction.
I personally like a story to have more to it than just two main characters trying to get into each other’s pants and having sex for 300 pages. But that’s just my taste.
If you like a light mystery with some cheesy Texas humor, then any of the Tizzy/Ridge books would entertain you.
All my books have humor and sex so they are rated 17+.
Thanks for being my guest, Ann!
Award winning and Amazon Best-Selling author, Ann Everett, embraces her small town upbringing and thinks Texans are some of the funniest people on earth. When speaking to writing groups, businesses, book clubs, and non-profit organizations, she incorporates her special brand of wit, making her programs on marketing, self-publishing, and the benefits of laughter, informative and fun.
Her short stories have appeared in ezines like The Green Silk Journal. A member of Northeast Texas Writers’ Organization and a top reviewer on thenextbigwriter.com, she lives on a small lake in Northeast Texas where she writes, bakes, and fights her addiction to Diet Dr. Peppers.