Please welcome author Anna Lowe who has graciously agreed to be our featured author for this week's interview. She's a personal friend of mine, as well as an amazing author. If you haven't had the pleasure of reading her books, you're definitely missing out.
If you have any questions, or would like to make a comment, please feel free to do so. We love author/reader interaction here!
I love travel, sports, the outdoors, and animals, so you see a lot of those elements featuring in my work. I'm a middle school teacher who is passsionate about protecting the environment, and hints of that appear in the background of my stories, too (Heather in Desert Blood is a teacher; Stefanie of Desert Fate works for a solar energy consultancy, Lana of Desert Moon negotiates land rights). When I was a kid, I thought I had a Doctor Doolittle ability to communicate with animals (LOL – I also thought I could fly! Lucky neither delusion killed me!) and I'm sure that's why shapeshifting wolves are so appealing to me. You get the utter devotion of a canine soul mixed with sheer power of an alpha man – my fantasy guy! (Or one of my fantasy guy types, anyway!)
Other than actually writing the stories, what would you say is your favorite part about being an author?
For years, I created stories without sharing them. Now that I publish what I write, I love writing even more because other people enjoy it, too. I love interacting with readers who enjoy losing themselves in the Twin Moon world just as much as I do. I love having utter control over the bad guys and knowing that in the end, love and justice will always prevail – if not in real life then in my stories at least! I'm also a hyper-organized person who likes variety, so being my own publisher fits the bill, too.
We all know how many hats a self-published author has to wear. Which hats, if any, do you not enjoy wearing?
I've never enjoyed marketing (unlike my sister who loves getting out in public and telling customers about the wonderful products she represents) and don't like pushing any product on any person, which is why I prefer to outsource promo and let my work speak for itself. On the other hand, I love it when readers come forward to talk about the connection they've felt to my work. One woman wrote to me saying how much she loved Kyle of Desert Fate because she was the victim of domestic abuse as his character is. That was a particularly touching moment for me. Other reader make me laugh with their comments (like how much they hate Audrey, the local man-eater at Twin Moon Ranch) and inspire me with their ideas for future stories. I can't wait to bring them the next book in the series, Desert Heart, which is the story of Tina, the quiet-and-steady sister of Cody and Ty.
Now that you have a stack of books under your belt and have learned different things along the way, what would you do differently with your first or second story?
Lucky for me, there are lot of authors who are extremely generous in sharing their experiences and advice (Ellis Leigh being one of many). I was able to learn so much through them (the easy way) and avoided making beginner's mistakes. I'm so grateful to the community of authors for this wonderful collaborative spirit! The one thing I would change would be to go back in time and NOT pay an expensive developmental editor to go over my first book. I chose an editor carefully, but I don't think she “got” my voice and the setting. Ultimately, very few of her suggestions proved useful. She actually suggested that Ty, the big bad cowboy shifter, say “perhaps.” What cowboy uses that word?! Fellow authors have proven to give far better advice!
How much time do you devote to writing each day? Do you find it difficult to schedule the time that you need?
I wake up early and usually get in an hour of writing time every morning when I'm most creative. I find long runs to be a very creative time when I find solutions to problems, too. It's rare that I can produce quality writing after a long day spent with middle school students (the brain turns to jelly after that!) so afternoons are when I take care of the business aspect of things. On weekends, I can often get in 3-5 hours of writing time thanks to my wonderful husband and self-sufficient kids.
In order to be a successful author, you must have great discipline and a very understanding family. How do you find a work/life balance that works for you?
I don't consider writing work, and it's a great counter-balance to teaching. Writing is quiet and introspective while teaching is social and a three-ring circus (at its easiest!). The challenge is more in balancing family time with my writing and exercise schedule given limited evening and weekend time. But living at the edge of the Alps gives us plenty of opportunities to get out together in an active way. We take a lot of bike rides and hikes which help to turn off the author part of my mind in a healthy way, too.
You have lovely covers for all your books. Do you outsource their creation, or do you make your own covers? What challenges do you face when either dealing with a cover artist, or when making your covers?
Making covers is a lot lime shopping at Ikea: I get so excited about it until I get home and have the drudgery of assembly and missing parts! But lucky me, I have the talented Fiona Jayde of Fiona Jayde Media making my covers. Together, we came up with the striking desert theme covers which capture the essence of the series so well. She is great to work with in every way and has a great eye. The hardest part for me is choosing cover models because my mind knows exactly the character I want, and since they're fictional (and perfect, of course!) it seems impossible to find a color image that captures that personality. Imagine trying to find a picture of someone to play the role of a person you love: your mother, your true love, or your child. No one matches them – no one! So I end up rejecting thousands of cover models, even if they're downright hot! Searching for a good cover model is very time-consuming and not as much fun as it sounds.
Could you tell us one or two random fun facts about Anna Lowe that we can’t find on the internet?
Hmm... I eat a lot of dark chocolate and work out just enough to counter-balance that intake! I love to quilt and I love carpentry – in other words, “art” forms that don't require a talented artist's hand! I've travelled a lot by bike, foot, and boat, but my wish list still includes seeing Patagonia and the Himalayas.
You have a new series coming soon. Can you tell us a little about your Serendipity Adventure Romance series?
I'm really excited about this new series! Love is always an adventure, but these books ramp up the action along the way, Indiana Jones-style. Seth and Julie of Uncharted (Book 1) sail the reefs of Belize and escape criminals on a motorcycle chase. In Entangled, (Book 2), Tobin and Cara find themselves high in the jungles of Panama, considering a very long drop down a waterfall — their only chance at escape. Windswept (Book 3) is set in the Caribbean diving paradise of Bonaire where Mia and Ryan think all they’re in for is a quiet scuba vacation — until the boat next to them explodes! There are quiet moments, too, as well as regrets, hopes, and second chances…not to mention steamy love scenes along the way.
What ties all these stories together? The sailboat, Serendipity, which a wise grandfather leaves to his grandchildren in his will, encouraging them to reconnect with the erth and with each other. Each set of siblings from four groups of cousins gets their turn sailing the tropics aboard Serendipity. It all starts with Uncharted, Book 1 (available exclusively in the Romancing the Alpha box set, which releases on July 7, 2015).
Our readers love sexy excerpts. Can you share one that’s not too naughty?
Sure! Here's one from Desert Wolf, the story I make FREE to newsletter subscribers. Lana has come home to the Berkshires for a visit to her home pack with her mate, Ty, and is waking up to a blissfully slow morning at his side. Enjoy!
A pair of soft lips brushed over hers, and Lana mumbled in reply. As always, her body came alive at Ty’s touch. She extended her limbs in an irrepressible stretch then folded herself around him. Two years hadn’t dimmed the passion that reared up like a force of nature every time they touched.
“Mmmm. Mate,” was all she got out before Ty surged in with another kiss. A deep, possessive kiss that promised her the day was about to start in the very best way. His hands slid upward along her rib cage, making her body sing like a bird on the first day of spring.
“Hmmm. Mate,” he mumbled back, catching her lower lip between his.
The minute they walked out of this cabin, those lips of his would be set in a hard, thin line. But for now, they were soft and full and eager to explore. She worked her hands over the sculpted planes of his chest and wound a leg over his hip as desire pooled deep inside her. Ty could get her high with just the rumble of his voice.
“Good morning, my love,” she hummed right into his lips.
“Yes, it is,” he agreed, nosing his way down her neck.
Anticipation rippled through her. This had the makings of a very good morning, indeed. Then she remembered his injuries and ran a cautious hand over his ribs. “How’s the bruising?”
“Theirs is worse than mine,” Ty growled.
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Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to me, Anna.
Find out more about Anna Lowe and her great books at these places on the web.