Kindle Author Interview: Annie Bellet

Annie Bellet, author of A Heart in Sun and Shadow, discusses her book, her journey as a writer, and self-publishing on Kindle.

DAVID WISEHART: What can you tell us about A Heart in Sun and Shadow?

ANNIE BELLET: A Heart in Sun and Shadow is my first fantasy novel. I wrote it because I wanted to make use of all the things I'd studied in college (Medieval history, culture, Welsh, etc) and because I absolutely adore the works of authors like Robin McKinley and Juliet Marillier.

DAVID WISEHART: How do you develop and differentiate your characters?

ANNIE BELLET: My characters come into my head with their own unique desires and voices. I also study how other writers put together characters and try to emulate the techniques that I see when reading. I often know when a character works for what I want because they will start "talking" to me and making things clear in a very organic fashion. Often my stories grow out of the wants and needs of the characters.

DAVID WISEHART: Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?

ANNIE BELLET: Someone who loves my work? Okay, maybe that's a given. I read Stephen King's On Writing and in it he talks about how he writes for one person (his wife, I believe). I, also, write for one person. My husband. He gets first look at anything I write and I try to picture his desires as a reader. It's easier that way, because I'm familiar with him and what he likes to read. Basically though, my ideal reader is someone who loves stories.

DAVID WISEHART: What was your journey as a writer?

ANNIE BELLET: I wrote my first fiction story (about Paul Revere's horse...) when I was eight. I've been writing ever since. I was in an MFA program for a while, but I realized that I wasn't going to learn how to write really good fiction from the program. It seemed more geared toward teaching people how to teach and talk about writing. I dropped out, quit my job, and started writing full time. I submitted my first story in February of 2009, sold my first one to a magazine in December 2009, and haven't looked back. I'm still submitting stories and novels the traditional route, as well as dipping my toes into e-publishing. I think this is a great time to be a writer and that we have avenues to reach readers like never before.

DAVID WISEHART: What is your writing process?

ANNIE BELLET: I have a ton of ideas. I let them percolate until something seems ready and then I outline and start writing. I'm big on outlines. They usually change over the course of a book as the story develops and I find out new things (thanks to those pesky characters). For each novel, I often do four or five outlines over the course of writing. I haven't tried writing a novel without an outline yet. Maybe someday I'll be brave enough to do that.

The other part of my process is to just write. A lot. As much as I can. I think writing is like any other craft and that you have to practice to improve. My goal as a writer is to write books that people don't want to put down. That's my Carnegie Hall and the way to it is "practice, practice, practice."

DAVID WISEHART: What authors most inspire you?

ANNIE BELLET: Stephen King, Robin Mckinley, Elizabeth Moon, Morgan Llywelyn, George RR Martin, Elizabeth Bear, Juliet Marillier, and countless others. I love reading even more than I love writing.

DAVID WISEHART: What one book, written by someone else, do you wish you'd written yourself?

ANNIE BELLET: I'm not sure I can answer this. It isn't that I wish I'd written anything someone else wrote, but there are so many authors who I wish I were as good as. I guess if I had to choose something, I'd pick a short story. It's by George RR Martin and called "With Morning Comes Mistfall." It's brilliant. He uses setting as a character and the story is poignant and perfect.

DAVID WISEHART: How have you marketed and promoted your work?

ANNIE BELLET: I haven't really. I don't want to shove my work in people's faces. I've contacted a few blogs (like this one!) and sent out some copies for review. I also have a facebook page and twitter, but I use those mostly to interact with people. I think the best way to market a book is word of mouth and to write more books. I appreciate bloggers and readers and will hopefully do some things on my blog to return the favor in the future.

DAVID WISEHART: Why publish on Kindle?

ANNIE BELLET: I have a Kindle. I love my Kindle. I used to be one of those "from my cold, dead fingers" people when it came to paper books. It seemed a natural choice to publish on Kindle. As for e-publishing in general, it seems like it is an obvious thing to try. It's a great way to reach readers.

DAVID WISEHART: What advice would you give to a first-time author thinking of self-publishing on Kindle?

ANNIE BELLET: Get a good cover. Write a good description (one of the hardest things to do). And keep your chin up if you aren't selling tons of copies instantly. A reader base is built over time.

DAVID WISEHART: Thanks, and best of luck with your books.


Annie Bellet is a full-time speculative fiction writer. She holds a BA in English and a BA in Medieval Studies and thus can speak a smattering of useful languages such as Anglo-Saxon and Medieval Welsh.

She has sold fiction to AlienSkin Magazine, Contrary Magazine, and Daily Science Fiction Magazine. She's also collected a healthy stack of Honorable Mentions and placed as Semi-finalist in the Writers of the Future contest.

Her interests besides writing include rock climbing, reading, horse-back riding, video games, comic books, table-top RPGs, and many other nerdy pursuits.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a very demanding Bengal cat.

Visit her website and read her blog.

Are you a Kindle author? Would you like to be interviewed for this blog? You can! See details on my Kindle Authors Wanted page.

Discover new writers! Subscribe to the FREE Kindle Author Newsletter.

No comments:


Post a Comment