Q: Thanks for joining us here on the blog.
Q: Well Gasparilla’s Treasure is such a great book, how did you come up with the story?
CLEMENTS: When I first started, I knew I wanted to write something fun and entertaining; something my ten year old son would enjoy reading. I’ve always loved stories where a normal kid, with a normal life is suddenly faced with a massive adventure or journey; something the reader can believe might happen to them.
Q: So how did you take that broad concept and turn it into Gasparilla’s Treasure?
CLEMENTS: I started with the simple sentence, “Thirteen-year-old boy wants to find the treasure his family has been seeking for four generations.” Seemed like a fun idea, so I started outlining it, keeping in mind that single sentence. Before I knew it, the story was outlined and it practically wrote itself.
Q: You mentioned that you like to outline. Can you tell us more about your writing process?
CLEMENTS: Once I have my single sentence, I start the outline. I have worked in the Movie and TV business for about twenty years, and I tend to lean towards the structure of a “formula” movie script. I find this structure grabs the reader, and keeps the pace moving. When the outline is complete, I just write. I don’t worry about anything except what my characters would say and do in the situation; I just try to get the story out of my brain. Writing technique and sentence structure can be worked on later. Story and characters are so important to me. I think they are the main thing that engages the reader.
Q: You said you wanted to write a book that your ten year old son would love. I read your book and loved it, at 26 years old. How does it feel knowing that your book is appealing to a broader audience than you expected?
CLEMENTS: I think it’s important to know your target audience, and write for that audience. In the back of my mind, I always dreamed I could reach a broader audience like J.K. Rowling with Harry Potter, or Louis Sachar with Holes (the list goes on and on)... so when I hear my story and characters are connecting with adults, I actually feel proud of the characters. Like they are my kids and they have managed to win the hearts of the reader. But when a kid tells me that their parents couldn’t get them to go to sleep because they wanted to keep reading my book... well, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Q: Can you tell me a bit about your characters? They seem so real. Are they based on people you know?
CLEMENTS: I wanted my hero, Trip, to be every kid. He is smart, but not too smart. He is athletic, but not too athletic. I think he’s the kid I wanted to be growing up. I wanted Trip to be someone the reader would instantly like, someone they could relate to, and someone we want to succeed. I hope I accomplished that.
Welcome Ann thanks for talking to us today and letting us have a little insight into you and your books.
Thanks so much for having me; it’s lovely to be chatting with you.
Q: Tell us about your novel Brunswick.
A: Well it’s a fantasy adventure that follows a boy named Jonathan on his journey through a strange land. He wakes to find himself badly hurt and is told that the people looking after him have brought him there to save them. Jonathan is kind of plunged in to a whole new life and he’s not sure he can fill the shoes they’ve given him, so to speak. He spends his journey being plagued by a hooded figure in black and soon he realises he has to face him.
Q: What’s your genre and why did you choose it?
A: I write YA books. My stories are mainly supernatural but Brunswick turned in to a dark fantasy. Even though I never meant to write a fantasy novel I’m really happy with the way it turned out.
Q: What’s the biggest obstacle you faced with your writing journey?
A: Definitely editing. I couldn’t afford an editor at the time and had to do most of it myself. I’d say that is my weakest point if I am being honest. I spend an awful lot of time editing because I know I find it hard but still I want it to be as great as it can be.
Q: What things did you outsource, if any at all?
A: My book was formatted by Tim C Taylor. He is a fantastic guy who helped me no end. I did my editing and cover art myself due to low funds. I now work with an Editor named Patrick Roberts who has been very good to me. I’m yet to find a cover artist though and I would like to as I’m not that great at it!!!
Q: Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
A: Oh gosh!! Everywhere and anywhere. My inspiration for Brunswick was my son Jonathan. My next book Mary is a form of the Bloody Mary urban legend which I’ve always loved. Some of my future stories are from my own fears and some are even dreams I’ve had.
Q: Who or what are your influences?
A: I have always been an avid reader, even from a very young age. My Mum would read a lot of books and so would my sister Jan. She is a massive fan of Stephen King and I would read them after her.
I love horror movies too, which I also get from my big sister Jan, my influence there would be the old “Hammer Horrors” because they really knew how to hold the suspense.
I am a huge fan of James Herbert, he is my Favourite writer. His story The Magic Cottage is one of my all-time favourites. My biggest influence for the genre I chose to write, however, has to be the “Point Horrors” I read as a teen. I loved them and still have a huge collection of them. My favourite was April Fools because of the twist at the end.
Q: Are you self-published, legacy or a combination?
A: I am totally Self-Published.
Q: What was the hardest part of your self-publishing journey?
A: I had a lot to learn as I never thought of self-publishing until I read more about it. I have to say that it’s probably the workload I find hardest. Not only do I write the books but I do everything else as well, including all the promotions and marketing. There’s a lot of networking involved and it can be quite daunting. I’ve been extremely lucky to have met the people I have met on my journey though, be it other authors, editors, and cover artists, bloggers or readers. They have all helped me gain so much knowledge and it has helped to get me on track with the workload I have. Doing all that with two kiddies in tow isn’t easy either but you get used to it and my Son, now a teenager, likes to hear my stories and is proud of his old Mum. As are my Daughter and my Husband, so it’s all well worth the work!!
Q: What format are your books available in?
A: At the moment Brunswick is available on Amazon for the Kindle. I am enrolled in the Kindle Select project at the moment so my book can’t be sold on another platform yet. However, come the end of May it will be available on Smashwords too so it will be in many different stores, such as the I-Tunes Store, around about then.
Q: How many books have you published so far?
A: Brunswick is my debut so just one at the moment. My second Novel, Mary, will be out around 18th May.
Q: What’s the best bit of advice you received when starting out?
A: I read an interview with Rachel Abbot and she wrote about a marketing plan and timetable. She advised that you should map out everything that needs to be done, right to the bare bones and get a schedule together. Then allocate a time to each task. I can tell you that has been my life saver on this journey.
Q: What advice would you offer to the future Debut Authors out there?
A: Write what you love and love what you write. It’s really hard work so if you write what you enjoy its takes the sting out of it a little.
Q: What’s next for you? Any projects in the pipeline for us to look forward to?
A: Yeah loads, I’m very excited. My second novel Mary is out in May. Sneak peeks will be available on my blog soon. I’m also about to write my first in a series of anthologies, following a pair of twins that live in a funeral home. They will be anthologies of unhappy endings, so a little weird and creepy!!
Q: Any favourite Author that you are a fan of and would recommend?
A: James Herbert is a must if you enjoy horror and other dark stories, he is simply genius. Within my genre, I love Amanda Hocking and a newish author I am quickly becoming a fan of is M J Webb.Give us one of your favourite quotes.
“There’s no such thing as can’t”
It turns up in Brunswick once or twice too!!!
And finally tell us something random about yourself to make us chuckle.
Hmmm let me think. Not sure if it’s funny, well it’s not to me, but I have a wicked phobia of Clowns. I hate them with a passion and I cry if I see one. I can’t even look at Ronald McDonald!!!! Lol (Cue my Dad’s favourite Quote!!!)
Follow Ann on Twitter @annhaines79
Join her blog http://www.annhaines.blogspot.com/
You can now purchase Brunswick on Amazon