Friday, 28 September 2012

Author Interview: Angella Graff

In the hot seat today, we have US author, Angella Graff.

Angella Graff was born and raised in the desert city of Tucson, Arizona. She married and became a mother very young, and after getting started with her family, began her University studies where she found her passion for creative writing, history and theology.

She now resides in Tucson with her husband Joshua, three children, Christian, Isabella and Adia, and their three cats, Archive (Ivy), Lasciel and Fix. She prefers to spend her days writing, gardening, and reading non-fiction theology theory books. Angella is also an avid, if not fanatic fan of Doctor Who and BBC Sherlock, which tend to dominate her dry, sarcastic humor, a lot of which is apparent in her writing.

Do you plan everything or just let the story flow?

It depends on what I'm writing, and how the story is going. I generally have the meta plot sorted out in my head before I begin, but I don't write outlines, they tend to distract me. With Moments Collide, I wrote it in non-linear chunks and sort of quilted it together. The book I'm working on now is flowing pretty well in a linear fashion, so I'm just letting the story flow. It's kind of neat, I've watched twists sort of develop that were absolutely unplanned and I love it!

Do your characters ever want to take over the story?

Some do. Characters that I had never intended to be main characters tend to develop a personality that I fall in love with and find myself giving a bigger role to. Sometimes I find myself having to force detail and background because a character and their dialogue is so dominating in a chapter.

What is your favourite food?

Curry, no questions asked. Tikka Masala and Daal Makhani. I eat it nearly every day.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

I'm an everything person. I have three kids so I'm up early and in bed late. Not by choice!

Where do you dream of travelling to and why?

I want to go to Greece with my husband, and also the Vatican City. I'm a theology scholar and studying the cities of ancient religions is my dream. I'd also love to go to Kashmir to visit the grave of Isa, rumored to be the same person as Jesus of Nazareth!

Do distant places feature in your books?

They can, but I try and write only what I've experienced, so I only branch out beyond my experience if I've done extensive research to make it as realistic as possible.

Do you listen to music while writing?

I find music distracting most of the time when I write. I will listen to music on full blast when I'm gearing up for a long day of writing, and I listen to it almost any time I'm not writing.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest release?

My latest release is actually my first book I've had published. I finished it near the beginning of 2012 but sent it through several beta readers and people who helped me edit to prevent it from going live without many mistakes. The story is told from the male perspective as he deals in his ten year relationship with a woman who, in the end, turns out to be not a very nice person. The character, Felix, was brought up with the idea that no matter how hard it is, you must do everything you can to make a relationship work, so for years he fails to see they would both be better off alone. As his career starts taking off as a Classical Cellist, he meets a woman and discovers the possible idea of love at first sight. They agree to meet in a year, and during that year he starts desperately searching for the courage to take more positive steps in his life, while his wife continues to be more violent and out of control.

I wanted to tell the story of a man dealing with a difficult relationship where he is the victim, not the woman, because so many books are written, and it seems that people forget men go through terrible things too. I drew inspiration from a lot of the men that I know as friends and family, to create the story and make it as realistic as possible

What have you learned about writing and publishing since you first started?

That's a tough one, because there is so much. I've been writing since I could write. I have boxes of hand written pages I did when I was in high school, so it's been a long and intensive road from writing for fun, to taking advanced writing and fiction courses in university. Being an indie publisher, I'm learning how much work self-promoting can be, and how much time you have to dedicate to getting your work out there and introducing it to the masses. Though it might be the harder road, it feels like it might be the most rewarding, and I'm definitely not regretting my decision.

Is there anything you would do differently?

I would start trying to build a network long before I published, had I known the work it was going to take to market. Otherwise I'm pretty happy with the progress I've made in such a short time.

Who, or what, if anything has influenced your writing?

Life, to begin with. I draw inspiration from everything I've been through, and from listening to others. Being able to empathize with other people makes it much easier to write a sympathetic character that people can relate to. My first ever influence was Anne Rice. I was such an Anne Rice fangirl when I was about twelve and thirteen, and for years my writing style was very similar to hers. It was with practice and school that I was able to develop and hone my own unique skill, but she's always going to be my first influential writer.

Anything you would say to those just starting out in the craft?

Practice, take creative writing classes, and a great way to hone your skill is to beta read for others. It helps recognize where mistakes commonly occur. Also, build your network, and make sure you read, re-read, and re-read again, and have at least three people read your work before letting it get published. It helps so much with catching the little mistakes that are hard to find in your own work.

What are three words that describe you?

Tenacious, dedicated, and neurotic. Haha. I'm brutally honest, especially about myself.

What's your favourite book or who is your favourite writer?

My favorite author currently is Elaine Pagels. She writes non-fiction theology theory books, and my favorite of hers is The Origins of Satan. As much as I love to write fiction, I'm always a theology scholar, and I'm always lost in theology books.

Blurb of your latest release or coming soon book

Coming Soon, The Awakening, the first book of The Judas Curse series. Take everything you know about modern theology and throw it out the window. The old gods of Greek Mythos are desperate for attention. They're using any means necessary to manipulate mankind into creating another religion where they can be worshiped once more. Detective Ben Stanford and his sister Abigail find themselves lost in theological mystery with an immoral Judas Iscariot and the gospel writer Mark, trying to figure out their ideas of God, their own immortality and powers.

List of previous books if any

Moments Collide by Angella Graff

Any websites/places readers can find you on the web.

Amazon Author Page-

Thank you Angella, good luck with your books :)

You can read an extract of Moments Collide below:

1 comment:

  1. The first of many interviews you will have! I never had any doubts about that.