Writer Interview: Anna Ellis

SecretsLies

Anna Ellis

Full-time writer Anna is happily-married with gorgeous children. She is currently trying to motivate herself to run a marathon, and has actually completed three half marathons, which I say counts as a whole! She recently found a passion for scuba-diving too. In the very little spare time she has between being a fabulous writer, loving wife and devoted mother, she likes to read, watch movies (is a huge Star Wars fan) and have girl-time over several bottles of wine. When I asked how she managed to make time to write, her reply was “I hide in my house and do my best not to let things distract me from writing when they kids aren’t home. When they are home, it’s impossible – have you ever tried to write a sex scene peering over your shoulder to make sure no kiddies pop up and start reading about heaving bosoms, etc?!”

INTERVIEW

1. What are you working on right now?

I just finished the second book in my new Office Plays series – Secrets and Lies! Now I’ve received my cover, everything has come together and it was released on Amazon on July 31st.

Right now I have two projects on the go – I’m working on the final book in my Office Plays trilogy, Love After Hours, trying to wrap it up with happy endings for all. I also write under the name Holly Kerr and I’m trying to finish my next book, The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd. It’s a chick-lit/spy thriller. It’s fun keeping the two types of writing separate!

2. Can you tell us a little something about it?

The premise of the Office Plays series is that you’re in the office for up to eight hours a day. Why not have some fun while you’re there? I follow a group of office workers through their hook-ups and romances, discover some secrets and lies. Like my other books, it’s about ordinary people having an extraordinary amount of sex, this time at the office!

The second book, Secrets and Lies, follows Sadie, who gets in over her head with the boss and his wife; Abby, whose past fling starts working for the company, and Michael and Callie. Callie is my favourite character – she loves to have fun with the boys (and girls) in the office but lately her feelings for Michael keep getting in the way. Michael has a somewhat unusual relationship with his girlfriend which may not be the best thing for him. The third book, Love After Hours, will wrap up everyone’s story.

3. Tell us, why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Because I have to. Seriously, I get twitchy if I don’t!
What inspires me? I’m honestly not sure where I get the ideas for characters and scenarios I write about. They just kind of pop into my head, usually when I’m doing something that relaxes me like running or playing in my gardens. And usually the ideas pop into my head at the worst possible time. Like I got the best idea for a new book right when I was in the middle of finishing Secrets and Lies! And of course I want to dive right into it!
I know the idea Husbands and Wives series (about a group of naughty neighbours and all the fun they get into) came about from my own group of friends. We like to get together on Friday nights over wine and even though nothing happens with us like it does in my books, it did help me come up with the idea. I started asking, what if the neighbours liked to spend time together, but took it a step or three further? Doesn’t everyone think of a friendly group of neighbours…key parties and swingers??!! Maybe that’s just how my mind works!

4. When I write, I require Jaffa cakes (and lots of them), do you have a writing must-have?

Tea. Buckets of tea.

5. What is your favourite book?

Please don’t be mad, but it’s impossible for me to pick one! I have three – Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows and Rivals, by Jilly Cooper, which is how I know what a Jaffa cake is!! I have a thing for British authors.

6. Which author’s career, alive or passed on, do you admire most, and why?

I’ve been following the careers of Hugh Howey and Colleen Hoover lately. I love their writing (totally different styles and genres btw) but I really admire how they built their careers. Both began as self-published authors, but got picked up by traditional publishers. They’re doing so well – book deals, movie deals, but I really love how they still give back to other authors, especially Hugh. Their support for other authors is amazing.

7. Tell us something about yourself…an annoying habit or party trick perhaps? Can you speak a foreign language or have a hobby?

I’m a bit of a geek. I’m a huge Star Wars fan. Like – huge. Also superheroes. I’ve impressed twelve year olds boys and their fathers with my knowledge of the Star Wars universe and Marvel movies. It’s handy when you coach a boys baseball team and go on class trips!

8. Do you have a blog, website or social networking account people can go to if they wish to learn more about you or your work?

Yes! Come visit me!. My blog is annaellisauthor.wordpress.com ; Facebook is https://www.facebook.com/AnnaEllisauthor
And I can be found occasionally on Twitter at @hollykerrauthor

9. What are your writing plans for the rest of 2015?

I will be finishing my Office Plays series in the fall and start on another novel – I have two ideas percolating but not sure which one I’ll start with. And I have to finish up my next Holly Kerr book and get it out there. And then there’s the marketing aspect of writing – not my favourite thing to do, but very necessary!!

10. And now, for the most important question of all: Jaffa cakes – love them or hate them?

If Jaffa cakes were easily available here in Toronto, they wouldn’t be my favourite, mainly because they chocolate layer would turn me off. I’m one of the few women who don’t enjoy chocolate!!

To follow more of Anna’s work please use the links below:
Blog: annaellisauthor.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnaEllisauthor
Twitter: @hollykerrauthor
Amazon: http://amzn.to/1VT5Ksf

Now even though she is like a martian in the fact that she doesn’t enjoy chocolate, I have to admit Anna is an extremely talented writer, technically she’s two writers! That’s one heck of a time-commitment. Honoured she could fit me in. Meanwhile, I recommend you go check out her Office Play series – it’s awesome and very sexy.
Thanks Anna!

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Writer Interview: Gary Haynes

Gary Haynes

Gary is not only a talented writer, but also a commercial litigator. He grew up in Plymouth, Devon and has moved about since. A hard worker, Gary made it into Warwick University where he studied law and did his postgraduate studies in Chester, at the College of Law. He doesn’t have pets because he’s allergic to animal hair, but he does have three beautiful children who he cherishes, two sons and a daughter. He is a foreign film lover and a huge fan or opera. When I asked for an example of other work he’s done, he told me he used to work in a graveyard! Yikes!

INTERVIEW

1. What are you working on right now?

I’m working on a standalone thriller based in two time periods, the last days of WW2 in Berlin and modern-day America and Europe. The challenge is in drawing the threads together into a coherent whole and not repeating important aspects of the story in both strands.

2. Can you tell us a little something about it?

It’s about a lawyer whose daughter goes missing in Central Park and his journey to find her. He teams up with an FBI agent, who isn’t what she seems, and unravels a decades-old mystery in the process. There’s action and suspense, and more than a few twists and turns. I’ve finished the first couple of drafts and it should be in good enough shape to submit to my publisher in a couple of months.

3. Tell us, why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration from?

This is a difficult one to answer without sounding a little pretentious. In the last analysis, I write because I feel compelled to do so. It’s not about money. It’s about being creative. But it’s also deeply therapeutic, and when I’m writing my mind clears of everything else.
I find my inspiration in many places. I’m interested in international relations and watch a lot of foreign news channels, which gives me ideas for my political thrillers. But inspiration can come from anywhere. The kernel of an idea for my latest thriller came from a paragraph I read in a nonfiction book on European esotericism!

4. When I write, I require Jaffa cakes (and lots of them), do you have a writing must-have?

Tea. I drink far too much. I can forget to eat as long as I’m tanked up on tea.

5. What is your favourite book?

Tough question as there are so many I’ve enjoyed over the years. My favourite books are thrillers, nonfiction military history and literary novels. If I had to choose one, it would be The Narrow Road To The Deep North by Richard Flanagan, which won the Man Booker Prize of 2014. It’s a book about love and war, man’s inhumanity to man and the endearing hope inherent in the human spirit.

6. Which author’s career, alive or passed on, do you admire most, and why?

I’d have to say Cormac McCarthy. He writes extraordinary westerns and literary thrillers. His early writing career was difficult but he ploughed on and has written some of his best work, including No Country For Old Men and The Road, in his seventies, a time when many people are putting their feet up. I admire, hugely, people who do great things in later life.

7. Tell us something about yourself…an annoying habit or party trick perhaps? Can you speak a foreign language or have a hobby?

I have many annoying habits, the worst of which is probably shouting at the TV when I disagree with what is being said. I enjoy boxing, although these days it’s just the training. I read, of course, love foreign films, especially French and South American, and I’m utterly in awe of Richard Wagner’s operas. To be honest I’m a simple person. What I enjoy most is spending time with friends and family.

8. Do you have a blog, website or social networking account people can go to if they wish to learn more about you or your work?

Yes, I’m active on social media, especially Twitter. If people would like to connect with me they can do so via these platforms:

* http://garyhaynes.weebly.com * http://twitter.com/GaryHaynesNovel * http://www.facebook.com/garyhanesauthor * http://www.amazon.com/author/garyhaynesbooks * http://www.goodreads.com/GaryHaynes

9. What are your writing plans for the remainder of 2015?

I’m writing the third Tom Dupree thriller and planning a novel I’ve been thinking about for a few years, a hybrid novel, encompassing literary, thriller and historical elements.

10. And now, for the most important question of all: Jaffa cakes – love them or hate them?

To be honest, if you offered me one over a cup of tea I‘d gladly accept, but I can’t remember the last time I ate one. But if a writer is going to have a weakness I’d say tea and Jaffa cakes are pretty innocuous ones.

To follow Gary and his work please use the links below:
http://garyhaynes.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/garyhanesauthor
Twitter: @GaryHaynesNovel
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/garyhaynesbooks
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/GaryHaynes

Gary is a talented writer and it was great fun interviewing him. And he’s the first I’ve interviewed who worked in a graveyard. True what they say – you never know who you might meet.
Thanks Gary!