Today at Author Stalker we have the Annika Martin. She is a New York Times Bestselling author. I love her writing so much that immediately after the first time I read a book of hers, I bought all her other books. True story! I even contemplated buying the German versions. I do not read or speak German.
Me: <hiding in the bushes, waiting for Annika>
Annika: Who are we stalking? I can help.
Me: <screams and jumps 3 feet in the air> Where did you come from? Also, I am not stalking anybody. I am just waiting for you… here… behind this lovely bush.
Annika: Okay… You said you have questions.
Me: Yes, I have a few. If you don’t mind… the first one is how long have you been an author? Full time or part time? What influenced you to write?
Annika: I always had little writing projects going on the side no matter what I did to pay the bills, and before that, in college. I became a full time writer late in 2016. It was my love of reading that influenced me to write for sure, but also dramatic movies. I just love really dramatic things that make me feel powerful emotions. And I love getting lost in a world, as a reader or a writer.
Me: What was your first published book? How did you fee when you published it? Excited? Scared?
Annika: My first published book was Mind Games, an urban fantasy I wrote as Carolyn Crane, published by Random House in 2010 (where people’s weird problems turn into superpowers). It was AMAZINGLY exciting. I got to visit my own book in the Barnes and Noble where I liked to buy books, and that pretty much blew my mind! To see it on the shelf.
But it was super scary before it came out. They sent me “galleys” to read (sheets of paper that show what the pages of the book will look like) and I freaked out to see my words typeset as a book, and thought it was the worst book ever and I wanted to change things around, but it was way too late. My agent had to reassure me.
Even now, it’s scary when a new book comes out, because there is a certain amount of exposure with it. I suppose we’ve all had moments where we think something is so damn funny or so sexy, and everyone else is like, umm, whatever dude.
But when it works, it feels like flying. And there’s this sense of being connected with readers, like having a shared experience.
Me: What can you tell us about your book that just released, Hostage?
Annika: Skye Warren and I wrote Hostage as a follow-up to Prisoner. The idea with both of those is that we love anti-heroes, guys who break the rules or seem bad or even immoral by society’s standards, but they have their own code of honor that they follow.
As a reader, I like when books challenge me, when I feel conflicted about heroes, not sure whether I love or hate them. It makes me feel alive in a strange way.
The germ of Hostage, for me, was the dark character of Stone, and the idea of two love people rescuing each other.
Me: How different is co-writing a book with another author compared to writing it by yourself?
Annika: I love co-writing. It’s fun to start a scene or chapter, and then the next time you open up the document, there’s more story written. Another writer adds energy and fun, which is great, because writing is so solitary. (Also great when you’re stuck!) But also, you have to let go of a lot of control, and that’s hard. If I have an idea that I’m in love with and Skye hates it, we can’t do it. And vice versa. But usually whenever we ever disagree on one of our ideas, we ended up coming up with a third option we both loved way more. Two brains is better that one for sure!
Me: What is your advice to newbie authors?
Annika: I’m a big believer in seeking out teachers, classes, good craft books, and exchanging work with other authors and getting feedback, just being in a learning disposition. The most successful authors know how to ruthlessly use feedback to build their skills. Authors who feel offended by feedback and just want praise rarely survive, because that’s the opposite of a learning mode.
It’s also important to study what is working out there in your genre with clear eyes. Read the books. Study the top covers. See what these authors are doing. Reach out and join groups and link up with authors at your level. The indie romance community is so helpful. Authors at every level are always quick to help, I’ve found.
Me: Wow. Thank you for doing this. What you said about feeling alive resonated. Again, thank you. Um, do you think we can get out of this bush now? People might think we are stalkers.
You can find Annika Martin at the following: