Today I am delighted to have Anna Steffl join me here on Work in Progress Wednesday. Anna lives in Athens, Georgia, home of the New World gods of football and alternative music. She has held a string of wildly unrelated jobs, from frying chicken to one that required applying for a Department of Defense security clearance. She is a past president of Georgia Romance Writers and a Golden Heart Award finalist. Welcome Anna! Share a life memory you recall frequently and tell us why you think about it.
AS: I was 13 and an excellent swimmer. I swam out to a dock in the middle of lake, and then noticed small fish were circling the dock. Having a raging fish phobia, I refused to swim back to shore. An older girl had to carry me back in. Is it any wonder I feature big, scary lake creatures in my stories? Well, even the little lakes creatures are scary.
MJ: Wow! What are your top three dream destinations and why?
AS: Iceland, New Zealand, Yellowstone. Why? They all have amazing thermal features.
MJ: Name one thing most people don’t know about you.
AS: I’m a libertarian, so some of my answers will not conform.
MJ: LOL! What’s your secret talent?
AS: I play the accordion
MJ: What is the top book on your TBR pile?
AS: An ARC of the Happy Hour Choir by Sally Kilpatrick, whenever she gives it to me.
MJ: Do you have any recurring dreams? If so, will you share one with us?
AS: I’m always in a house that has hidden, scary rooms and the kitchen contains odd things—like a toilet just sitting there.
MJ: If you didn’t write, what would be your creative outlet?
AS: A song writer.
MJ: Other than writing, what would be your dream job?
AS: Architect. I studied architecture for three years in college.
MJ: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
AS: Beer Barrel Polka
MJ: Name one thing you won’t leave home without.
AS: My glasses and cat hair on my clothes. That’s two, but they are always on my person, and I warned you about the libertarian thing.
MJ: Yes, you did! If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be and why?
AS: A Buddhist monk so I’d know what it would be like to really meditate.
MJ: Is there a particular movie that you preferred over the book version of the story?
MJ: What do you normally eat for breakfast, of do you skip it and get straight to work?
AS: A good quality bagel, like Masada, and lots of coffee.
MJ: Describe your ideal/dream writing space.
AS: A locked room with no food.
MJ: Briefly describe your writing day/process.
AS: Eat bagel. Drink coffee. Walk. Write.
MJ: Name one writing-related website you use a lot.
MJ: What book do you wish you could have written?
AS: War and Peace.
MJ: Plotter or Pantser?
AS: A little of both
MJ: What romance convention/cliche most sets your teeth on edge?
AS: The words for the lady bits and gentlemen bits.
MJ: Do you believe in writer’s block?
AS: Granite or marble? Mine is just a chunk of concrete from a cracked driveway.
MJ: Name 3 things on your desk right now.
AS: Beer. Pill bottle. Nylon Strapping. OMG—I am a freak.
MJ: Love and true love – what is the difference and what do your characters believe about LOVE?
AS: With true love, you become willing to set your best interests aside for the higher good of the relationship. For some of my characters, like Arvana and Degarius, that means honoring pledges that may destroy the relationship—but otherwise, the relationship would be doomed by their guilt. Plain old love? You are attracted to the idea of the person, rather than the reality, and how that person reflects on you. Chane Lerouge…cough, cough.
MJ: Would you consider self-publishing?
MJ: Do you listen to music when you write? Explain.
AS: Mostly Brahms. He believed in inspiration and craftsmanship. He also burned anything he thought unworthy. I’ve had my own bonfires.
MJ: Do you collage your story before writing? Explain.
AS: No. That would complicate my desk even more.
MJ: Synopses: love them or hate them?
AS: Is there a stronger word than hate?
MJ: Ready for the lightning round? Addams Family or Munsters?
AS: The Simpsons.
MJ: Ha! Wine–red or white?
AS: Dirty martini.
MJ: Beer–can or bottle?
MJ: Stephanie Plum or Eve Dallas?
AS: Tiffany Black.
MJ: Cinco de Mayo or St Patrick’s Day?
AS: St. Joseph’s Day — I’m Polish.
MJ: Last movie you saw in a theater?
AS: How to Train Your Dragon II
MJ: Favorite TV show?
AS: Sherlock Holmes.
MJ: Paper or e-books?
MJ: Favorite band when you were in high school (Marching band doesn’t count).
AS: The Church
MJ: Coke or Pepsi?
MJ: Introvert or extrovert?
MJ: Favorite ethnic food?
AS: Ma Po Tofu.
MJ: And now what we’ve all been waiting for: Can you share the first few lines of your current work in progress?
AS: Of course! This is from The Unchosen:
Mariel, following her father’s lead, pressed a handkerchief over her nose. The wind was lofting the ashes. The floating ash might have been beautiful, like the first snowfall, but instead of smelling fresh and clean, it carried the stomach turning scent of the burned flesh of their fellow villagers of Caraquet. It was forbidden to enter a hant, even one that had once been home. But, they had to find her mother’s necklace. It was why the draeden had punished them, had incinerated Caraquet.
MJ: And that is a hook! Do you have any books out now? If so, how can people find them?
AS: The Solace Trilogy is available through Amazon. Click on the covers for the buy links.
The first book in the Solace trilogy follows Arvana, the only Solacian capable of seeing the Blue Eye’s revelations, as she reluctantly leaves her cloistered refuge to seek a champion to wield a relic against the resurrected draeden. The obvious champion is the charismatic Prince Chane Lerouge, who possesses the one remaining sword the ancestors used to end the Reckoning. But the unknown warrior, Captain Degarius, unrelentingly pursues a rumored lake monster with a blade whispered to be blessed. Will Arvana’s mission earn her the elusive solace she seeks or spiral her heart—and the world—into a second Reckoning if she chooses the wrong man? Downplaying magic in favor of romance and fantasy, Arvana’s adventure boasts strong characters in an immersive, realistic new realm.
One relic is lost in an act of fidelity when Paulus’s blessed sword falls into undeserving hands. One relic is won by testing the strength, endurance, and mercy of the champion who proves himself worthy of the Blue Eye. But two souls are shattered in the process. Though Arvana serves her penance by choosing a champion, the pure joy of a shacra evades her until a forbidden moment of tenderness. Will the single kiss endanger the fate of the world and destroy her heart’s longing for solace? This fascinating trilogy continues with greater stakes and deeper romance in an unforgettable fantasy world.
This final installment of the Solace Trilogy finds Arvana contending with the choices she’s made and the fate of the world on her shoulders. In the depths of winter, the Scyon releases the powers of Hell to bring forth a second Reckoning that will overturn world order. But from the deepest desperation, the fugitive outcasts reluctantly embark on an impossible quest. Armed only with a single blessed sword, a dangerous relic, and the remnants of a shattered love, will solace arise?
MJ: Gorgeous covers! And are you on social media?
AS: Yes. I have a website – www.Annasteffl.com
I’m on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/annasteffl
I’m on Twitter — @Solace Trilogy -or- @AnnaKurtzSteffl
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/annasteffl/
MJ: Thanks again for joining me for Work In Progress Wednesday, and good luck!