Ann Swann will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Author Interview – Ann Swann
1. Woohoo! You are a published author. Describe a strong character trait you possess, good or bad, and how it helped you become a published author. I think one of my best character traits is my stubborn streak. It means I never give up and I seldom give in. Of course it’s also one of my worst character traits!
2. Sometimes an author begins writing a story before they are aware of its genre. Did you choose your genre, or did it choose you? The romantic suspense genre definitely chose me. I started out writing what I thought would be another contemporary novel like my first one, All For Love, but then a kernel of darkness revealed itself in the character of Kurt, the sociopath.
3. The plot thickens, or does it? Which one are you, a pantser or a plotter? I’m a hybrid when it comes to plotting. After an idea presents itself, I always write the first few scenes and usually the ending (because I have to know where I’m going), then I start free-writing and plotting as I go.
4. Fear 101: As writers it is our duty to make our characters face their fears. Have you ever included one of your own fears in a storyline? I do sometimes include bits of myself in my characters. Whether it be my fears or my beliefs, I often recognize these things only after I’ve written them.
5. Fear 102: Yes, deadlines are terrifying. Have you conquered the juggling act between writing and the rest of your life? What do you do when it feels like the balls are dropping all around you? Agh! Some days I only have a half hour to write. I help with my elderly (disabled) father, pick up and cook for a couple or three grandkids, and try to say hello to my amazing hubby now and then. It’s tough some times! Oh, I also still do research for an online journal a couple of days a week. If I didn’t, I would probably never put on mascara or lipstick!
6. Switch positions with one of your main characters in a scene. What is the outcome, disaster or divine intervention? In The Remains in the Pond, Gabi must face her nemesis at the old pond. It doesn’t end well for one of the girls. If it had been me, I would not have left the pond without knowing the outcome, but one of them left without knowing if the other one was dead or alive. I could never do that. I’m too much of a control freak.
7. Where is your favorite place to write? Add that one comfort food that you can’t do without. I usually write in my recliner with my laptop on my lap (LOL). I have my Bose radio remote on the end table beside me and the station varies between Classic Rock and New Country (I would listen to old classic country but I can’t pick up any of my Sirius stations in the den). I also keep my iPhone beside me for inspiration. I have dozens of playlists and thousands of songs. Even though I do my main writing and revising there, I’m also constantly writing notes for future stories (I write a lot of short fiction, check out Easy Street Magazine or Reader’s Digest, I think I had stories in both of those last June or July) or for the novel I’m currently working on. My iPhone notepad is excellent for that, and I also dictate notes into my phone and email them to myself so I won’t forget what I wrote later on. While I’m writing, I must have coffee, diet Coke, cashews, something chocolate and/or raw spaghetti to crunch.
8. Writing inspirations? I’m constantly inspired by family dramas, both within my own family and in those around me—even news reports and old news articles. In fact, the horrific child-bait-incident in my novel, Stutter Creek, was based on an actual incident that occurred on the Interstate near my hometown. I still wonder what became of that little boy . . .
9. You are introduced to your favorite author. Who is it, and what is that one burning question you must ask them? Oh this is a tough question – Stephen King has always been one of my favorite authors, but after he severely dissed Stephanie Meyers over her Twilight books, I lost a lot of respect for him. I think there’s plenty of room for both his terrifying vampires (I’ve always loved them!) and for her sparkly vampires (I devoured those books when they first came out). So I guess I would ask him why he was so vehement about her work.
10. I’ve gone mad – why don’t you come with me? Some people just don’t understand us writers. Name a quirky, writer-thing you do that friends wish you didn’t. Hmmm . . . I’m just so stinking normal . . . not! A lot of people don’t seem to understand why I question everything. But I’m just curious. I need to know how things work and why people do what they do. I also love to watch people, especially in grocery stores, restaurants, and parking lots. Another thing some folks don’t seem to understand is why I have to have alone time every day. Too much togetherness can be quite overwhelming for me. I like my own company—and that of my characters.
by Ann Swann
GENRE: Romantic Suspense
Senior prom is the happiest night of Gabi’s life. Her crush has just revealed that he is every bit as infatuated with her as she is with him. When he has a car wreck and is transported to the hospital in a coma, Gabi feels as if she’s taken a knife to the heart. But his jealous cousin, Rose, sees her chance to give the knife an even harder twist. She convinces Gabi to meet her at a local parking spot outside town. It’s a night that will change several lives forever. One of the girls will return, and one will become known as the remains in the pond.
I didn’t see Matt anywhere. There weren’t any vehicles in the gravel lot. I parked but didn’t roll down the windows. Something felt wrong. The night began to feel as opaque as the murky water. If Matt wanted to see me, where was he?
Backing up, I shined my headlights a different direction, then I made a small tight circle and lit up the entire parking area a little at a time. Low mesquites and spindly live oaks bordered one side of the lot. It was the sort of foliage that loved a little water now and then but thrived just as well without it. I saw neither Matt nor Rose.
After a few minutes, I pulled out of the lot and circled the pond as far as I could go. The gravel road didn’t loop around the entire thing, only about three quarters of the way, and then you were forced to turn around in the only remaining wide spot unless you wanted to get out and have a picnic beneath the single stand of oaks tall enough to give good shade.
Of course I didn’t need any shade now. And I really didn’t want to get out of the car. This seemed too weird. I put the car in reverse and executed a careful turnaround. When my headlights picked out the figure at the edge of the water, I inhaled sharply. It was not what I expected to find.
I rolled down my window. “Rose?” I called. “Is that you?”
A branch cracked, a shadow moved, and panic slid between my ribs like a blade. The figure turned toward my headlights, definitely female. She wore her long hair lose and flowing. Under the moonlight, I couldn’t be certain if the woman’s hair was red or light brown.
“What are you doing here?” No answer. “Where’s Matt?” I tried to keep my voice steady, to show her I wasn’t afraid. I put the car in PARK and opened my door tentatively, putting one foot on the ground.
She stared into my headlights, one hand shielding her eyes like a sailor looking for land, and then, like a flash, she ran straight at me. Straight toward my little Honda with the window rolled down. Her hair flew out behind her and it was all so surreal that for a moment, I simply sat there, paralyzed. Then she raised her right hand above her head. In her grip, I caught a glimpse of silver.
Ann has been a writer since junior high school, but to pay the bills she’s waited tables, delivered newspapers, cleaned other people’s houses, taught school, and even had a short stint as a secretary in a rock-n-roll radio station. She also worked as a 911 operator and a police dispatcher.
Ann’s stories began to win awards in her college days. Since then she’s published novels, novellas, and short stories. But even if no one ever bought another book, Ann wouldn’t stop writing. For her it’s the cathartic pause in a sometimes-crazy world. Most of the time, it even keeps her sane.