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I have the pleasure of welcoming back Anya Bast, author of Wicked Enchantment and numerous other paranormal romance novels. The last time Anya was here she wrote a guest post, which you can find HERE. You can also check out my review of Wicked Enchantment, which I thought was a fabulous read, and was also my introduction to the world of paranormal romance.
Hi Anya, welcome back to BCC. Let’s get started…
1. Your Hero?
Someone I admire greatly? Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk who has devoted his life to making Buddhism accessible to those raised in western culture. During the sixties, he opposed the Vietnam War using non-violent methods, eventually becoming exiled from the country of his birth. These days he speaks seven languages and resides partially in France and partially in the U.S., where he holds Buddhist retreats and devotes himself to a variety of humanitarian causes.
2. One Influence?
Well, if it wasn’t for picking up a Teresa Medeiros romance novel while working in a bookstore during college, I wouldn’t be writing romance today. I’d say she’s been a pretty strong influence. Her novel, ONCE AN ANGEL, was the first romance novel I’d ever read and it held me spellbound from the first page. It’s a witty, humorous, engaging and highly romantic book and showed me how great the romance genre could be. It made me want to write love stories.
My voice is much different than Teresa Medeiros’s, but without having read her novel way back then, I’d probably be writing straight fantasy right now, instead of a combination of fantasy and romance.
3. Best place you’ve ever visited?
I’ve been lucky to have traveled many places, all across Western Europe (but never the UK, still need to visit there), Mexico, and China. I lived in the South of France for six months after I graduated from high school. My best vacations have been in Mexico and the Netherlands, but the most interesting place I’ve ever been is China.
We traveled to Hong Kong and then to the western part of China three years ago. Hong Kong was incredible, but the western part of China made an indelible impression on my life. The people there are warm, friendly and were so very curious about us. The food there is strange to our mouths, yet delicious. The language is musical and complex; I loved listening to it on the streets. I would love to learn it, but I don’t think my mind can hold it all. Believe me, I’ve tried.
4. The next book you’ll read?
I just started SANTA OLIVIA, by Jacqueline Carey. I’m liking it so far, (I love all Carey’s books), but I’m only just a little way into it. Here are some of the other books in my TBR pile right now:
BLACK MAGIC SANCTION, Kim Harrison
FLESH AND SPIRIT, Carol Berg
MERLIN’S HARP, Anne Crompton
SKINWALKER, Faith Hunter
5. Favourite Word?
I have many favorite words, but my absolute favorite is Venezuela. I love how your tongue moves when you say it, how your throat feels around the syllables. It’s the most musical word I know.
I also love the words:
Open Door (the combo ‘open door’ is especially nice and always makes me pause when I come across it)
Pantoufle (French for slipper — Pon-to-fla)
Aujourd’hui (French for today – Oh-jor-dwee)
6. Favourite Possession?
Hmmm…you stumped me. I don’t tend to be a particularly materialistic person; I live in my head so much of the time. I don’t have any very special possessions beside maybe our photo albums or family videos. No special jewelry or anything like that. The first thought that leapt to my mind was my cats, but I don’t think of them as ‘possessions,’ really. They’re more like family. I’m sure they would be really offended that my mind even touched on them as possessions for even a moment. :-)
7. Do you have an unusual talent or skill?
I don’t know if it can really be considered a talent or a skill, but it’s pretty unusual. I have spent considerable time learning to dream lucidly. That means your sense of self is aware while you’re dreaming. You know you’re dreaming while you’re doing it and can control and change the dream.
Other than that, I don’t really have any unusual talents or skills. My life is all about being a mom and all about writing. I try to grow organic vegetables and am successful, erm, some of the time, but I wouldn’t call it a talent or skill. I have only a semi-green thumb. Blackish-green.
8. Do you plan or let the story take you?
A combination of both. I set up my characters beforehand and try to get to know them as much as I can, but I never really get to know them until I write them. Usually that’s not until I’m a good hundred pages or so into my book. At that point I need to go back and rewrite.
The characters always drive my stories. It’s their decisions and actions that fuel everything. That means I can never truly plan out the plot until I know the characters and, as I said, that doesn’t happen until I start writing them.
So I always start out with a synopsis and know the overall frame of the story—the beginning, middle and end—but I leave room to wiggle. Sometimes things come up when I’m writing that I never planned for. Sometimes I have to guide my characters back if those things arc too far away from the central plot, or sometimes the unplanned for things turn out to have potential and I run with them. I figure my characters know best, so I let them have their head (to a degree).
I know that sounds a little odd, but the writing process IS odd. I’m fully aware that my characters aren’t real people. I don’t buy them birthday gifts or anything, but they do exist in my mind. In my conscious mind and also in my subconscious, at least for the time I’m writing their stories, it’s like they’re real people making decisions within the context of their story. So it’s better I listen to them. They know best.
I’ve found this combination of planning/leaving wiggle room really makes the book flow for me, well, unless I’m blocked. But that’s a subject for a different interview.
9. If you weren’t a writer what would you be?
A psychologist or a counselor, most likely a grief counselor. That’s the path I was taking at the time I sold my first book. I was in graduate school for psychology. In school, psychology was the only vein of study (besides literature and creative writing) for which I had a passion. I enjoy people, listening to them and helping them.
Psychology is the one area of study I could return to if the whole writing thing blows up in my face.
10. What are you working on right now?
I’m working on two books at the same time right now, but in stages. I finished the first draft of DARK ENCHANTMENT last month, then put it aside to “cool” a little in my mind, then turned my attention to a novel entitled JADED. I’m about halfway through the first draft of JADED.
DARK ENCHANTMENT is the third novel in my DARK MAGICK series, an urban fantasy romance about a place called Piefferburg, a prison of sorts for the fae. This series is about the struggle of the fae to overcome the fear humans have for them and break out of their prison.
JADED is the sequel to JEWELED, which will be released from Berkley Heat in November. JEWELED and JADED are a short series (only those two books) and are historical fantasy ménage a trois romance. Set in an historical world that has a bloody revolution that overthrows the ruling magickal monarchy, both of these books are scorchingly, incredibly hot.
Once I finish the first draft of JADED, I’ll set that aside and revise DARK ENCHANTMENT. That’s the only way I can work on two books at once, by taking turns on them that way.
Thanks so much for giving me the opportunity to spend a little more time on your lovely blog, Carolyn!
You are more than welcome, Anya, it’s always a pleasure to have you!
To enter to win a copy of the fab Wicked Enchantment, all you have to do is fill out this form!
This contest is international and ends Thursday 18th March – winner will be announced on Friday!