It’s Author Interview Thursday and I’m so glad you’ve joined us today. This is a particularly special week as its Children’s Book Week. Many authors, publishers, bookstores, bloggers and children are doing various things to celebrate this special week. I’ve joined a super group of authors, publishers and bloggers who are donating gift cards, books and other prizes in a Kidlit Giveaway Blog Hop. You can read all about it and my special gift HERE. Our special guest today is part of this blog hop and she has a special something, something for you that will be revealed in our interview today. As I’ve gotten to know our featured author over the last few months, I’ve been impressed with her big heart and support for the writing community. She is a moderator for one of the Facebook groups that I belong to and her warmth plus fountain of knowledge fosters an atmosphere for sharing and growth. I got introduced to her by Sharon Ledwith and I’m so glad she made the introduction. She writes in several genres and I feel honored to have the opportunity to pick her brains today. So without further ado, please join me in welcoming Ann T. Bugg.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the first time someone complemented you on something you had written?
My first writing related memory happened in the 3rd grade. My teacher read my short story to the class then said, “You’re going to be a writer someday.” I don’t even remember what the story was, but I’m sure my mom has it somewhere. The first book in this series is the first thing I’ve ever really written. My daughter reading it as I completed each chapter and the nagging to hurry and write more was all the inspiration I needed to keep going.
What can a reader expect when they pick up a book written by Ann T. Bugg?
They are sure to recognize a familiar tale with a fun new twist. Fairy tales re-told have always been my favorite stories. Add the sass of two best friends that could not be any more opposite, and hopefully the reader will walk away with a few laughs.
Truthfully, no. I wrote number one for my daughter for fun. I never expected to see the end of it, let alone 8 more come of it. The series is actually based on my daughter and her best friend. It was amazingly easy to use their personalities to create the characters of Valerie and Samantha and stretch it tale after tale with fun characters that we all know and love. The series sat for years on my laptop. When my daughter was 14 and created the cover for #1, I finally got serious about getting them published.
Not many people may know this Ann but you write in different genres. Can you tell us of any major challenge this situation presents and how you overcome it?
I don’t feel it’s a challenge at all. The books are totally separate, and I only ever do one at a time. I don’t need to stop and put on the different writer hat. The crazy hat is always on. The girls and their personalities make it easy to add life to my middle grade characters. With my women’s fiction, my characters always run the show. I’ve never outlined or detailed out A to Z. It somehow always falls into place. I see your next question, so I’ll explain more there.
Do you believe in writer’s block and what do you do to overcome it?
I’ve never had writer’s block * knock on wood *. I think it’s because the way my writing process works. All of my novels have sparked from one small idea and have exploded from there. Four sequels I never planned on writing came about from fan’s e-mails. I have always let my characters take the wheel. If I’ve ever thought it would end one way, they told me, “Nope. This is how it’s going to be, lady.” Some people will say “you have no control”, others will say “that’s when you know your story has really taken shape”. I say everyone has to do what works for them. I can only imagine writer’s block comes when you want to get somewhere and can’t see how to make it happen. So yes, I believe it can happen and have heard from a lot of frustrated writer friends, but with how I work, it doesn’t happen. I never have expectations of what will happen, we just get there together! My poor family will just have to endure me shouting things like, “You play the piano? That would have been nice to know five chapters ago!” and “You have a twin sister? Thanks for the info!”
What is your definition of success as an author?
The biggest thing for me is fan mail. If I touched someone enough that they feel they want to write and tell me how much they liked it, that’s pretty big in my book. Of course a front table at Barnes and Noble would be great, but touching readers is the bottom line.
Working at it constantly is what it takes, and I’m extremely guilty of slacking since our move. I’ve never been the greatest at “tooting my own horn”. Lately I’ve been trying to go after reviewers, hoping that good old “happy word of mouth” helps. I think everyone is getting drowned out in Facebook groups and lost in the steam at Twitter, so I don’t hold much hope in social media. GoodReads giveaways are nice and the 99¢ deals do give a great sales boost.
What were some of your favourite books as a child?
I was a horse book gal. Misty of Chincoteague was a memorable one.
Toy Story or Shrek?
Gah! Tough call. I guess I’d have to say Shrek with all the great Fairy Tale twists.
What three things should a first time visitor to your home town do?
Go somewhere else. Sorry – just getting out of an extremely bad winter here. (19 inches of snow in the SPRING!) Not a fan of Minnesota right now (although there is a great outlet mall down the road.) Taylor’s Falls isn’t too far away. It’s very beautiful. The first time we drove though, I felt like I was driving into a story book! Lots of lakes just a stone’s throw away from my house. If fishin’ is your thing, you’re in luck!
I try to get at least two middle grade and two women’s fiction out a month. There are currently only 9 in the Before Happily Ever After series (8 and a prequel that may or may not make it…) My daughter has been nagging for me to take it to the Young Adult level and keep going, but I’m not sure. I have too many women’s fiction in the finishing stages. I will keep you posted though!
Where can readers and fans connect with you?
My middle grade website: http://www.beforehappilyeverafter.com/
Middle grade FB fan page: https://www.facebook.com/AnnTBugg
My women’s fiction website: http://www.junekramin.com/
Women’s fiction FB fan page: http://www.facebook.com/JuneKramin
Any advice for authors out there who are either just starting out or getting frustrated with the industry?
My stock answer is if it’s really what you want, don’t give up. I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “I’m done!” I believe the first time was right before my first acceptance letter showed up. There are only a few things that may be harder than trying to break into this industry. It’s a constant battle to keep yourself out there. I get asked a lot of the same question from various friends who are silly enough to think they want to write. I have started a “TIPS” page on my women’s fiction website and try to update it often. http://www.junekramin.com/tips
Thanks for having me!
It was a pleasure having you today Ann. I really agree with and feel the same way about you on your view on success as an author. To have someone who you’ve never met in your life, be so impacted by your words and story that they decide to get in touch with you, is truly a blessing. OK, like I said at the start of this interview, Ann has something special for us today. You can read all about it at the link below
Also, the first book in her ‘Before Happily Ever After’ series is FREE today! Click the link below to grab your copy.