Since writing Sandman, I have had the opportunity to meet and learn from so many wonderful authors. It is like being given a key to an alternate universe, a beautiful one.
It isn’t that I couldn’t talk to these folks before. I could have.
It isn’t that I am someone different now. I’m not.
It is that I feel stronger somehow in my own self-worth. I know it’s dumb. I know I shouldn’t have felt that way, but I did.
Now that I am learning that these authors are super approachable, and that they really want to help new authors, I want to introduce them to all of you. Maybe you were wiser than me. Maybe you already reach out to authors and start conversations. If so, keep it up! It is the key to learning this crazy world of writing and publishing.
Recently, I had the honor of talking with a prolific author named Anne Hagan, an author with 19 books to her credit.
I asked her what she is working on, and that turned into an interview discussion that I am sharing with you today.
Hi Anne. I would love to learn more about your upcoming release, Steamboat Reunion. I read that this book is the third in a series of three. Truth?
I never meant for this to be a series, and I use that term loosely. I write a mystery series, The Morelville Mysteries. The two leads in these books, Barb and Janet, are secondary characters.
There was a story there and I ran with it, giving them a book of their own, Broken Women. Readers have a love/hate relationship with that book. It’s not set up the way a romance typically is. These two were broken, which I showed with one of them and then with the other, before I brought them together in the final third of the book. It ended with them deciding to try to put all of their baggage behind them and start a relationship with each other.
You indicated that some readers didn’t like the ending of this book. Why?
Readers simply wanted more. Many felt I didn’t give them a ‘Happy For Now’ (HFN) scenario, let alone a ‘Happily Ever After’ (HEA) one.
The 2nd book, Healing Embrace, picks them up right where I left them and carries them forward. The resolution is definitely on the HFN scale which, given what they’d been through in life, especially Barb, rang truer for me than having them brush aside all of that and have a HEA.
In the big scheme of things, everything is really just a HFN ending, right? LOL. Should readers make sure they have read Broken Woman and Healing Embrace before they pick up Steamboat Reunion?
If readers want all of the backstory, especially for Janet, I recommend reading the others, but I touch on Barb’s past heartbreak enough in Steamboat Reunion that they’ll know what she’s been through and why the potential of a HEA is so hard for her to accept.
Weaving so much together sounds tough. With that in mind, what’s your elevator pitch for Steamboat Reunion?
I hadn’t given any thought to that until now. Here’s what comes immediately to mind: Sometimes happily ever after takes half of a lifetime.
I like it.
I recently explored your blog, and in your pages you list some of your passions as “Stories of family and friends,” “Love, murder, and mayhem,” and “Lesbians.” How do these passions play out in your novels overall?
“Family, friends, love, murder and mayhem” has been my mantra as I write for the last couple of years. My mystery series should be read in order. The mysteries stand alone, but the family, the couples…everything grows and changes through eleven books and counting. And, as we’ve talked about, these three newest romances came from that.
I also spun a cozy mystery series that features the moms of my two leads in another series that includes a lot more of the extended family. It’s quite the web of books I’m weaving.
Whew. It makes me dizzy just thinking about how hard it must be to keep all of that in mind as you write.
As such a prolific author, you have had the opportunity to get to know many others who write in your genre. Many of these, and many others, are listed on the Lesfic Author List that you have on your webpage. Why did you start this list and how has it grown since inception?
In June of 2017 I did a blog post about 42 lesfic books every lesbian should read. Those were culled from my personal favorites, some classic, some contemporary. It was to set up a contest to win eBook copies of those books from me.
Uh oh. That sounds like a lot of books.
You’re right about that. It ended up costing me $340.00 US! And so many readers wrote to me and said, “What about this book or this author?”. There was just no way I could cover every classic, and I certainly couldn’t afford to give that many books away.
I decided I was going to create a top 50 list of living and still writing lesfic/WLW authors in a blog post. That proved impossible. Just from my own paperbacks and what I’d downloaded for Kindle, I had 153 writers. How do you pick 50?
Neither could I. Instead, I created a list with all of them and shared it with the world: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest… Readers contacted me in droves giving me names and authors wrote asking to be included. I did two more blog posts as the list grew longer and longer. When it passed 250 names, I gave it a permanent page on my website. It now stands at 463 names and counting. New, writing/publishing authors (and some old ones) get added all the time.
That about wraps up our time. One last question. From one author to another who lives in a tiny conservative town, what do you find wonderful, challenging, both about where you live and what you do as a career outside of writing?
Living here has ups and downs. Idealistically and politically, it’s a very conservative area. That said, my wife grew up here. Her family is active in the community, liked and well respected. People in the village and her friends have been supportive and accepting of us as a couple. They’re conservative, yes, but most are also of the live and let live variety. The ones that are not tend to be hypocritical in other ways. We don’t point fingers, we just pitch in to help wherever the help is needed. As for my job, as I write this, I’m finishing out a two week notice with the postal service. I started part time at the village post office, but I was promoted to a full-time position in a larger office several miles away a couple of years ago. I didn’t want full time, but for family reasons, I ground it out for a while. Government agencies have rules, regs and training about things like diversity, harassment and so forth. I’ve had no issues with supervisors and co-workers. I’ve been treated with respect.
I’ll be starting my new job, running the second shift at our village gas/filling station soon. I look forward to it. I’ll be close to home again and working seven days on, seven days off. Between mornings in my ‘on’ weeks and my full weeks off, I’ll have a lot more time to write while my wife works a traditional day job.
Learn more about Anne on her blog.
Follow her on Goodreads.
See the full list of her books.