Anne and her husband, Bob, came to live in Utah about ten years ago. She is a member of LDStorymakers, Inc.
What made you start writing?
I began making up stories around age eight when I discovered that my younger sister and brother stopped squabbling if I told them a few wild tooth-fairy tales. It wasn’t until I was married with children that I finally began writing—and then not seriously until the children were teens.
How long have you been writing? When did you sell your first book?
I’ve been writing articles and short stories for some twenty years. My first book sold in the year 2000.
What type of writer are you? Do you plan ahead/plot or do you simply fly by the seat of your pants?
I’m a mixture. An idea takes shape in my mind. I develop the idea into a rough plot on a huge paper plan (several sheets taped together), fleshing out characters, and penciling in chapters. After building my characters’ biographies, I dive into the story. If it doesn’t stick totally to my outline, I don’t worry. As long as I’m on track overall, heading in the right direction, unexpected happenings are welcome and fun.
How do you choose your characters' names?
Sometimes I use ancestor’s last names. I pick first names from either a baby name book, or from a baby name website on the Internet. These sites are great because they give additional information—like name meanings, and the year a name was popular, which helps when writing teen stories.
What type of writing schedule do you have?
Now the children are grown and flown, I can write any time I choose—which is most of the day on one thing or another. I get up at 5.30 a.m. and fit speed walking, chores and meal-making between writing.
How do you handle life interruptions?
Interruptions are good breaks for me. If I type too long, I get neck and shoulder pain, so I welcome a change of pace—unless I’m in the middle of something that’s going particularly well, or coming to the end of a chapter—then I grit my teeth and hit “save.” And I usually scribble down whatever brilliant thought was passing through my mind at the time, in case I can’t remember it later.
Do you get blocked? Any hints on how to stave it off?
I don’t really get blocked. Just the opposite. I have so many ideas at the back of my mind that I daren’t think too much about them because it’s frustrating not being able to get to them immediately. I know if I bring them to the front I’ll have to deal with them and there isn’t time for everything.
If I did get blocked, I’d probably turn to newspapers and magazines for real life stories that would jog my mind into action.
What have you always dreamed of writing, but haven't yet?
I’d like to write fantasy one day. The idea of creating my own world is fascinating—hard work, I know—but satisfying. I enjoy jigsaw puzzles, and I think making a fantasy world would be similar.
What one thing do you like most about writing? Least?
I like when it all comes together. That has to be the most satisfying experience ever.
There are two equal things I like least—the pain of sitting for ages at the computer, and every edit after the first four.
What is your next project?
Either another book of short stories if the current one is popular, or a sequel to the teen suspense mystery I’ve just finished for the national market, but for which there is no publisher as yet.
What is your advice for other writers?
To read, read, read (novels, non-fiction, and books about writing), and to write, write, write. Also, follow the admonition of Winston Churchill and never, never, never give up—no matter how many rejections are received.
Tell us about your new book.
What a great question to ask an author. Please, no zits! & Other Short Stories for LDS Youth is a collection of fast moving short stories set in America, England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales. It can be tough being a teen going through the rollercoaster ride of growing up. I wrote these stories with teenage problems in mind. Although none of the characters are people I know, the situations are from modern day real life.
A few of the sixteen story titles are: “You’ll Never Get a Banana Tree,” “Apple Pie and Chocolate Corners,” “Rock Bottom in a Jail Cell,” “Mousey or Mighty?” “Okay to Cheat?” and “Mountain Nearing”. For more titles and information, please go to my website at http://www.annebradshaw.com/.
Thank you for the interview, Anne.
Thanks for asking me.Anne's books:
Please, no zits! & Other Short Stories for LDS Youth
Co-author: LDS Storymakers: Publishing Secrets
LDS Storymakers: Writing Secrets
Anne's uncommonly good blog: Not Entirely British