Jen: Today our guest is mystery author Annay Dawson. Annay, will you please share a short bio with us?
Annay: Sure. I was born in Iowa, grew up there, and graduated from the University of Iowa with a Degree in Education. I later got my Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I got my first job right after graduation (ages ago) and have taught now for over 20 years. Most of the time I write nights and weekends. I can’t imagine not teaching and I can’t imagine not writing. I also believe my family is a blessing and one not to be taken for granted, so I do my best to be there for them.
Back of the book: He thought his world was perfect . . . until he met her. He thought his world was perfect . . . when he married her. He thought his world was perfect . . . until he lost her. His dangerous job and their love . . . but his world wasn’t perfect.
This is Jack’s book. This character showed up in my third book, Treason’s Reward. I was so intrigued by his history as I wrote the book, that as I finished Treason’s Reward I knew that the next book had to be his. He had so many tragedies in his past that his story demanded to be told and once I started I was hooked. Jack’s work history is in the CIA and although he never thought he would ever meet anyone that would interest him for more than a few months, he did. He brought her into his life, introduced her to family and friends, and then his job interfered with her life and devastated his. It can be purchased at most online bookstores including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at my publisher Lulu.
Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published? Tell us your call story.
Annay: I first discovered I liked writing way back in high school. It seems so long ago now. I started with poetry and published a couple of pieces. It wasn’t until much later when I discovered that writing a novel (it was about an old dime) was really exciting. That is one book I’ll never publish but it helped me discover that there was a lot of satisfaction in completing the story. I was first published in 2007, and the book was Shadows of the Past.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Annay: There are many types of artists in my family, but none of them are writers. My mother isn’t a writer but she is the one who inspired me. I would say she is a world-class storyteller. I can remember every night before going to bed as a little girl, my mother would tell stories. They weren’t stories from books, they were the ones she made up just for our family. As I got older, I would entertain myself at times by telling myself stories. Usually they were only the best parts, action, adventure, and then I began to wonder what it would be like to develop the entire story. Now when I write, I can’t help but think of her even though our genres are nowhere near the same.
Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Annay: I have to admit that I do a little bit of both. I have a general plot which I follow, but the outcomes change as I go through the story. My books are connected, even though they can easily be read out of order. The main characters are the same and many of the others come and go during the story. I think this is why the story changes from my original view at times. This book, Gone In An Instant, gave me a chance to change that. The main character was really a supporting player in another book so it was easier to direct this book.
Jen: Do you have any “must haves” with you while you’re writing?
Annay: The only must have I need when I write is my computer. It may sound strange but I find that having my own machine really helps the creative flow. That and all the other research that I have done is always at the tip of my fingers. With a laptop you can be anywhere and write. That’s half the fun.
Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Annay: The most challenging part of writing right now is finding the time to do it and then to proofread my stuff once I’ve got a rough draft. Sometimes I even leave the book sit for months and just work on something new. Thank heavens for friends. I hate having the tedious job of going back and having to fix everything. I have a job and a family that take up a lot of my time. I use my writing to relax and escape at times. I have even taken my laptop to my kid’s soccer practice. The easiest part of writing I would have to say is the abundance of material out there that can be used for mysteries. It seems like a lot of my ideas come straight from the nightly news.
Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Annay: That’s an easy answer. The most rewarding part is knowing that someone enjoyed the book I wrote.
Jen: Is there a genre that you’d like to write? Is there a genre you’ll probably stay away from and why?
Annay: Personally I love the mystery and suspense writing I do, but if I were to choose another one I might pick science fiction, or literary fiction. I thought about it once, but have never gone farther than that. As for one genre that I would stay away from, I would have to admit it would be historical fiction from the time period prior to the 1900’s, and especially no horror.
Jen: Do you do anything special to celebrate a sale, new contract, or release?
Annay: I really don’t do anything special to celebrate a new release (okay you got me – I usually call my editor and we meet for coffee. She usually wants the next book though). On a more serious note, when I check on sales I always secretly hope that the reader has enjoyed the book as much as I enjoyed writing it and wish I could hear from them. Although secretly, watching someone read my book is the most nerve-racking thing for me to do.
Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you’ve accomplished that goal, is there anything else you dream of doing?
Annay: I dream of being able to just keep writing books that people are interested in. Each time I finish a book I’m always afraid that I don’t have another one in me to write. I’d love to branch out into different genres as well, when I get my nerve up.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?
Annay: I’ll just make a list: Suzanne Brockman, Marliss Melton, John Creasy, Ed McBain, Linda Howard, and I know I’m leaving a lot out. I buy books and am willing to read almost anything as my bookshelves would attest to. I’m currently reading a book by Genita Low called Virtually Hers, and next on my list is Melton’s new book.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Annay: I’m editing the draft of my next book so that I can get it just the way I want it and playing with a new story when I get a chance.
Jen: Where can you be found on the web? Annay: www.annaydawson.com. I’m also on Facebook.
Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Annay: Yes, there is. I’d love to know what they think makes a good mystery, or what makes a book good to them. They can email me at anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and suggestions.
Jen: Readers, Annay is giving away any of her backlist books. If you live within the US, the book will be a print copy. Otherwise, the prize is a .pdf of the book of your choice. To enter the contest, first you need to leave a comment or question for Annay. Then to finish your entry, you must either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to email@example.com. The contest will end on Sunday, January 31.