Today I'd like to welcome Annika James, author of the YA paranormal romance WANTED, which has it all--witches, vampires, and a teenage love triangle. Welcome, Annika!
When did you discover you had a “sense of fiction?”
Honestly, I don’t remember when it happened, I just remember always writing. I have notebooks from grade school on up filled with stories. I’ve read for as long as I can remember and written almost as long. I create in my head constantly - generally preferring fantasy to reality. :) It’s awesome to finally see one of my creations see the light and get to be shared with everyone.
What was your favorite book as a child? As an adult? How did those influence you as a writer?
Wow, so many! I really read a lot growing up. “The Secret Circle Trilogy” by L.J. Smith is one set of books I read in middle school in the 90s, and have been reading again and again ever since. As an adult, some of my “must-buy” favorites are Kim Harrison, Laurell K. Hamilton, J.R. Ward. I love paranormal series. Because I love reading paranormal, I write paranormal. I probably have taken little bits and pieces from all of the books I’ve read, movies and TV shows I’ve watched and combined them all to create the world from Wanted.
What inspired you to write this book?
I just love writing. I have many unfinished works in progress. This one began as a NaNoWriMo project, so I sat down and started writing about vampires and witches in high school. I love witches, and wanted a book with a witch as the main character. Vampires were a plus. Wanted sat unfinished for many months. When I saw the Muse Online Writers Conference in 2011, I finished Wanted so I would be able to pitch it at the conference. It’s the only one I’ve finished so far. Guess I just needed a boost. :)
How would you describe your writing process? What must you always have while writing?
Not so much of a process, I guess, more of just sitting down at the computer and writing. I usually always have tea or coffee, my notebooks with ideas, and a favorite TV show on DVD playing.
What has proven to be your most successful marketing tool?
Facebook so far. I’m working to get out into the blogosphere more, but I’ve made a lot of contacts through my Facebook page.
What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Stephen King writes in his book On Writing, “You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.” I just love this - simple.
Please provide a favorite excerpt from your book.
I could tell he was still looking down at me. His hand rested on the shelf next to my head and his other hand came up on the other side, trapping me between his arms. I looked up shyly. How many times had I pictured being alone with Conor? It was like a dream, and I was frozen, unsure of what to do, unsure of what he wanted from me. What was he playing at?
He leaned toward me, holding my gaze with his. I forgot how to breathe, how to think. Then his lips touched mine, electricity exploding up and down my body. Soft and gentle, they probed, tasting, testing. I didn’t move to touch him, just remained frozen. There was only the kiss. His mouth moved to my jaw, kissing his way down to my neck. His teeth grazed my skin.
I unfroze and found my voice. “No!” I felt a surge of power push through me.
Conor flew backward across the room. He crashed into a bookcase, sending an avalanche of books over him as he fell to the floor. He slumped there, holding his head, dazed.
He looked up in confusion, mouth opened ready to speak. At that moment, my muscles remembered how to move and I ran for the door. It opened in front of me, not of my power, and Matt appeared. He’d probably felt my surge of power. I hadn’t meant to throw Conor. Panic had overtaken me and I had lost control for an instant.
I flew into Matt’s arms and he embraced me. Matt was my rock. His presence calmed me, it always did. He was like a protective big brother. I knew he understood the whole scene in the seconds before I’d found his arms. I buried my face in the T-shirt pulled tight across his strong chest, and breathed in his scent, a mix of fabric softener and cologne. It was familiarity, it was home, and it helped to center me.
Where can readers find you and your book?
Great excerpt and great interview, Annika! Thanks for sharing with us today!