Ann Charles is a rising star in the publishing world. Just put her name in the Amazon search engine and you'll see exactly what I mean. She is also a real treat to interview. If you want to know about her writing style, just read her answers and you'll quickly understand why readers are flocking to her books. She has two separate series going, one takes place in Deadwood, South Dakota, the other in my backyard, Jackrabbit Junction, Arizona.
Ann was very gracious enough to spend a little time to play five questions with me and I think you'll be glad she did:
Okay, who’s going around spreading rumors that I’m wholesome and nice? Ha!
I spent summers growing up in and around Deadwood, South Dakota, learning about the history of the place, daydreaming about what life used to be like in the Black Hills during the area’s rough and rowdy past. Several years ago, when I was back in Deadwood visiting my mom, who still lives there, a story idea hit me about a single mom of twins trying to make it on her own in a town full of colorful characters and a past that just won’t die. That was the birth of my Deadwood series, and I’m loving every minute of writing one book after another with many of the same characters and several new ones appearing along the way.
2- Your protagonist, Violet Parker, is a single mother of twins—how is Violet different from you?
While I’m a mom of two kids, I’m not a single mom, nor are my kids twins (whew!). I am lucky to get to tag-team with my husband and have down time to keep from pulling my hair out some days. I can’t imagine how single parents handle the constant responsibility of be “on” for their kids. I have tons of respect for parents raising children on their own, and that was at the forefront of my mind when I came up with Violet. I wanted a heroine whose strength is not necessarily in her ability to shoot a gun or kick the crap out of a bad guy, but rather more in her determination to keep standing while taking one hit after another.
3- Tell us a little about your career path and how did your relationship with your agent stay afloat during your Indie phase?
My agent grew as frustrated as I did with me making it “close” to getting a contract time and again only to be rejected for a book that wasn’t considered to be able to draw a big audience. Together, we decided to put it out without going through a New York publisher and let readers to determine if it could draw an audience or not. She’s been by my side throughout this whole venture and is loving seeing my success.
4- Between work and family, when do you find time to write?
I don’t sleep much. Ha! No, seriously, I don’t sleep much. I average about five hours a night for most of the work week, dragging my sorry hiney into work every day and slamming the caffeine throughout the day and into the evening. Once a week, I try to get seven or more hours of sleep to catch up a little. Then I’m back at it. Until I can afford to quit my day job, this is the routine. I would love to write/publish books faster, but three a year is my absolute max because my books average 100,000 words.
5- With your experience writing about marketing, how do you see authors like yourself finding an audience in the future?
Using whatever means they can get their hands on. There is no one thing that makes you successful. Building your empire takes a lot of time and hard work. You have to build with long-term in mind, focusing on different areas of your platform at different times. I have done everything from blog tours to writing articles, winning contests to buying ads. I have also given over 150,000 ebooks away through Amazon’s Kindle Select program. Somehow, you have to get visibility, and the competition is fierce for readers’ attention. You’re competing with television, movies, video games, other books, and more. I joke about all of the chickens I have sacrificed to the publishing gods to get my name out there, but it’s tough. Patience, persistence, determination, and a lot of stubbornness pays off.