In the interview seat today is the lovely Anneli Purchase. Anneli lives on Vancouver Island on Canada’s west coast. It is the perfect location for the things she enjoys: boating, mushroom picking, fishing, and gardening.
She has written four novels and also works as a freelance copy-editor.
Visit Anneli’s website at www.anneli-purchase.com.
Hello Anneli and welcome to Booky Ramblings of a Neurotic Mom
Was there anything particular that inspired you to start your journey of being an author?
A friend whose computer crashed asked if I could resend my emails that he’d lost. I didn’t realize he treasured the stories of my mini-adventures that I had included as part of our email exchanges. He was disappointed to hear that I hadn’t kept them and told me I really should be saving them and writing more. That was when I first thought of taking my writing more seriously.
What would you say is the hardest part of writing/publishing a book for you?
Without a doubt it’s the book marketing. Being in the spotlight for book launches and readings is a challenge for me. It’s not easy to arrange these things and even more difficult to be in the spotlight. Also, the options for advertising are limited when you live in a small town, cut off from the big city opportunities.
If you could only read four books for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Four books I have enjoyed …. That’s a very difficult question when there are thousands and thousands of great books out there. I was impressed by Dostoyevsky’s writing in Crime and Punishment. He was able to “get inside the head of his various characters” even though they were from very different walks of life.
Rohinton Mistry did an excellent job of writing A Fine Balance. He obviously had a thorough understanding of life in India and yet he wrote in a way that modern North American readers could easily relate to. Of course it was a page turner, too.
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence also made a big impression on me. I had to read this book in small sections at a time and take breaks to absorb so much that was new to me. It was fascinating and informative. When I found out that he had lost several chapters of his manuscript on the train and never got them back, I was all the more amazed at how he was able to rewrite them from memory. I often wonder what the original book would have been like if he had not lost those chapters. Are there things he forgot and we will miss out on forever?
And of course there is that famous tome, Gone With the Wind. When I read this book as a teenager, I was proud of myself for reading a book of this size. I believe it had 1037 pages. I’m not saying quantity was more important than quality, but for a young girl who had as yet read few books, just the fact that I kept reading tells me that Margaret Mitchell knew something about writing to keep me turning pages all those years ago.
Do you and your main character share any personality traits?
I try to make my characters be what I hope the readers would like to experience. My good characters have some of the same moral values that I have, and they may have some of my weaknesses, but I try to give them enough variation to be their own distinct character.
If you could live in any book what book would it be?
I would enjoy living in the settings of Orion’s Gift, temporarily, and for a longer time in Reckoning Tide. In Orion’s Gift, I would enjoy the freedom of camping without complications on the Baja Peninsula. Wonderful weather and the warm sea always nearby would be great. In Reckoning Tide, I could have the temperate climate of Canada’s west coast. The sea would be close by for boating and fishing and exploring, but the lifestyle would be modern and clean.
Where do your ideas for your books come from? Dreams? Music?
So far, my ideas have come from snippets of real life adventures and experiences that I have either been a part of or have heard about. I then add a lot of fiction to make that kernel of an idea grow into something much bigger. I might take an event and say to myself, “What if….?” The story develops from there.
Any advice for aspiring authors?
Get a good grounding in grammar and sentence structure. We all have a story in us, but not everyone is able to write it. Once you have a basic understanding of the language, the parts of speech and how sentences should be written, you can then develop your own style.
Also, one thing I found helpful to my development as a writer was to participate in a writer’s group where they critique each other’s writing in a positive, encouraging way with constructive criticism.
By listening to the critiquing of the writing of fellow authors I was able to apply a lot of the suggestions to my own work. We are all beginners at some point. How much our writing evolves and improves depends on the amount of effort we want to put into it.
It was all too good to be true. A West Coast adventure with a handsome man at the wheel of the fish boat. Andrea is off to live with the man of her dreams on the wild and lonely coast of British Columbia.
He takes her up the coast, miles from anywhere.
But beautiful as it is, it’s just a bit more lonely than she bargained for, living in this cabin in the woods, when the man of her dreams becomes her real time nightmare … and there’s nowhere to run to.
They always say, “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.”