The winners of July’s Word Weaver Writing Contest share their thoughts on the contest, writing in general, and other stuff.
I liked the style and the flow, but also the eerie undertone of why are you doing this versus what’s gonna happen next??? The inner character’s conflicts, along with the authors’s smooth writing voice, totally engaged me. I found the immersion factor comparable to the story she entered for , The Crescent, which she entered in our first Word Weaver Writing Contest and which also won Ann Marie a second place finish.
Clearly, I enjoy her writing.
And although it’s almost off topic, you could ask – why is that? Why do you like her stuff so much. The answer is probably pretty easy. The doesn’t do stuff that annoys me as a reader and she does stuff I enjoy as a reader. She gets into her story quickly. She has interesting main characters I can identify with in some way. And her plots are lurking, letting you know something is coming, but not quite telling you what it is – at least not all at once. She makes you read on.
So, read on.
Anne Marie has been an equestrienne, chorale singer, candy-striper, EMT, and baseball fan. Roaming the back roads of New Jersey with her family, she found great respect for antiques, historical locations and the stories they hold. Her current list of favorite pastimes include coffee, bourbon, and Les Misérables—which requires more bourbon. She has been known to attend sporting events just for the flyover. The boat she and her husband christened Glory Days, is her escape from the chaos of everyday life.
The inspiration for Anne Marie’s debut novel, Monsters & Angels, is her fascination with vampires and her passion for everything New Orleans. When she isn’t writing, she can be found working nights with the critical care team at a New Jersey trauma center.
DAN: Did you write your story for the contest or was it part of a larger piece?
ANN MARIE: Cobalt Point is Chapter One of a novel-in-progress called, you guessed it, Cobalt Point. No vampires in this story. Shocking, but true.
What is the inspiration for your characters?
I find inspiration in actors that spark my imagination, people I know, strangers who wander by, or random Pinterest photos.
Following in the footsteps of my Monsters & Angels characters, the ensemble cast of Cobalt Point are still appearing in their own time…exactly when I need them.
Since Cobalt is set in 2017, writing the voice of leading lady Holly Hannon is a bit easier than it was for Sorcha Alden, whose story takes place in 1936. I can use the everyday slang of a jersey girl…and texting. How many disasters could Sorcha have avoided with one freakin’ text?
Who or what has helped shape your writing experience?
The writing process certainly has its highs and lows. Even if an author has thick skin, criticism can be rough and rejection—soul sucking.
Looking back at my journey, a few incredible moments of encouragement kept me from quitting. I met blogger Brian Lageose of Bonnywood Manor, through my WordPress site. His 3 Word Challenge series helped propel secondary character Steven out of the shadows, and installed him as a New Orleans power player. Secondary? Not so much. (The post can be found here: Under The Square.)
What does writing success look like?
So many movies, TV shows and books have social media followings like Scandal’s #TeamJake and #TeamFitz. For you Vampire Diaries fans, it was either #TeamDamon or #TeamStefan.
Something I’d love to see after I publish Monsters is a #TeamSteven t-shirt!
What are you working on now?
I’ve been told that cliffhanger endings on novels are bad news, yet my book has something “cliff-ish”. It’s a question, the possibility of a new beginning…a ray of hope. I’ve actually put a warning in my book description. “Sorcha’s final word will make your jaw drop.”
I’m working on a sequel and a prequel, at the same time.
What is the first book that made you cry?
The Bridges of Madison County—I cried for days. I never even attempted to watch the movie.
What movie or book is your guilty pleasure?
Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. I know it’s Hollywood, romantic goofiness but I had a big crush on Kevin Costner. Alan Rickman as the Sheriff of Nottingham was absolute genius and the soundtrack is still pure gold.
There are a lot of writing contests out there. What drew you to this one?
After the May Word Weaver contest, Dan graciously asked me to return. Thank you, Dan for the incredible opportunity!
What’s next for you?
The release of Monsters will be October 11th. Blog tours, promotions, parties—some stress.
I might actually read a chapter live on Facebook. Stay tuned for that!
Scott and I will be in New Orleans for Halloween weekend, eating everything in sight, drinking bourbon at secret bars, lounging on balconies, making a fashionably late entrance at the Vampire Ball and trying not to trip over my dress.
Loving NOLA and living the dream!
Connect with Ann Marie here: