I am pleased to welcome Anna Belfrage, writer of the critically acclaimed Graham Saga, to the blog today.
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveler. As such a profession does not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing.
Presently, Anna is hard at work with The King’s Greatest Enemy, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power.
When Anna is not stuck in the 14th century, chances are she’ll be visiting in the 17th century, more specifically with Alex and Matthew Graham, the protagonists of the acclaimed The Graham Saga. This series is the story of two people who should never have met – not when she was born three centuries after him. A ninth instalment is on its way, despite Anna having thought eight books were enough. Turns out her 17th century dreamboat and his time travelling wife didn’t agree…
What is your favorite childhood book?
To single out one childhood book is difficult – after all, the book I couldn’t get enough of when I was four was not the same as the one I read under the covers when I was nine. A lot of that under-the-covers reading were books by Rosemary Sutcliffe and Henry Treece, but if I’m to pick a book that left a permanent impression, it would have to be The Little Prince by Antoine Saint-Exupery. To this day, I get weepy at the thought of the prince and his flower, which is probably why I recently bought a new beautiful edition of the book to replace the one that is held together by duct tape after I don’t know how many re-readings.
How old were you when you decided to become a writer?
About the same age as when I began to read voraciously, so around eight or so. I still have some of my first efforts, rather tragic stories involving dying heroes (most of them very brave kings) whose life can only be saved by the self-less sacrifice of their loyal servant (me). I also have quite the passionate romance involving the courageous and suffering Christina during the English Civil War. It was written when I was fourteen or so, still very naïve when it came to matters of the heart, as can be gleaned from the repetitive hyperbole.
Discuss your path to publication.
I have a very good Spanish friend who once told me that all men (and women) should do three things in life: have babies, plant a tree and write a book. He then elbowed me and wondered when I was planning on putting my money where my mouth was and write that book I was always talking about. At the time, I was pushing fifty, and I realized it was about time I stopped procrastinating. So I did, and ended up writing like eight books before deciding my work was ripe for publication. And as I am an impatient control freak I decided to opt for self-pub, as this allowed me full control over book, timeline & cover. So far, no regrets 😊
Do you hire an editor or do you edit your own work?
Just because I choose to self-publish, this does not mean I compromise on quality. It is my firm belief NO ONE can edit their own work, so yes, I work with a professional editor to polish my manuscript, both structurally and language-wise. I believe all authors should do so, as if you plan on putting your book out there and charge people to read it, you owe those future readers some basic quality.
What genre do you write in and why?
I write historical fiction, sometimes with a time travelling ingredient, sometimes not. I guess I write the genre I myself love to read.
When do you write? Do you have a set schedule, or do you write when the muse hits you?
Ha! The muse has a tendency to hit me at 3.00 a.m. – or in the middle of an important meeting at work, so no, I can’t allow the muse to dictate when I write. However, when I first began to write seriously, I was a slave to the muse because I didn’t trust myself to be able to remember the sudden bursts of inspiration that afflicted me. Now, with ten published books under my belt and a further five ready to go, I have learnt to handle this. Yes, I may still scribble a note to self when Ms. Inspiration comes knocking, but more than that I don’t do.
As to schedule, I have an engaging full-time job which I very much enjoy. It follows that my writing is done when I find the time to do so. But in general I manage to find an hour or so per day as a minimum.
Tell us about your most recent book.
My latest release is called Under the Approaching Dark and is the third book in my series about Adam de Guirande and his wife Kit, two individuals caught up in the turmoil surrounding Roger Mortimer’s rise to power in 14th century England. A lot of action, a lot of love, a lot of very meticulously researched history – and a lot of fun to write! Now, of course, I am fast approaching the end of this series (the 4th book is written and ready to go) so I am already suffering major separation angst. How am I to survive without my daily dose of Adam & Kit?
How do you start a new book? What comes first, the character or the conflict?
Usually, it’s a scene – or a piece of dialogue. It is somewhat fortunate (given my separation angst from Adam & Kit) that some weeks ago a new set of characters introduced themselves while in the midst of a very nasty quarrel. She is very young, very hurt by his behavior. He is the man rewarded for his service to his king with a young, rich bride – but his long-time mistress has no intention of stepping aside. Mind you, before I can give medieval Robert and Nell my undivided attention I have several other books to publish, including a new trilogy set in the here and now with a major time-slip ingredient. Plus there’s the scene involving Simon and Cornelia in which Cornelia shoves Simon through a time hole. Doesn’t exactly win Cornelia any brownie-points…*rubs hands together* Right: sorry Terry, but I just have to get writing. Now! But before I go, thank you so much for having me over today.
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/abelfrageauthor @abelfrageauthor
Link The King’s Greatest Enemy: http://myBook.to/TKGE
Link Under the Approaching Dark: http://myBook.to/UTADpo
Link A Rip in the Veil: http://myBook.to/ARIV