Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Authorsday - Anna Kathryn Lanier

Historical author Anna Kathyn Lanier visits my blog today. Please give her a warm welcome.

When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing in high school. Then in my twenties I wrote my first category romances, but the only one I sent in (not knowing anything of a query letter or synopsis) was rejected, what a surprise there! LOL By then I was married and a mother, so I put my writing on hold for fifteen or so years.

Do you plot or do you write by the seat of your pants?
I'm much more of a panster than a plotter. Honestly, I can't understand how someone can plot a book for six months before writing it. That would drive me crazy. Though, I am learning I do need some plotting before I start. You do need to know the story line a bit and who the characters are. I think it out in my head, but I hardly every write it down.

What drew you to the subject of SALVATION BRIDE?
SALVATION BRIDE is set in 1873 Texas. The heroine is a mail-order bride, the hero a Civil War vet. I think the idea of a mail-order bride story came up in a brainstorming session with some critique partners. The idea of traveling across the country to marry someone you didn't know is intriguing. I also put a twist in the story by making the heroine a trained doctor. A lot of people don't know that there were female doctors in the 1800's, especially the latter half of the century.

Did you encounter any obstacles in researching it?
Not really. The internet is a wonderful research tool. One thing I wanted to know about was Texas land grants, and very helpful curator at The San Jacinto Battleground Museum helped me a great deal, via e-mails. I also needed to research medicine and female doctors in the 1800's. I found a great book for both of those “Bleed, Blister and Purge” by Dr. Volney Steele I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to know about medicine in the Old West.

How many rejections have you received?
Well, I'm really bad about sending stuff in to be considered. Really, I'm very lazy. There was my first one back in the mid-80's, though it wasn't a true rejection. It was a 'we don't consider unsolicited manuscripts' letter. When I got back into writing in 2001 and finally submitted works.....well, I probably only submitted ten times to agents and editors before I was published. So, I guess, I've been rejected nine times.....

Why did you pick the publisher that ultimately published your book?
I submitted to my current publisher because a friend, Skhye Moncrief, had submitted to them and was on their loops. There was an announcement that they needed more Western Christmas stories. So, Skhye told me about it. We did a little brainstorming for a historical story I had on the back burner. Then I went to the site and saw that the line looking for Christmas stories was their Contemporary Western line. Well, I had to start brainstorming again. I actually hatched the story over a weekend and wrote it in four days. Basically, the first draft was submitted to the publisher. Within a week, I was offered a contract. I should add that this is a short story, not a novel-length book. I now have three stories published with The Wild Rose Press, including the historical SALVATION BRIDE, though it is not the one Skhye and I brainstormed.

Describe your book.
Here's the blurb.
The hot dusty town of Salvation, Texas has more than its share of secrets in 1873 when Laura Ashton's stage rolls into town. Sheriff David Slade has no idea what baggage his mail-order bride is bringing into his life. Throw in the nightmares from his Civil War days and he's got more than courting to contend with. Laura's a woman ahead of her time, a woman trained in medicine. And she's got a will that could move mountains. Unfortunately, the only mountains in Salvation are in Sheriff Slade's memory. Can the determined doctor heal his pain, or will the dark secret in her past turn up to steal his Salvation Bride?

What do you consider your strengths in terms of your writing?
Hmm, well, for me that's a hard question to answer. But I do think I write very emotional people, with deep seeded problems. They all want to do what is right, but they don't want to expose their own vulnerability. There's a lot of tension in my stories, sexual and emotional.

What do you consider your weaknesses?
I have not been good about writing for the last year. Something I need to buckle down and do. However, my life has gotten in the way of my writing. My characters are emotional, but then so is my, which you would think would make the writing easier, but it doesn't. So, I'd say not making myself sit and write is a weakness.

What’s your favorite quote?
I have two:
When you speak your words echo only across the room or down the hall.
But, when you write, your words echo down the ages. --Bud Gardner

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. --William Wordsworth

Author Bio:

Anna Kathryn lives in Texas with her husband and three cats. She wrote her first stories in high school, and a few romances in her early twenties, but then put the writing bug to bed while as she raised her two daughters. In 2001 she got bit by the bug again and started writing once more. She now has seven short stories and one novella published.
Learn more about Anna Kathryn at her website, She also hosts other authors, posts recipes and gives a history lesson each week on her blog,.
Thanks for stopping by Anna.


Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, Chris. Thanks for having me today. I'll try to check in on the comments, but I'll be leaving for a Todd Stone Workshop mid-afternoon and won't have access to a computer then. So, I won't be ignoring anyone, I'll just be out of touch.

Gwynlyn said...

Excellent interview---and I can empathize with putting the writing aside for the family. Did that myself. Can't say I haven't kicked myself a time or two because of it, but priorities are what they are.

I hope Salvation Bride posts vigorous sales for you. Patience and persistance should be rewarded.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Anna Kathryn,
Great interview. I am an Aussie but I love stories set in the American West and in particualr the Civil War, there is something about that era which fascinates me.
I know all about putting your writing on hold while you bring up yoru family, but you have to say it is a labour of love, if time-consuming. The little darlings can be very demanding.

Kathleen Bittner Roth said...

Great inteview! I couldn't help thinking about someone I know who lives in Texas and is seriously contemplating a mail order bride from Russia! Still goes on today and I think it is so interesting. Of course today there is the web with photos, but back then? Thanks for posting today.

Chris Redding said...

I know someone who got a mail order bride from Russia. She rejected him and went back to Russia.

Jaye Garland said...

Good morning Anna Kathryn and Chris! Loved the interview. It's always good to hear another writer's life experiences...and how they get through them. Thanks for the research tip, “Bleed, Blister and Purge” by Dr. Volney Steele. I need that!

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi, Gwynlyn, Margaret, Kathleen, and Jaye. Thanks for stopping by. I always enjoy reading about an author's journey to publication, too. For those years when I wasn't writing, I was reading, mostly historicals (even today, that's my favorite genre).

Like Gwynlyn, I can't help wondering where I'd be had I kept up the writing during all those family years. But the thing is, never give up the dream.

Infogypsy said...

Nice site, Chris, and good interview, Anna Kathryn - lynn romaine -

Katie Hines said...

I went on a writing hiatus, too, when marriage and kids "interfered." I have enjoyed my writing life, and it sounds like you're having fun, too.

I am more of a plotter than a by-the-seat-of-your-pants type person. My husband is a great help in defining some of the more fine-tuned plot points.

Susan Macatee said...

Great inteview! I know what it's like to have to put writing aside to take care of family. I dabbled in writing for years while my boys were small, but didn't get serious until the youngest started school. But even then there were years of rejections and learning how to craft a story.

And even now that I have books out in print, a lot can get in the way of keeping on track. I've been slipping a little myself because of the recent death of my mother, but once her affairs are settled, I hope to dive right back in. Of course, book promo can eat up a lot of time when you could be actually writing. LOL. It's a real balancing act.

Jeanmarie Hamilton said...

Great interview! I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one putting writing aside to raise my child. I'm always amazed that some people can actually write and take care of their children and family at the same time. I held off until family permitted. So I'm a late bloomer with my writing, like many others here. Great story, Anna Kathryn. I too love historicals, especially western historical romances which take place in the last half of the 1800s. Wishing you success with your books!

Anna Kathryn Lanier said...

Hi. I'm back from my conference...which was GREAT. I recommend Todd Stone's conference to anyone near one. (and he looks pretty good in his kilt).

Thanks for all the comments. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who didn't grab the brass ring early in life. The good news is...there's still plenty of time and plenty of stories to tell. But for those young ones out there...raise the family and'll be good for ya!