Next up in my author interview series is Anne Brooke. Anne's books are available on here website, http://www.annebrooke.com/ and at http://www.untreedreads.com/.
Briefly describe your journey in writing your first book.
My first novel was a gay romantic story about friends and family called The Hit List. I started writing it in Y2K as the poetry I’d written for years had temporarily dried up and I was desperate for some kind of literary outlet. Once I’d started, I found myself getting really involved with the characters and the story and then couldn’t stop. It was also a huge learning curve as I’d never really written fiction before! I ended up self-publishing the novel in 2004 in a limited format and selling copies locally, but actually I wasn’t happy with the way the story had ended up so I took it off the market. Last year I substantially rewrote it and it was published by Amber Allure Press in the States earlier this year. So it’s been ten years of journey for that novel, in real terms!
What genre are your books? Do you write in more than one genre?
My genres are fairly wide-ranging. In terms of novels, I’ve written four psychological thrillers (three gay and one (female) bisexual) and two romantic comedies (one gay and one with gay secondary characters). I’m also writing an SF trilogy, the first of which has just been taken on by Bluewood Publishing in New Zealand. My short story interests are also very catholic as I write literary stories and biblical stories, some of which I’m lucky enough to have published with Untreed Reads. I also write gay and some lesbian short stories, which sometimes get taken on by one of my two US gay fiction publishers, Amber Allure or Torquere Press. And, actually, Untreed Reads have just taken on my comic SF story, Creative Accountancy for Beginners, for their new Orbis line, so I’m thrilled about that! Oh, and I also write poetry, some of which is published in various small online and print magazines.
Did you query agents and traditional publishers? Did you receive an offer of representation or a book contract?
I did query them at the beginning, but soon found out the very hard and painful way that my work is best suited to small independent publishers. I had an agent for a while, who offered to represent me for my crime and fantasy books, having read one of my gay crime thrillers, but in the end he couldn’t get me any deal. And actually I found my own publishers for the books he had, so we parted company amicably last year.
What factors influenced your decision to sign with Untreed Reads?
Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads had previously read one of my psychological thrillers, Thorn in the Flesh, and was very complimentary about it. When I heard he’d started his own e-publishing company I jumped at the chance to submit one of my short stories, which he accepted, and our literary dealings have grown since then! At the moment of writing, Untreed Reads carry four of my short stories: How to Eat Fruit, The Girl in the Painting, Dancing with Lions and The Secret Thoughts of Leaves. The fifth and SF story has still to be published and I’m certainly looking forward to it.
How involved are you during the creative process for your book’s cover?
I was very much involved with the cover art for How to Eat Fruit as I sourced the wonderful photograph on the front myself and then handed it to Jay to be made into a book cover via his artist. I was very happy indeed with the results. The other covers with Untreed Reads have all been designed by the publisher’s own artist and I’m very happy with them too! For most of the other publishers I write for, I offer my thoughts when asked and then, somehow, these get transformed into some fantastic covers – so I’ve really been very lucky!
How did you feel when you got your first sale?
Astonished. I could hardly believe it! I had to get my husband to read the letter to me as I’d struggled for so many years before a publisher actually said yes that I thought I’d never get to that point. I also don’t think you ever lose that thrill when you get an acceptance, no matter how long you’ve been writing and submitting work. It’s always a real buzz.
What kinds of social media [twitter, facebook, webpage, blog, writing forums] are you involved with trying to garner attention for your book(s)?
I do love the web! I’m on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AnneBrooke and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/annebrooke . I also have a Facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anne-Brooke/97047896458 and I regularly update my blog at http://annebrooke.blogspot.com . So I suppose you could say I was a bit addicted really! The web’s a great place to be.
How do you feel about the world of digital publishing? Do you think it will replace traditional publishing one day?
I think digital publishing is fabulous and bring it on. Anything that allows more books to be available gets my vote, big-time, and anything that achieves that in an environmentally friendly way even more so. I don’t think it will replace traditional publishing, at least not in the foreseeable future, but it will certainly be a worthy stable-mate for it, which is great news for everyone. And, on a personal level, I’ve earned more royalties from my eBooks in the last year alone than I’ve ever made on my traditionally produced books, so I’m certainly not complaining. Huge thanks to those readers who have bought them – it’s much appreciated!
What’s next for you?
As I say, I’m looking forward to the publication of Creative Accountancy for Beginners with Untreed Reads. Plus my gay psychological thriller, A Dangerous Man, is being republished by Cheyenne Publishing and Bristlecone Pine Press in paperback and eBook versions in the States on 15 October, so I’m very excited about that. Meanwhile, the first of my fantasy trilogy, The Gifting, will be published by Bluewood Publishing in New Zealand either late 2010 or in 2011. And I’m continuing to write the conclusion of that fantasy series, as well as more stories for my various publishers, including Untreed Reads. So I keep busy, that’s for sure!