RAWA: When did you first discover that you were a writer?
|Ann Werner, Author of Cooper's Grove|
AW: I have been writing pretty much all of my life, so it wasn’t a matter of discovery. As for discovering that I could write an entire book, well, that took me several decades. It always seemed like such a daunting task.
There was a point in my life where I was going through a very difficult time and I decided that I would work my way through it, in part, by seeing if I could take what I was feeling inside and vent through telling a story. I did it. The book wasn’t very good. I was concentrating on finishing it rather than telling the story, but it did show me that I had the ability to actually start a book and take it through to the end.
That first novel took me three months to write. All of my subsequent efforts have taken at least nine months to a year to get the first draft done. I then put the manuscript away for a time and come back to it later – something I learned while reading the excellent book by Stephen King, On Writing. That in between time allows me to forget a good deal of what I’ve written, so when I come back to it, I have a fresh perspective. Coopers Grove was put away for nearly ten years.
RAWA: What is your favorite part of writing?
AW: Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m a control freak and that’s what I love. I get to be all of the characters and I get to direct everything about the story: the characters, the settings, what happens - all of it. I was a professional actor for over a decade and while I loved the creative outlet it provided, there was always that thing where someone else had control and in the end, it was always someone else’s story and vision. As a writer, I get to call the shots. Not to mention that I can write any time, anywhere and in my pajamas!
RAWA: What do you think is the most challenging aspect of writing?
AW: Definitely the sitting down and doing it. I think every writer will tell you that sometimes, just getting started is the hardest thing. In a strong second place is dealing with writer’s block. Sometimes you’ll just be humming along and everything is going great and then – bam! – you hit a wall and don’t know where to go next. It’s very frustrating.
RAWA: Tell us about your latest release.
AW: I wanted to write a ghost story for the longest time but I couldn’t figure out a platform on which to set it. One day I got a call from my oldest and dearest friend. She and I grew up next door to each other and although we live on opposite sides of the country, we’ve stayed in touch. She called to tell me her brother was getting married to a woman he’d always secretly had a crush on. The woman he was engaged to had recently been widowed and her husband’s last words to her were, You watch out for ____. He’ll be coming around you now. Well! Who could resist!? I started writing it as soon as I got back from the wedding. As a matter of fact, part of the book was written on the back of a Days Of Our Lives script while I was in the dressing room waiting to be called up to the soundstage.
RAWA: How did you come up with the title of your book?
AW: It just came to me. Actually, it was sort of channeled to me by Agnes MacPherson, the town seer of Cooper’s Grove and the narrator of the story. She is a character who popped into my head and refused to leave.
RAWA: Who are some of your favorite authors?
AW: There are so many! Stephen King, Dean Koontz, F. Paul Wilson, Patricia Cornwell, Colleen McCullough, John Sanford, Leon Uris. I could go on but I think you get the picture. I love to read!
RAWA: What do you think has influenced your writing style the most?
AW: I would have to say my acting coach, Wayne Dvorak. My writing style is a direct result of the lessons I learned at his studio. I listen to my characters and react to what happens to them. I experience their emotions. I see through their eyes. Then I put it all down on paper.
RAWA: As a writer what is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
AW: I have entertained people. Maybe I’ve made them think a little, but I’ve been able to take them out of their lives for a time and put them somewhere else. I think that’s important. As a reader, it’s always been one of the things I’ve appreciated about other writers – the opportunity to give me a sort of vacation from my life, my problems and just go somewhere else.
RAWA: How did you get published?
AW: I am self-published. My daughter and I formed a company, ARK Stories, and we publish our books through that venue. She is into non-fiction and I do a lot of the work on those books as well, but the ideas are all hers.
RAWA: Do you have any advice for writers looking to get published?
AW: Just keep on keepin’ on. Don’t get discouraged. Keep on writing – and enjoy what you write. If you don’t enjoy it, no one else will either.
Cooper's Grove by Ann Werner is published by ARK Storkies and is available online at Amazon.com.