USA Today Bestselling Author Harper Bentley Interviews Anne
Start out w/ some “get-to-know-you” questions 😉 If there are any you don’t wanna answer, feel free not to! Or if there’s something you wanna add, do it!
1. What’s your hidden talent?
Remembering things. I still remember my locker combination from 8th grade.
2. If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you win a medal for?
Reading. Definitely reading.
3. What’s your go-to band when you can’t decide what to listen to?
Not so much a band as I have a playlist on Spotify with songs that always work for me.
4. What’s something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Go on vacation alone. It’s amazing how much a person can need solitude and not know it.
5. What’s something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you don’t get the point of?
Shoes, specifically those high heels. I get it. They’re pretty and all, but I prefer comfort over foot torture.
6. What are you looking forward to most in the next 10 years?
Traveling to other countries and meeting readers.
7. What fad or trend do you wish would come back?
Wow, I don’t know. Slouch socks? Shaker sweaters? Honestly, I don’t know. Guess jeans.
8. What question do you most want to know the answer to?
Is heaven real?
9. Would you rather give up bathing for a month or give up the internet for a month?
Well, I’d give up bathing if I could still wash with a wash cloth… LOL Giving up the Internet for a whole month? Yikes.
10. What’s the first book that made you cry?
Like really ugly cry? When It Rains by Lisa De Jong. Holy crap, that book gutted me.
11. If you could market/sell only one of your books for the rest of your life, which would you choose and why? The Way Back To Me. Why? Because it’s good as a standalone and I think most people enjoyed that book more than any of my others.
12. Which character have you written that’s most like you?
A combination of Lucy and Sera from the Rockstar series.
13. What do you munch on when writing?
Fruit… grapes, pineapple, cut up watermelon.
14. What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
I’d give up just about anything to become a better writer—just about. I wouldn’t give up my laptop. That’s going too far. lol
15. If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do? Hang out with a different crowd, not party so much, and focus on my grades.
16. Have you ever Googled yourself? Only to search for pirated copies of my books. I don’t want to know what people are saying. It’s better this way. LOL
17. Music or silence when you write? MUSIC! I need music for my creativity to feed off of.
18. Is there any other genre you’d like to try writing? More young adult. I started the Truths series but I have a lot of ideas for more YA books. Also, police procedural with heavy romantic elements.
19. If you could spend the day with one of your characters, who would it be and what would you do? Xander. I’d want to just goof off all day and act like fools. Sing out loud in public places, dance in the middle of the street… just, have fun.
20. Which character in your books would you be least likely to get along with? The snobby prissy chicks that annoy my characters.
21. How do you choose the names of your characters? I choose first names that sound sexy or intriguing. I tend to Google surnames a lot.
22. Your latest book continues your Rockstar Series. What got you into writing rock? I suppose it’s my love of music, for one. Another—I was writing the first Truths book when the Rockstars showed up in my head. Their voices were demanding and drowned out the Truths characters. That’s how the Rockstars were born.
23. What’s one thing you’d like readers to get out of your books? To be able to go to that place—you know the one… the one where they can escape reality for a while and leave all the stressors of life behind.
24. What’s the best compliment you’ve gotten when it comes to your books? That they’re the best someone’s ever read. That they prefer them over FSOG <- shocker!
25. Can you tell us what you’ve got coming up next? I’ve got Xander: Book 2, The Present. After that I think I’m going to change it up a bit and write something different. I’m looking forward to when we finally find the time to collaborate on something!! It’ll be epic.
Uilah’s Book Blog Interviews Anne
1) What inspired you to become an author?
I think it’s all the stories floating around in my head. I feel so much better when those stories are written… and then another one pops up to fill that blank space in my head.
2) How do you keep up with the story lines and details? I know you’ve gone through a writer’s block with writing Xander’s story, so how do you deal with continually getting inspired to create stories?
I keep up with the storylines by keeping a “diary” of all the little facts, the characters and their descriptions and ages, what happened when, and I keep adding to that with each book.
How do I deal… lol I pull my hair out? Kidding! I guess the best answer is I write the ideas down… I have a big file on my Google drive full of story ideas. The Rockstars stories are all in my head. Isn’t that strange? I can keep all those details of upcoming books up there until I write them… then it’s not so easy to remember them… which is why I have a “diary”.
3) Do you think you have grown as an author with all the books you have written?
Yes, so much. I went back and reread my first book, Falling Down, and I want to rewrite it lol. The readers say no, to leave it as it is, so I’ve listened – so far.
4) What is your motivation in life? What keeps you going during those low and hard times?
My motivation in life is friends and family. Really, that’s what keeps me going. When I’m low and depressed, I sometimes hide or stay to myself. I do try to give a warning that it’s just a sad time. When there are hard times, I just do my best to get through it. I take it one day at a time. I’ve learned that panicking over something you can’t control does no good.
5) Which book or series is your favorite? Why is it your favorite?
Oh boy. This is hard. I have three series right now and I love them all for different reasons. I love the Rockstars because they’re fun and sexy, the sense of family and their strong support system. The readers seem to like this series best.
Then there’s the The Way series. I enjoyed writing the first two books so much because they were new adult, they weren’t as sexified, and they were super emotional. I just put myself in Olivia’s shoes and became her while I wrote. I love writing about that age group. Their lives are just beginning.
And finally the Truths series. I actually started writing Whispered Truths before Falling Down, but the Rockstars took over my mind, so the Truths series is near and dear to my heart. It’s mature young adult—mature because there is graphic sex and a lot of swearing as teenagers do. I love this series for their closeness, the fun they have, writing the issues of teenagers where it seems like the end of the world when it’s really not.
I can’t pick just one.
6) If you could share something encouraging to others what would it be?
Be true to you—no matter what. Don’t change to conform to the masses, because you’re going to look back one day and see you had it right the first time. Don’t let the bullies get you down. They’re just overcompensating for their own low self esteem. Speak your mind but mean what you say because you can’t take it back once it’s said. Believe in yourself.
7) Do you have any stories in the works besides The Rockstars series?
As I mentioned above, there’s the The Way series. The Way Back to Me and The Way With You are the two out of five that are available now.
The RED series is a police procedural book I’d started years ago and showed to my editor and beta readers who all said… WRITE THIS. So, I’ll be working that in somewhere.. hopefully 2018 or 2019.
There are so many more but these are the ones that are on the top of the list.
8) Are you open to taking suggestions of book plots??
Sure! If I can connect with them and find a way to make it work, I’d likely add it to my list <3
Thank you so much.
Thank you for taking the time to interview me!
AllAuthor Interviews Anne
1. What are some early childhood experiences you had that really shaped the way you are today?
I think what shaped the way I am today the most is the sense of family my parents instilled in me since I was a little girl. We were always around our grandparents, went to family reunions, and were just very close knit. I think that has impacted me and my behaviors. What kind of music did you like as a kid and do you still listen to it? Pretty much a little bit of everything. My mother was a major music fan and always had something playing when we were cleaning, driving, or just hanging out at the beach or pool. Those ranged from Alabama to Elton John, Elvis to the Bee Gees. Yes, as you can see, that was in the 70s to early 80s. When I was a little older, my first cassette tape (ha) was Loverboy – Get Lucky. Then came The Cars, Foreigner, The Police, and AC/DC.
2. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote and where you wrote it (in an old notebook, crumpled piece of paper, on a laptop, etc)
Yes! I do remember the first story I ever wrote. It was in fifth grade. We were to write a short story and I wrote one about how I was afraid of going into the basement, but that’s where we needed to go to do laundry. And one time I heard a noise, but it wasn’t a scary one so I went to check it out. That’s when I found our dog and a litter of puppies!
3. If someone offered you 100 billion dollars to never write again, would you take it?
Wow, that’s a lot of money–but, I don’t think I could take it. What would I do with all of the stories in my head? All the voices that need to be heard? I think I enjoy telling stories too much to never write another one again.
4. What are some of the greatest books you’ve ever read?
Oh, now you’ve done it. Seriously, there are so many amazing books out there, but some of the greatest ones and ones that I reread frequently are: Waiting on the Sidelines series by Ginger Scott The Hard Count by Ginger Scott 180 Seconds by Jessica Park True Love Story by Willow Aster When It Rains by Lisa De Jong Hate: A Love Story by Laurel Ulen Curtis Stepbrother Dearest by Penelope Ward Slow Burn by Nicole Christie Rival by Penelope Douglas Arsen by Mia Asher Wednesday by Kendall Ryan In A Class By Itself by Sandra Brown Tiger Prince by Sandra Brown Love’s Encore by Sandra Brown Chesapeake Bay Saga by Nora Roberts The Heart of Devin MacKade by Nora Roberts Paradise by Judith McNaught Saving Grace by Julie Garwood
5. What was the name of your debut novel?
My debut novel was Falling Down, Rockstar Book 1. In what ways has it changed your life? This book has changed my life in ways I never imagined. I was content to know that I might sell a hundred or two copies. I just wanted to tell my story, you know? I would have never guessed that within three weeks of its release, it would be #24 on Amazon’s Bestseller List! It literally blew up. My life went from quiet to chaos in a manner of weeks. I wasn’t prepared at all. I didn’t have my website set up. I didn’t have an assistant. I didn’t plan for that. I had lots of adjusting to do within a short period of time, but it worked out and I am thankful for it every single day.
6. What were some things you hoped to accomplish with the book “The Way Back To Me”?
I wanted to try to reach those who’ve been in similar situations as Olivia and let them know that it’s okay to grieve and to do it however they need to, but life does go on and they have to as well. Friends and family wouldn’t want you to give up because you lost them. They’d want you to carry on. Have you ever known anyone who was in a similar situation to Olivia? I haven’t known anyone who’s been through this, but I know many have and I hope, if they find The Way Back To Me, they find comfort in the words.
7. When did you write the first book to The Rockstar Series?
Falling Down was the first book I published (September 2, 2014). I was writing another book when the idea for Falling Down popped in my head and it just needed to be told. So, I sat down and wrote it. I wrote it in three weeks’ time and published it two weeks later. Did you originally plan on adding so many books to this series or did it just happen on its own? I’m laughing because no, I definitely did not plan on adding so many books to the series. It just happened as the series progressed. Some of the characters (mainly Jesse and Lucy from Falling Down, Blush, and Lullabye) needed more than one book–as you can see. Xander, a fun-loving character needed more than one book as well. I didn’t expect the first A Very Xander Christmas short story to be embraced as it was and the readers keep asking for more. So, each year I try to fit in another AVXC short story to add a little fun to their holiday season. The Rockstar series has an arc/thread that goes on and progresses through each book which I was not expecting at all either.
8. How do you think your writing process has changed from “Falling Down (Rockstar #1)” to “Xander: Book 1, The Beginning”?
It’s so much better. I’ve learned to just let the characters take me wherever they need to go, even if it is so emotional I cry while writing it–which has happened on more than one occasion.
9. Why does the Rockstar series mean so much to you?
Because book 1 was my first book published and it was welcomed with tremendous enthusiasm. The readers love this series so much that sometimes it gets overwhelming, but it will never diminish my love of this series. And the characters are all so different… the sense of family… and I’m proud of the fact that I’ve written a Rockstar series that is different from all the others. Who have been some of the most lovable characters to write? Xander, of course. He’s good at hiding his pain behind smiles and jokes. Cage–He’s quiet and mysterious. Meggie–Her bouncing enthusiasm makes me smile.
10. What are the names of your characters in “Unzipped”?
In Unzipped we have Zarah and Mitch. What do you think is the most special thing about their connection to each other? They know one another so well, they can almost anticipate one another’s next move or know when to remain silent. True love at its finest.
11. Where does the inspiration for most of your stories or characters come from?
Honestly, I don’t know. They just pop in my head at odd times… mostly when I’m in the shower or lying in bed before I fall asleep. They’re just “there”.
12. What are some rookie mistakes you made as a new author and that a lot of other authors make as well? What are some ways one can avoid these mistakes or correct them?
• Have a second book ready before you publish your first. This way you’re always a book ahead in case something happens and you need to take some time off, you won’t miss a deadline. I can’t emphasize this enough.
• Have your website and social media set up.
• Find an organizational pattern that works for you, but stick to it. There’s more to being a writer than just writing and the administrative duties are just as important. If you fall behind, trust me, playing catch-up is no fun.
• Set your brand.
• Research ways to promote your books, from blogs to PR companies. You’ll need to decide which direction you want to go.
• If you have questions, ask someone. There are a lot of great authors out there who, if you get to know them a little, will help you if they can.
• If you’re writing a series, write down all pertinent facts, characters and characteristics of each, etc. to create a series “bible” of sorts. This will come in handy in case your series that was supposed to be five books turns into twenty-plus, trust me.
• Be sure anyone who works with or for you signs a nondisclosure agreement before sharing any of your private/business files or ideas with them.
13. Is there an undiscussed darker side to the book industry that not many know about?
There is always a darker side to everything. With the book industry, there are publisher issues–such as those with Amazon (I won’t get into those or we’ll be here all day). There’s author jealousy which sucks, but it’s there. There’s finding those you can trust. Don’t share anything with anyone you wouldn’t say to them yourself.
14. How have you liked AllAuthor so far? Any feedback?
I love AllAuthor! I’m not one who tweets a lot so the fact that AllAuthor promotes my books via Twitter helps me tremendously. I love the site and the GIF maker! That GIF maker is fantastic! I love how AllAuthor is personal with me, how they know my books, and that they’re constantly looking for ways to help me reach new readers. I have no negative feedback at all. Only positive, as noted. Thank you for interviewing me. It was fun!
Interview With Anne
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I think I was in fifth grade when we were writing short stories. I wrote a totally fictional story about how my dog had puppies under our basement stairs and how I’d discovered them when I went down to put a load of laundry in. It started out scary, I kept hearing noises, etc, then ended on a happy note. I knew then all stories needed a happily ever after.
2. How long does it take you to write a book? Anywhere from two weeks to six months. If I’m focusing, it takes about three to six weeks to write the first draft. There are a couple more weeks added to that for edits.
3. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing? Impossible. I write until I pass out. There is no sense of time or place, really. I do, however, prefer to write at night. I’m not sure why… if it’s because there are less distractions or what, but that’s me.
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? Hmm. Writing quirk, writing quirk… I can’t leave typos if I see them. I will fix every damn one of them. Same with grammar. I’m severely OCD about that stuff I guess.
5. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
The ideas come from nowhere. They just show up—and there are A LOT of them. If I need to do any fact finding or research, Google is my best friend.
6. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first full book—the one I finished, I was 36. I wrote lots and lots of short stories and started a ton of books, but this was the very first book I’d ever finished.
7. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Listen to music, eat chewy candy like Welch’s grape licorice and gummy bears, drink tons of coffee and caffeinated soda, and lose myself in the story. Music sets the tone.
8. What does your family think of your writing?
My dad thinks it’s cool—he always asks how it’s coming along. He doesn’t read books let alone romance, but he did start reading Falling Down, and that tells me everything I need to know. My mom is a super reader. She reads tons and tons of romance books… this is where I discovered my love of reading. My mom’s one of the first people to read my books and she’s always encouraging me, asking me where I plan to go with this plot or that one. My sister isn’t much of a reader, but her thoughts on my writing—she thinks it’s awesome that someone can do what they love to do every single day and get paid for it. I agree. My kids—well, I’m not sure. They do tell their friends so there’s some pride there I think. They don’t really talk about it. My nephew and niece think it’s pretty cool. All in all, it’s good feedback and lots of support which helps me tremendously. I appreciate every one of them.
9. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I’d have to say that the characters become so real. Sometimes it feels like they’re sitting right next to me while I write the books.
10. How many books have you written?
Which is your favorite? So far I’ve written six full books, one novella, and two short stories that have been published. Which is my favorite??? That’s such a difficult question. I like all of them for separate reasons. If I have to choose, I’d pick my most recent, The Way Back To Me. It’s emotional and it’s one that I took time to write for me.
11. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Keep writing. Never stop. With every word you write, your writing improves. Find a genre that inspires you and make that yours. Read. Read A LOT. When you’re feeling uninspired, read. It never fails to inspire me to want to get that story down for others to read.
12. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I hear from them every day. They tell me they love this character or that one, this book or that one. Some email me to tell me they hate this or that. I got one that I still remember. The reader emailed me and told me I ruined Jesse for her because in Interlude, Rockstar book 4, he does something in the what I call BLE (Before Lucy Era) that disgusted her. It was BEFORE Lucy… what can I do? I can’t please everyone.
13. Do you like creating books that are for adults? Or do you write more than adult books?
I write more than just straight adult books. I write new adult books and mature young adult as well. I love writing a bit of everything, but so far solely contemporary.
14. What do you think makes a good story?
Solid, well-rounded characters, realistic dialogue, and a story told from the heart. It can be as clichéd as they come, so long as it’s written in a way that shows it’s special and different from the rest.
15. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A cashier.. haha, when I was about seven. A teacher after that. A psychologist is what I wanted to be in high school. I’m really happy I’m a writer.
Thank you for taking the time to interview me! I’m not the most interesting person in the world so I hope I answered them okay.
Obsessive Book Whore – Amy Halter – Interviews Anne
I had the pleasure of Fostering Author Anne Mercier this week for #FosterAnAuthor3. We have known each other for a while and I loved working with her this week and having so much fun doing it!
One of the things I wanted to do was get others that haven’t read her books to get to know her and
Sooooo… let’s get to it!!
OBW: Hi, Anne! Thank you so much for being here and doing this interview for Obsessive Book Whore!
AM: I’m so honored! Thank you for the opportunity!
OBW: For those who don’t know you, can you tell the readers a little about yourself and your books?
AM: Well, I’ve loved writing all of my life. I got married at a young age and was a stay-at-home mom, so my kids were my priority. When they got older (teens) is when I started taking writing seriously—about 2004. I submitted the first book I ever completed to an agent and she signed me off of that book. That was before self-publishing was popular so everything went to traditional publishers. Well, turns out that book had what my agent called the “Goldilocks” syndrome: It was either too hot, or not hot enough. Basically, that was about the time when you had erotic romance or romance, there was no in-between. Everything was cut and dried. So, that book just didn’t make the cut. After working on another book, then starting another, I lost my focus due to personal things in my life, so writing went on the back burner for a while.
In 2012, I got back into reading in a major way. I read and read and read some more. Then in 2014 a friend asked me why I was reading and writing reviews when I could be writing my own books. I didn’t have an answer other than I was afraid. Of course I was! I mean, hello! This is part of my soul! Anyway, I started writing the book Whispered Truths, but about a quarter of the way into it, the characters from the Rockstars series were too loud and demanding. They wanted their story told right then and there. I shelved WT for the time being and wrote Falling Down (Rockstar book 1) in three weeks. I got it ready and published it on September 2, 2014. Three weeks later it became an Amazon Bestseller reaching number 21 on the charts. It was crazy. I wasn’t ready or prepared, but people wanted more. So, I found someone to help me field messages and emails, etc., then I wrote Blush, Rockstar Book 2, which was released on December 9, 2014; and A Very Xander Christmas (Rockstar Book 2.5, short story) on December 14, 2014. The rest, they say, is history.
In the last three years, I wrote and wrote and wrote some more.
The series I have available are:
The Rockstar series (12 books to date)
Adult contemporary romance with graphic sex and tons of F bombs and swearing as rockers seem to do, lots of laughs, and a huge sense of family. This is not your typical Rockstar series by any means. It also has a touch of mafia which will lead to a spinoff at a later date. There will be six or seven more books in the series before it’s complete.
The Truths series (one book so far)
Mature young adult series—mature in that it has graphic sex and explicit language, best friends helping each other through some difficult times. The parents are the “bad guys” for more than one character in this series. There will be four more books in the series before it’s concluded. I don’t have any dates for publication.
The Way series (two books so far).
This series begins after high school graduation and moves into college. These first two books are about loss and depression, coping with grief, bullies, starting over, and finding love. There will likely be three or four more books in this series before it’s complete.
The Forbidden Fantasies series (one book so far).
This will be a series of erotic short stories where couples get to act out their forbidden fantasies. This series is up in the air as far as how many short stories will be in it. So far I have two more in mind, but there may be more before the series is complete.
So, you see, there’s something for everyone.
OBW: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
AM: It usually takes me anywhere from three weeks to three months—usually a month or so.
OBW: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
AM: Depending on the book, I research quite a bit. In the book Ballad in which the heroine, Nicole, had leukemia and was undergoing treatments, it took a lot of extensive research to get the facts right. Each book has it’s own level of research—from music to PTSD, geography and direction, etc. Even writing fiction requires doing your homework.
OBW: Do you have a favorite book or author quote?
AM: I have many favorite books but off the top of my head I can name three that I always go back to for re-reads: Waiting On The Sidelines duet by Ginger Scott, the Manwhore series by Katy Evans, and 180 Seconds by Jessica Park. They always help me, as a writer, regain my focus.
“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” ~ Dr. Seuss “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” – Maya Angelou
OBW: What is your favorite movie?
AM: Again, I can’t name one. It’s just impossible! The Hunger games movies. Deadpool. You’ve Got Mail, While You Were Sleeping.
OBW: What is the first book that made you cry?
AM: I’m pretty sure it was The Heart of Devin MacKade by Nora Roberts or Love’s Encore by Sandra Brown. They were the first authors that I binged on—thank you mom!. I started with the smaller, thinner books—Harlequin or LoveSwept, then worked my way through every single book they’d written. I admit not to being up to date on everything currently.
OBW: How many hours a day do you write?
AM: I prefer to write in shorter increments unless the words are flowing. Then I write longer. Usually I write for 4-6 hours… but 8 or more if the characters are chattering.
OBW: If you were to date one of your characters, who would it be and why?
AM: Oh boy. This is a tough one. I could pick Jesse Kingston, the dirty talking alpha rocker who’d be sure to pleasure me over and over. I could pick the romantic Kyle Cooper from Whispered Truths or the hot-hottie Sebastian Smith from The Way series… I’m sure people are expecting me to pick Xander from the Rockstar series, but I don’t think that’s who I’d pick—even though it’d be a guaranteed fun time. I think I’d pick Cage Nichols from the Rockstar book Amplify (Book 3 in the series). He’s one of those quiet men with deep thoughts and a big heart. He’s dangerous and ruthless when he needs to be but with his woman, he’s giving and caring and sensitive. To me, he’s the whole package. He’s even funny in ways he doesn’t even know. *swoon*
OBW: How do you select the names of your characters?
AM: I had a list of favorite names that I started with. I also researched Italian names since there are so many Italian characters in my Rockstar series. That took some time and still does. Now, I look at my reader’s names, mostly in my Facebook Rockstar group, and use them—which they approve of! The male names—I’ve made a huge list—I’ve also done this for last names. Last names are the trickiest for me. They have to sound right with the first name, if that makes sense. Naming characters is a tricky business! Lol
OBW: What is a must have while your writing?
AM: Music. I have to have music while I’m writing. Writing is what gets my creative juices flowing (ha! I said ‘juices’… that’s almost as bad as moist!)
OBW: Do you have any interesting writing quirks?
AM: Kinda. I need something to drink—preferably caffeinated—and usually some kind of chewy candy like Mike & Ike’s or gummy bears. I need to be alone—mostly—when I’m writing otherwise I lose focus. I hate getting interrupted… it pisses me off like nothing else. It’s like… do you not see me working over here? Grr.
OBW: Where do you find your inspiration for your books and characters?
AM: Honestly? I don’t know. They’re just there—the storylines. The characters develop as soon as I start writing. I don’t outline on paper, but I have a pretty good idea where the story is going to go and what the characters look like before I get started, but I really don’t find out who they are until they show me. Writing is seriously awesome!
OBW: What book have you recently read that you would highly recommend?
AM: I can recommend three: Wicked Beginnings (Wicked Bay Book 1) by LA Cotton; Nineteen Letters by Jodi Perry; and 180 Seconds by Jessica Park. Those three books are hanging with me long after I’ve finished them. I love when books do that.
OBW: What is your favorite genre to read?
AM: Contemporary romance—lately I’ve been into young adult, mature young adult, or college-type setting.
OBW: Do you have any hobbies?
AM: I’m pretty boring, I think. My hobbies are reading, listening to music, watching movies or favorite TV shows. Really, that’s about all. See? Boring!
OBW: Halloween is just around the corner…what is your favorite sinful treat?
AM: You might think this is weird, but my favorite Halloween candy is candy corn. I think it’s because we don’t get it all that often. As far as chocolate/candy bars go: Milky Way or Dove with caramel. Really, anything with caramel. I’m a caramel whore. I admit this freely and without shame.
OBW: Where can people stalk, errr get in contact with you?
AM: I love being stalked… uh, contacted/followed!! If you’re on Facebook, please join my AM Rockstars group (http://bit.ly/AMrockstars). It’s so much fun. Everyone gets along, we try very hard to keep it drama free and so far we’re succeeding, we talk about books, boys, and things going on in our lives. It’s a wonderful group of people who are insta-friends and, to me, feel like family.
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Thank you so much for letting me bombard you with questions. I loved getting a chance to know you better!
Reader Questions For Anne
What happened to the Blush Boy?
Jake Ingrassia, the Blush Boy, wasn’t able to go on tour—his mother took one look at the bands and said absolutely not. Who can blame her? So, he was the Blush Boy in the ads… but for the tour, there was only the Blush Baby.
What kind of reviews do you like? Do you like long drawn out reviews or short and sweet ones? When I’m looking at reviews I don’t like the long whole page ones that basically tells me everything about the book, all I really wAnt to know is if it’s well written, great storyline etc. Just wondering from a authors perspective.
I don’t like when the reviews basically summarize the book… I, personally, think it ruins the story for others. Some may disagree. I like to know the readers feelings about the book. What was it you liked? The characterization? The romance? Was there something you didn’t like… why? Constructive criticism is ALWAYS welcome… hater reviews, well, I avoid them like the plague
Do you base any of your characters on people you know or events that have taken place in your life? No, not so much.
Jesse seems to mention his mam without any anger or upset in FD. He says she taught him to cook for hisself and that she and his sisters, are the only women who have been in his bedroom. Is it because his relationship is new with Lucy or is it because he doesn’t really talk about her much at all??
Because his relationship is new with Lucy. He doesn’t really share much about his parents at all… and his mom hasn’t always been bad… his Dad has been… and then his dad and his schemes, when Jesse and Ben got famous and had money, she cashed in on both and THAT is what turned Jesse away from his mom. She was never the same kind, caring mom he grew up with–which is why he felt nothing when she got killed. She already died to him in a sense when she changed.
Anne, are there going to be more involved scenes with Meggie and my love Trace before their story is told. Like a flashback of when they hooked up the first time or just some indication of their romance. I’m just dying to know more about Traces character. Is he funny? Is he a jokester? Serious? Romantic? I think he might be a freak in bed.
They will get their own book—the last book in the series titled Melody.
As far as the rest, honestly, I don’t know. I never know what the characters are going to do until they do it–and Trace and Meggie are as unpredictable as they come.
Trace, for the most part, is serious, but when you get him drunk (has to be tequila) he laughs and tells some of the best jokes. He isn’t always romantic, but when he is it’s special. Meggie appreciates every second of those moments. A freak in bed… he just blinked. Meggie smirked… so I think your answer is yes.
Why is Joan so involved with helping those kids? Does she have any of her own?
Joan… Boy, if I tell you this it’s going to ruin a part of one of the Russo Famiglia series books… so I’ll just say, her reasons are good ones. Sorry, I can’t tell you! I hate that. No, Joan doesn’t have any children of her own. That’s part of why she loves the ones she takes in so fiercely–like she did Cage.
I loved Linc… But was left with so many questions since we know from the other books that he is gone… Anne Mercier please tell us you are going to tell us more about him in book 2?????
There will absolutely be more about Linc in book 2. You’ll find out more about what he’s been up to, besides taking care of Tera, and what his plans are going forward. You’ll find out even more about Linc in another upcoming book… I can’t tell you which one just yet, but I promise it’s going to be worth the wait.
Linc thought/question… if Lucy had been THE fangirl since the competition, how did she not know about Linc?
She just forgot about him. She was hyperfocused on Jesse, mostly, and Linc dropped out so early into their career, she never gave it a second thought as to who he was.
Anne, did Tera design the bus graphics??
No, she didn’t. Cage had someone design those graphics–though how cool would it have been if she had?
Did you know from the start that Xander would be married? If not, when did you plan this?
Yes, I knew. I also knew he’d get some backlash for screwing a few groupies over the past 10 years, but there are legit reasons for that. More will be explained in book 2, so don’t give up on him just yet.
Did you know from the start that Xander’s woman would be someone they had all grown up with?
I did. She had to be someone special to all of them if she was going to be such an integral part of the storyline–Xander’s storyline. With anyone else, they wouldn’t have been so understanding as to why he screwed around and why she wasn’t there. They were there for it all, so they totally understood.
Will Dr. Mac get a happy ending?
He absolutely will. You’ll find out more in book 2.
Will Linc re-join Falling Down? Or are his band days/years over?
Linc’s done with the band, I think. He may go with them and work the soundboards as he did previously, but he won’t play keyboards or any of that anymore. He has other things going on and you’ll learn more of that in book 2 and upcoming books.
Xander always had a thing for Lucy since he met her in Book 1, of course we didn’t know his backstory, so I assumed that had Lucy not loved and crushed on Jesse for so long, and had it not reciprocated by Jesse, Xander would have swooped in. Now knowing the whole thing, is Xander’s attraction towards Lucy of something more that could have had the potential to come between him and Tera?
It did… at one point. At one point, when he wasn’t certain Tera would show up, yes. Book 1 was before Tera said yes… and even after that, he wasn’t sure she’d be able to make it back to him. He’d done so much for her, it was her turn to come to him because if she didn’t get therapy to be able to live a half-way normal life, he didn’t know how they could be together. You know? That’ll come out in book 2
Have you ever written a Rockstar character that you didn’t love, that didn’t end up on the wrong end of somebody’s gun?
Nope… not so far.
Trace – Fans want to know about him.
Ah, Trace Styx. He is a man full of secrets. He’s a six feet three inch very virile man with a body of solid muscle and tattoos. Piercings in his ears, lip, and eyebrow. You’re going to learn so very much about him when his book comes up, the last in the series, Melody . Brace yourself for a truck load of surprises! You can read an interview with Trace here:
Is Lucy and Sera’s cousin, Emilio, now part of the Russo family?
Yes, Emilio is part of la Famiglia, much to the dismay of the Manzinis. I have a feeling we’re going to be in for a bumpy ride where he’s concerned.
What does Falling Down sound like to you? Who do they sound like? (Avenged Sevenfold maybe?)
Jesse sounds somewhat like M. Shadows from Avenged Sevenfold, with the gravelly voice, the growl, but I imagine it to be a little deeper. I think they’d sound like a cross between Avenged Sevenfold, Metallica, and Pop Evil. This is the perfect example of how I see Jesse Kingston from Falling Down. The voice, the tattoos, the piercings, shades, but a bit taller. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G6YqCTOBZdk
Just curious, when Grandpa Russo meets everyone in Lucy’s hospital room, he knows everything about everyone. Even makes note about Trace’s secrets being his own to tell. What did he know about Xander and Tera? Why didn’t he make note of their secrets? (Without revealing anything of course)
He knew and knows everything about everyone. He knows what happened to Tera and why she’s not with Xander. I’m sure if they ask him or mention it to him, he’ll “handle” the situation for them. He didn’t just not mention Xander’s secrets, he didn’t mention Ethan or Kennedy’s either. I suppose just a look was enough and him mentioning that to Trace, was enough for them to figure it was directed toward them as well.
We know that Sera is a badass with a gun and knife and it is mentioned once about how Lucy does hand to hand fighting. Are we ever going to get any details on that? I love that Lucy is a badass princess, but I would love to her more about how she can kick ass!
Well, I hope not. She’s a mom now and she really doesn’t need any situations where she has to use that skill. Maybe a training session with Sera or something in one of the books. I’ll keep it in mind.
During Ballad, the group was in NYC for 4 days, did Xander visit Tera? Did any of the other guys go with him?
Yes. You’ll hear mention in Xander: Book 2, about him disappearing for days and even weeks at a time. Ethan went to visit from time to time as well.
So in all the books Xander gives everyone shit about finding their one and falling in love, why do none of the guys bring up Tera?
Out of respect for Xander and how difficult it is for him to be away from Tera. It would remind him about her and how much it hurts, and I’m sure he gets plenty of those already.
What are you working on next?
Xander: Book 2, The Present (Rockstar Book 10).
When is Whispered Truths sequel coming out? Dying here…
Discovered Truths… I’m going to try to release in 2018 or 2019.
What other series do you have planned?
It’s a long, long list. I’m going to include single-titles here as well because, well, they may end up turning into more than one book. You know how I am with series. The Rockstar series was supposed to be 5 books. Hahaaha… it’s now planned to be 19
Do you enjoy writing??
I absolutely do… though when I’m under pressure it makes it not nearly as fun.
Who is your favorite author ??
Oh man. This is so difficult! I have so many. Ginger Scott. Harper Bentley. TC Matson. Penelope Douglas. Penelope Ward. JA Low. Tijan. Katy Evans. So many more. I have a list somewhere…
Who is your favorite character in your writing or reading ??
I can’t answer this for my writing. I love them all. For reading? Whew… there are a lot of favorite characters.
Jesse Hunt (Broken & Screwed series by Tijan).
Caden Banks (Anti-Stepbrother by Tijan) .
Malcolm Kyle Preston Logan Saint (Manwhore series by Katy Evans).
Reed Johnson(Waiting on the Sidelines duet by Ginger Scott).
Nico Medina(The Hard Count by Ginger Scott).
Esben Baylor(180 Seconds by Jessica Park).
So many more…
Which of your books was hardest to write?
Amplify, without a doubt.
When did you start writing ??
I dabbled in grade school and high school, but I didn’t come serious about writing until about 2003.
Where did your influences for your characters come from?
Nowhere… they’re just there—strange as that seems. Physically there are models and famous people I get general ideas from.
Would you ever consider writing a MC series?
No… I don’t read them either. Not sure why.
Do you listen to other genres of music besides rock?
Yes. I listen to a little of everything except techno, jazz, and the rap you can’t understand.
Who is your favorite band?
Do you ever have fan girl moments over certain celebrities?
OMG, absolutely. M. Shadows. Milo Ventimiglia. Keanu Reeves. Chris Pratt. Ryan Reynolds. Jennifer Lawrence is my girl crush… just to name a few.
Have you always had a passion for books?
Actually, no. I read sporadically when I was younger, but it wasn’t until I was about 22 or 23 that I really dove into reading.
How do you write such great “love scenes”?
It’s all fantasy. Just… imagination. The way I imagine that hero or heroine wanting to be treated and to be able to return that.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
When I was really little, I wanted to be a cashier. When I got a little older, I wanted to be a teacher. In high school, I wanted to be a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Where do you find inspiration?
Everywhere I look there’s something to inspire me. This may be weird, but yesterday it was these tiny yellow finches outside jumping around in a tree. They work so hard to build their nests, feed their young, etc., and not many give it a thought.
If you were only allowed three items on a deserted island, what would they be?
My laptop, solar powered electricity, and Internet. LOL
If you could meet someone from the past, who would it be? And why?
I’m sure I should say someone like Jane Austin, but I think with the way the world is today, I’d have to say Thomas Jefferson, James Madison—our founding fathers. I’d like to talk to them about the way things are; how, if there were a clause in the constitution stating that Amendments should be updated every so many years, it would help improve the world today—positive changes to benefit all, etc. They’re brilliant minds and I’d love the chance to pick their brains as well..
If you had one wish to change the world what would it be?
I’d wish for Joe Biden to be President right now.
Do you have notes everywhere and in anything or do you carry a pad with you?
I have about five different notebooks. One for the Rockstar series. One for the Truths series. One for The Way series. One for another series I’ve got in mind. The last one for everything else. Most of my stories are in my head… I don’t know how they all fit.
Have you ever considered having a sketch artist draw out your characters in you head? (That would be awesome)
I have, but I don’t know anyone who can sketch like that who would be willing to.
Have you met M. Shadows or Milo Ventimiglia?
Milo Ventimiglia, yes! I met him in March 2015. There were eight of us (though I kinda took over the discussion as I had so many questions) who sat down and just chatted about his job and career for over an hour and a half. It was one of the best experiences. He’s so real and down to earth. I loved that about him—and he smells like heaven. I’ve seen Avenged Sevenfold – M. Shadows in concert three times in the last two years. One day I hope to meet them.
Favorite body part on a man?
Eyes. You can tell a lot by a person’s eyes.
List of favorite things…food, drinks, songs, candy people places, etc.?
Favorite Food: Fruit. Steak. Pizza.
Drinks: Diet Rootbeer. Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper.
Songs: That’s like asking for a favorite book. Too many to name.
Candy: Milky Way. Mike & Ike’s. Caramel.
Favorite Places: Southern California, specifically Oceanside on the beach. My bedroom with the peace and quiet.
What inspired you to write?
Life. The career I’d chosen was being rendered obsolete which meant I was unemployed. I worked as a cashier at Wal-Mart… do you have any idea what a shitty job that is? How rude those people are? Oh em gee! If that isn’t inspiration enough, I don’t know what could be. So, one day I sat down and talked to a friend who said, “Just write it already!” … and I did.
How do you come up with the characters names?
Google. Sometimes I have names in my head—first names. I mostly Google for surnames. Or I just ask my editor, Nicole. She’s fantastic at coming up with titles and names.
What made you want to write a Rockstar romance?
I was writing Whispered Truths when one day there were these voices in my head that demanded attention… and the Rockstar series was born. Whispered Truths was put on the back burner while these bossy Rockstars got some of their stories told.
Does someone tell you daily how awesome you are?
Was it difficult to get started as an author for you? i.e. Knowing what programs were best to write in, who to use for editing/proofreader/etc., how to publish, etc.
Yes! I started writing in Word and still do—even though Word sometimes “eats” my manuscripts. I did find a solution to that. I toggle between saving (example) Xander and the next day Xander A. It stops the “lack” of saving Word is well known for. As for how to publish… I asked authors I knew. Ella Fox was one of the most helpful people when I started out. Alessandra Torre has amazing videos/tutorials on her website and an amazing Facebook group called Alessandra Torre’s Inkers. As for editing and proofreading, my editor, Nicole, contacted me when she read Falling Down and saw typos (cringe). She was immediately hired and we’ve worked together ever since.
What was your biggest mistake as a writer & your greatest accomplishment?
My biggest mistake was not planning better. I mean, I never expected for Falling Down, the first book I’d written, to become an Amazon bestseller within three weeks of its release. I said to my bestie at the time that if it sold 100 copies I’d be happy. So, this meant, I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have a website. I hadn’t even started on book 2. I didn’t have an assistant to help me answer all the PMs and emails and questions when I was trying to write book 2 as quickly as possible. So, my biggest mistake was underestimating myself or the anticipated level of success Falling Down would have. I think this would also be my greatest accomplishment… the instantaneous success. Maybe, in some ways it all happened too fast… I don’t know. There’s probably something more profound I could list here as far as my greatest accomplishment.
Do you have a hard time finding a way to balance your home life, job (if have one), and finding the time to write?
YES! I write full-time so I’m lucky that way, but if there’s anyone around and I’m writing, they don’t even notice and interrupt anyway. Grrr. It’s like… I’M WORKING! And sometimes I get very pissed off and snap their heads off. Eeks… The hardest part of being a writer, for me, is balancing the writing and the administrative tasks. I have a PA, but some tasks I have to do myself and it weighs heavily on me. That’s when the pressure begins and writing isn’t as fun as it should be.
If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be doing? (I.e. Other career, SAH.mom, etc.)
If I had a choice? Hmm. I probably would have gone back to school for computer programming and/or graphic design. I like both equally. They’re both challenging and I love a challenge.
What do you enjoy besides writing! Hobbies, interests, etc.
Listen to music. I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, but I have some favorite shows like Scandal, Chicago PD, Criminal Minds, The 100. I read so much. I love to read. I design my own teasers and graphics. I’m sure I’m forgetting something…
How do you keep track of all the events in these character’s lives?
Mostly it’s all embedded in my brain, but I’ve started writing things down now. I need to go back and read all the books from the beginning and make a list of the characters, their traits, ages, things that happen and in what book and at what age, etc.
What kind of reviews do you like? Do you like long drawn out reviews or short and sweet ones?
In truth, I really don’t like spoiler reviews. The ones that recap the majority of the story basically ruin it for the reader. Yes, I’m aware there are some readers out there who like those type of reviews before they read the book, but at least label the review with * SPOILER * or something. The reviews really aren’t for us authors, they’re for you, the readers
As for what I really want? I really want to know is if it’s well written, great storyline etc. What was it you liked? The characterization? The romance? Was there something you didn’t like… why? Constructive criticism is ALWAYS welcome… hater reviews, well, I avoid them like the plague. If you hated the book, don’t just say, “I hated this book. It sucked ass.” Tell me “why” and it might help with later books. Again, constructive criticism is always welcome.
What was the first thing you wrote and when?
Just little short stories in grade school. I always enjoyed writing. I think it’s because my imagination was, and still is, so vast.
Do you put life experiences in your books?
So far, nothing much. Maybe bits and pieces. Truthfully, my life isn’t all that exciting.
Do you base any of your characters on people you know or events that have taken place in your life?
Sometimes. Usually, again, just little pieces of things, events, conversations—but they’re usually exaggerated. Sometimes character names.
What do you do if you are in the middle of a book and another character won’t be quiet? (Do you stop one book to get the new story down?)
If it’s a completely different story, then I write the idea down. If it’s just a scene, I write it immediately. It may never end up in a book, but it can end up as a bonus scene somewhere.
What is your favorite thing about meeting your readers(fans)?
Putting a face to a name. Facebook profile pics are small and it’s difficult to see what people look like. I know names… lots of names! Listening to the readers talk about the characters. It’s really awesome to see that they’re as real for you all as they are for me. I also like letting readers know how much I really do appreciate them–each and every one of you matter.
Ever have stalker?
Yes. Just a Facebook stalker… or so I thought until she showed up at a signing in Dallas. I nearly peed my pants, but my assistant at that event, Ashley, kept a close eye. I did what I could to placate the stalker girl until another reader came to my table. Even then she just stood there staring at me. One of the scariest moments of my life.
What is something you always wanted to do but didn’t do?
Go sky diving. I may still do it one day. Go to Greece–I’m hoping to get there in the next couple years.
Just wondering if the rest of the Rockstar books are going to be available on audible? Well, as of right now, no. For the first three books I was approached by Tantor audio and so far they haven’t shown much interest in any of the other books. A lot of authors publish their own audio books via other services, but it’s very expensive and I honestly don’t believe I’d make back the money I’d put into it. So, for now, I’m sorry, but no.
Why was Jana’s death glossed over so easily? They didn’t seem to mourn her loss as a family.
There will be a time when this gets addressed more in depth. I can’t say when or what book, because in truth I don’t know yet. But it’ll happen. Those Kingston men may appear tough, but on the inside they’re really not.
What ever happened with Jana saying she was pregnant? Although I assume she was covering for Sera.
Your assumption is correct. She was, indeed, just covering for Sera. Kinda like one of those moments where you blink and go, “Oh, yeah, that was mine.” And in your mind you’re thinking yep, mhm, they’re never going to believe me.
Why did Gampy eye Ethan or Kennedy when it came to Jana? Did she have a thing with one of them? I imagine he was thinking one of those two would’ve been the father had that been the truth.
Why didn’t Lucy ever ask about Misty?
At first she was in the hospital and recovering, and then when she noticed Misty was no longer around, no explanation was needed. Lucy isn’t part of La Famiglia, not like Sera is. Sera wants to be part of it because of how she and her parents were wronged, and Lucy would rather have no part of any of it.
And how was her “mojo” so wrong about her?
Misty, herself, wasn’t that bad of a person. It was Roberto and Kimberly who were. She was being forced to find a way “in” and report back, and I imagine had they met under different circumstances, they would have been real friends.
Does Nicole’s bone marrow transplant mean she’ll be in long-term remission now?
Let’s hope. As far as I can see in the storylines, I don’t see her getting ill anytime soon.
Book 7, in your dedication, you mentioned 4 ladies and said they always made you feel like you weren’t good enough. Can you explain? They sound like bullies, and I don’t like bullies.
Yes, they were mean girls who called themselves my friends. They made me feel that way about everything, and when I saw one of them a few years ago, she tried to do it again. That time, it didn’t work.
I really like Celeste. She’s like the personal assistant that knows what you need before you know it yourself. Will we see more of her?
Absolutely. Lots more of her. She’ll also be in the Russo Famiglia series.
Do the rockers feel like they make better music or a better band because they are closer? I’m watching a DVR and they never mention anyone except the lead singer.
I think it depends on the band, but as far as Falling Down and Blush go, they consider each other equals. There is no “lead”, though Jesse has always made final decisions as far as Falling Down goes.
Can you stock Pepsi I’m your fridge for when I’m watching through your windows… lmao jk love you hard
Ha! I’m not a big Pepsi drinker, but I’ll make sure to have at least one in the fridge for you.
We got a glimpse into Lucian Cordero & Burners. Will there be a book about him & his search for his “one” & his band mates? Maybe a series for Burners??
Yes! There will be a Burners series. Lucian needs to find his girl. It hurt my heart to have to hurt his heart. I’m not sure when it’ll happen. Likely around the same time I start the Russo Famiglia books of which I think there will be 4-5.
There were a very intense couple of scenes in Xander Part 1. How do you feel when you write these scenes? They affected the hell outta me … do they make you cry as well?
If you’re crying as you’re reading, it’s guaranteed I’m over here bawling like a baby as I’m writing it. Some of the things I write are so difficult, I end up having to walk away from my laptop for a while. Other times I just plow through to get it over and done with so I can move on to the “healing”. Grace
Just curious, when Grandpa Russo meets everyone in Lucy’s hospital room, he knows everything about everyone. Even makes note about Trace’s secrets being his own to tell. What did he know about Xander and Tera? Why didn’t he make note of their secrets? (Without revealing anything of course)
Cage is the one who signed them as a band, so he knew everything and as Cage is partners with Gio, he knew everything as well. And knowing all that no one else had mentioned it, he wasn’t going to either.
So, in all the books Xander gives everyone shit about finding their one and falling in love, why do none of the guys bring up Tera?
Because while Xander appears to be making fun and light of things, giving them a hard time, inside he’s hurting and he’s hurting badly and they know it.
Do you know how amazing you are to us? You make me laugh and smile through out the day, just by thinking about your stories.
Well, that’s one of the sweetest things anyone’s ever said to me. Thank you. It means a lot to me, truly.
Who does Blush sound like to you?
Blush—Lucy is half Lzzy Hale from Halestorm and Lacey Sturm – the original singer for Flyleaf. Sera has a bit of an Amy Lee voice mixed with Lzzy Hale which is why Lucy and Sera meld so well.
Do you have an idea of how you will write Giovanni and Carlotta yet? Are we getting only how they met? Just the present or both?
Oh boy. It’ll be a while before I get to that, but I think I’ll write it all. The “today” part probably won’t include as much as the other Rockstar or Russo Famiglia books will, but for Gio and Carlotta, I believe it’s their past that’s the most important part.
Summer and Jace. How is Kadence doing? You guys thinking about putting her in dance classes again?
You’ll be getting more of Kadi in the upcoming books. She is definitely in dance classes… that’s her future. Courtney Jacks
What inspired you to write the way series?
Honestly? I don’t know. One day it was just there. Usually storylines come to me when I’m in bed (just before I fall asleep, of course) or when I’m in the shower.
What made you write the story so that Olivia and Cameron don’t end up together?
I ended up with Olivia and Cameron going their separate ways as they’d been headed when they ran into each other once again. I think Cam wanted to see Liv smile again because he was always the one who made her frown. He wanted to right the wrong, so to speak. And, as is with Cam, once he was noticed and the coach and scouts were coming for him, everything went back to being about him. While he never set out to hurt Olivia and he truly believed he loved her, he didn’t. He doesn’t know what it feels like to love. He never has and it’s going to take something monumental to get him to finally learn to “feel.” Add in the fact that he wanted to get out of that town, and if that meant not making time for Liv or leaving her to find happiness with someone else, so be it. Right then, in that place in time, football was all that mattered. He’s always been a selfish ass and still is. One day he will learn his lesson. You just wait til I get to his book.