Today's interview is with Anne k. Albert, a fellow Vanilla Heart author. She writes in two of the categories that I do and her books will soon be on my reading list. We also read some of the same books.
1. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?
Anne – I write both mystery and romantic suspense stories that chill the spine, warm the heart, and soothe the soul…all with a delightful touch of humor.
2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
Anne – Both chose me! As a child I read Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden, then as a teen discovered Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler and so many others. I’ve always loved to figure out whodunit!
3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?
Anne – I could never write a psychological thriller, nor could I write a story that includes graphic violence. It would gnaw at my very soul. As much as I’m awed by the genius of the writers responsible for the Dexter television series, I stopped watching after the second season. I found I could not sleep at nights, and even now, just hearing the theme music from that show causes all sorts of heart palpitations!
One genre I have dabbled in, and would like to do more, is young adult. I’ve written the first draft of a story, but it’s a long way from publication. Completing it, however, is definitely on my bucket list.
4. What fiction do you read for pleasure?
Anne – I read what I write - cozy mysteries and sweet romantic suspense stories. I prefer the blood and gore to be left off stage, and that goes for sex scenes as well. I’ve always been more interested in the action and suspense.
5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing.
Anne – I’ve been writing for ever, but it began as letters to friends and family members. (This was long before email, text messaging, Facebook and Twitter!) I used to write pages and pages and my husband’s grandmother would always comment that I should be a writer. I never took her seriously because, well, in my mind, ordinary people like me did not write books. Then, one day, it occurred to me that perhaps I could do it. I had no idea how to write a full length book, of course, but I was determined that my story would have a dead body, a puzzle to solve and interesting characters.
6. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Anne –I love all of my characters in different ways, but if I had to pick just one it would be Val from FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL. She’s Muriel’s aunt, in her sixties, lives life to the fullest, and is not afraid to age or be herself. She’s warmhearted, eccentric, and fun.
7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created?
Anne – Oh, yes, I always have a villain in my stories. They’re people like you and me, but somewhere along the road of life they took the wrong path. They’re not necessarily evil or wicked, but they have no objection to trampling over people to attain their objective.
8. What are you working on now?
Anne – I’m writing “Protecting Hope”. It’s the second book of my romantic suspense Piedmont Island Trilogy series. It will be released in e-book format in August 2011 and the print version comes out September 2011.
9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?
Anne – My latest release is FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL. When I began this story I had no intention of it ever being published. I viewed it as a fun, entertaining read for my eyes only. But within a few chapters, I knew I had something worthwhile. I’m very proud of this book, the plot and its characters. It’s available in e-book format with the print version available in July 2011.
10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.
Anne – It’s the week before Christmas when the stress of the holiday season is enough to frazzle anyone's nerves. To find a missing woman Frank and Muriel must deal with an embezzler, femme fatale, kidnapper, and of course, Muriel's eccentric, (but loveable) family.
Beginning excerpt from FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL:
Imagine my surprise when Frankie Salerno showed up at my front door one cold, December, Monday morning. Displaying a set of dimples that could make a grown woman cry, he gave me a quick once over and let out a long, slow, wolf whistle. “You’re looking good, Brian. Real good.”
Being ogled at is one thing. Being called that ridiculous nickname after a fifteen-year hiatus another. I felt a knot form in the pit of my stomach as my thoughts traveled back to Ms. Traynor’s ninth English class when Frankie wrote me a note. I have no idea of its contents. Nor do I care. All I know is the teacher intercepted it. She read it, raised an eyebrow, and zeroed in on me.
“I believe Frankie had you in mind when he wrote this,” she said.
To my horror, she began to read the note aloud. She got as far as the salutation he’d printed on the outside of the folded sheet of three-ring notepaper.
“To the Brian.”
The class erupted into fits of laughter and Ms. Traynor, satisfied we’d suffered enough humiliation for one day, returned the note to Frankie and resumed her lesson. From that day forward, I was the girl named Brian, and Frankie became my sworn enemy.
From where I stood a decade and a half later, not much had changed except that I’d grudgingly accepted my fate. Having a few more brain cells than feminine curves had advantages. If Frankie thought otherwise, so be it. He was entitled to his opinion. But really, who needed it? Or him?
“I’d like to say it’s great to see you again,” I said, “but we both know I’d be lying. Let’s end this before it gets messy, shall we?”
“Aw, come on.” He pressed his large, square hand on the screen door. “Do you have any idea how many Reeves are in the phonebook? It took me more than an hour to find you. I had to check the listings in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Lackawanna–”
I held up my hand to silence him. I’d lived in western New York state all of my life and did not need a geography lesson. What I needed was to get on with my life. Without him. Still, I could not resist getting in the last word.
“It would’ve been quicker if you’d looked under ‘M’ instead of ‘B’,” I said.
“I was kidding about the Brian part.”
“Then why’d you say it?”
“I dunno. I was a jerk back in high school and some things never change. Besides, it says a lot more about me than it ever did about you. I’m the one who couldn’t spell brain.”
* * *
Thanks for featuring me today, Janet. It was such fun! I’d like to invite readers to visit me at my website: http://www.AnneKAlbert.com/ or my main blog: http://anne-k-albert.blogspot.com.
If they leave a comment mentioning this interview, I’ll enter their name in a draw to win a .pdf copy of FRANK, INCENSE AND MURIEL. The winner’s name will be announced on my mystery blog: http://muriel-reeves-mysteries.blogspot.com on April 1, 2011.
Anne K. Albert