The latest victim of my 50 Questions is Anne Barwell. Her latest Dreamspinner release is Shades of Sepia, which is why I’m putting the cover here, in case you were wondering, people.
8. Do you have a writer’s cat or a dog or some other animal (spouses count if you want them to)?
I have two cats. Kaylee is a small persian tortie (I think they’re called calico in the US), and is 9 years old. Frappy (short for Frappichino) is a short haired ginger tabby and is 7 years old. They’re both females and still trying to work out the top cat spot since my grey tabby died a couple of years ago. They’re also both possessive of my lap and my attention and there is literally fur flying over it at times. They have very different personalities. Frappy is quiet but pushy and tends to camp in front of the fridge and pantry. Kaylee comes across as timid in company, but is a very loud cat, and I’ve had stories from the neighbours of her exploits terrorizing their dogs. I often find large dog bones on my back door step. Frappy has a weakness for baking, especially muffins and has been known to steal the empty paper cases to lick the crumbs off them.
They enjoy company and often I have at least one cat asleep on the chair next to me as I write, or in a cardboard box under the table. If I’m not paying enough her enough attention Frappy will push her way onto my lap and crawl up me, making it difficult to type until she’d got the attention she wants!
I’ve always had cats as my dad was a big cat lover too, and I blame them for the number of cats in my Hidden Places series, and the mention of them in my other books too.
31. Do you still write letters by hand, or send post cards outside vacations/birthdays/etc?
I must admit I’ve got a lot slacker with Christmas and birthday cards of late – some of which is down to time, the other to the price of postage. These days I tend to send a text or an email. Although the odd time I go away I send postcards back to family and friends. I do still write letters by hand. I have a friend in Canada whom I swap letters with. We met in fandom and started writing letters then, with a bit of slackness over the past couple of years, but this year we’ve got back into it again. I really enjoy it, but it’s much harder now to find nice stationery that isn’t over priced. I also love getting her letters in my letter box.
36. Writing summaries and blurbs, love it or hate it?
I don’t mind the summaries so much but I hate writing blurbs. I did hit on an idea a couple of books ago which works really well though. As part of my writing process when I start writing a new story I also write the blurb and put it up on my web site. It’s one less thing to worry about at submission time, and also when people ask what I’m working on I can share the blurb. I outline extensively before I write so I know what’s going to happen (apart from the stuff the characters spring on me as I write) so writing it first works really well for me.
42. Do you have a personal theme song? If not, when what’s the song that makes you dance in your seat every time you hear it randomly (on the radio, on TV etc.)?
I don’t have a personal theme song, but my books/characters do. I’m one of those writers who tends to have soundtracks for my stories and different pieces of music remind me of different stories/characters/couples. As for the song that makes me pay attention each time it’s on – that tends to change and isn’t the same as it would have been even a month ago. At present it’s Ed Sheeran’s ‘I See Fire’ which is the theme song for the 2nd Hobbit movie.
48. If you could wake up tomorrow with any real-life skill that would normally take years to master (for example; astrophysics, ballet, fine art, professional football player, chef) what would you pick and why?
I’d love to be able to draw. My grandfather was an artist and I’m in awe of people who can transfer what they see in front of them, or in their mind’s eye, to paper. Often I see scenes/characters in my head that I’m writing and I’d love to be able to draw them and share them with others that way too.
Anne’s Bonus Question: Interestingly I had a few ‘interview’ questions posed to me by one of my betas about the time I got your questions so using one of those for this one. Thanks, Reesha! Her question was ‘what’s your obsession with research?’
To put it in context, I had just finished working on a novel set in WW2 and am now working on a novella partially set in WW1, so I’m on more of a research bent than usual. Why do I research? Because I want what I’m writing to be an accurate as I can get it. I’ve found as a reader I’ll get thrown out of a story if something isn’t right. While it’s not always possible to find out all the details—phone jacks in Germany in 1943 drove me nuts—I want to at least know I’ve researched to the best of my ability.
Anne on the internet: