Way back in Query Kombat 2013, we had an awesome entry entitled How to Date Dead Guys. As a testament to hard working and patience paying off, I'm bring you an interview with published author, Ann Noser. (Note: this interview was done prior to publication. The last question reflects that.)
Amazon US: http://amzn.com/1620075199
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/
ME: Your novel, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUY, was published by Curiosity Quills in the Summer of 2014. It's got witchcraft, ghosts, and murder. I'm hooked already. Can you tell us a little about your story?
ANN: Quiet college sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice: “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts”. But when cute Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.
Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back. Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell. The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury. As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home.Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a young father determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first. More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows. Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.
Emma is a cross between Whoopi Goldberg’s psychic in Ghost and Willow’s transformation from bookworm to witch in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders theory, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will appeal to paranormal fans of all ages.
ME: What do you want readers to walk away with after they've turned the last page?
ANN: Although this is a fictional story, I’d like readers to feel that this “might have happened”. As in, this is a logical way someone might fall into witchcraft and what happens next. I’d like for readers to feel a little sad when they’ve turned the last page, because that would mean they miss the characters already.
ME: We all know the road to publication is not an easy one. Can you describe your journey? Was there ever a moment you felt like giving up? If so, why didn't you?
ANN: I’m afraid there were many moments I felt like giving up. I only kept going because I’m so freaking stubborn. Haha. That and I have a great critique group, who let me complain/whine/piss and moan when I needed to, but always made me see how far I’d come and that I just needed to keep at it. They always made me feel better. Seeing my name on smaller publications, like articles in the newspaper and magazines helped, too.
ME: How long have you been writing? Is HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS your first book?
ANN: I think I’ve always been writing, on and off. I worked on the high school newspaper. I wrote pathetic poetry in high school and college. I wrote a diary, then I burned it (along with most of the poems) at a later date. Good riddance! I write poetry when I’m frustrated, articles to educate people on various topics (veterinary, running, yoga), and novels. HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS is either my third or fourth book, depending on how you count it.
ME: If you could step in a time machine and revisit yourself at the time when you first started querying, what advice would you give old you?
ANN: I would’ve yelled, “STOP!!! You aren’t ready yet! Join a writing group, revise 500 times, join some online Twitter contests and THEN query.
ME: Contests. A lot of people love them, other don't see the point. What are your opinions on query contests?
ANN: I think they help you: 1) perfect your query, 2) meet people online, and 3) get agent attention. I don’t think they are the end-all, be-all, but I do think they help. I got a request, and then an offer through a contest, so I guess I’m pretty darn grateful I joined them!
ME: How does it feel to be weeks away from publication? Are you bouncing off the walls with excitement?
ANN: It feels a little unreal. I can’t wait to see my cover, to feel MY OWN BOOK in my hands… but I try not to get too carried away thinking about it or else I get so nervous I feel sick to my stomach. (Sorry. I’m a stress-wimp!)
My to-do list dictates that I try to cram 48 hours of living into a day instead of the usual 24. I’ve chosen a life filled with animals. I train for marathons with my dog, then go to work as a small animal veterinarian, and finish the day by tripping over my pets as I attempt to convince my two unruly children that YES, it really IS time for bed. But I can’t wait until the house is quiet to write; I have to steal moments throughout the day. Ten minutes here, a half hour there, I live within my imagination.
Like all busy American mothers, I multi-task. I work out plot holes during runs. Instead of meditating, I type madly during yoga stretches. I find inspiration in everyday things: a beautiful smile, a heartbreaking song, or a newspaper article on a political theory. For example, a long drive in the dark listening to an NPR program on the SMILEY FACE MURDERS theory made me ask so many questions that I wrote HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS to answer them to my satisfaction.
I’d love to have more time to write (and run, read, and sleep), but until I find Hermione Granger’s time turner, I will juggle real life with the half-written stories in my head. Main characters and plot lines intertwine in my cranium, and I need to let my writing weave the tales on paper so I can find out what happens next.