It’s been a pleasure to meet author Mariah Ankenman while she’s on tour. I’m currently lapping up the pages of her book Love on The Forbidden Side, I will post a review this weekend! In the meantime let’s get to know Mariah’s style…
Hello nice to meet you! Tell us a bit about you where are you from and other than writing what else do you enjoy?
Hello! Thank you for hosting me today. I’m from the beautiful state of Colorado and other than writing I love to read, hike, ski, crochet, and play my ukulele.
How did you start writing? What was your inspiration to create?
I’m a child of a professional clown (yes, really) so I’ve always been involved in the creative arts. I started writing by helping my mother write out clown skits for performances. My inspiration to create comes from my desire to make the world a little brighter.
Kim: My mouth actually fell open, I’m not kidding. What a job… a professional clown.
Who is your favourite author, is there anyone out there that inspires you?
Oh no, please don’t make me choose! Lol. I have many authors I enjoy and admire, but my tops are: Lori Foster, Maisey Yates, Nicole Helm, Cynthia Eden, Terry Brooks and Christopher Moore.
What genre do you enjoy reading?
Romance! I also enjoy fantasy, comedy, and thriller.
How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
Deadlines. Before I was published the only deadlines I had were the ones I gave myself. Now I have specific times when I must turn my novels in so I have to be on top of the ball. I schedule my writing time very strictly now.
Kim: Hmmm I hear that, I find that sometimes deadlines help you to turn in your best work though, the pressure, it’s like every word counts (even more) so make it good no time to mess around.
So you’ve published a series, what is the series about?
My series is about the small, fictional town of Peak Town, Colorado set in the Rocky Mountains. I grew up in a small mountain town so it has parallels to my childhood home. Small towns are wonderful and crazy at times. Everyone knows everyone else. You can’t get away with anything and the gossip mill rivals the biggest tabloids, but it’s also filled with loving people who truly care about their neighbours.
What was it like creating back to back stories that link?
It’s a blast, but sometimes tough because you have to keep the details straight. I usually keep a series bible where I have all the character info for everyone in the series plus any important details pertaining to setting or backstories. I love writing series. It always seems that those secondary characters you put in demand a story of their own. Though my books do link together, they can all be read as stand-alones too.
Kim: I think this is the best type of series for readers, when you can dip into anyone. I am reading the latest one, and so far I’m not confused so you have done a good job with the “able to read as stand alone.” 🙂
Have you ever thought about writing in a different genre? If you could what genre would you like to dabble in?
Fantasy. I started out writing straight fantasy. I still have a few of those stories and I might do something with them someday, but the moment I discovered Romance I was hooked.
What has been your most proud moment as an author?
Being nominated for the Golden Heart® award from the Romance writers of America®.
Kim: aww nominations really touch you, unforgettable experience.Well done you for the nomination, I hope more come your way.
Was there ever a time you wanted to pick up your laptop, and then launch it out the window with frustration?
Every. Single. Day.
Are you a “plotter” or a fly by the seat of your pants “pantster” as a writer?
Plotter. I started out as a pantster, but it took me far too long to finish a book. Now I do a scene-by-scene outline before I start writing.
Am I the only one who gets hung up on commas? Do they make you go blah! when you’re writing?
Commas are the bane of my existence. I always use too many or too few. Thank goodness for editors!
Kim: I put them where a breath seems natural, it appears that everyone breathes differently… or I talk too fast?? There’s a thought. Mine are moved… a lot
Every writer has a word(s) that they always slip up on when they write, then slap their forehead when they notice their typo. For me it’s further and farther exit or exists- but hey I’m over it now. Do you have a word (s) that make you go blah! Go away not another damn typo.
I have dyslexia so I mix up letters all the time, but my most common slip up is writing form when I mean to write from.
Kim: I actually do that too, you’re not alone!
What three tips would you give any aspiring writer?
- Never stop reading.
- Never stop writing.
- Never stop reaching for your dreams.
What are you working on now? What will you release next?
I am currently working on edits for the 5th Peak Town Book: Love on the Free Side as well as edit on the 2nd in my paranormal series: Daemon Deception. Both will be released within the next year.
Kim: Keep us posted! I hope to finish #4 this weekend great to hear #5 is on the way.
So…where can we get your books?
E-copies of my books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Kobo, and The Wild Rose Press. Paperback versions are available at Amazon and The Wild Rose Press
What are the most important magazines for writers to subscribe to?
Whatever gives them the most helpful advice. For me, I enjoy the Romance Writers Report.
Does a big ego help or hurt writers?
Confidence is important in any career, but a big ego does not help anybody. No one is perfect and everyone can learn something new. It’s important to remember mistakes are always made, but more importantly, you can learn from them.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
If my character has a career I’m unfamiliar with I like to interview people in that career. I also do a lot of Internet research and in person visits to places that might be in my book, like visiting a horse ranch. The amount of time spent on research depends on the depth of the subject.
Kim: boy would I love to go to the location of my stories. I would have seen a lot of exotic islands by now. If only I had that opportunity.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Yes I do. I love it when someone says they enjoyed my book. I feel very honoured when they allow my characters to live in their hearts. The bad ones I try to learn from. Fiction is subjective and you aren’t going to please everyone, but sometimes there is valid criticism you can learn from in a bad review.
What was your hardest scene to write?
The last scene of the Peak Town series. It’s hard to say goodbye to a place that lives in your heart.
Do you Google yourself?
Yes *hangs head in shame* but if I don’t put in my last name it’s just a bunch of info on Mariah Carey, lol.
Kim: LOL .. I wonder why ? Surly this Mariah is worth knowing on a first name basis only!
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Four to six weeks depending on the length of the book.
What would you like readers to know?
As authors we are so nervous you aren’t going to like a book. We feel as though we’ve let you down when you don’t enjoy it. It’s okay not to like a book, but please be kind if you feel the need to write a bad review.
What’s your favourite movie?
The Neverending Story! (Labyrinth is a close second)
What’s your favourite book and why?
The Picture of Dorian Gray. I love the exploration of morality and duplicity.
What music do you like?
I love all kinds of music, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the Blues and Bluegrass.
Kim: *nods her head in approval*… The blues huh? Great taste.
Where would you like to travel to and why?
Sicily. My great grandmother emigrated form Sicily and I’d love to see where she grew up.
Which one of your characters is your favourite and why?
Lizzy from Love on the Wild Side because her use of made up words makes me laugh since I do it all the time too.
And that’s a wrap, thank you for joining me today Mariah. I look forward to finishing off your latest book Love on The Forbidden Side and reviewing. Let us know when #5 is out.
Enter Mariah’s $20.00 Amazon gift card giveaway!