Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Getting to know … Anne Stormont #interview @writeanne

What genre would you say your novels fall into, or do they defy classification?
In the broadest terms, my two novels should probably be shelved in the Contemporary Women's Fiction section. The target audience is mostly (but I've found not exclusively) women like me - past fifty, but not past it - who want to read about characters they have something in common with and who're facing challenges, adjustments and upheavals, but who're also still up for new, life-changing experiences including an active lovelife. I like to think my books offer hope that post-menopausal doesn't equate with post-interesting. So, not chick-lit, more lit for the mature, fully fledged hen.

What made you choose that genre
I wrote a book of the sort I wanted to read, but just couldn't find. I'm an eclectic reader. I like non-fiction and fiction. I like crime fiction, Scottish fiction and, being a newly retired primary school teacher (after thirty-six years) and also a grandma, I enjoy children's fiction too. BUT, when I wanted to read fiction that reflected who I am and what my life is like, I couldn't find much. I wanted to read stories about characters I could nod in agreement with and smile and cry with. But my sort, the female, baby-boomer generation seemed to me to be nearly invisible in contemporary writing.

How long does it take you to write a book?
That's a good question. The first one took ten years! I was still teaching full-time and had children still living at home when I began, so that impacted on the time I had available for writing. However, after a brush with mortality following my diagnosis with ovarian cancer (now in remission), I got my act together and promised myself no more procrastinating. The second novel took two years and came out just as I was retiring in June this year. B00L0G4M1QWhat is your work schedule like when you're writing?
Now that I'm retired, I have more time for writing. Indeed having more time for writing was one of the reasons I took early retirement. I'm trying to be disciplined about it. I have 'diaried' (is that a word?) in my writing slots and make sure I turn up at my desk at the appointed hours. I aim for around fifteen hours or so a week in two hour slots. This includes not just creating new work but also editing, doing promotional stuff online and writing my blog.

Where do you get your ideas for your books?
My ideas usually come when I'm out walking or when I'm doing something mundane like hanging out the washing. The starting points are usually a character who arrives uninvited and won't go away. I gradually get to know them and a bit about their story and then I go for it.

When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I was probably around eight or nine years old. I wrote a story for one of my younger sisters - several short pages complete with illustrations. It was about a skater called Janet M Lee whose long hair trailed along the ice behind her as she skated. An absolute classic...

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Both my husband and me are keen walkers and as we live in the Scottish Hebrides, there's no shortage of beautiful places to walk. I also enjoy gardening, listening to music - all sorts and doing yoga. I love reading of course. And I do enjoy playing with my grandchildren. was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The most surprising thing for me was the amount of post-writing work is involved in getting the book ready for publication. But it was definitely worth it.

How many books have you written?
I've written two novels.

Which is your favourite and why?
That's a difficult question to answer. The first one, Change of Life will always be special simply because it was the first. But the second one, Displacement is my favourite so far.

As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I wanted to be a primary school teacher and I wanted to write books. I have lived my dream.

What are you working on now?
I am currently working on a children's book. It's for ten to twelve year olds. It's a time-slip novel where the three main characters go back in time from the present day to the time of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. The idea came to me when I was working with a class at school on this period in history - and it just wouldn't go away. The working title is The Silver Locket and I'm loving writing it.

Nowadays Anne Stormont is an author-publisher. She can be a subversive old bat but maintains a kind heart. She's a wife, mother and grandmother and retired primary school teacher. She is a Scot living in the Scottish highlands, but is widely travelled and has visited every continent except Antarctica. She has a penchant for penguins and has seen them in the wild in South Africa and Tasmania. She writes fiction for adults – mainly of the female-of-a-certain-age persuasion – and for children.

Anne on the web
Anne blogs at  – where you can find out lots more about her.
Amazon author page can be found at
Twitter at @writeanne

Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

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