Today I have the opportunity to welcome author Anna Belfrage to The Maiden’s Court. I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing book 2 in this series, Like Chaff in the Wind, earlier this year and very much enjoyed it. While this time around I didn’t have the time to commit to reviewing The Prodigal Son, I had several questions I wanted to ask the author. So here is the interview and stay tuned at the end for a giveaway!
Has writing always been something that you have wanted to do or was it a bug that bit you recently?
I began writing books the moment I figured out how to put pen to paper. Initially I spent more time illustrating than writing (mostly horses, knights, dragons, bloody swords and faraway castles. Not a princess in sight… At times my mother despaired, sighing that it would have been better had I been a boy) but over time words took over.
Mostly I wrote because I didn’t like how some of my favourite books ended, and so I decided to take over and improve on the author’s original idea. It became a bit complicated when I decided The Lord of the Rings needed a re-write…
So, the bug bit me ages ago, it still bites me, it still makes me itch all over and fills my life with so much pleasure!
Do you have a set writing routine, or do you write whenever you find time?
I write when I can find the time. Working full time sort of makes it difficult to do otherwise. But I do have routines, like in the initial phase I will generally write quite a lot by hand, odd scenes, key words, etc. Once I have the story clear in my head I start writing for real – and halfway through I discover my characters have totally derailed the original plotline, forcing me to take a break and read up on cheese making in Holland in the 17th century, or on how best to travel from Copenhagen to Paris on 18th century roads.
What has the writing and publication experience been like for you? Have there been difficulties?
The writing experience is a delight – all the way from conception to editing. I am somewhat more ambivalent to the publication process – at times I find things quite daunting. I do, however, think that I made the right choice when I decided to self-publish as this allows the control freak in me to have a major say in everything from cover to font. That said, I have learnt a LOT from the professional team that has helped me with the actual pre-press and publication.
Why did you choose the time period that you did for your novels – beginning in 1658?
I am fascinated by the17th century, a final breaking point between the “old times” and the modern era. By the end of the century, the first Bill of Rights had been published, and most European states were leaving feudalism behind. It is also a period rife with religious conflicts, and as I find this a very interesting subject it made sense to set my book when I did.
Your books in The Graham Saga feature an element of time travel – why choose to tell the story with time travel and not as a straight historical?
I get that question from time to time, and while I don’t feel I had a choice – Alex is a very modern woman in how she thinks and speaks, has been that way since her inception – I also like the fact that by having her as my “representative” in the 17th century I can include the odd comment here and there as to what she perceives as totally unbelievable in this new life of hers. Plus I am genuinely interested in how people adapt to changed circumstances and yanking my main character three centuries backwards in time creates quite the challenging environment for Alex. I find it somewhat amusing that people will very often express that they are reluctant to change, that they prefer things to remain as they’ve always been. And yet all of us change – constantly – due to circumstances. We have to, in order to stay ahead. Alex has to cope with a more extreme situation than most of us do, and I must say she gets an A in change management. Luckily – as otherwise she would probably have been dead.
Your website indicates that there will be more books in the Saga. Do you have a sense at this time of how many are planned to tell their story? What are you currently working on?
In total The Graham Saga consists of eight books. My intention is to publish one more this year, three next year and the last one in the spring of 2015. The story is committed to paper – well, to computer – and while I have a lot of joyful editing and rewriting to do (I LOVE rewriting my books. I can immerse myself for hours in further polishing a crucial scene or tweaking dialogue or adding a new plotline, or… you get the picture, right?) I know how things will end and what adventures Matthew and Alex will live through before getting to that point. At times, Alex finds her life excessively exciting and rather exhausting. Tough, I say; that’s the price you pay for being lucky enough to fall through time and land at Matthew’s feet. For some strange reason she doesn’t always agree .
Anna was raised abroad, on a pungent mix of Latin American culture, English history and Swedish traditions. As a result she is multilingual and most of her reading is historical - both non-fiction and fiction.
She was always going to be a writer - or a historian, preferably both. Instead she ended up with a degree in Business and Finance, with very little time to spare for her most favourite pursuit. Still, one does as one must, and in between juggling a challenging career she raised her four children on a potent combination of invented stories, historical debates and masses of good food and homemade cakes. They seem to thrive … Nowadays she spends most of her spare time at her writing desk. The children are half grown, the house is at times eerily silent and she slips away into her imaginary world, with her imaginary characters. Every now and then the one and only man in her life pops his head in to ensure she’s still there.
You can find Anna at her website for more information.
And now for your giveaway opportunity! There is one paperback copy up for grabs and is open internationally. The last day to enter is July 28th. Entries are through the Rafflecopter below. Good luck.
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