Many of us as Christian authors dream of God using our fiction to change the lives of others…but frequently, God changes us, the writers, just as much—if not more!—through the writing process. Today’s special guest, Anne Carol, is one such author. Read on to learn about her incredible transformation, as well as win copies of not one, not two, but all three of the books in her Faithfully Yours series! She’s writing the fourth and final book in the series as we speak, so now’s the perfect time to get on board. Details at the end of the post, but for now, please help me give a very warm welcome to Anne Carol!
Thanks for being our guest today, Anne!
And thank you for having me on your blog!
What inspired you to start writing?
My love of writing began in early childhood, when I combined my two loves of drawing and storytelling to create colorful storybooks. At age ten, with a new diary in possession, my writing evolved from little girl stories to journaling about fourth grade life. On occasion, I would embellish the chronicles of my preteen years, to the point of full-on fiction. Eventually, I channeled my creative juices into writing my first novel. This was during the 1980s, when the British band, Duran Duran, was all the rage. I crushed on the bass player hard, and I’d daydream about being his girlfriend. Finally, one day I found a blank notebook and filled it with an eleven-year-old girl’s greatest fantasy, meeting a handsome, talented musician before he became famous. What I wrote in those notebooks became the first version of my debut novel, Never Let Go!
What does your writing routine look like, if you have one? What obstacles or challenges do you face in making time to write?
<cue laughter> What’s a writing routine? This is something I need to work on as “real life” seems to change from year to year! Generally speaking, I write on the days I don’t work at my part-time accounting job. Sometimes I’m able to write on the weekends. I’d love to get to the point where I set a word count goal or “X” number of hours per week. This year has been particularly busy, as my older son just graduated from high school, my younger son is going into his senior year, and I had a major job change. My biggest obstacles are tax season, when I put in more day job hours, and taking care of parenting/household duties. Additionally, getting caught up in social media and battling self-doubt can act as roadblocks to writing time.
What factors led you to your decision to publish independently? How did God open those doors for you?
When I decided to rewrite and publish the rock star love story, I did extensive research on the process. This included attending a seminar at a community college and speaking with a friend of a friend who is an editor. They all seemed to point toward self-publishing as my best option. My desire was to put this beloved story out there, not necessarily to jumpstart a writing career, so I wasn’t thinking long-term. I learned everything I could about self-publishing, and along the way God brought many helpful people into my life—writing friends as well as professionals who worked with me on producing a quality debut novel.
What are your favorite—and least favorite—aspects of independent publishing? Why?
One of the reasons I self-published my rock star series is (plain and simple) I wanted to see the story polished and in print. It was a “bucket list” challenge for myself. I didn’t think a traditional publishing house would accept the series, since it didn’t fit into a “mold”, so I never pursued that route. Being able to write and publish the story on my heart is the greatest advantage of self-publishing. Keeping my own deadlines, and shifting them if needed, has also been a big plus.
On the other hand, I like the idea of being held accountable by a traditional publisher. Having a team supporting me sounds ideal, not to mention, being traditionally published would validate me as an author. I wouldn’t mind the financial benefits, either. Even if I only made enough to buy one coffee drink a month, it would be more than I make as an indie author. To be financially successful as an indie author, you need to publish more than once a year (as a general rule), and at this point writing at that pace isn’t feasible for me. I’m grateful my accounting job helps support my writing pursuits!
How has God changed you during your writing journey?
God has used writing to completely overhaul my faith. I was raised Christian, attended Christian schools, and surrounded myself with a faith community, yet my first two books didn’t accurately reflect my values. At the time I wrote Never Let Go and Never Fall, I was only reading general market romance, so I knew what made books sell. The problem was, writing in that style didn’t represent the real “me”, and after my second book released in November of 2015, I went through a period of deep soul searching. God worked on my heart, and it wasn’t long before I felt a strong nudge to change direction. Finally, I gave up writing the third book in the same general market style and took a break to find a Christian writing community. Around the same time, a friend convinced me to attend BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) with her. Between finding Christian writing friends and diving into Scripture, I discovered a longing for God I’d never experienced before. That was about three years ago. Last May I published revised versions of Never Let Go and Never Fall as well as Book Three, Never Change. I couldn’t have done it without God by my side. These days, I’m intentional about spending time in the Word and living (and writing) in a way that represents my faith.
If you could have coffee/tea/gratuitous amounts of carbs with any author(s), living or dead, who would you choose? What would you talk about?
Francine Rivers: amazing author, incredible testimony, lives for Jesus—yes, she would be my dream coffee date! I’d want to talk about her transformation from writing steamy romance to writing gripping, redemptive Christian fiction. Since I had a similar journey, I think talking to her would be so interesting, and maybe I’d get encouragement and advice!
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I assume you mean fun things, not work! I read (mostly Christian romance and women’s fiction), watch Hallmark Channel, listen to music (80s and Christian contemporary), hang out with my author buddies on FB, exercise, and attend numerous high school band events, especially during football/marching season!
Last question, Anne! How can we pray for you?
I’d love prayer as I begin writing the fourth and final installment of my Faithfully Yours series. I haven’t written in about four months and getting back into the routine has been an effort. Also, please pray that God will lead the right audience to my books. Although I write from a Christian worldview, my stories are edgy and intended for a crossover readership. Therefore, the faith threads are subtle. I like my characters to be authentic, which means they go through hard times and struggle with their faith. This type of story will not appeal to all Christian readers, as I touch on difficult subject matter. However, I do feel there is a niche audience out there who enjoys a thought-provoking, transformative clean read!
We’ll definitely be praying for you in that, Anne!
And now for the giveaway details: Anne will give a free electronic copy of all three books in her Faithfully Yours series to one lucky winner! To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post. We’ll randomly select a winner next Wednesday, July 3, and notify you just in time for the long weekend!
Anne Carol grew up reading, writing, and listening to English rock bands, obsessing over one in particular. Continuing her fascination with musicians, she married a bass player, with whom she has two sons, both blessed with the music gene. Besides reading, writing, and music, Anne also loves traveling, visiting with friends, watching Netflix, and daydreaming on Pinterest. A native of Northern California, she occasionally indulges in good red wine and a square of dark chocolate.
Connect with Anne at her website or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Spotify, or her Amazon author page.