Anne K. Edwards has authored and coauthored books in several different genres, from children’s books to mystery to speculative fiction. Currently, Anne is working on a new mystery novel, second in the “Death” series, to follow Death on Delivery. She’s here today to talk about her latest release, the suspense novel, Shadows Over Paradise.

Why don’t you begin by telling us a little about yourself? 

I’m not sure where to start, but not at the beginning since we are all born and grow up somewhere.  Citing the list of educational backgrounds isn’t interesting either, so how about the writer’s tale of Anne K. Edwards?  I started writing when I was eight and kept at it until I took my first job way from home.  That period was when I grew up and realize what I wanted out of life. I first had to work my way through a desire to become an anthropologist or archaeologist and began college studies in that area. However, I soon realized this was only a dream left over from my teen years because I loved reading history and that was the way a people’s early history study was started. The romance of digging in the ruins was dulled by the reality  of dust, heat, cold, strange critters in your beds, and so on.  Instead, I turned to my love of the written word and after many years, becoming a writer was a dream realized.

Do you have another job besides writing?

Yes, keeping our  cats out of deviltry at which they are experts.

Were you an avid reader as a child? What type of books did you enjoy reading?

Yes, I read anything I could get my hands on as a child. This included cereal boxes, newspapers and magazines and I loved comic books.  When I discovered the library card and the school library, I gave up cereal boxes for books.  My favorite books were mostly those that were NOT recommended or required reading by teachers.  I read beyond my years and enjoyed a wide range of subjects from fiction to history and biographies.  Many of those books gave me entry to another world where I experienced an imaginary freedom not available otherwise. I loved it and still do.

Tell us a bit about your latest book and what inspired you  to write such a story.  

This is an easy question.  Shadows Over Paradise was written with the idea in mind that a heroine did not have to be rescued by a hero every time she fell prey to an enemy.  She is not meant to be a super woman nor does she preclude accepting help when offered. In this story, she gets the chance to do  the rescuing when she finds a man being held prisoner and his life obviously in danger. This gal is not one who’d run through the woods in high heels making lots of noise so the villain could be sure to track and find her. Her character was developed to show she could be a real person and think on her feet instead of standing in a dark corner and screaming while the villain approached.. So the storyline is based on that and as it unfolded, the heroine found herself involved in murder, smuggling, treason and other like events that put her life in peril.  Romance is a very minor part of the story as there simply isn’t room for it in the story, but the possibility of it is included and gives the characters a future after the book is read.

Did your book require a lot of research?

No. Everything, including the islands and other settings are out of the imagination of the author who does almost no research at all for fiction. Instead of using someone else’s facts to create a world for her characters, she likes to build it herself from the backgrounds and information life and reading have given her.

Agatha Christie got her best ideas while eating green apples in the bathtub, Steven Spielberg says he gets his best ideas while driving on the highway. Where do you get your  best ideas and why do you think this is?

I get my ideas during any lull in focusing on writing or some other task that requires the occupation of the mind. For instance, if I’m staring out the window at an empty  field, my mind wanders off toward considering the how and why of something  else or if I’m cleaning a stall in the barn, my mind isn’t  needed to lift the pitchfork and goes into idling where it can focus on a story or problem related thereto. I think this is something that commonly happens to writers when their minds are freed from the present task and goes looking for something new and exciting to think about.  Perhaps its the imagination seeking reprieve from boredom…

Do you  get along with your muse? What do you do to placate her when she refuses to inspire you?

First, my muse is a male called Swamp Thingy.  He has turned my brain into a bog for his comfort so when he refuses to fulfill his part of our contract, I turn off the water to his bog.  The ideas flow freely then and I turn the water on again.  However, there are times when he is simply not home as he makes long trips down Route Fifteen to visit friends that live under the city of Harrisburg. He is addicted to brown swamp water and often the police call me to say he’s sleeping it off. Threatening to fire him doesn’t work since no other self respecting muse would live in the mess he’d leave behind.  I’m stuck with him and he with me. I don’t know if this can be called placating a muse or inspiring me, but it’s how our relationship works.

What is your opinion of critique groups? What words of advice would you offer a novice writer who is joining one. Do you think the wrong group can crush a fledgling writer?

I think joining the right critique group is good for the novice writer, but they should never join a group that is “owned” by one person because they founded it. That type of group is really meant to support the ego of the founder and that person will brook no ideas that do not agree with their own.  Too much misinformation is imparted in such situations. A long lived group meeting at a library or from membership in a group like Pennwriters is the best place to start looking.  And yes, the wrong group can destroy a new writer if they allow it. They need to remember like all critics of anyone else’s writing, it is only that person’s opinion and nothing more. But the writer should examine any comments to see if they can actually help in their writing.

Do you have a website where readers may learn more about you and your works? 

Yes, The visitor should realize this site is about other authors as well.

Thank you, Anne, and best of luck with your book! 

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