Today I'm thrilled to have one of my dearest friends, Aña Anne, on the blog. She is a talented writer who is always bursting with ideas, as well as always being kind and supportive. I hope you enjoy this interview!
M: So, Aña, ’m using this interview as a chance for everyone to get to know you. You’re a pretty popular face around the writing community, so I’m sure lots of my readers are already familiar with you and your work, but I hope to really dive into what makes you tick as an author!
A: That sounds wonderful! I’m excited to get into it!
M: First things first, can you tell the readers a little bit about yourself? Not necessarily your writing journey, but maybe a little introduction to Aña as a person?
A: Well, I’m a student going into my last year of high school, for one. And aside from writing, I like to think of myself as an art-inclined person. I love to dance, paint, play with photography, design clothes, basically whatever method I can express myself. Though most days I can be found in bed, if we’re being honest, a good book or TV show is my kryptonite. But when I force myself to stop being lazy, I’ll do anything. Exploring, running, hanging out with friends, trying out new past times, anything that’ll keep my squirrel brain occupied. I’m on a dance team, I have four cats, I annoy all my friends, and I hate the cold. That’s me.
M: Where does writing fit into this equation? How long have you been writing, and why do you find yourself drawn to it?
A: I’ve been creating stories since I can remember, but I grew more attached to it around fourth grade, and even more serious about it in middle school. As I said, any way I can express myself is very important to me, and writing was always my favorite medium of doing so. I’ve always had too many words for my body, in a way. I love playing with them and putting them together and building things with them. I find it so freeing, especially since I really needed an escape when I first started out.
M: How do you think your writing style has evolved? How would you describe it now?
A: I mean, I think we all start out with no sense of our own voice, I know I definitely did. Over the years and over many different projects my style has vastly changed, and I can’t quite explain why, but I found my own voice within each of them. At one point I probably would have described my writing as goofy, emotional, and youthful. But with my current project, a fantasy series, it’s evolved into something more sad and mature, but hopeful and happy all the same. I never want the hope in my stories to die out, whatever the piece I’m working on is. Hope is something I needed as a kid and I want to provide that for others through my own work. I’d say that’s my style.
M: That’s a really beautiful description! Having read your work, I always think it's very accurate. Also, I’m excited that you mentioned your fantasy series! I know this is a terrible question, but can you pitch this project?
A: Sure! The working title is Our Lady of the Orbiting Star, and it is part fantasy, part romance, part chaos. I’m actually working on the sort-of second draft right now, which I am lost in, let me tell you. I couldn’t explain it if I tried. But the first draft is more or less a magical take on the Tower of Babel Bible story, set in a world inspired by Ireland. There’s corrupt Gods, witches who can talk to Time herself, revolutions from other worlds, and a very cranky heroine nun. Kind of. Did I mention I’m lost?
M: I’ve been obsessed with this idea, this concept...this world of yours forever now. It’s honestly amazing. And I’m sure wherever you end up going with it, it’ll continue to be amazing. What is your favorite aspect of writing this series?
A: Aww, thank you so much! I hope so! And to answer your question, I’m having a blast with all of it, but the characters are probably my favorite. I love people, I love creating them and figuring out their dynamics and motivations and relationships. Not only can I live vicariously through these weirdos, but I can also create personalities that maybe I’d never understand in real life. It gives you a sense of empathy, I think. Plus playing God is a good time.
M: The other day you were telling me about your in-depth character analysis exercise. Can you explain to everyone else what you’ve been doing?
A: Oh, of course! So, lately I’ve been doing a lot of exercises to get into the heads of my characters, since sometimes I can find myself relying too heavily on archetypes. Occasionally I will write OC Shorts, in which two random characters from my WIP will talk in a non-canonical setting and I can navigate their dynamic. But what you’re referencing is an even newer idea for me, which is to write a full deep dive into one character at a time. Through this, I try to understand their fears, their driving motivations, their moral codes, etc and how all of that correlates with their outside relationships. It can be difficult, having to create a character in such close detail, but it’s been super helpful in the long run.
M: Do you have any future writing goals or aspirations, or plans for this series?
A: In general, I’d love to self publish some anthologies and work more on my poetry, which I have a passion for as well. It isn’t as popular a medium as the traditional book series, but I have a lot of fun with it and I’d love to see my poems on my shelf one day anyway. For this series and my future novel-like projects, on the other hand, I’d like to look into traditional publishing, when the time is right. But for now, I’m just focusing on making it better. I’m really looking forward to this second draft!
M: We’ll end with a fun question. If you could have lunch with any author, who would it be?
A: Oh, that’s a hard one. Well, I’ve met Leigh Bardugo at a signing, and she was fantastic. And Casey McQuiston sounds like a great person to chill with, plus she’s so talented. And Neil Gaiman is the OG, so of course I’d love to chat with him. But I’d probably pass out if I met any of them (again), so I’ll just say that I’d love to have lunch with my friend and brilliant author Madison Siwak and ask her many questions about her process. I must know.
M: Hm, I don’t know about this Madison character, she kind of sounds like a hack. Besides her, excellent choices. Bardugo, McQuinston, and Gaiman. It doesn’t get better than that. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: Just that I’m honored I got to be back on the blog! I hope that some people are inclined to check me out on my platforms, I write everything from songs to short stories to poems to novels and I love hearing feedback, but otherwise, thank you again! This was a blast!
Follow Aña on Instagram: @ana_anne_writes