I had the honor of interviewing writer Ani Keating, check her out and look forward to her upcoming book-
Me: So my first question is, for those that aren’t familiar with you, tell us some about you and your book
AK: For some reason, I always want to start with favorite foods (cheese) and favorite book characters (Brothers Karamazov), but that won’t get me anywhere. So here is the short version: I’m a lawyer by day and a writer by night. I was born and raised in a different country, which I have chosen to keep anonymous for now. I came here by myself at age 18 (wearing a bad pair of coveralls, which were considered fashionable at the time in my homeland). Before I knew it, I was going to college, then law school, and then falling in love with a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, All-American boy and the rest is history. Now, the U.S. is my home, and I consider myself very lucky to have love, support, and strong connections in two countries, as different from each other as it’s possible to be, and I do my best to provide the same support to newbie lawyers, newbie Americans, and newbie writers that I was given by so many here during my very, very long journey.
I live in Portland, Oregon, which means that most of my weekends are spent in the Mecca of book lovers, Powell’s Bookstore, and after I finish either a long day in court, or a long evening drafting briefs, I come home and for reasons that remain a mystery to my husband (and me for that matter)—I write some more. Writing has always been part of my life, but it wasn’t until I figured out how to survive billable hours that I finally put pen to paper and started my first novel, Thirty Nights.
Thirty Nights is new adult fiction, some call it romance, some call it “new adult with an old soul.” I think of it more like a love story with social conscience.
Me: Awesome!, so what is thirty nights about?
AK: It follows the tormented relationship of Elisa Snow, an orphan from England, and Aiden Hale, a U.S. Marine with total recall who suffers from PTSD. Elisa and Aiden are burdened, not only by tragedy in their pasts, but also by the laws of the very same government that they want to serve. Elisa, as a foreign student, is given thirty days to the leave the U.S. after her visa is denied. Aiden, now a wealthy businessman, can never escape the memories of his tour in Iraq. Drawn by their invisible wounds, the two start a passionate affair as they race against the clock to defy their pasts and fight for their future.
Me: Awesome!, so foreign student, was it written from personal experience?
AK: No, it’s not a true or autobiographical story, pure fiction. However, a lot of the legal constraints that appear in the book are inspired from various aspects of U.S. immigration law.
Me: I see, and when’s your book coming out?
AK: The book is scheduled to be released on November 17, 2015.(just announced)
Me: Definitely awesome!, are there any other current/upcoming projects?
AK: Yes, there is the sequel to Thirty Nights, currently titled Ninety Days. Separate from this, I have another book in the works based on legends. That’s all I can say about that one.
Me: So no hint on legends?
AK: The legends book covers certain ancient myths from various countries, as viewed from the descendants of those mythical heroes in the modern world. I am still in the outlining stage of that one.
Me: Very awesome!, so what else can we expect from you in the future?
AK: As for my future plans, they involve a lot of writing. Now that the words are finally finding paper, they can’t stop. After the sequel to Thirty Nights, Ninety Days, and Legends, I am toying with a fairy tale, Young Adult story, and after that, a psychological thriller. I love romance, but I don’t discriminate: I will write whatever characters, voices, or stories take root in my head. Usually, it’s a character first, and once they come alive, it’s hard to stop.
Me: Alot to look forward to!, you mentioned the character comes first, what was the writing process like on your current book?
AK: That’s a good question, and believe it or not, one of the most common ones I get. I don’t know that there is only one way to write, and I’m by far not an expert, but for me, it starts with an idea of conflict or a character, nothing complicated, just a “what if?”-“What if you had to choose between your family or your love?”, “What if you were an orphan who had a second chance at a family?”, “What if you could never forget anything?”, then, I develop it with “then what?”, until I have a two-three paragraph summary, which almost always involves three main points: 1) where does a character start? 2) what happens to change that starting position? 3) and where do they end? Once I have a vague idea of this, I research, and then, I research some more- places, times, history, legend… I jot down my main research findings by each point, color-coding the ones I like for character, for plot, for mood, for voice, etc. (That part is a little nuts, I recognize that.), and then, I outline. Loosely at first, until the characters are fully developed and determine their own path. Once the characters are set, then I truly outline. By then, I also know the way the story will end, and because I know the ending, I often write/work backwards, which helps me plug in plot clues. Once it’s finished, I step away from it for a week or so, and then go back and edit like crazy. That’s it in a nutshell, at least so far. The Legends book involves a lot more plotting, so for that one, I am now in the language-development and map-drawing stage, very different approach.
Me: Sounds like an extensive and intense methodical process, was it learned somewhere or is it how you did and found works best for you?
AK: The writing process – I’m glad it makes sense to someone! No, I didn’t really learn it anywhere, I’m not a trained writer, it just worked best for me. Although, the color-coding is something I inherited from law school days. I used to color-code part of legal briefs (issue, rule, analysis) so maybe, that method of work has stayed with me during research these days, lol.
AK: I see, since you were a lawyer, are you ever going to write anything related?, like the legally blonde or Erin Brockovich of books
AK: Ha ha, I love both of those movies, but right now, I am not planning on doing anything law-related. Perhaps because I do so much of it in my day job. That doesn’t mean it will never happen – it would just have to be the right character or the right story.
Me: Very awesome!, so what all can we look forward to in the future?
AK: I plan to finish the American Beauty series because my readers have waited for it (very patiently) for a quite a while. In fact, ever since the first book was originally posted online. The American Beauty series includes Ninety Days (the sequel), and most likely, a separate third book covering the journey of another character in the story.
After American Beauty, it will be the projects I mentioned above, and hopefully, some sleep. The writing and publishing process is one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had, but it is also one of the most exhausting, really late nights, ungodly early mornings, take-out, frozen shoulders, you-name-it, but I wouldn’t have it any other way because there is nothing better than typing that one last word on a page and seeing the story come to life. (By the way, I obsess a long time about what the last word should be in a book.)
Me: Very awesome!, so same world but a different character?, which character this time?
AK: Book 3 will likely be the story of Javier Solis, but first, I need to have Aiden and Elisa’s journey completed.
Me: Sounds like alot going on!, anything else your fans would be interested in knowing?
AK: I just want to tell them that I’m really thankful for their support. This story started as a small experiment online, first on fan fiction, then on my blog, and my readers followed it everywhere, spread the word, encouraged me, and ultimately made this possible. I want to thank all of them, from the very first follower to the last reader. Without them, the story may have never been finished.
Me: Thank you so much for this interview!
AK: No, thank you for giving me this opportunity to interview with you. I really appreciate it.