Do you have a specific writing style?
Most everyone does. J I usually start by establishing where the story starts and ends. Then I spend some time imagining and dreaming about the plot and write the scenes that pop into my head, in whatever order they arrive. Then I do some work pinning down the plot development. Then, I let myself wander and dream and write whatever comes to mind. Then, I pin the plot down pretty firmly. Towards the end, I have to make myself write the scenes that I wasn't naturally inspired to write. These are the ones that usually take the longest. I often re-read what I've written as I do this, looking for plot holes and making sure the text that exists makes sense with the books that came before it. This sometimes helps me answer questions that then allow me to write the final scenes. By the time I'm done, there are parts of the book that I've read dozens of times.
How did you come up with the title for your latest book?
Once I had a rough idea of the shape of the plot, I sat down and started free writing words and phrases that seemed connected. Then I looked a few words up (hurrah for thesaurus). Next, I threw out almost everything I'd written down and decided that "Game of Liars" was the way to go. However, I ran that past my partner who pointed out that it echoed the very popular "Game of Thrones." I agreed and sat back down to play around with the phrasing and finally settled on Liar's Game. Finally, I searched Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Google to see if this was a wildly popular title and was glad to find that it wasn't. I was halfway done with the book before I finalized the title.
Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
I generally title the book first, but I definitely tweak titles as I get a clearer grasp of the plot line.
Who designed the cover of your latest book?
Kip Ayers. He was great to work with: http://www.kipayersillustration.com/
What book are you reading now?
Sadly, not much in the way of reading for me right now. I get some fiction reading in over winter break, but during the academic year (September to May), I read a lot less fiction than I would like. I randomly sucked down Patricia Wrede's Mairelon the Magician in a couple of hours this past weekend.
What books are in your to read pile?
I've had my eye on Elizabeth Bear's New Amsterdam series for a while. I keep hesitating to start it because if it's good, I'm not going to be able to put the books in the series down and I'm kinda swamped at the moment.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The latest release is Liar's Game, the fifth book in the "One Rises" series. The main characters, who initially started the series out together, have been pulled apart by various events. This book definitely took me longer to write than the previous four because of how disparate the characters' plotlines are. At the same time, I really did need to separate them and give each some space to develop on their own.
What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?
The next book (#6) is entitled Solid as the Wind. Most of the series has been building up to a big event (the Meeting of the Conclave) and this is finally going to happen in Book 6. The book plot is a bit of a mess at the moment. I know where I'm starting and I know where I'm ending but how to get from A to Z is still a little fuzzy. Right now, I'm just writing as inspiration strikes. I will say that I wrote some of the sex scenes for Book 6 as I was writing the first book in the series.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
As is true with most writers, finding time to write is the biggest challenge. I often end up writing late at night (10pm-1am). I'm a bit of a night owl, so sometimes this can be great. Other times, I'm just too tired to come up with scenes, or edit effectively, or do much of anything. Those nights I end up listening to music and re-reading what I've written in the hopes that doing so will help my brain come up with ideas in the future.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
This is not new advice. Indeed, I think this might be the most repeated piece of advice for writers in existence. But, it's also true and hard to do and so bears repeating: put your butt in the chair and write. You can edit garbage, but you can't edit something that doesn't exist.
The One Rises
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Date of Publication: February 1st, 2016
Word Count: 75,900
Cover Artist: Kip Ayers
The Seer yanks his chain, and Silas could swear she does it for fun. Knowing that she manipulates everyone around her hasn't helped him at all over the last two centuries.
His little band of misfits has come apart. Edie is gone and refusing to speak to him. Mark is still trying to figure out how to control his ability and the Seer has ordered him to keep the boy in the dark. And Callie tempts him with a life he cannot have.
A seat on the powerful Witches Council has opened up and Silas is stuck in the middle of the machinations unfurling over which faction of the witches will gain the upper hand. Angry witches, lies, and murder are just the start.
Events in the Windy City will push Silas to the edge and reveal an unexpected enemy.
Silas stood in the kitchen and stared down at his coffee. It was late and they'd only just gotten back from the West Coast. The others had promptly vanished into their rooms, no doubt to stew and generally hate his guts. He leaned forward and inhaled the rich aroma of coffee made properly. He hadn't done more than catnap since the disaster that had been his trip to the Bay Area enclave.
Edie is going to leave. The thought made him restless and angry. It wasn't that he needed her to stay, but he didn't want her to leave hating him. Again. He hated the blood contract that bound him. It killed anyone who discovered who he really was and he had no control over the memories it stuffed into people's heads as it hid his existence. It's better that she leaves before I get her killed. He carried the coffee to the living room and sat down on the couch. I don't want her to hate me. I hate that she hates me.
He set the coffee down untouched and prowled across the living room. Perhaps some music will help. And maybe I should bake something. He set the volume low and scrolled through his music collection. A nagging sensation of wrongness tugged at the back of his mind. He paused, finger hovering over the screen, and swept his eyes over the living room. A book was missing from the shelf.
Adrenaline rushed through his veins. Not just any book. The text about the demonborn. The book about me. He forced himself to control his breathing and heart rate as he replayed the memory of their arrival home. Mark, Edie, and Hatter all went directly to their rooms. Callie got fruit from the… Callie!
Racing across the house, Silas hoped he wasn't too late. He attempted to turn the handle of her door and snarled when he found it locked. He kicked the door open. Even as he did so, he spread his power out over Callie's room as thickly as he could. If Callie was going to die, at least he could make sure she was the only one.
Callie looked up, her mouth hanging open in shock. The book was open on her lap.
"Stop!" He bellowed the words. "If you want to live, stop!"
The girl scrambled off the bed and away from him. The book tumbled to the floor and, mouth set in a firm line, Callie threw her power at him, shoving him against the wall and then pinning him there. Her power pulled up loose bits of paper and dust until the air crackled with them.
"You stay the hell away from me!" Callie pointed a finger at him.
"Stop. Stop thinking about me. Stop thinking about anything. Or you die and not by my hand." Silas wriggled against the weight of her power until he slipped free. Before she could hit him again, he held his hands up in an effort to be nonthreatening and begged, "You have to forget."
"Yeah, well, I can't." Callie folded her arms over her chest. "And you and your siblings were scary as fuck so just stay the hell over there."
Silas winced and then a sick ball of dread opened up in his stomach. And now she dies. I'll have to pass it off as a suicide, but after the events in San Fran, Edie and Mark will be at risk. They will both have to leave. And soon. Only Callie didn't die. One moment turned into ten and still Callie stood there glaring at him. Shock rippled through him, and for a moment, he couldn’t hear anything. The room wavered under his feet, and he stumbled forward until he could sit on the end of the bed.
"Silas?" Callie's voice sounded like she was speaking from the end of the tunnel. "Dokuz?"
She butchered the pronunciation of his name and still she didn't die. Silas stared at her. How? How is this possible?
Her power dropped away and she edged closer. "Are you okay?"
He grabbed her wrist and yanked her towards him. Callie let out a shocked squeak, and he could feel her gathering her power. "Why aren't you dead?" They were nose-to-nose as he growled the question.
"I don't know." Callie shook her head as she spoke. "To be honest, it still doesn't seem possible that you're… what? Four hundred? Silas, that's crazy."
"Say it." Silas bit off the words as a sudden, wild hope sprang up in his chest.
"Uh, what?" Callie tugged her arm and when he didn't let go, she glared down at him. "Let go of me or I'm going to knock you clear across the room."
"My name." He enunciated as he released her wrist. "Everything. Tell me who I am."
Callie rubbed her wrist and narrowed her eyes at him. "Dokuz, born in 1603, the ninth demonborn to survive his birth and Gabriel's youngest offspring. Mated with Sekiz."
Silas flinched to hear her say the words. And still she does not die. She was looking at him like he was a mad man, but showed no signs of burning up from the inside out. Silas let out an involuntary sob and then pressed his head into his hands. I don't understand. This shouldn't be possible.
When he looked up, Callie had gathered up the book and stood on the other side of the room. Her gaze was fixed on him, almost unblinking, as she set the book down on top of her dresser. "How did you survive Gabriel's purge?" She looked ready to bolt.
She's afraid of me. The one person, other than the members of Conclave, who knows who I am and she's terrified. Silas started to laugh and once he started, he found he couldn't stop. Even Callie pressing herself into the corner and pulling up her power didn't slow the laughter down. He fell back on the bed and laughed until tears rolled down his face.
Finally, the laughter wheezed to a stop and Silas could push himself back up into a sitting position. He wiped at his face with his hands. "You should be dead."
"And that's funny?" She edged towards the door.
"No." With the madness of the laughter gone, all he felt was tired. "How do I make you not be afraid of me?" He winced and rolled his shoulders to ease the tightness. He needed her to have an answer to his question.
Callie chewed on her lower lip and stared at him. He could tell when she went to confer with the memory-sets because her pupils expanded to the edges of her irises and her gaze went distant. When her gaze found his again, Silas straightened his spine.
"Show me." She stepped forward and held out her hand. "Show me how you survived."
About the Author:
Anna Wolfe is a college professor by day and a novelist by night. In fact, writing urban fantasy is the only reason she is still (mostly) sane post-dissertation. When she isn't writing, teaching, or dicking around on the Internet, she is probably cooking with her husband or watching trashy television.
You can visit her at: http://anna-wolfe.com
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