The next guest in my Five Photographs series is author and marathoner Anise Rae. As with all of these posts, she touches on all sorts of things, one of which is the pressure we writers face these days to publish faster and faster. Love golden retrievers, but hate to clean your house? Know what vampires and baby powder have to do with one another (or want to find out)? Then read on! 😀 Welcome, Anise!
Something that represents something unique about you:
Years ago I ran two marathons. At the time, I was a fairly serious–yet very slow–runner. This is a photo of me crossing the finish line at 4 hours and 58 minutes. It’s far from the most flattering picture, but I’d just run 26.2 miles. I keep it out not to rest on my laurels or reminisce about past glories, but as a reminder to ask myself what other challenges I might be able to conquer…and then to go out and do it.
Something that represents where you live:
My screened-in porch is my favorite place to write. It’s like sitting in a tree house. The most frequently seen neighbors are birds, squirrels, and deer. Despite the risk of visiting bugs, I always keep that door cracked open. I’d say it was so the big story ideas have room to come in…that they don’t have to filter through the screens that way…but really it’s so the dog can come and go as she pleases without me getting up.
[Jill: when I saw this, I guessed you were from Appalachia. LOVE that area of the U.S., although I’ve spent more time in the northern part of it.]
Your pet or thing you care for (besides your humans):
Gylfie is the fluffiest golden retriever I’ve ever seen. When we got her as a puppy, I thought her fur would settle down and become silky and fine, but she stayed teddy bear soft. She loves attention from every single human who has the good sense to come see her. As for the name Gylfie, my daughter named her after a character in the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series by Kathryn Lasky.
[Jill: Aww, what a happy face! You can tell what a friendly dog she is. 🙂]
Something (not someone) that really frustrates you:
Cleaning! I like a clean house, but I’ve never enjoyed getting it that way. Right now, my house is up for sale, which means it has to stay as spotless as possible. That’s a challenge I really don’t appreciate living up to. The title of the book in the photo is a perfect representation of my thoughts on spotless houses: A Clean House is a Sign of a Misspent Life. For this photo, I’ve taken the book off my bookshelves and posed it in my front entryway. Maybe it’s best to give potential buyers an upfront view of the household’s current philosophy. Yeah…probably not.
[Jill: lol. I hear you. At the end of it all, do we really want to say, “but my house was always clean”? Though I admit to a deep-seated envy of those who have immaculate homes. 😀]
Something that brings you joy (besides writing):
I love swings. As a kid, I would pump my legs and get as high as possible. It was as close as I could get to flying through the air. These days, I still love to swing, even on playground swings, but I’m just as content sitting comfortably on the porch swing with my feet brushing the ground on every pass back and forth.
What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?
My latest book is Enchanter’s Echo.
Edmund Rallis, heir to Rallis Territory, will play every game he knows to win back the heart of enchantress Aurora Firenze. But he inadvertently puts her on the frontlines of a new game, one with an enemy who’s determined to destroy his land and drive the Republic toward war. If the new enemy isn’t stopped in time, Edmund will lose his enchantress again—and this time there won’t be another chance.
What are you working on next?
I’m working on the third book in the Mayflower Mages series, which is Gregor’s story. He’s one of the warrior mages in the first two books…a soldier with the heart of a poet. (Enchanter’s Echo is book two, but each book stands alone.)
What are you currently reading?
I’m re-reading Courtney Milan’s Proof by Seduction. It’s a historical, which isn’t my typical genre, but I love how the hero and heroine are so at odds with each other in the beginning.
What are you currently watching?
I absolutely adore Sherlock. I also watch Outlander, though I’m a few weeks behind. Defiance is another of my favorites. It’s on the Syfy channel.
Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?
I love the romance plot lines in J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood. I read them because I love how the men meet their matches. On the other hand, the lessers—the vampire killers who have no soul and smell like baby powder—freak me out. I can’t think of another villain that gives me the chills like those guys. The other day I was in a parking lot alone, and I smelled baby powder. I had to have a little talk with myself…the lessers are not real…the lessers are not real…. I hustled into the store anyway.
Biggest challenge facing writers today?
I think the biggest challenge is the pressure to publish faster and faster. I’ve seen a lot of writer friends who have to churn out story after story. Though I admire that ability a great deal, I’ve also seen a few of them burn out.
[Jill: I agree that there seems to be increasing pressure to produce more books with less time in between release dates, which is another interesting writer challenge to talk about.
Why is it happening? My guess is it’s a combination of these related factors:
the rise of self-publishing and digital books (which have a quicker to market time frame) so all writers, regardless of whether they are self-pub, trad, or hybrid, feel pressure to keep up;
an author’s best promo is their latest release;
the number of books released every year seems to be increasing exponentially and is at an all time high (other authors have mentioned that “discoverability” continues to be the greatest challenge facing writers today); and
the nature of life (everything seems to get faster with each passing generation).]
How can we meet that challenge?
I believe there’s a well of artistic inspiration and creative ability inside everyone. As that juicy goodness is used up, that well needs to be replenished. It’s essential to find a balance between creating stories and keeping that well of creativity full. It’s easy to neglect that last part because it requires taking time for yourself. It requires time to play, whatever form “play” may take, even though it may use up precious time on the publishing calendar. I think any creative person neglects that well at their peril. For those who are familiar with Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way, this probably sounds very familiar. I’m a big fan of her work.
[Jill: It used to be authors could put out a book a year and that was ok. It doesn’t seem that way anymore, although, of course, genre expectations vary. I’m certainly not immune to the pressure we all feel to produce work faster but I’m also really leery of producing something that isn’t the best I can do just to get something out there.
You’re right, Anise, that anyone who is suffering burn out needs to refill their creative well. I like to hike, bike, and do day trips, but lots of authors like to make jewelry, crafts, and other art.]
More About Anise
A native of Ohio, Anise Rae long ago moved south, armed with boxes of romance novels, notebooks of her own stories, and degrees in chemistry and library science. Creating chemistry on the page between two lovers proved to be a lot more fun than working with test tubes in a lab or searching patent databases. She refocused on writing.
Her stories revolve around heroines who dare to stand up to society’s expectations and be true to themselves and heroes with plenty of savvy to fall in love with such brave women. And her stories always include magic. Lots of magic.
She lives in Atlanta with her two children and a fluffy dog that has an amazing ability to find dirty socks.
Anise can be found online here:
Thank you, Anise, for sharing your pictures and thoughts with us today!