Anna Durand shares her Five Photographs today. Among them, a hand-painted miniature village and a Baltimore Oriole (for bird lovers, not baseball fans 🙂 ). And for anyone who’s struggling with whatever goal they’re currently trying to achieve, she’s got some great advice: DON’T QUIT!
Something that represents something unique about you
I own my own village. The residents live by my whims; they never eat or drink or sleep, but are always cheerful and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Like Brigadoon, however, they come out for only a brief time, then sleep again until their next awakening.
This is my Christmas village, hand-painted by me, piece by piece, over the course of 18 years. I love the holidays, and my village not only provides added cheer, but it’s also a conversation starter. Anyone who visits my house in December is instantly drawn to the idyllic little town and can’t help asking questions about it. Naturally, my village has a bookstore and a library.
The town’s name? Well of course, it’s Noël!
[Jill: beautiful and charming!]
Something that represents where you live
My home is Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where natural beauty is on display everywhere you look. We have a rich history of mining and lumbering, but my favorite part of the U.P. shows itself every autumn. The fall color here is spectacular — though often short-lived, thanks to our ever-present wind!
Your pet or plant or thing you care for (besides your human family/friends)
My cat is my little shadow. He follows me everywhere around the house, and out in the yard. When I’m writing, he sits nearby keeping an eye on me — mainly to make sure I don’t forget to feed him his treats. I often have to fight with him for custody of my desk chair!
Something (not someone) that really frustrates you
Winter can be incredibly frustrating, especially when it refuses to leave on time in the spring. I hate house guests who hang around too long! Even the snow gets tired and starts to droop, but the cold sticks around until everyone’s ready to run winter out of town. But we make the best of it, with snow sculptures and spicy Mexican food (U.P. style) to keep us warm.
Something that brings you joy (besides writing)
I love photographing birds, and with my bird feeders, I get to see many different species — even through the winter. Last summer, I snapped this photo of a Baltimore Oriole. I don’t see many of these, which makes it a treat. Soon, the hummingbirds will arrive and demand their sugar-water. They deserve it, though, after their long journey up from the Gulf of Mexico.
What’s the elevator pitch for your latest published novel?
Ultimate power comes at the ultimate price.
Torn apart by their haunted pasts, Grace and David struggle to reclaim their passionate bond and defeat an enemy who wields unspeakable psychic power. As events drive them toward a battle of epic proportions, they must risk everything — their hearts, their lives, and even their souls — to protect each other and the entire world.
Intuition is the award-winning second book in the Psychic Crossroads series.
What are you working on next?
I have several projects in the works. Reborn to Avenge, the third part in my Reborn series, will release in late May. The Mortal Falls is a paranormal romance with magic and plenty of heat, and it will be the first book in a new series. I’ve also started work on a hot contemporary romance (a standalone book).
What are you currently reading?
I’m listening to the audiobook of Jayne Castle’s The Lost Night. I love her Harmony series! I’m reading (with my eyes, not my ears) Lisa Kessler’s Hunter’s Moon.
What are you currently watching (TV shows)?
It’s that slow time of year when all the good stuff is on hiatus. Bummer! Some of my favorite shows are Haven, The Flash, Agents of S.H.I.E.LD., and Jane the Virgin. Jane’s a romance writer, so of course, I have to watch that show.
Favorite fantasy creature, villain, or weapon not from your own work?
I love the fae, because they can be naughty or nice, sometimes without meaning to be either. They might’ve struck a bad bargain and now must do someone else’s bidding, or maybe they’re cursed. You just never know — and that’s half the fun!
Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series has two of my favorite types of characters — fae and sexy Highlanders. You can’t get much better than that.
Biggest challenge facing writers today?
More than ever, writers must figure out how to market their own books. Even those traditionally published find their publishers expect them to shoulder the marketing burden.
How can we meet that challenge?
It’s a huge responsibility and a massive challenge. There’s no magic bullet, so you just have to keep trying different tactics until you find what works for you.
Don’t trust anyone who says they have the secret to becoming a bestseller. Those kinds of claims never pan out, and the person making them usually earns their living from selling nonfiction books about their magic method, not from selling their fiction. It’s easy to get discouraged when you hear miraculous tales of writers who dumped their first book on the market and sales exploded right off the bat, but these stories inevitably have a hidden backstory.
Be persistent. Don’t be afraid to try new tactics. Most of all — and this is the hardest lesson to accept — don’t be afraid to fail. Learn from it and move on.
Remember what Thomas Edison said: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
[Jill: Another reminder of that idea is the Japanese proverb, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” There is ONLY ONE guaranteed way to ensure you never succeed.]
More about Anna
Anna Durand is a multi-award-winning writer, a freelance librarian, and an audiobook addict. She specializes in sexy romances, both paranormal and contemporary, featuring spunky heroines and hunky heroes. In her previous life as a librarian, she haunted the stacks of public libraries but never met any hot vampires hunting for magical books.
Thank you for the interview and pictures, Anna!