Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have wanted to be an author since I was 11 years old, since before I can remember I loved to make up and write down little stories, but when I was 11 a school project to write a story showed me how much I loved writing and ignited my passion.
I am now 22 and still love to write. After completing my degree in Journalism I decided it was time to take a year out and write for myself. In the months since making this decision I have been working on a number of projects, including my most recent novel Cliff-Hangers and a number of competition entries.
I have only published two short books, both through Amazons create space, but dream and am working towards a series of full-length novels.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest novel is called Cliff-Hangers and is a series of short stories from over the past decade.
I was inspired to publish Cliff-Hangers while working on my first novel, where all of my previous writing has helped me to concrete my current ideas, themes and style. It is a short book compiling of a collection of story extracts from around a decade of writing and ideas.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I rarely plan out a story before writing it, often only deciding on the key elements before starting. However, I often find myself writing in the late evening, during the day the many distractions of day to day life often leave me unable to sit down and write, so I tend to find myself launching my laptop in bed and writing till I fall asleep.
As a journalism student I also tend to make little notes for myself in Shorthand.
When I cannot decide on a way to describe a part of a story in writing I will sketch it out as a comic sketch or a series of doodles and then use these to describe the scene. This is maybe my most unusual trend but making the scene visual on paper helps me to set the scene in some form of concrete that I can then write about.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I love to read almost as much as I love to write and have found myself inspired by a huge range or authors, including; Derek Landy, Cecelia Ahern, Elizabeth Moon, Marie Lu, Sarah J. Mass and many others.
What are you working on now?
I am currently working on my first full length novel for publication called What If. What if is a honesty story about romance as a British teenager.
What If is very unlike my usual writing style, stepping away from the world of fantasy and science fiction it stands more as a homage to the many mishaps that lead to womanhood and the heartbreaks that give birth to independence and self love.
An extract from the first chapter of this new novel can be found at the back of Cliff-Hangers and I will be publishing it this Winter.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I mainly use my social media accounts to publicise my own work. Facebook and Twitter allow me to reach my friends, family and anyone else who is interested in my work.
Using social media further allows me to see who has liked and shared my most recent pieces, which can be a real boost to my self-esteem when its someone I don't know.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Don't read it back until its finished! One of the biggest road blocks I have faced as a writer is not enjoying any of my own writing, this has meant that over the years I have over edited my work so much that I have often failed to finish a story.
The best advice I could ever offer was actually given to me by my very frustrated Fiancé, after spending months trying to perfect one chapter of a new story he turned around to me and said, "Just write it, don't read it over until you've completely finished it, then you can edit it however much you want."
This has saved me months of headache, and allowed me to actually write the majority of my next novel, which previously I would have been stuck on editing before I had even got a fifth of it down.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
It's not really advice, but I once went to see Derek Landy live at Edinburgh Book Festival. There he talked about different writing techniques, explaining how some people plan every detail of a story before writing, while others plan nothing at all and let it flow. He explained that he on the other hand maps out his main story elements, in the order of how he wants them to occur, and leaves the rest to come to him during writing.
This semi-planning technique is now one I use, and I have found that by only planning the main elements my writing has become more natural to read, creating a fantastic flow to my story arc but allowing me to include the important plot twists and dramatic moments that make a story memorable.
What are you reading now?
I am currently reading and loving All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater.
What’s next for you as a writer?
I am still currently working on What If, but following this hope to dive into a series of novels that have been begging for me to write them for a long time now.
Writing makes me happy, and I would love to be in a position to write fiction as a full time career while maintaining a happy lifestyle.
This year is my make or break year for that dream, and I plan to put everything I have into making it work.
What is your favorite book of all time?
This is an incredibly hard question! My love of books came from The Moomins, read to me throughout my youth by my mother, and these books still have a very special place in my heart and on my bookshelf.
However there are only two books I have read more than seven times each, they are Howls Moving Castel by Diane Wynne Jones and Death Note, Another Note; The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata
Author Websites and Profiles
Anna-Roisin Ullman-Smith Amazon Profile