Good Morning Everyone and happy Friday. This week on Inside A Beautiful Mind I am going to be chatting with the lovely Anne. A. Wilson. I have had the pleasure of meeting this incredible woman online about a year ago during a query discussion on Twitter. She went out of her way to be kind and helpful to me and for that I will be forever grateful as the writing world can be a bit overwhelming at times.
Thank you Anne.
So without further adieu, here we go.
KADE: Happy Friday Anne, would you mind telling our readers a little about yourself?
ANNE: I live in Fountain Hills, AZ, with my husband and twin teenage boys. When I started writing (under my own name, by the way), I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. So I began with what I knew, which was life as a helicopter pilot. My work is fast-paced adventure fiction that includes romantic elements and lots of action. Writing dialog is what I like best.
KADE: Anne, your life sounds so incredibly fascinating…and I have to admit when I was growing up, I wanted to be a helicopter pilot so you are living this little girls dream. Now, I am so curious about your upcoming book. Would you tell us about it?
ANNE: CLEAR TO LIFT is set in the high peaks of the Sierra Nevada and is about a female helicopter pilot, a rule follower by nature, who has been assigned to an anything-goes search and rescue squadron in the boonies of Nevada, far from her stable life and fiancé in San Diego. But when she meets a brave mountain guide on a daring rescue mission, he introduces her to a new world of adventure, and it’s not long before she’s questioning every truth she thought she knew about herself.
KADE: Oh, that sounds like quite an adventure indeed. I am intrigued. What inspired you to write your first book?
ANNE: I was running, listening to music, and was thinking about what novel I wanted to read next. This led me to contemplate “Anne’s ultimate escape novel.” By the end of the run, I had the premise for a story, so when I got home, I sat down and wrote the first chapter of the story I wanted to read.
KADE: It is amazing what running can do for one’s mind. What a wonderful development that turned out to be. Great job. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
ANNE: I kept journals when I was deployed at sea, so many of the scenes you see in my debut novel, HOVER, are things that really happened to me. CLEAR TO LIFT is also based on some actual experiences I had while flying search and rescue.
KADE: So your book is based on some real life events? That certainly adds another element of excitement to it as well. I can’t wait to read it. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
ANNE: For CLEAR TO LIFT, probably the last recue scenario because it was loosely based on an actual rescue during the 100-year flood that affected Yosemite and Reno, where we rescued thirteen people.
KADE: That must have been interesting to write for sure. Almost like reliving the rescue over again. How did you come up with the title?
ANNE: “Clear to lift” is a standard call given by an aircrewman that tells the pilot she is clear of all obstacles and the helicopter is ready to take off. It has a double meaning, though. In my novel, the main protagonist, Alison, needs to shed a lot of layers, lose some baggage, and basically, get “light.” At the end, she’s clear to lift, to take off, to move on in her life in a manner that is more aligned with her true self.
KADE: Oh, I like that play on words. I thought the name was wonderful before but I truly adore it now that I understand its true meaning. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
ANNE: I’m rather anal about details (I majored in engineering), so I have a tendency to explain everything. So lots of streamlining in the editing process for me! The best compliment I’ve gotten is from readers who say they couldn’t put my books down. It doesn’t get much better than that as an author!
KADE: No, I agree. That has to be the best compliment ever. Do you have any unique or quirky writing habits?
ANNE: Gosh, not really. I know I always have a cup of coffee on my desk when I write, but other than that . . . ?
KADE: HA ha, I think that is pretty standard for a writer to have something to sip on while in creative mode. What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research online for your book?
ANNE: When I was stationed in Fallon, NV, we used to fly over brothels way out in the middle of nowhere. In CLEAR TO LIFT, when I was considering including this bit in the novel, I had to look up brothels in the area, check out images, and even watch you tube videos. An enlightening bit of research, I must say!
KADE: Ha ha, yes I can imagine that search was definitely a mind altering quest for sure. Give us an interesting fun fact about your book.
ANNE: Erick Schat’s Bakkery in Bishop, California, is a real bakery, and you should go if you’re ever in the area. I describe it in detail in the book, but because the book hasn’t released yet, you’ll have to trust me on this one. Just go.
KADE: You had me a ‘bakery’, but I will make a note of that just in case I ever get to go there. Do you work with an outline, or just write?
ANNE: For my first six books (I wrote four before my debut that I never tried to get published), I just wrote. Although, with my current book, I’m trying outlining for the first time. It’s a different genre—thriller, this time—so I need to have some things figured out ahead of time for this one.
KADE: I can imagine that switching your practice was strange for you but yes, thrillers tend to be a different beast to write, so outlining can definitely keep you on track of your objective. Note to self: Anne is writing another book, a thriller…yes! J Can you tell us about your experiences in getting your first book published?
ANNE: After writing HOVER, I queried literary agents for almost a year. I found my agent, Barbara Poelle, through a Writer’s Digest webinar on how to write query letters. As part of the registration, you received a critique of your query. Based on that query, Barbara requested my full manuscript. After she read it, I had to do two more months of edits before she offered representation. She then shopped the manuscript to several publishing houses—about three months—and then I was signed by Macmillan-Tor/Forge.
KADE: Sounds like a lot of stressful moments for you while you went through the process but your efforts definitely paid off. Congratulations on your success! When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
ANNE: I was forty-three years old when I started. I wrote four books before I wrote my debut, HOVER. It took me about seven months to write the first draft of HOVER and then many, many months of editing after that.
KADE: Yes, it always seem to be those pesky edits that take forever to do. But seven months is pretty great for writing an entire manuscript. How did you choose the genre you write in?
ANNE: I didn’t choose a genre. I just wrote the stories. Unfortunately, my stories don’t slot well into a specific genre. My publisher markets my books as women’s fiction, but HOVER, for example, has been reviewed as a thriller, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction. So I have no idea where I belong! This is not a good thing in terms of marketing and I don’t recommend it. In my case, though, I needed to write the stories as I needed to write them—something that was organic to me and not forced.
KADE: I agree with you one hundred percent about you having to write the story the way you needed to. It is your story and one shouldn’t manipulate the vision just to fit into a convenient slot. Where do you get your ideas?
ANNE: They usually pop into my head when I’m running. I also get ideas when I read other books. It gets a sort of chain reaction going and opens the door to all sorts of possibilities.
KADE: Yes, running or walking I have always found to be an excellent way to tap the mind’s well. Sounds like you have a million ideas ready to be put onto paper. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
ANNE: THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO. Just fun and adventurous and non-stop. One of my favorites of all time.
KADE: Oh that is a good one. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
ANNE: Be patient. Enjoy each step. Work hard, butt in chair and all that, but be patient with the publishing process. Rarely does anything happen overnight in this business. It will save you a lot of heartache if you take the long view with your writing career.
KADE: Very sound advice Anne, thank you. What is your favorite quote or saying?
ANNE: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. Begin it now.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
KADE: Excellent quote. Simple, to the point and very effective. I love that. Okay, now for a couple of fun questions. Tea or coffee?
KADE: Sweet or salty?
ANNE: Ooh, so tough. Salty.
KADE: Would you like to share with us a passage that will give us a glimpse into the world you built?
ANNE: Sure. This is from a rescue scene where the helicopter is hovering next to a cliff to recover an injured climber. It’s snowy and cold, the wind is erratic, and the main protagonist, Alison, isn’t so sure about proceeding with the rescue attempt given the sketchy conditions.
Hap stands on the skids—our landing gear that looks like skis—facing the helicopter’s open door. He wears his climbing harness, to which a rappel device is attached, and a rope runs through this, secured on one end to the anchoring system in the helicopter, while the rest of the rope hangs far below.
“Hap’s ready on the rappel, ma’am.”
“Clear to jump,” I say.
“Copy. Man’s off the skids!”
Hap leaps backward and slides several feet down the rope to arrive below the skids. From there, he lowers himself the roughly fifty feet to Will and the first victim.
“Hap’s adjacent the victim,” Beanie says. “Starting his swing.”
“Copy,” I say, imagining Hap kicking his legs out, like you would on a playground swing, to get the rope moving back and forth, so he can move into a position where he can reach the rocks.
“Swingin’ good now!” Beanie says, although the call really isn’t necessary, as we can all feel the helicopter rocking.
Come on, Hap. You can do this. Please do this.
As Beanie makes his calls, informing the crew of Hap’s progress, I blink my right eye, trying to clear the drop of sweat—sweat?—that just dripped there. It irritates, stings a bit, but I can’t move my hands from the controls to wipe it.
“Ma’am, I’m gettin’ a negative hand signal from Hap!”
“What?” Oh, no. “Can’t he—?”
“No, ma’am. He can’t reach the victim! We’re gonna have to slide closer, if were’ gonna make this happen!”
Closer . . .
“Sir?” I ask, reaching for a lifeline.
“You got this, Alison. You haven’t budged since we started. I know you can do it.”
I grind my teeth, and a steady trickle of sweat—oh yeah, it’s running now—slides down the back of my neck.
“Ma’am?” Beanie asks.
Deep breath in. Oh . . . all right. Shit. “Call me right.”
“Okay, ma’am, you’re clear to slide right eight,” Beanie says, using the number of feet to the stopping point he’s chosen. “Clear to slide right five, four, three, two, one, steady. Steady right there, ma’am. We’ve got two feet of clearance at the blade tips.”
“Copy,” I say, my jaw throbbing because it’s clenched so tight.
Two feet from blade tip to solid rock. Sweat-inducing for sure, and by far the most difficult rescue scenario I’ve faced in my short tenure with this squadron.
“And only one foot of clearance at the tail,” Beanie continues. “Do not move the tail rotor right.”
KADE: Incredible. Oh this sounds like a fantastic summer read to me.
Would you mind sharing with us the best way to stay in touch with you and where to learn more about your books?
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Anne.A.Wilson.Author/
Goodreads author page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8062179.Anne_A_Wilson
KADE: Just want to say a big thank you to Anne. A. Wilson for sharing with me today. And a big thank you to all of you readers out there for taking a moment to support your Authors. If any of you know of someone who would like a few minutes of limelight Inside A Beautiful Mind with me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and place Author Interview in the topic space.
Enjoy your Friday folks, you are awesome and please be kind to your Authors, leave a review. See you next week, Peace Out!