Our Interview today is with Annie Lima. Thank you Annie for being here today and for agreeing to do this interview.
Question: Tell us a little about your “real” (Non-writing) life — family, job, church life. Does it give you inspiration for your writing? Does it get in the way of your writing, or are there times when you get help, from people or circumstances?
Answer: My husband and I live in Taiwan, where I teach 5th grade in a missionary school. We attend a bilingual (Chinese/English) church and very much enjoy life here. I love my job, but I must admit I wish it left me with more time for writing. In the evenings my brain is often so fried after a long day that I just can’t get much done, so most of my writing happens on weekends. But one thing I really enjoy is the fact that my students are at the right age (though at the younger end of the spectrum) to enjoy what I write. I read one or two of my books aloud to my class every year, and their feedback helps me polish and improve them. It’s really helped me see what kinds of scenes and characters appeal to readers of that age.
Question: Tell us about things you enjoy — what you do for fun or personal satisfaction?
Answer: Besides writing, I enjoy reading (especially fantasy and science fiction) and scrapbooking. Hiking and other outdoor adventures are high on my list as well.
Question: Tell us about working with any people who help you create your books — Do you use Beta readers? Hire an editor or proofreader? How do you get your covers?
Answer: I do use beta readers, most of whom I’ve found through my online writing groups. My grandparents are my best editors and proofreaders. And my covers are made by Jack Lin, a college art student who graduated from Morrison Academy, where I teach. You can see more of his art at http://jacklindesign.com.
Question: Have you done anything writing-related, but besides your books, that seemed to get a lot of positive response? Something that encouraged you?
Answer: I’m friends with a college professor here in Taiwan who has used my book Prince of Alasia with her ESL classes the last few years. I put together a series of creative PowerPoint presentations (available on my blog at http://bit.ly/PofAlasia) to explain some of the trickier vocabulary words in each chapter and have enjoyed hearing how her students have responded. Twice, now, I’ve had the opportunity to come speak to her classes as a visiting author, and that’s been really fun for me. I get to go again in just a couple of weeks!
Question: Tell us about your newest book. Make us want to read it.
Answer: Prince of Malorn is the third book in my Annals of Alasia series, but like the others, it can stand on its own. Each book deals with events surrounding the same major political incident: the invasion of the kingdom of Alasia by the neighboring kingdom of Malorn. Prince of Alasia begins on the night of the Invasion and describes what happens to twelve-year-old Prince Jaymin after he is forced to flee for his life. In the Enemy’s Service features a girl as the protagonist and tells the story of those who were not able to escape from the Alasian palace when the enemy invaded. Prince of Malorn begins several months earlier and focuses on the Malornian perspective of the events leading up to the Invasion. In each of the books, main characters from the others make brief appearances and interact with each other at the point where the timeframes and settings overlap.
Question: What is the “message” of your writing? (For example, is your purpose to encourage old-fashioned values, encourage romance, or do you have different purposes in different books?)
Answer: I try to promote positive moral values in my books; for example, in Prince of Alasia I bring out the themes of honesty and forgiveness. In the Enemy’s Service emphasizes honesty and grace. Prince of Malorn features the idea that no matter how great a ruler is, his people aren’t likely to care much about him or listen to his message unless he will humble himself, give up his rights and titles, and become one of them.
Question: Share something that makes you laugh, with just plain humor, or happiness, or because it’s so stupid.
Answer: English writing on T-shirts in Taiwan! It’s totally ridiculous, enough to drive a writer crazy! It wouldn’t be so bad if it made sense, but a lot of times it just doesn’t. You often see sentences with words left out or misspelled, word order jumbled, or just phrases that don’t work with other phrases (or at all). But after nearly seven years in Taiwan, it’s gotten to the point where I consider it humorous, not annoying, and take pictures when I can. Here are a few examples of T-shirt writing I’ve seen recently, with all errors left in:
“Homework never hurt anyone, but why take a chanch?”
“System of a 520cc when some body annys you but it only takes8 muscles”
“The balloooon goes up! That’s not my business.”
“Know that will climb mind cause the night is getting cold”
“I am feeling a great pressure of work today. Oops!”
“Youngster stays forever adult Sunday school ministry”
Question: What’s your next project? Tell us so we can’t wait for it to come out!
Answer: I’m nearly done with the next book in the series, tentatively titled King of Malorn. It takes place five years later and brings together the main characters from all three of the other books. In addition, I’m working on an unrelated story that will probably be the first in a completely different series. It’s called The Collar and the Cavvarach, and is set in a world very much like our own except that slavery is legal. Though still a young adult novel, it’s geared toward a slightly older audience than my Annals of Alasia and deals with darker issues. Writing it has been both an exciting and disturbing experience for me.
Question: How many books do you have out?
Answer: Six, altogether. In addition to the three in the Annals of Alasia, I’ve put together three Kindle anthologies of my students’ poetry. Each time, I’ve collected the best poems from each student in the class and compiled them. The students worked together to create a dedication and acknowledgements, and some of them designed the covers. Then they voted on a charity to which we would donate the proceeds. It’s been a wonderful experience for my last three classes of fifth graders!
Question: What is your favorite character?
Answer: That’s like asking a parent which of her children is her favorite! They’re all special to me in different ways. But I’ll tell you about one of the characters I feel I’ve gotten to know better as I wrote this book. His name is Dannel, and he’s actually a villain. I wouldn’t want to meet him in real life, but he’s so much fun to write about! He’s clever, conniving, has a sense of humor, loves the thrill of danger, and does whatever it takes to make as much money as he can from whomever he can. Oh, and he has no moral standards to speak of. I’ve had a lot of fun working with Dannel’s character in King of Malorn, too.
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AnnieDouglassLimaAuthor
Buy Prince of Malorn (Kindle):http://smarturl.it/PrinceofMalorn
Buy In the Enemy’s Service (Kindle): http://smarturl.it/EnemysService
Buy Prince of Alasia (Kindle): http://smarturl.it/PrinceofAlasia
Buy any of the books for Nook or other formats: https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=Annals+of+Alasia
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Reviews for Prince of Malorn:
“Although I am not much of a reader, I have really been enjoying this author’s series of young adult books. I usually find myself caught up in the story and am able to finish each book in about a day or two. This book on its own is definitely an exciting read, but I also liked the character development and story connections between this book and those that were previously released. It makes me want to read “Prince of Alasia” and “In the Enemy’s Service” again! For me, the characters have come alive, and though they are fictional, I can’t help wishing that it was actually possible to meet them. I would definitely recommend that other readers buy this book and enter into the worlds of Malorn and Alasia.”
“This book was a wonderful survival story, full of very realistic details about life in the wild. I also especially liked the way the author dealt with the cultural differences between various groups. The way each character thought and behaved was completely believable in the context of his or her cultural background. The book also contained a fair amount of political intrigue, although not so complex that it was hard to follow. Although the book is fantasy and takes place in an alternate world, there are actually very few fantasy elements present. For the most part it’s a very realistic story.”
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