So go on and enter....get the goods! Tell Nat I sent ya.
Anywhoo, lets get on with the interview and review! Annastaysia Savage author of Any Witch Way published by JournalStone Publishing was gracious enough to grant me some of her time. You all should check out her great book wich you will love just like you will love her after you read what she has too say!
So without further adoo, I give you Anna!
First off, Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview.
Your book Any Witch Way is a delightful read that was published this year by JournalStone Publishing. This is your first full length novel to be published. Could you tell me what it was like when you first got your book in the mail and was able to hold it in your hands?
First, thank you so much for enjoying Any Witch Way. It means a lot to me if someone enjoys what I’ve written. As for what it was like when I held my first book in my own hands, I literally cried. It was such an exciting and emotional experience for me, especially because getting published is such a tough thing to do. I felt like all my hard work had finally paid off. And though I can’t explain it fully, I felt like I had been holding my breath for so long and finally, I could breathe again. I also felt like I had proven all the naysayers wrong, I felt gratification. While in graduate school, I had a fellow classmate constantly ridicule the genre I write in, he was condescending and very rude in his critiques of my writing, so much so to even tell me, “I’m sure there’s a place somewhere in the literary world for you.” I don’t know if it’s like that for others who write within the fantasy genre but for me, it was so hard to keep going sometimes, knowing that some people mocked what I truly loved – fantasy. I do know that we’re not going to please everyone all the time, and a thick skin is a good thing to have when so many out there are quick to have an opinion about your writing. Having my first book to hold in my hands was like the world was saying to me, “Hey, what you write about is pretty okay.”
Who is your favorite character in this story?
I think it’s a tie between the duo of Whistle and Elgarbam, I love the banter between the two. I can identify with Sadie, a lot, so she runs a close second to the gnomes. In all honesty, I love all the characters, but there are some I would rather “hang out with” than others.
When writing this book did all of your descriptions come from your mind or did you look some of it up on the internet?
All of my descriptions came from my mind, my imagination. And I’m sure that the descriptions incorporate a lot of my past reading experience within the fantasy genre. I wanted to give all the characters my own spin on how I see them. In the end, it’s all about what we bring to the table and I guess they truly are a mix of my own creation and the status quo already in play for those types of fantasy creatures.
Is this book the first of a series? If yes, can you tell us a little about the future books? Will Sadie be older in the books and will there be a love interest for her?
I can’t say right now if this will lead to a series, though I constantly have different books/stories about Sadie going on in my head. I’m getting a lot of positive feedback from readers that they would like to see Any Witch Way as a series, so the more “requests” I get I guess will be the determining factor. And yes, should there be a series, Sadie will be older (eventually) and love does seem to play into our older years so.... But in the end, who really knows what will happen in Sadie’s world/life. I guess in reality I’ll have to see how it writes itself, which I know isn’t the answer you want but nothing is truly set in stone.
Do you listen to music as you write? If yes, what do you listen to?
When I write, I need the windows to the outside open so that I can hear the sounds of nature; birds singing, geese honking, crickets chirping, the rain, or whatever else is going on outside my window. I’ve tried to write to music and I find myself writing the lyrics of whatever song is playing at the time. (With some very funny results) So no, I can’t write to music, just nature sounds. Music distracts me; I’m an “in the moment” kinda girl so when I listen to music I am “in” the music.
I’ll give you a word you say the first thing that comes to mind when you hear/see it.
-books Escape from reality, A constant in my life, Dependable
-rain Peace, Tranquility, Freshness, A Cleansing
-the color blue The Endless Sky and for some strange reason – Marshmallow Peeps
-chocolate my favorite food group and my worst (best?) addiction, lol
-witches Delightfully different, strong and independent people who have the power to do such wonderful deeds in life.
What is your favorite book and why?
Oh my, that’s a tough one. My favorite of anything changes on a weekly basis, depending on the mood I’m in. For instance, last week my favorite book was The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede, the week before was The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, this week; I’m stuck on Harry Potter – again. And that’s just the fantasy genre. I could list a book under every category and change it whenever the wind blows, lol.
A big lesson in the book (to me) is that you must accept yourself before anyone else can. Sadie gets made fun of a lot in the book, from her classmates and even some of her foster parents. Did you ever deal with that as a kid? If yes, do you think that influenced you in writing Sadie’s character?
Yes, I definitely dealt with that as a child. And even some as an adult unfortunately (and I mentioned earlier). Sadie was definitely carrying parts of me with her as I wrote her. I think she’s a reaction to what I’ve learned so far in life. It’s as if I wish I knew then what Sadie figured out in a short period of time. And she’s definitely a response to the “adult” teasing I used to get at school for not being “literary” enough because of the genre I love to write in. I wanted to get the message across to young readers that you should love yourself and accept yourself for who you are. There is a place that you fit in in life and you WILL find it one day. Be strong and don’t give up and remember, people can only hurt you if you let them.
Finally, do you have any last minute advice/encouragement to any aspiring authors out there?
If you just keep at it, just keep dreaming and trying, never give up – you will eventually get where you are supposed to be or need to be within the writing world. Everything and anything is possible if you just don’t quit. Determination coupled with skill (whether learned or innate) will get you where you want and/or need to be. And also, I think luck has a little bit to do with it. We all have some luck come into play at points throughout our life. And like I said before, we’re not going to please everyone all the time. People are quick to give opinion. But looking at it with the mindset of “I’m writing what I love and if a few people like it, great, if no one likes it, that’s okay too.” If you have that mindset you won’t be so quick to want to quit, like I was. Be strong, have conviction in what you do and just keep doing it! And always stash some chocolate in your writing area for a quick “feel better” when you’re having “one of those days”… Oh and most important probably: Don’t let rejection letters get you down. I’ve found through my own experience that what one person hates another will love. Just keep at it- whatever it is.
I want to thank Annastaysia again for allowing me to question her! I have to say it was really fun interviewing someone! I can't wait to do it again!So how about a little teaser to whet your appetite for her book? I read it. When will you? Here
are my thoughts on Any Witch Way!
Title: Any Witch Way
Author: Annastaysia Savage
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: JournalStone 2011
Format: E-book and paperback
Sadie’s life is tossed upside down when the police and the school principle call her out of class on day and tell her that her mother has died in a car accident. With no family, Sadie is left to live in foster care. Foster care isn’t the ideal place to begin with and when Sadie starts telling people that she thinks her mother is still alive, it becomes a place that is even harder to bear. Bounced from home to home and ostracized at school, Sadie only tries to get through the day. Her only escape is a small bookstore in town with a friendly old lady and a cat as her only friends.
As Sadie’s thirteenth birthday approaches things start to change around her. At first she doesn’t notice the way a tree’s leaves wilt when she’s sad or the way the lights overhead burn out when she’s upset. But then things begin to happen that she can’t help but notice…
On the day of her birthday (which is also Halloween) the glamour between the human world and the magikal one fades away, and Sadie finds that she has been sharing her little Pennsylvania town with the likes of which she never imagined.
To top it off…they all know her…
And some of them want her dead.
Thankfully, there are some Magikal Beings that are on her side and willing to help save her life.
The trouble is trying to figure out who exactly is on her side.
Any Witch Way is filled to the brim with enchanting characters and lots of twists and turns. There is also a bit of mystery thrown in because the reader is always wondering who is betraying whom. I really liked the main character, Sadie. I thought she was a believable thirteen-year-old girl. I liked the way she handled all the major stuff thrown her way but still didn’t seem too old for her skin. She still acted like a young girl.
This book was very entertaining, and I would recommend it to anyone who wanted a light, fun read. I will say that I think this book would most especially appeal to the younger side of the young adult audience. As I was reading I kept thinking about the Disney Channel and how this book would be perfect for one of their TV movies. I could just see the way the Magikal Beings would come to life on screen. I really thought that this book held a good lesson for teenagers as well. To me, the lesson was all about self-acceptance and believing in yourself. Whenever you can accept yourself, life just seems to fall into place around you. I think that for young adults this can be the hardest lesson in life there is, and this book reinforces that it is possible to really ‘grow into yourself’.
The fantasy aspect of the book was probably my favorite thing about it. The characters were just so diverse, but yet they all fit into the same world with ease. I especially liked the Ogres and the Centaurs. Adding a bit of comedy to the book were Elgarbam and Whistle. Wherever they went these two little guys were hitting each over the head and threatening the other with bodily harm. There was just about everything you could imagine in this story, and it all seemed that much more enchanting because the reader was experiencing it with a thirteen-year-old girl.
The plot of this story was well thought out, and I liked the way it moved right along with the action. When you are done reading you are left with no question unanswered which, I feel, is important.
I do hope that Ms. Savage plans to write a sequel because I am certain that Sadie’s adventures in becoming a witch are only just getting started.
Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to go call the Disney Channel…..