Our Writer of the Week is Ann Carroll. Ann’s story, “A Brush With Romance”, appears in Special 226, which is on sale now.
Art is the subject matter in your story. Are you a painter yourself, and do you often find art inspirational?
I would love to be a painter. Going to art classes is on my “to do” list, and I have a beautiful painting set given as a birthday present. Wandering around art galleries is a passion, and I love watching artists at work – there are some excellent TV programmes on portrait and landscape artists that I really enjoy.
I do find art to be very inspirational – that snapshot of another time or place, or people caught in the moment, can spark ideas of what’s just happened, or what will happen next.
In my last two Pocket Novels, art also plays a part. In “Champagne Harvest”, the hero is a painter in his free time; and in “A Place To Belong”, the heroine is an excellent artist. I think my inner desire to be an artist is trying to get out!
“A Brush With Romance” was a successful rewrite. How do you approach rewrites, and do you find it a challenging process?
I don’t mind rewrites at all. And I’m always grateful that the editor can see ways of making your story better. The key thing is not to “write in stone”, and don’t be too precious about your writing that you think it can’t be improved upon.
I also think that the editors of magazines know their readers and know what will appeal to them – and what won’t. So, it’s worth taking on board their suggestions and reworking a story. If it makes the difference between an acceptance or a rejection, why wouldn’t you?
You are also a successful Pocket Novel writer. Do you prefer one format over the other?
I do enjoy writing longer stories, and with my other writing hat on, under the name of Ann Evans, I’ve written children’s and teen books and a couple of thrillers. So, yes, I do enjoy Pocket Novel writing, too. I love to see the story developing and the characters getting deeper and deeper into their problems and situations. I like that development of characters as they build relationships.
What about a “Friend” serial – has it ever appealed to you?
I would love to write a serial for the “Friend”. I’ve just got to come up with a great idea. I think it would be very challenging and would need a very different approach. The structure of the story would need a lot of planning. But I would certainly like to try – perhaps it will have an artist in it, too.
What was the last book you read that surprised you – good or bad?
A writer friend of mine, Karen King, has always written children’s books and romance novels. She has recently started writing psychological thrillers, and I read her book, “The Stranger In My Bed”, which really surprised me – in a good way.
After reading her lovely, gentle romances in the past, to losing myself in this much darker world where you didn’t quite know who to believe, was so new to me and made for a really enjoyable read.
Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?
My laptop if writing at night, or in my garden summer house, which my son built for me. My desktop PC for writing during the day. I’ve transformed my box room into a little study, so that’s where I do most of my writing. Not a blank wall, but a familiar wall if I’m rattling away on my PC. When looking for inspiration, that inspiring view will probably have some sort of old building in it.
What’s your one top tip for aspiring writers?
My one tip for aspiring writers is three-fold.
- Perseverance – keep trying, keep writing and try all kinds of genres.
- Develop a thick skin so that rejection doesn’t make you lose heart.
- Look carefully at any feedback from editors. If they hint at the bits they don’t like, consider making changes and trying again.