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September 30, 2014

Tuesday Release Day With… Anna DeStefano

Anna DeStefano

Today on Novels Alive TV, we are so excited to announce our new Tuesday Release Day segment! For our very first guest, we have the wonderful #1 Amazon Bestselling author, Anna DeStefano!

Make sure you read to the end and then sign-up for your chance to win some absolutely incredible prizes from Anna!

Anna DeStefano is the award-winning, nationally best-selling author of more than sixteen novels, including Three Days on Mimosa Lane, Christmas on Mimosa Lane, Secret Legacy, Dark Legacy and the Atlanta Heroes series. Her background as a care provider and adult educator in the world of crisis and grief recovery lends itself to the deeper psychological themes of every story she writes.

With a rich blend of realism and fantasy, Anna invites readers to see each of life’s moments with honesty and clarity. Her stories search for hope and transformation through intense emotional journeys. Anna’s characters face the ultimate of human choices: finding the courage to conquer their fears and thrive until, despite every obstacle, they become the beautiful things they’re meant to be.

The past president of Georgia Romance Writers, her writing has been recognized with numerous awards, including twice winning the Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award, the Holt Medallion, the Golden Heart, and the Maggie Award for excellence. She has also been a finalist in the National Reader’s Choice and Book Seller’s Best awards.

An author, workshop and keynote speaker, writing coach, and freelance editor, Anna’s creative vision permeates every challenge she undertakes. Her interactive presentations on the writing process regularly attract standing room-only crowds. She also teaches half-day and one-day seminars to smaller groups interested in a more intensive, interactive experience.

She blogs regularly. Join Anna each week on her blog (www.annawrites.com/blog) for Soul Of The Matter, Dream Theories, Things My Teenager Says, How We Write, Waterfall Challenges, and more.

1. What drives your story forward in your books the most, the characters or the plot?

EXCELLENT question. And… I got nothin’ ;o)

I’m actually teaching a new workshop for writers (I’m a freelance developmental editor and author coach) about “living” your story while you draft it—and the most important thing I tell writers is that what drives your story will change from story to story. Sometimes the action comes to you more easily, and sometimes the characters’ journeys do. All authors gravitate more to one or the other, but we all have to write both. I also teach that plot and character are basically the same thing (I learned that the hard way having it drilled into me during a screenwriting workshop many years ago). You can’t write/develop/change one without an equal shift in the other. But, each book wants to be told it’s own way, and my job is to listen to what’s there and find a way to share the story with readers—to live the story while I write it, and fill in all the detail and images and experiences and dialogue and everything else that brings a novel to life.

So, long story short (too late?) characters almost always come to me first when I write. BUT sometimes, they’re illusive little devils until I find the right plot to twist and turn and drive the story until the characters fit and begin to speak to me. I think that’s the key for me—when the story and characters start to tell me what to do. THAT’s what drives good novel writing, when you write the kinds of books I like to, with many layers and characters and viewpoints and subplots and themes and wonderful depths for a reader to experience and explore.

2. If you were a character in one of your books, which would you be? The hero/heroine, mentor, villain, love interest, etc.

Honestly, I think I’m always a secondary character in my books. One of the supporting cast that’s watching what’s happening in a different way than the hero and heroine. Those are the richest opportunities for a story and for readers—how a writer shows the world expanding and the impact of all that’s happening on a broader stage, with greater consequences. I LOVE all my heroes and heroines, and my draft writing is primarily all about them. And it’s heaven when their stories sing. But then, I get the great privilege of going back and showing the community and the families and the children and the parents and friends that support these amazing central characters, and the world of the book takes off in such exciting ways, I’m always surprised and thrilled. And reader feedback almost always shares that excitement with me—people are loving the growing community, friendships and families we’re discovering in Chandlerville, GA ;o)

3. If you had the power to make any of your books into a film, which would it be and why?

Naturally, I’m digging my new “spin off” series, Echoes of the Heart, where we’re learning more about the Dixon family and meeting their grown foster kids, who’re coming back to help the family raise a new generation of “lost” boys and girls who need to learn to believe in love and family and hope. BUT, I’d have to say I’d love to see my Mimosa Lane novels (my Seasons of The Heart series) made into movies. These are such rich stories, so uniquely told (even if I do say so myself ;o). I was given an opportunity to write stories I’d been dying to for so long, dealing with real-world issues and crafting happily ever after endings we’d all be lucky to have. I truly hope you all get the chance to read them some day, and then keep reading about the wonderful community of Chandlerville, as we move off the “lane” and meet more of this lovely, Southern town.

4. Do people you know end up as characters in your book? Be honest…

Always. Not directly. Not literally. But every character (every story) you write is based on you and your experiences and how you live in your world. Then your imagination takes those raw materials, you find something you want to share with readers, and you’re off making a new reality happen. It’s one of the most frightening, rewarding, humbling, AWESOME experiences of my life, being privileged to do this for a living.

5. As with the rest of us, you have a real life to live. So, in your most recent book, what was happening in your life and how did it influence your writing?

Heh. I write about family and community…while I sit at home in my office shut off from the rest of the world ;o) Then again, I have a teenager who just graduated from high school and started college, and a husband I’ve known for over twenty-five years and been married to for twenty-three. I’ve lived in the same suburb north-east of Atlanta for twenty years, and I write about a suburb northeast of Atlanta. And I’ve lived in the South my entire life. Add all that together, and I’d be amazed if I wrote about anything else ;o

6. Can you judge a book by its cover? How much input do you have on the look/feel of your cover?

Covers are as important now (if not more so) as ever. But the growth of digital publishing is making an interesting impact on cover art. Not only do covers have to work on the bookstore shelf or in full-size on a digital reader, but almost more importantly now they have to catch the reader’s attention when he/she’s browsing “thumbnail” sized book covers on an online retail site or on a reading device. My publisher, cover artists and I spend a great deal of time making sure that the title and cover treatment work in the smallest sizes imaginable—and yet still represent the story and characters and genre well. Those tricks aren’t for kids, ya’ll!

BTW, HERE IN MY HEART cover is one of my absolute favorites. The couple is so happy, the quilt theme is so clear and beautifully rendered, and the house in the background is so authentically Southern. I couldn’t be prouder of how so many ideas from the book came together!

7. What’s one of the most important things you’d like your readers to know about you? What defines you most as an author?

Emotions drive my writing and my characters. Yes, I focus on real-world issues and challenges families and couples face. But then I get the lovely opportunity to help these characters find their way to solving their problems and making their world better for themselves, their families and all the ones they love. The journey is my favorite thing to write. So, while I might be tackling in HERE IN MY HEART (and in LOVE ON MIMOSA LANE) how difficult it can be for kids as they deal with foster care, I’ve also been thrilled to create a loving, nurturing, fiercely protective foster family to make sure these kids’ journeys end happily. And, along the way, the adults around them find their lives forever changed in magical ways, too. How cool is that?!

8. Tell us one thing about you that may surprise your readers.

Um… I started my writing career as computer geek who specialized as an award-winning technical writer, creating 800 page systems manuals for programmers who needed to modify code to meet their companies’ business needs. Sexy, huh ;o)

9. Tell us a little bit about the project you are working on now.

I’m so excited to have just finished the second Echoes of the Heart Novel, WAITING FOR YOUR LOVE.

Your favorite characters from the Mimosa Lane books and from HERE IN MY HEART will be back in force, including the Dixons’ foster family and kids, whom I assure you you’ll fall in love with in LOVE ON MIMOSA LANE and HERE IN MY HEART. The love story and “forever family” story in WAITING FOR YOUR LOVE is just as special as HERE IN MY HEART‘s.

And then there’s the third book, that I get to start working on soon: A DARLING BRIDE! I’m in author heaven with these characters. I can’t wait to share them all with you ;o)

10. Tell us something about your latest release.

Here in My HeartIn HERE IN MY HEART. Dru Hampton and Brad Douglas are awesome together—spunky and sexy and funny and fiercely loyal, with a shared past full of trouble that gets in their way and then helps them pull together to figure out a Happily Ever After future they deserve. This is a novella, but a longer one, and so many readers and reviewers have already contacted me to say how much surprising depth and story there is to enjoy. This is a second chance at love story, a coming home story, a community and family story (complete with a matchmaking grandma), and a tender, poignant, caring journey into the heart of what make us fight for love and hold on until we’re sure we’ve found it.

Haven’t convinced you yet? Here’s a bit more from the novella’s back covey copy and a few reviews…

Live and work together, or lose everything that matters…

The ultimatum tilts Dru Hampton’s contented life in Chandlerville, Georgia, on its ear. The man that Vivian, her cantankerous boss and benefactor, wants Dru to partner with—live with—is Brad Douglas, who’s let Dru down every way a man can.

Sheriff’s deputy Brad Douglas has come a long way since his rebellious youth. He’s back home to care for Vivian, his ill grandmother. He’s stayed out of Dru’s way all these years to make up for the hurt he once caused her. Now, the delightfully mischievous Vivian’s dying wish is for them to rebuild at least a working relationship together…and she’s betting on them rediscovering much more.

The family business and the Douglas home that Dru and Brad both cherish will be sold if they don’t resolve their differences. Can these childhood sweethearts make up and reclaim each other’s hearts before it’s too late?

“The quaint, hometown feel of the book and the spectacular cast make for a setting that can’t be beat, and the emotional love story that unfolds there will keep the tension high and the pages turning.” —The Romance Reviews

“A sweet and loving story that I will recommend to anyone…” —A Novel Review

Our thanks to Anna DeStefano for joining us today.  Don’t forget to enter to win the great prizes below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please support the author by purchasing her book:

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Anna will be blogging at the following sites as well.  Don’t forget to visit Anna at these other great sites in the next eight days!

blogtour

 

Short URL: http://tinyurl.com/he4bba2
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Written By

Dayna Linton
Dayna Linton - Dayna is the very busy divorced mother of four "exceptional" children. She spends her time running not only this website but is also the founder and President of Rising Phoenix Charitable Foundation (www.rpcf.org) - a charitable organization which benefits women and children's causes. Dayna is a firm believer in the worth and value of individuals and hopes to help all embrace who they are, nourish themselves and then "pay it forward" by helping others around them to do the same. In her spare time, Dayna enjoys reading anything she can get her hands on and hopes to someday have the time to write a book herself. Dayna is also an avid lover of film and the process that goes into making them. From an early age, she remembers watching the Academy Awards with her mom and cheering on her favorites. When Dayna was little, she just knew she was going to be a big star someday and she would practice in front of a mirror accepting her Oscar. Dayna took four years of drama, which she loved, but found her true passion was dancing. Even today you can catch Dayna dancing just about everywhere she goes, including beaches in the moonlight ...




 
 

 
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