Tell My Your Story Tuesday
Anne is a historical romance writer represented by Helen Breitwieser at Cornerstone Literary Agency. Anne has had an excited summer. She won the RWA Golden Heart Award for her regency historical, The Proper Miss's Guide to Bad Behavior. A short time later, she announced her first sale.
Let's get to know Anne!
What made you decide to write? What did you do before becoming a writer?
I think I’m driven to write because I’m a really bad singer. Deplorable. I used to envy people with beautiful voices (oh, who am I kidding, I still do!) because of the way they make people feel when they sing. A moving song makes people laugh, cry, or gives them goosebumps. An emotional scene in a story can do the same thing—that’s what I’m always trying for.
In school, if I had a choice between a five minute speech and a ten page research paper, I’d take the paper every time. (By the way, it’s not easy to induce goosebumps with a physics paper.) My friends thought I was crazy, but there’s something so satisfying about writing. It gives you time to think and craft the perfect response. If you’ve ever come up with a clever retort about five minutes too late, you know what I mean.
Tell us about winning the Golden Heart.
It was a moment I’d dreamed about, though I should point out that in my dreams my acceptance speech was wittier and I was more poised. Also I was taller and looked a lot like Jennifer Aniston. But it felt wonderful. I mean, we’ve already established that I can’t sing, so American Idol wasn’t a viable dream for me. I’ve never been much of an athlete (my brothers are rolling on the floor at this gross understatement), so it wasn’t like I had a shot at the Olympics. Not even curling, for crying out loud. The Golden Heart was my dream, and thanks to many hours at the computer—and a healthy dose of luck!—it came true.
You also just announced your first sale. How exciting! Give us some details on that.
The deal started coming together while I was attending the Romance Writers of America’s national conference in New York City. The whole week seemed magical . . . if we don’t count the rat that almost scampered over my toes and the guy on the train who tried to steal my luggage. Honestly, Nationals is the most fun a writer can have: workshops, parties, sightseeing, and hanging out with fellow writers. I met my editor at a retreat, and a few days after I returned home I received the official offer. Celebration ensued! Here’s the blurb that ran in Publishers Marketplace:
2011 Golden Heart winner in the Regency Historical category Anne Barton's THE PROPER MISS'S GUIDE TO BAD BEHAVIOR, pitched as Project Runway meets Downton Abbey, to Selina McLemore of Forever, in a two-book deal, by Helen Breitwieser at Cornerstone Literary (World).
Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and living a normal life?
I make daily goals for myself. When I’m drafting, I write 1,000 words each day. My family knows I’m not allowed to play until my words are done. If my day job is going to be especially hectic one week, I plan ahead and write more the weekend before. Every Monday, I write my word count on my desk calendar. It’s motivating to see the words add up in a few months.
Oh, and my best friend is my DVR. I record my favorite TV shows (and there are so, so many!) to use as rewards after I meet my daily word count.
What is the best advice you have received about this journey?
I can’t remember where I read this advice, but I’d just finished my first manuscript, and it was exactly what I needed. I’m paraphrasing, but it goes something like: When you start a story, don’t hold anything back—don’t save the good bits for later. Put all your best stuff into the opening chapter . . . and then make sure the rest of the story delivers on that promise.
How can we find out more about you? Blogs? Facebook? Twitter?
I have a website: www.annebarton.com
and a blog.
I’ve also finally gotten a grasp on Twitter (@_AnneBarton), which no doubt means it’s on the verge of becoming obsolete. In the meantime I’d love to see you there!
Thank you so much for stopping by, Anne.
So, what do you want to know about Anne?