Today I’m interviewing Ana Simons whose first published novel – Silent Signs, is now available on Amazon.
Q1: Hi, Ana! How are you today?
Very well, thank you.
Q2: Tell us about yourself and how you started writing.
How I started writing? That’s a funny story because unlike most people, I’m basically a writer by accident, really. Well, first of all you should know that my day job involves lecturing about intercultural communication at a university. Aside from teaching, developing academic research is also one of my duties, and with my PhD in Culture and Literature, I decided to centre my work on the analysis of wartime literary representations.
One day I was chatting away with my husband about how difficult and draining it can be to read and write about all the autobiographical accounts I have to analyse for my work. They always describe quite painful events, terrible situations that shattered people’s lives and, in some cases, even their children’s lives, as well, because trauma can quite forcefully be a trans-generational phenomenon.
Then, completely out of blue, he came up with the idea that maybe I could try my hand at another type of writing, at fiction writing. I laughed at the idea, because, sure, I could write, but I was not that kind of writer. Sure I had read a lot and I even studied all the classics, but studying literature is one thing, being able to weave and tell people a story is another. So I rejected the idea. But then a couple of days later I did find myself outlining a plot, thinking about the characters, about the places where I could make it happen…
Q3: Any big achievements that you are proud of?
I’m proud of quite a few things since I embarked on my writing journey last year.
First of all, I managed to write two books. Both in English, which is not my first language. Secondly, my second book is a romance entirely written from a male POV, which is definitely not my gender either!
Both my books were featured on Wattpad. That’s amazing. My second book has over 1.5M reads. It’s mind-blowing. I’ve got over 10k followers. That’s wonderful. I’m a Wattpad Ambassador. That’s a huge honour.
But what I’m really proud of?
Of being part of the Wattpad community. Without them, I’m certain I wouldn’t be publishing my novel now. It’s the continued support we get from readers, who quite often push us to continue writing and inspire us with their words of encouragement, and the valuable help and advice we get from other fellow authors that make this journey absolutely amazing.
Q4: What kind of audience would enjoy your books? Who are they aimed at?
I’d say that Silent Signs, which is a book that explores the feelings of loss after the breakup of a marriage and the fears and thrills of finding love again, aims at a more mature audience, especially at women who have already experienced motherhood and are/have been in a more committed relationship. Sophie and Matt, the protagonists of the novel, are in their mid-thirties and both seek a new beginning and a second chance at love.
On the other hand, Free Falling could appeal to a younger audience. It explores the inner workings of men and sheds some light on the things men think about women but never say, by combining wry humour and passionate moments with more serious passages that tackle challenging life situations. Brian, the main character, is a serial dater in his early thirties and, though he seems to despise the idea of being in a serious relationship, the truth is, he’d do anything to give his heart to a certain woman…
Q5: What are you working on now and when will it be available?
I’m currently working on the sequel to Free Falling and also getting Free Falling – Book One ready for publication, which should happen in February or March 2017.
Q6: Are you planning any promotions or giveaways soon?
Yes, I’m giving away a signed paperback copy and five e-books of Silent Signs to six lucky subscribers to my Mailing List. Results will be announced on January 31, 2017 (8 pm, CET).
Q7: Why did you go for self-publishing and did you face any obstacles with it?
Self-publishing is a very demanding, very complex endeavour, we’re all aware of that. You have to develop a set of skills that can be very distant from what you’re familiar with, from your comfort zone. I have a long way to go until I command those necessary skills, especially the marketing-related ones, but I’m willing to learn.
Why didn’t I try harder to go the traditional route?
Because these days I’m not certain anymore it pays the time and frustration involved in the process of looking for a publisher. My perception is that, unless you have a great agent that can lead you to a great publishing house, authors will have to make a lot of the marketing effort themselves. And if that’s the case, I’d rather do it all by myself…
Q8: Any advice to writers who might be reading this?
My daughter asked me the other day if I won’t be sad or frustrated if people don’t like or appreciate my books after all the time and energy I’ve dedicated to them. I told her it’d be okay. Worse than that, would be to look back in two or three years and regret the fact I hadn’t even tried to show the world what I’m capable of.
So that’s my advice. Don’t give up half-way. Don’t throw your work into the bottom of some drawer because you fear rejection, because you don’t know if you can pull it off. Because you can. Of course, no one knows what the future holds and it can indeed go horribly wrong, but you did your part and should be, therefore, proud of yourself. If that future is not as bright as you wish, you raise your head and keep going.
Q9: Where can people find you?
Q10: Thank you for doing this interview!
Thank YOU, for having me here.
Expect my review of Ana’s Silent Signs next week, on the 18th! Here’s what others have said about it so far: