Welcome to another exciting installment of Author Spotlight on Literary Inspired! I’m thrilled to continue this journey of uncovering the hidden gems in the indie romance community, providing a platform where you can dive into the worlds of talented authors, and discover the stories that touch our hearts.
Today, we have the pleasure of shining our spotlight on Anna, an indie author with a passion for crafting love stories that are as diverse and captivating as the readers who enjoy them. With a background in journalism, a master’s degree in Creative Writing, and a love for music, Anna’s journey to becoming a full-fledged indie author has been nothing short of fascinating.
Anna hails from the vibrant region of South India, where she immerses herself in both the beats of the Foo Fighters and the pages of over 300 books a year. When she’s not indulging in her literary cravings, she works as a freelance copy consultant and book editor, all while sipping on her preferred companions, black tea and white wine.
In this special edition of Author Spotlight, Anna has chosen to feature her newest release, “Almost Home,” the third installment in her captivating “Love In Wildes” series. This book promises to deliver a rollercoaster of emotions, exploring themes of self-worth, love, and the struggles that make us who we are. It’s available for free on Kindle Unlimited, making it easily accessible to all romance enthusiasts.
Now, let’s dive deep into Anna’s world, her writing process, and the heartwarming tales she weaves within her novels. If you’re ready to be swept away by a talented indie romance author, this interview is a must-read.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing journey and how you transitioned from a career in journalism and advertising to becoming an indie author?
A part of me went into journalism because I thought if I could write for newspapers and magazines, I could one day write a book? Writing has always been a part of my life—short stories, poems, fanfiction—so any excuse to string words together became my focus. Journalism and advertising were just two of the things that allowed me to do that. I don’t think at that time I really even believed I would publish one book, let alone three, but having seen so many authors go from full time jobs to self-publishing really inspired me to give it a shot.
Your latest release, “Almost Home,” explores themes of self-worth, depression, and finding love. What inspired you to tackle these topics in a romance novel, and how did you approach portraying them authentically?
I have always believed that romance novels are the best way to talk about the hard stuff in life. It’s the one genre where the characters are really raw and real, so why not add more to what they’re going through and give them that strength to overcome as well. All three of my books tackle topics that some would consider “harder to read” or things that people don’t want to see in books, but if not in romance novels, where else do we talk about things like anxiety and depression? I never know if I’m portraying them “authentically”, I write them the way I experience them. Talking about mental health openly is very important to me and I believe that my characters should do the same thing. I do make sure that I have sensitivity readers (when necessary) to ensure that I’m not overdoing it, or using depression or anxiety as a tool because that’s not what it’s about. I want these situations to be real and to showcase that you can look fine on the surface, but it’s far more complicated underneath.
The Love In Wildes series features diverse and complex characters. Can you share some insights into your process of creating relatable and compelling characters that readers can connect with?
Ooh, great question. I feel like all authors will say that they put something of themselves into every character they write. I wanted to do that as well. I didn’t want them to be caricatures or fit a diversity quota, I wanted them to be real and relatable and complicated and unlikeable and honest. I wanted my characters to have flaws that they don’t necessarily overcome, but they work through. But those flaws are also what make them feel like someone you know. We’re all so good at pretending like we don’t have flaws because that’s human nature, so whatever flaws I find in myself that I ignore…I give to my characters. I guess in some way, I’m working through my own issues through my characters.
Your books in the series touch on sensitive topics such as mental health, abuse, and societal pressures. How do you handle these themes with care while maintaining an engaging and entertaining romance narrative?
By not making them the central focus of the story. I’ll be honest and say that this was a learning process for me. For book one, I used a lot of these topics as wounds and built the story around it. After some feedback and thoughts and discussions with beta and alpha readers, I realised that was the wrong way to approach it. These characters have all these issues they deal with, but that doesn’t define who they are. The central theme of my stories is falling in love with yourself while falling in love with someone else. Your worth is not defined by that other person’s love or the struggles you’ve been through, you are who you are because of what you’ve made of yourself in spite of all that you’ve gone through.
“Almost Forevers” delves into the challenges of trust and rebuilding relationships. Could you discuss the importance of trust in romance novels and how you navigate the complexities of trust issues in your characters?
Oh, this is a tough question to answer, but I’ll do my best! We all know that trust is such a vital part of the building of any kind of relationship—familial, romantic, platonic, etc. If you can put your entire trust into one person, you know that they’ll always be there for you. The minute that trust vanishes, everything starts to tilt and waver. And I think that’s why a lot of times “trust” is the conflict in romance novels, because when you’re two strangers falling in love, you’re hoping the other person will be there to catch you and when they mess up and miss their cue, everything hurts. It’s a really hard thing to write and navigate too, if I’m being honest. Because you want people to like these characters despite the mistakes they make and you want them to understand why they made those choices, but also accept that breaking trust could always be a deal breaker. With Frankie and Milo, I’ll be very honest, I struggled to make sense of their trust conflict and while I knew that was always going to be the thing that ‘breaks them’, I hated every minute of writing it. LOL.
Your books are known for their explicit and passionate love scenes. How do you approach writing these scenes in a way that enhances the emotional connection between the characters and resonates with your readers?
Writing sex scenes that are exciting and sexy and not cringe is so hard! I think every one of those scenes has gone through at least 2-3 rounds of edits, because I would have found something that sounded too cringey. But to answer your question…I read a lot of other romance novels and I watch porn (especially Bellesa) and I try to figure out how I’d feel in those situations, how I’d connect with my partner and what would I be feeling emotionally. A lot of these scenes can only be written after I’ve gotten a good handle on the characters, because if I don’t know who they are individually, how will I put them in these intimate scenes, right? Writing sex scenes is an art and I’m not entirely sure I’ve mastered it, but I am often very proud of what I’ve written.
As an indie author, what have been some of the unique advantages and challenges you’ve encountered in terms of publishing and promoting your books?
I think I’ve experienced more challenges than advantages and I don’t mean this to be some kind of sob story—but living outside of the US/Canada/UK really makes it hard sometimes. I don’t have access to TikTok, which (as much as I hate to say it) is the best way to get your book in front of readers. BookTok is the reason a lot of authors are getting popular (but also because their books are brilliant), but I don’t have that platform because the app is banned in India. Time zones are a problem to plan podcasts and IG lives and connect with readers when they’re awake and starting their day. I can’t attend book conventions because it’s all so expensive and far away….the list goes on. But at the end of the day, I’m grateful for the fact that I’m able to do this at all. I’ve got a great bunch of readers and friends who support me and help promote my books. I appreciate how easy it is to self-publish with Amazon (on most days). It’s sometimes hard to focus on the good stuff when the other stuff takes up more space.
You’ve mentioned your love for music and writing for Rolling Stone India and Sony Music. How does your passion for music influence your writing process and the atmosphere you create within your novels?
Fun fact: I don’t listen to music when I’m writing. Or at least, I don’t listen to music with words and wild drumbeats, because my brain is easily distracted. However, I do listen to instrumental music (the Lord of the Rings and How to Train Your Dragon soundtracks are *chefs kiss*). But music plays a very small part in my writing process. I love music, don’t get me wrong, but when writing or creating or crafting my books, I try not to let that distract me. For me, music is when I’m doing everything else—cooking, cleaning, reading, travelling. However, I have gotten into the habit of making playlists for my books now and that’s been a fun experience. It’s been introducing me to tons of new artists and genres and sometimes, a lyric or a song title will inspire a tiny scene or a bit of dialogue. For the most part, music just soothes the soul.
you give us a sneak peek into your upcoming release, “Almost Yours,” and what readers can expect from the next installment in the Love In Wildes series?
So there’s a two-chapter sneak peek into the book at the end of “Almost Home”. However… “Almost Yours” is a second chance, frenemies to lovers, brother’s best friend, age gap romance that has been quite an interesting challenge for me to write. I’m not a big fan of the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope, because I find that the reason they’re ‘enemies’ is always something silly and easily solvable. So to find that perfect reason and balance and understanding of why these two don’t like each other at first, but eventually come around was fun. I think I’ve nailed it, but once my early readers take a look, we’ll see how they feel. LOL
Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring indie romance authors who are looking to make their mark in the industry and connect with readers effectively?
I don’t know if I’m the right person to answer this question, but I will say that the key is put yourself out there all the time. With your writing, with promotions—just keep putting yourself in people’s faces. It’s stressful and intimidating, but I’m learning that the only way to stay relevant is to be aggressive. Not in a harsh kind of way, but put yourself out there. Also, connect with other indie authors, and make friends with bookstagrammers who are interested in your stories—these go a long way. And when it comes to your books, if you believe in your story and what you’re trying to say with your words, the rest will fall into place the right way. Have faith in yourself, even when things aren’t looking up. One day, it’ll all work out the way you wanted it to!
If you’ve been touched by her storytelling and want to explore more of her work, you can find her books on Amazon. For those who want to stay updated on Anna’s literary adventures and connect with her on social media, you can visit her website at annawriteshere.com and follow her on Goodreads and @annawriteshere. If you’re an indie romance author like Anna and would like to be featured in our Author Spotlight series, don’t hesitate to fill in the form on our website’s Author Spotlight page. Your unique voice and stories deserve to be shared with our vibrant community of readers.