Frequently Asked Questions
These are the questions most frequently asked by readers. If you have a different question you think is important and would have general interest, do contact Anna and ask if it would suit this page of the website.
1. Where do you get your ideas?
This question is asked more than any other. I can only say that I’ve always told myself stories inside my head, since I was a tiny child, so I must have been born with the story-telling gene. Nowadays, I keep an eye open for situations which could lead to a story, whether I’m reading a research book, watching TV, or reading a magazine.
2. How do I buy your books?
My books are on sale in many parts of the English-speaking world, especially Britain and Commonwealth countries. They’re also available online. Some are out of print and you can check that on the relevant book page on this website. Some of the paperbacks come and go in print. If you order these from a bookshop, information is sent to the publisher and the books are more likely to be reprinted. Nearly all my books are either already available as ebooks or are going into ebook format. You can find them on line in various ebook formats. You can also find some of them for sale on this website. Click the 'Shop' link above to see the full list of ebooks for sale here.
3. Which books are part of a series?
You can find a list of the books in each series on this website. Go to the top of this page and click on ‘Series’.
4. "I have a great idea for a book, will you write it for me and we'll split the earnings..."
Every author gets this sort of offer from complete strangers. As if getting an idea is all it takes to write a book. Ideas are easy to find. They take only a few words/thoughts. To write a book takes 80-100,000 words and a sound knowledge of the craft of writing. If you have a great idea, learn to write and develop it yourself. I've got so many ideas queued up, I need to live to age 120 (at least!) to write them all.
5. Do you have any writing rituals?
Yes, I do. Not so much a ritual, as a habit. I play cards on the computer before I start writing or when I get stuck. This relaxes me and since it's a habit, my brain seems to move more easily into creative mode if I start this way. Other 'habits' may suit other writers.
6. Do you connect closely with your characters?
I think of them as people with whom I'm sharing some events. Characters are so important. If you don't care about the main characters in a book, why would you bother to write the story - or read it?
7. Have you ever started a story liking a character, but halfway through you decide he/she just sucks?
It was the other way round. I started A Pennyworth of Sunshine with Theo as the villain. I shouldn't have called him by a name I like. After 30,000 words I was stuck and he was telling me he really loved the heroine and didn't want to hurt her. I had to change the whole story. Once I made him the hero, the story just sang along again.
8. Do you recognise yourself, or any of your traits, in your characters?
No - well, I don't think so. My characters are usually made up of a collection of traits that seem to suit that 'person' and situation. I'm not writing my own life story, after all. What my husband says is he'd recognise my 'voice' anywhere ie the tone in the writing that only I can give. I'll have to leave it to readers to decide whether you agree with this.