This week I’d like to welcome Annie Douglass Lima who spent most of her childhood in Kenya. She has been writing poetry, short stories, and novels since childhood, and to date has published seventeen books (fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, and a Bible verse coloring and activity book). Heartsong is her 18th novel and she has kindly made the first chapter free to anyone who wants to download it. Download Heartsong Chapter 1 to read now!
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
I have been to a total of 20 different countries! I’ve enjoyed them all, and elements of several of their cultures have found their way into my books.
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?
I’m actually a full-time teacher. I teach 5th grade in an international school in Taiwan, and I love it! I wouldn’t want to quite my day job, but I love being an author too, and I wish I had more time for my writing.
What did the best review you ever had say about you and your work?
Hmm, good question. I’ve been blessed to be on the receiving end of a lot of encouraging reviews on Amazon, but some of the best feedback on my writing has come from my students. I always read at least one of my books to my class every year, and there’s usually someone in each class who will tell me I’m their favorite author or that was the best book they’ve ever read. Another form of (unspoken) compliment is when I catch a student sneakily reading one of my books behind their desk when they should be working on an assignment. (As you can imagine, that puts me in a difficult position, as the teacher and the author sides of me wrestle with how to respond!)
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Yes! Sometimes it can be hard to keep the different worlds straight. You run the risk of saying something in your “real” life that would only make sense in the fictional world you’ve been working in. Or you find yourself channeling your characters’ emotions: snapping at people if you’ve been writing about someone being angry, bursting into tears at any little thing if you were working on a tragic scene.
What is the single biggest challenge you faced when writing your book?
Heartsong is about a human girl who encounters an alien race that’s never had any contact with humans before. Creating the Somavian culture was a challenge to me, because it was so hard not to take elements of cultures from Earth and just assume they would be universal. Even something as simple as pressing a button on a technological device, for example. Would aliens necessarily come up with the idea of pressing buttons? And how about furniture? Just because Somavians’ bodies are shaped similarly to humans’ doesn’t necessarily mean they would design and use furniture in the same ways. And then there’s communication, transportation, employment, clothing, currency, art, music, government. Everything either had to be totally different than on Earth, or there had to be good reasons why it would have developed similarly on Somavia. And of course it all had to be consistent, with every detail joining together to create a cohesive picture of Somavian culture. It was tricky, but I enjoyed the challenge!
Tea, Coffee, Water, Juice, Wine or Beer … which do you prefer when writing?
I normally just stick with water. When I indulge in something else, it’s usually tea. Kenyan chai, in particular. (I was raised in Kenya, and let me tell you, the Starbucks version is NOT anywhere close to the real thing!) The tea here in Taiwan is good too. They have different flavors and almost always serve it iced. Some of my favorites include caramel milk tea, pomegranate green tea, and mango green tea.
Please note: Heartsong will be free on Amazon from July 1-2
You can find Heartsong in Kindle and Paperback format here: :
You can meet Annie on her blog here: http://anniedouglasslima.blogspot.com
WHY ‘THE THURSDAY THRONG’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.