I have this thing about meeting authors. Regardless of their level of success, I am always bubble-brained about being in the same room as one. So if they talk to me, I may very well just faint on you.
Not long ago, Annabel Smith, author of A New Map of the Universe and Whiskey, Charlie, Foxtrot made her first book club visit for her latest novel, The Ark, and I was privileged to be there. The opportunity to meet and speak with her was priceless.
Authors have more of an effect on me than actors or other famous and infamous people from popular media. As I listened to Annabel speak to our book club, I had stars in my eyes! Yes, I’m such a word nerd ;o).
What a fantastic person Annabel is! ‘Truly delightful’, as one friend put it! Her generosity in sharing her story and providing helpful writing advice astounded me. Many authors seem to put on a mask when they meet fans, but not Annabel. She was genuine, authentic and personable. She was honest with her answers, even when questions required her to make herself vulnerable.
Questions flew around the table the entire time. There was fascinating conversation about surveillance, human behaviour in dark times, and the writing life.
It became quickly clear Annabel has worked extremely hard to get where she is today. No matter how long a project would take her, she’d stick with it until she finished. She started The Ark in 2009. And it didn’t get published until 2014. What a champ to never give up and to see such a challenging project to completion!
Annabel on writing
Let me tell you something else. Annabel is a writer just like you and me. She procrastinates, doubts her ability to write and finds criticism and feedback demotivating. She’s had many personal challenges to overcome, just like we all do as writers and human beings.
She said many times that she’s not a quick, efficient writer, but a very slow one. This was so encouraging for ‘slowbies’ like me! She used to completely ‘pants’ it, (not plan her stories), she said, but now she’s becoming more of a planner.
When she pantsed it, she’d often get stuck and couldn’t see how to move her plot forward. Planning, she said, has made her writing process quicker. But Annabel is adamant that she plan as little as possible so as not to take the fun out of the writing. She still likes to see how her stories evolve and progress without having to cookie-cut it out. This keeps the fun alive for her.
Create an opportunity
Annabel has never given up on her writing, no matter how hard it’s been. Isn’t that the case in any creative endeavor? Don’t give up, and you’ll get there eventually!
Annabel’s success as a writer is also a testament to the value of connections. People she’s met and who have helped her on her journey as a writer have been vital. So, get networking and build an environment of support around you!
If you have a book club in or near Perth, ask Annabel to visit. , Otherwise, you might miss out on some quality information that will help you in your writing career.