Author of the Beyond the Veil series, Anne Stryker has just published her new novel (and the debut of this particular series) Lurking in the Woods! This fantasy romance series retells classic fairy tales and myths in a mashup style, playing on some of our favourite aspects of both. You can check out my review of Lurking in the Woods here!
Here’s a brief Q&A with Anne, all about her new release of Lurking in the Woods, what she has planned for the rest of the Beyond the Veil series and her other published books!
Congratulations on the publication of Lurking in the Woods! This book is most definitely in the genre of fantasy romance – what made you want to write in this genre?
I have always, always loved fantasy romance. It’s my passion genre even though I explore others in my first published novellas (even going out of my comfort zone to write a thriller…). Of all the drafts on my computer, nearly 90% or more are fantasy romance. Mostly high fantasy over urban and paranormal too. While I will, and have, explored other genres, my focus is definitely going to be fantasy romance. It’s freeing to create everything. World build. Break rules. Go places that you can’t in this world. It opens so many doors!
Have you always been a fan of the fairy tales and myths that you incorporate into your newest release?
Most definitely yes! I’m a fan of the lesser-redone ones as well, so I’ll be touching upon stories like Rumpelstiltskin and the Sandman in the future!
Without giving too much away, Lurking in the Woods contains a strong animal theme with one of your main characters being a wolf! Are you a big animal lover or just a fan of the stories?
Let me briefly ask my gerbils, hamster, rabbit, dog, and fish to get their consensus… Hmmm… Okay, yes. Animals are definitely an obsessive issue that I have. I’m very picky about dogs, despite having one (ooh, secret backstory), but I love most all animals from snakes to rats! I believe I incorporate at least one into each of my stories in one way or another… And like Rhyeos, I’m also a vegetarian, so there’s that!
Following that, which of the mythical creatures that you write about in your book would you be if you had the chance?
Oh no…decisions. Out of all my books, I’d want to be a magical cat, like Hoover in Hovering Above Chaos. If just Lurking in the Woods, perhaps a siren? I love the freedom of both land and water.
No huge spoilers here but one of your characters, Elora, speaks only in rhymes and riddles – did you find this difficult to write?
I found it difficult to edit because rhymes always sound odd to me, and I wondered if they felt forced in the dialogue. Thankfully, most seem to enjoy them, and so many have said they love Elora!
Elora is such a beautiful name! How did you come up with some of the more unusual names of the characters in your book?
Well, the main characters’ names I just asked a friend to give me. This was her book, so I told her that I wanted a nature name that started with ‘B’ for the female lead and just an ‘otherworldly’ name for the male lead. She had me give her a description of appearance, and then I got the names! Most of the time, I just hit the keyboard, add vowels, and go from there. Which may or may not be how Daoru came to be…
So, Anne, with the first novel of your new series having just been released, can you tell us anything about what will happen next?
I definitely can! Book Two is already well underway and underwater! We get to explore Ocea next, and I get to explore a character with anxiety and severe insecurities whose life leaves her feeling guilty about both. I feel like a lot of people are caught right in the middle of having a life just hard enough (or simply wrong enough) to damage them but not hard enough to feel justified in the resulting emotions. Someone always has it worse, so you end up fighting guilt and feelings because the feelings don’t just go away when ‘someone has it worse’. As we explore Ocea, my MC will be exploring herself, validating her emotions, and growing to find out just because she is the kind of person who gets hurt by words easily, she can still be incredible and overcome the trials of the story.
How do you come up with these ideas for fantasy worlds? Do you get inspiration from somewhere specifically?
A lot of my inspiration comes from dreams. I know I’ve already mentioned it (and I’m really not pushing it since thriller isn’t my focus genre at all), but Hovering Above Chaos was a dream that wouldn’t leave me alone, and that’s the only way I managed to muddle through the unfamiliar genre. This series, however, I’m not sure where the worlds came from. It was only supposed to be a novella, but a shower changed it into a novel and a four-book event.
You’ve also released other books in a similar style and genre, all dealing with worlds unknown (The Pirate’s Stowaway Bride, Escapism, Hovering Above Chaos and The Moon Faerie’s Night Sky) – is there something special that you’re saving for a future book? A mythical race or fantasy world?
I’m really excited about Book Four in this series, but I can’t give anything more away!
As I just mentioned, you’ve published quite a few books now – do you have a favourite?
I think Lurking in the Woods and The Pirate’s Stowaway Bride battle often for first place. Both have those smooth, attractive, and confident male leads that I seem addicted to writing. I have a feeling once book three and four in Beyond the Veil come out, though, things will change drastically. I have plans for them…
Your books are self-published. What’s your experience with this process been like?
I love it. I just absolutely love it. The complete power. The freedom. I never would have been able to publish the five books I have in four months going traditional. And as I don’t really write ‘to market’, the chances of my even getting a deal would have been slim. There are definitely things I’m still figuring out, and I absolutely have no idea how to make friends in the business, but the group of writing friends I’ve been able to make and the incredible bloggers I’ve met along the way make all the stumbling at the beginning worth it.
Would you recommend self-publishing to other aspiring authors?
Yes. Definitely. If you want to be a writer for a living, self-publish. But self-publish correctly. Don’t just write the book and throw it up on Amazon. Get a nice cover made. Have it beta read/tested and edited. Proof it over yourself; hire a proofreader. Put the time and effort in to learn the business, and you won’t have to wait for someone to justify you or decide to take that chance with your work, then tell you how to do it. It’s definitely a lot on you, but as traditional companies are moving away from paying up front for deals and they leave a lot of marketing in your hands, it’s not more stable money-wise or less work to go the other way. It is more time before you can publish, though.
I’m always going to be a huge advocate for self-publishing, even though I do have friends planning to go traditional for their own reasons. I recommend it 100% despite the stigma. If there’s a stigma in your mind about it, research. Readers just want good stories, so if you can give it to them, they likely won’t realize you’re indie at all.
Anne can be found on twitter and over on her main blog, where she posts added extras, snippets and sneak peaks to accompany her books. If you’re interested in receiving updates on new releases, early content, goodies, freebies, and teasers, you can sign up to Anne Stryker’s newsletter here.