Anna DeStefano

Read more about Anna DeStefano.

Interview By: Tamazon

Date: April 27, 2011

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Secret Legacy | Book 2 in the Legacy Series | Dorchester Publishing | Sci-Fi/Fantasy | May 2nd, 2011

"Help me..." cries the child from Sarah Temple's nightmare. The voice haunts her more every day, whether Sarah's awake or asleep.

A month before, Sarah made the same plea. She barely escaped the covert organization experimenting with her psychic ability. Now, exposing their secrets is the only way to save the lost little girl who's become the next target-a special child who can manipulate dreams and alter people's will.

But is Sarah's mysterious link to the girl a clue, or a tactic of her captors to lure her back? The only way to be sure is to trust the man who broke her heart in order to save her life. A psychic warrior honor bound by a centuries-old brotherhood to protect Sarah and safeguard the...Secret Legacy.

"The Legacy books are a sexy, spine-tingling home run for me! " -Jessica Andersen, Best-selling, Award Winning Author of the Final Prophecy novels

Unique worldbuilding with complex characters of psychic dreamers fighting to discover and pursue their own destinies. A powerful story of love, betrayal and redemption, beautifully rendered." -Robin D. Owens, RITA Award Winning author of Fantasy, Futuristic Romance

A gripping romantic thriller that will keep you turning pages to the very end. --NYT Bestselling fantasy author C. L. Wilson for Dark Legacy


Please describe your writing environment.

I write everywhere when I'm working on a new story, but most especially outside whenever I can. Nature symbols play such key rolls in my paranormal/novels, I'm always inspired (and plotting) when a hike takes up into the mountains near me, searching for waterfalls. Those who know me, know I love my home and my family and my kitties and, yes, my designer shoes ;o) But when I need to lock myself into a fantastical plot or I need to get closer to characters whose minds take them through some pretty crazy twists and turns, nothing gets me in the mood faster than putting on my hiking boots and getting away to nature, so my imagination can run free... (I'm sending a few pics from last weekend's interior waterfall hike to Hemlock Falls, to give you an idea of how easy it is to dream once you're lost in trees and sunshine and water ;o)

Please tell us your latest news!

Secret Legacy takes my Legacy series even deeper into the sci-fi/fantasy subgenre. To celebrate it's May release, Dorchester is offering Book 1 in the series as a FREE DIGITAL DOWNLOAD on Amazon, Borders, B&N and Deisel books from May 1st - May 9th, and a .99 cent download from May 9th - 23rd... How cool is that!

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

I have so many favorites, but I'd have to say Linda Howard is my all-time tops. Especially her earlier work in novels like Shades of Twilight and After The Night. I know--NOT paranormal or sci-fi or fantasy, and I have my auto-buy authors in those genres, too. But it's the characters in Howard's work that I can't get enough of. Her earlier stories, especially, I read over and over whenever I need that special hit of emotion that she creates. And these novels are now decades old. Oh, and her MacKenzie series for Silhouette--LOVE them (just bought the entire bundle in Kindle). There's just something so authentic about them, no matter how "dated" the stories seem to some who want her more contemporary thrillers. Something raw and untamed and real about the situations she puts her characters in and how they act and react, and the relationships (and family) they choose to pursue and protect despite the challenges they face. It's the type of "family" story I love to read and hope to one day write just as well. A girl's gotta dream, right ;o)

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

My love of writing originated, much like it did for many other authors I know, in reading. Watching my mother stay up nights finishing her latest novel (she read a book a day sometimes when I was a little girl). Then demanding that she take me to that magical place--the book store--whenever she went, so I could have one of my own. I remember the first time I read C.S. Lewis. Or Bronte. Or, when I was older, Virginia Woolf. Of course, there was a lot of mass market, commercial fiction of the time in between, too. I remember reading my first historical romance--one of Elizabeth Lowel's midieval's, Untamed, I think. It didn't matter to me what I was reading, as long as the story took me away and fired my imagination. I feel the same way about what I write now. No rules. No boundaries. Just dream and create...

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write for yourself first. LOVE what you're doing with your writing, or the rest just gets too hard to deal with. Then write for you readers. Good reviews and awards and shout outs from the industry and "fans" are lovely, but it's the reader who needs to escape into the worlds that you create that should always remain your audience. There will always be those who don't understand what you're doing and don't approve of your choices. There may even be those who try to stop you from achieving whatever you next writing dream might be. But as long as there are readers who connect with your voice and your creativity and embrace the imagination you put into writing, as long as THAT connection is your goal (along with satisfying yourself with what you do), you'll always be successful, regardless of the rest.

Do you have a favorite object that is pertinent to your writing?

Heh. There's not just one favorite object for me. I try not to cling to a single thing for my inspiration. Color is key for me, I think. Texture and color. And sound. The feel of my kitties fur, the sound of them purring, the stained glass lamps I keep lit night and day in my home, my eclectic tastes in art and music, my love of fabric and pattern in my clothes, my obsession with being outside in nature, feeling the wind on my face while it blows across the leaves and water and clouds all around me. It's like a dream sometimes, those simple moments when you stop to focus on a single thing before moving on to another. Letting that one thing become everything, and getting the most out of it. Dreams are very key to my writing--especially for the dream theory based first two books of my Legacy series. I've been fascinated with them all my life and have studied the science behind them, but it's the fantastical places my mind takes me actually when I'm dreaming that inspired me to want to write something so challenging and unique. In a way, I feel like I've spent my entire life preparing to create this series. It's like everything I've touched and sensed and experienced and dreamed is finally coming together and coming out in my writing. It's been the most amazing creative experience I've every had.

What main genre do you write in?

Science Fiction / Fantasy

What's been the most challenging part of writing for you?

I teach a lot of writers (workshops and half-day/weekend retreats, and on my How We Write Wednesdays blog series, etc.), and I try to be as honest about my own strengths and weaknesses as I am about theirs. How we approach our writing (or whatever we're creative about) is a metaphor, I tell my students, for how we approach life. What we fear most in our everyday makes it's way into our creativity and becomes a stumbling block there until we finally deal with it. For me, that's letting my organization and planning go and simply living in the moment. I'm a analytical girl at heart, so plotting and revising are the things I love most about my writing process. The draft writing terrifies me. The not knowing what's really going to happen next, no matter how much planning I've done. The faith I have to have in my voice and my creativity that I will make something amazing out of the craziness flowing out of my mind onto the page. The trust a writer has to have in their own gifts. That doesn't come as easily to me as the things I can control about my writing. Or my everyday life. But I'm learning to meet that challenge with a smile and with confidence (and with a waterfall or a hike or two, when I need to get away from the doubt and just write wild for a while ;o).

Who has been your best supporter? How have they been there for you?

My husband was the one who, something like ten years ago, said--"You spend all your time writing software manuals, but you love reading fiction. You've always said you want to write a novel, and your job is driving you crazy and it's not making you happy...Why don't you try writing fiction for a while and see how it goes?" I was terrified, because that would mean letting go of the control I had in my successful non-fiction career and embracing the creativity I wasn't as sure I'd be as good at (see my answer to the "what challenges you in your writing" question ;o). It also meant moving away from that "for sure" paycheck, once I was ready to publish. But husband knows my heart. He knows my dreams sometimes better than I do. He's the little voice inside me saying "Never settle. Never stop believing you can create your own destiny." So here I am, publishing my 15th novel, with him standing beside me every step of the way, never letting the fear so close that I'd give in to the temptation to doubt myself and quit... Isn't he amazing!!!

Do you like to mix genres?

I've blended genres (broken genre rules) from the very start of my career at Harlequin/Silhouette. At their core, all my stories are family-based, and all have strong central relationships, because that's what I like to read. It's what I've always read, even as a kid, whether I had my nose in Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyere, The Once And Future King, or one of my Star Treck novels (Pick up a copy of Yesterday's Son, my Treckie friends. You'll LOVE it!). All my category romances so far have been published in Home and Family imprints, but I've always written about very edgy topics (spousal abuse, child abuse, immigration reform, drug rings, etc). Doesn't that sound like a Superromance??? I specialized in romantic suspense in a non-suspense line, an the proceeded to win awards while I was doing it. Someone was digging my outside the box approach. When I started selling my mainstream novels, my publisher tried racking them in Paranormal Romance first, but Dark Legacy was really written as a thriller, even though the romance is the arc of the book. The pacing, however, didn't work for some classic romance lovers. AND I was writing psychic paranormal, not vampires or creatures of the night or witches, etc. The science behind the first to Legacy books is dream theory and metaphysics. Again, confusing and not genre-appropriate. Sigh.... I'm a challenge ;o) Still, I think I've hit my stride now that Secret Legacy is coming out racked as sci-fi/fantasy. Though it's no more traditional scifi than Dark Legacy was paranormal romance, it's already building a buzz as contemporary fantasy (though, mind you NOT "high fantasy," in case that's your passion)... I guess you could say I'm gaining a reputation as being someone who blends genres as a rule. What I write is just different. I kinda like that!

What book are you reading now? What are your thoughts on it?

I read all over the place, and my nose is in several books a once, pretty much all the time. Currently, I just finished the Kindle bundles for Suzanne Brockmen's Navy Seal series for Intimate Moments (category romantic suspense). I'm reading David Weber's Changer of Worlds from his Honor series (sci-fi/fantasy). Also, Bob Mayer's Chasing the Ghost (military thriller). I just picked up Sarah Addison Allen's The Peach Keeper for this weekend (contemporary romance/light paranormal). Love what she does with a small mountain community ;o) Oh, and as research for my next three Legacy novels, I'm reading Michio Kaku's Physics of the Future (great science stuff, if that makes you smile the it does me ;o) And I love it all. I skip from book to book, depending on my mood and how much time I have to read at one sitting. And as you'll see, I hardly ever read in the genre I'm currently writing (I just finished a new home and family proposal for Harlequin about a sprawling foster family). My mind needs almost as much exercise and variety as my body does, I guess ;o)

Anna DeStefano

Nationally Bestselling Author

Two-Time RT Award Winner

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