Anna DeStefano

Read more about Anna DeStefano.

Interview By: Tamazon

Date: October 17, 2012

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Current Release: Christmas on Mimosa Lane / October 23, 2012

Describe your current release.

A childhood spent on the streets leaves Mallory Phillips longing for a normal life and a perfect Christmas. Now an elementary school nurse in Chandlerville, Georgia, Mallory’s dream to blend into the picturesque community isn’t working out. She’s once more living a loner’s existence. Then an emotionally fragile seven-year-old appears in her living room in the middle of the night, and Mallory’s isolated world is turned upside down.

This is Polly Lombard’s first Christmas without her mother, and she won’t utter a word to anyone—except Mallory. She believes Mallory holds the key to helping her father overcome his sadness. Despite Pete Lombard’s lingering grief over his wife’s death and concern for his daughter, his resistance to their mysterious neighbor crumbles as he spends more time with Mallory and falls for her amazing heart. But when her past returns to haunt her, is Mallory strong enough to keep the Lombard family in her life? And can the spirit of Christmas heal these broken souls and bring them all the joyous, loving holiday they deserve?

What have you had to give up to pursue your writing career?

Sleep ;o) I've given up sleep as anything but a hobby. And hobbies. I've given them up, too.

I have some interests that I pursue like a lifeline (participating in my teen's life and interests as much as he'll let me; hiking and waterfall hunting in my North Georgia mountains; teaching other writers how to make their books the best they can be), I've had to give up a lot of the day-to-day things that used to pass time in my life.

But the rewards--they're more than worth it. I wouldn't have any other job in the world!

What are you working on?

I'm working on Sweet Summer Sunrise, the summer-themed Book 2 in my Montlake Seasons of the Heart series. I can't wait to bring you Samantha Perry's story. You'll meet her in Christmas on Mimosa Lane, and you'll love her as she fights for her marriage and her family and to battle back from the PTSD that's kept her in emotional chains since 9/11. Look for Sweet Summer Sunrise from Montlake Romance in June!

I'm also writing a novella I plan to release indie in early 2013--Father of the Year. It's the first book in a novella series that expands the Harlequin Superromance story I wrote a few year ago, Baby Steps--part of their Mothers of the Year anthology. These are my foster family stories--the first generation kids of an amazing, small-town foster family return to Sweetbrooke, GA, when their father's heart begins to fail, to help raise their youngest brothers and sisters.

Can you tell I LOVE writing southern-set family dramas? LOL!

What is your ultimate writing goal?

My goal is to reach as many readers as I can, with the emotional, character-driven stories I love to tell. I hope readers feel what's happening right along with my characters. I want them to look inward and journey with me to understanding the heart and soul of these amazing stories that come to me.

I love to transport readers to a place where they experience characters lives, both the challenges and joys, in a way that enriches their own once they put my books down.

Do you have a comfort food? What is it?

Potatoes. Any way. Any how. Whip it, fry it, boil it, bake it, make soup out of it... I used to feel guilty about this. But did I mention I have no real hobbies. Potatoes. They're my distraction. My vice. My guilty secret. Buy me fresh-cut fries, and I'm your slave ;o)

Where is your favorite place to write?

Everywhere. I write all over my house, thanks to wireless. On my deck when the weather's nice, and I live in the south so it's only in the dead of winter or the heat of high summer that I'm banished inside. I write in the car (the passenger seat ;o) while my husband drives on long trips. I write near waterfalls, in bent and crumpled notebooks, after I've hiked interior for hours. I write in shopping mall food courts when I need distraction and a change of pace (my husband calls this my native habitat, but he's just being cranky). I like to write in libraries, too, but, alas, there are fewer and fewer of those to go along...

Chances are when you see me, wherever you see me, I'll be writing. On my computer, my iPad, my iPhone, notebooks, scrap paper, whatever's handy... Just try to stop me from writing!

What career fields have you worked in?

Heh. Well, I'm a closet geek. So hold on. In college, I worked in the information resources office of the Centers for Disease Control (I was pre-med...don't ask). Out of college, I did Big Six IT consulting (because I fell in love with a computer geek who taught me how sexy programming could be ;o). Next, I was a project analyst and manager for an industrial paper manufacturer--again in IT. IT director for a small start-up was next. And finally, I worked as a senior technical writer for a Fortune 500 corporation.

So, naturally, I decided to write novels for living... Makes sense, right? Right? RIGHT?

What are your plans for the next year? Any books you are looking forward to?

I'm dying to write the next three books in my Montlake Seasons of the Hear series--they'll be out next summer, the Valentines and Thanksgiving of 2014.

In between, I'll be writing into my Welcome to Sweetbrooke foster family series, beginning with Father of the Year in early 2013. I can't wait to bring you these amazing, emotional novellas.

And then there's my sci-fi/fantasy Legacy series that Amazon just bought from Dorchester. I have a three-book continuation of that in the works there as well. So if you like spooky, parapsychology sci-fi thrillers (mind-bending stories about psychically gifted families secret government scientists are hunting to harness their abilities), I hope to be writing more of those, too.

How was your road to publication?

Charmed. I've been blessed with wonderful professionals and friends who've helped me every step of the way. I've had an amazing experience with all my publishers and feel lucky to have had the early success I have in both romance and sci-fi/fantasy. And working with Amazon Montlake now, on this series of my heart, has been a dream.

That's why I work so hard to teach and coach other writers. Every time I do, I'm hoping to give back just a speck of the help and generosity and opportunity that's come my way.

If you could time travel, where would you travel to and why?

Here. I'd travel to right here. As much as I love the idea of moving backwards and forwards and meeting intersting people and learning how things pan out, I want to make the most of now. This minute. Then the next. These people I live with, my family and friends and whomever I meet tomorrow, I want to know them and be known by them and be the very best I can be for them in this moment. That's everything.

What we do with now and how we can change tomorrow while we make whatever has been even better... That's the most amazing time of our lives. I try to remember that every day. You know, while I write on my back deck, eating potatoes, thinking about computers while I'm writing romance and angsty women's fiction, and dreaming about how to use metaphysics to torture my characters in my next sci-fi novels ;o)

If you could live in a world created by an author, which book / world would you jump into?

Wuthering Heights. I'm a slave to that novel. Yeah, I'm a Bronte girl. Don't believe me? Read Christmas on Mimosa Lane and get back to me, LOL!

I re-read Wuthering Heights at least once a year. The language, the setting, the larger-than-life emotions of the characters. The willingness to sacrifice anything for love, not matter what the cost... These words and images and relationships moved me as young girl. And in addition to being a slave to books by Linda Howard and Susan Elizabeth Phillips and many other contemporary writers, I keep turning back to the books that first made my imagination and heart sing when I was a child.

Thanks, Night Owl Romance, for a great interview. And thanks to my readers for the years of support and encouragement you've sent my way, building me up as a writer so I could find myself in such an amazing place in my career.

I'd love to hear your thoughts about Christmas on Mimosa Lane. If you're in a book club, there's a reader's guide in the back just for you. I'll be talking about so many of the cool themes and symbols and characters in this souther-set series on my blog, too, so join me there for great conversation and giveaways. And for more chances to win cool stuff, sign up for my newsletter there, too. Don't be a stranger!

Here's where you can find me:
FaceBook: Anna Destefano or Anna DeStefano: Author
Twitter: Anna DeStefano
Pinterest: Anna DeStefano

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