1. Firstly Congratulations on the huge success of your books. So Annie, why young adult? You know there are so many genres out there but you chose young adult among these. Any special reason?
Thank you so much, Ronita! And yes, there certainly is a reason why I chose the YA genre, namely that it’s my favorite genre both to read and to write. I have always loved teenage love stories, with all their intensity and all-consuming feelings; the coming of age and accepting who you are, and the characters you get to know and love and hope for a happy ever after for despite all obstacles in their way. So I’ve always kind of known that I wanted to write in this genre, to tell a story for teenagers as well as for any adult who remembers his or her first crush and the emotions of it all.
2. First Came Forever was a great hit among most of the book bloggers. In fact you are one of the current favourites of book bloggers around the world especially Indian bloggers. How did you manage to gain so much love and support?
Having your book published is like sending your child off to school for the first time. I’ve been living with the characters in the book for years now, so I actually think about them as real-life-persons, like my children or old friends that I wish the very best for. So I feel so blessed for all the positive responses I have received! It’s such an amazing thing to share your story with others; the thought that there are people out there reading my work and falling in love with and caring about the characters I’ve created is just overwhelming!
The book community is so supportive and engaged and I’ve met so many wonderful persons and gotten so much encouragement since the release of my books. I really love the interactions with the readers and book bloggers, and how they reach out with positive feedback, suggestions for the story and creating beautiful aesthetics for the books and so much more. The amazing response I’ve gotten is just unbelievable, nothing I could have anticipated at all!
3. We all loved and loved Sasha some more, Erica seemed to be perfect too but then you brought Tyler into this equation. Was this planned or the idea progressed gradually?
To be honest, it wasn’t planned that Tyler should have such an important role at all. From the beginning I only intended for him to be the catalyst of certain events and to be a secondary character, the stereotype arrogant and selfish High School bad boy/jock. I never meant for him to be one of the main characters or to play such an important role in story. But when I started writing the book that changed completely. Or rather, he worked his magic on me… He really made me so interested and intrigued that I just wrote more and more about him, so in a way he created his own character.
4. In your last interview with Pegasus Publishers you said that Erica might choose between Sasha or Tyler but then you added she might choose someone else too. So should we expect entry of a new man in Erica’s life?
Well, anything can happen, right? Lol. I won’t dwell further into this topic at this moment, since I want to keep the suspense… But I can say as much as that there will be some more tough decisions for Erica to make and some new unexpected plot twists in the third book. I’d really love for all of the characters in the book to get their happy ever afters, but I’m quite sure I won’t be able to accomplish that. But who knows? The parts about writing a book that I like the most is when the characters takes over, when they kind of creates their own story.
Also, if any of you readers have any specific thoughts about what you want shall happen in this book or characters you want to get more focus or anything like that, you’re always welcome to tell me! I’m about halfway done with the first draft of the manuscript, and even though I have the main events sorted out, some details yet remains to be finalized. And nothing’s ever written in stone until the book has been published, so the manuscript is still open for changes if I get any inspiring ideas from you guys!
5. I couldn’t help noticing that you mentioned some of the most conflicting issues in your books like- LGBT, teenage pregnancy, NGO works and others making it a perfect blend of issues. So all these thoughts came from your personal beliefs?
Yes, I feel very strongly for these issues! I really hope that my books reflect my beliefs that you should be free to love whomever your heart falls for and the right to be who you are. I also wanted the LGBTQ+ representation feel natural, and not being limited to coming out or issues sprung from homophobia, but that all relationships should be described in the same way regardless of whether they involve two boys, two girls or a boy and a girl.
It was also important to me not to avoid any hard topics. Life isn’t always a walk in the park, is it… So, since the books start off with backpacking travels, I wanted to include the reality of poverty and abandoned children and not make the story into a tourist brochure. I also wanted to shine some light on the amazing work done by Doctors Without Borders and charity organizations.
The main message that I wish to bring across to my readers is the importance of staying true to yourself and to make your own decisions. That you should live your life for you and not limit yourself because of others’ expectations or opinions.
6. Lastly, When should we expect the next book? Next year?
I’m about halfway through the manuscript, so hopefully I’ll have a first version to send to my publisher this fall. The published version could then be released sometime during spring or summer next year. Fingers crossed…
It will be a very strange feeling though to end this trilogy. I have lived with the story and the characters for so long, that I will surely miss being wrapped up in their world on a daily basis. So I’m both very much looking forward to the third book being released and at the same time dreading the empty feeling and how much I will miss my Angelheart friends…