I'm very pleased to have multi-published author, Ann Gimpel, visiting with me today! She took time to answer all of my rather long questions and I'm happy we crossed paths. Following her short bio is the interview, and then we'll be treated to a glimpse of one of her novellas, "Destiny's Shadow," so grab a cup of tea or coffee or maybe hot chocolate and sit with us a while :-)
About the Author
Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Two novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, and its sequel, Psyche’s Search, have been published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing, a small press. A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)
Interview with Ann Gimpel
When I had more time, I did quite a bit of editing to help people. I still do some, but it’s very time consuming and as I’ve written more, my time has shrunk to nearly nothing.
Thanks so much for hosting me! What great questions! They really required some thought.
1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer? What were some of your first steps toward making your dream a reality? How would you say most of your stories are conceived? Dreams? Research? Experience?
I’ve always written, but for most of my life it was report-type things or research documents. I spend a lot of time in the backcountry, which means hours of “alone time.” Stories always ran around in my head on those trips. I can’t tell you exactly why, but after a Labor Day trip in 2008 to climb Bear Creek Spire, I came home, sat at the keyboard, and began writing. Three months later I had a novel. It wasn’t very good, but it was a start. Somewhere between writing that novel—which has been totally retooled and will be released by Desert Breeze Publishing this July as Fortune’s Scion— and its sequel, the reality that I might be able to be a writer took root. I was still working full time, so I sandwiched writing in between things, but I wrote every day I wasn’t in the backcountry.
My stories come to me from the imaginal world, so either sleeping or waking dreams. I do a lot of research, though, to make certain what I write is accurate.
2. What 3 things would you like readers to know about you?
I’ve spent thousands of days with a pack on my back in the mountains. I’m a psychologist by trade. I have grown children and grandchildren.
3. Tell us about your books. Genre, titles, any favorite characters? What can we look forward to from you in the near future? WIP’s, upcoming releases? Tell us a bit about your wolf hybrids. In your opinion do you need special skills to raise them? Any were or shifter stories on the horizon?
Wow! You worked a whole bunch of questions into number three! Okay, here goes. I started out writing science fiction and fantasy. I still do. I have two novels coming soon. Fortune’s Scion, is a Young Adult/New Adult urban fantasy and Earth’s Requiem (Musa Publishing) is urban fantasy. I just had a science fiction short, Three Into Two Won’t Go, in Perihelion SF Webzine and I have a weird west short, Child’s Play, coming in Aoife’s Kiss in September.
Moving on to paranormal romance: I’ve always loved reading romance, so to be able to blend fantasy elements with romance works for me as a writer. I’ve had three novellas, A Time for Everything, Gabrielle’s Cauldron, and Destiny’s Shadow, published by Liquid Silver Books. Out of the Shadows, a shifter tale set in 1700s Salem releases March 4th. I have three more paranormal romance novellas contracted with LSB and two more shifter tales under consideration. Like I said, it’s a fun genre to write in.
I raised German Shepherds for years. The wolf hybrids are actually easier. Not as aggressive. Whether it’s shepherds or hybrids, they require lots of time and patience. I spend a couple hours a day running with them (or skiing/snowshoeing in the winter). These aren’t breeds that wait patiently at home all day until their owners get home.
4. Is there a common thread in your books? How do your values show up in your writing? Jungian philosophy? What do you want readers to take from your writing?
There are several common threads in my books. One is environmental. It just can’t be accidental I have so many dystopian worlds as backdrops for my stories. In my Psyche books (The Transformation Series), the protag is a Jungian analyst. I use psychological principles to build and maintain my story characters, but it’s not a conscious process. The characters live in my head. They tell me what they’re going to do next and I go with the flow. Once I have a first draft, I’ll sometimes change things, but not often.
I don’t know that I have a conscious “take home” message for my readers. Of course, I hope they enjoy my books. Most of my stories have hopeful, though not necessarily cheerful, endings. Life is like that, though. We take the good with the bad; the bitter makes the sweet that much more welcome.
5. What do you look for in a good book? In what ways would you say your books exhibit these qualities?
Plot and characterization make books for me. I look for three dimensional, believable characters and plots that feel natural, rather than contrived. I would hope my writing exemplifies those qualities.
6. What are some of the best social media, marketing, and publicity tips you’ve come across?
Awk! Marketing has truly been my nemesis. The very best tip I came across was someone telling me to write, that a new writer needs a body of work. I think the thing that comes into play for writers, most of whom are introverts (it’s how we can spend so long alone at our keyboards) is that marketing requires an extravert skillset. So it doesn’t feel easy or natural. Once upon a time I was a very private person. It’s been hard to splash myself across the internet. Still is.
Another good tip was you can’t possibly do everything, so pick a few social media sites and work with them. For me, they’ve been Twitter, FB, and Goodreads. I also keep up my website and blog. Sometimes I’m amazed I have any time at all to write. Oh yes, I also use Bewitching Book Tours. I write an advice column for their monthly magazine and have them tour my books.
7. What are some things you know now about writing and being an author that you wish someone had told you at the very beginning?
Back at the beginning, I believed if I built it, they would come. Not true. People have to find out about a writer. I’m competing with hundreds of thousands of other people, many of whom self publish so they can offer their work for free or for 99 cents. One of my less than stellar reviews drove that point home. The reviewer liked my story and “would have rated it higher if it were free.” It’s hard not to apologize all over the place, but on the other hand, free’s not much of a marketing strategy since the writer (and publisher if there is one) get nothing but goodwill. Even if they liked a teaser book, readers do not necessarily run right out and buy more from that writer.
The other hard truth is probably less than five percent of good writers will find an audience. The reading public is fickle and there are very few JK Rowlings and Stephen Kings out there. I’m okay with that. I write because I enjoy the process. I’d love it if I attracted a fan base, but that’s not the driving force behind my writing.
8. Along that same line, what are some of your favorite resources?
The Internet has just about everything I need to research my stories. Between looking things up and buying source materials from Amazon, I’m pretty much set. I have some old books from the early nineteen hundreds with Scottish and Irish ghost stories. Another favorite is Women in Celtic Myth. I also have all my psychology source materials and Jungian texts.
9. What lifts your spirits when you’re discouraged?
Being outside. No matter what the weather, I spend at least an hour out of doors every day. I live in the mountains at 8000’. Someday I’ll be too old to live here because of the shoveling snow problem, but that day hasn’t come yet.
10. What tips can you offer towards building and maintaining a strong support system as a writer?
Get to know other writers. No matter what happens, never say an ill word about anyone.
Pay it forward. Do as much as you can to help your writer friends promote their work. It will come back tenfold. Host writers on your blog. Take part in blog hops. Show up in chat streams on Goodreads as a human, not just as a promotional machine.
Release Date: February 18, 2013
A ranger for the U.S. Park Service, strong, competent Moira Shaughnessy is in serious trouble. Fleeing from her cheating husband, a Native American shaman, she stumbles into the arms of a man she never thought she’d see again. He hurt her once by choosing his druid heritage over her. Can she take a chance on him now?
Pursuing very different motives, both men follow her deep into the backcountry. Moira is caught in the crossfire between Celtic magic and Native American shamanism. A freak blizzard compounds her problems, taxing her survival skills to the max. Against the specter of almost-certain death, the sweetest, purest love she’s ever known rises to the fore, engulfing her in unbelievable passion.