Thursday, August 18, 2011

Any Witch Way with Guest Blogger: Angie Fox


Chat with author Angie Fox and win a Demon Slayer book today at the Book Boost!

Angie's here to chat about her popular biker witches and here's what she had to say...


A lot of writers I’ve talked with have always known who they are. I envy that. Because for many years, I tried to be somebody else. You see, I’m kind of quirky. I like going on odd adventures. I like meeting new people. I was the kid who would rather hang out at a Renaissance fair than go to the ball game.


And because I love to read, eventually I decided I wanted to be a writer. But in order to write the kinds of books people wanted to read, I decided I had to be very serious. No more playing around. And as far as listening to my inner voice? Forget it. I’d never written a book before. This was not the time to trust my instincts. Instead, I had to take classes. So I signed up for these writing classes that taught me how to outline and how to write scenes on note cards and how to shuffle those note cards around and even how to put them on cork boards and make color coded note card charts.


Now don’t think I’m knocking classes. I did learn a lot. But my problem was, I had somehow convinced myself that someone else’s way was the right way to do things. As a result, my writing life was hard and it was tedious and sometimes I’d get frustrated and want to chuck the note cards at my shelf full of writing books, but I didn’t because I wanted to tell my stories and I thought that was the way to do it.


The end result? I wrote three mysteries that didn’t sell. Worse, I had an agent tell me that I had humor creeping into a murder scene – not good when you’re oh, so serious.


When I’d get comments like that or when I couldn’t look at one more chart, I’d retreat with the books I loved to read. I can go through several books a week and some of my favorite authors include MaryJanice Davidson, Katie MacAlister, Kerrelyn Sparks and Elizabeth Peters. Then, suitably fortified, I’d go back to ignoring my influences – the authors whose work I loved – in order to write what I thought I “should” be writing.


Until one day, I snapped. I’d been working hard on some new note cards – color coded – when I received a longish letter from a respected agent. He’d read my third book and thought it would probably sell. But he hoped it didn’t. He said I was compromising my voice. I was writing for someone else. How he could tell that from those words on the page, I’ll never know. He said that book wasn’t my, “breakout book” and that I should write something else.


It was painful to read, because I knew he was right. I didn’t know exactly what I should be writing, but I decided to pull that mystery from consideration. I needed to relax and have fun for a change. So I decided to write a book just for me, a book I knew wouldn’t sell. It had to be about the excitement, about the love of books and writing. I was so excited by the idea that I had trouble sleeping that night.


Then, a few nights later, I was up at three in the morning feeding my infant son and a fun idea popped into my head – what if a straight laced preschool teacher suddenly learns she’s a demon slayer? And what if she has to learn about her powers on the run from a fifth level demon? Ohhh and wouldn’t it be fun if she’s running with her long-lost Grandma’s gang of geriatric biker witches?


I could write the kind of book I liked reading – quirky, different – a book where I could build my own world and make up my own rules. I banished all note cards. I let my natural voice come out, even if it was kind of offbeat.


Instead of a 20-page plot outline, I had a 5-page list of ideas, one of which included “but little did they know, all the Shoney’s are run by werewolves.” Instead of following the rules, I broke a few. Instead of painstakingly writing over the course of a year, I giggled my way through the book and had a complete manuscript in five months.


The opening chapters did well in contests and caught the eye of an editor, who asked to see the whole thing. That same editor bought the book less than a week after I finished it. And a year later, that book ended up on the New York Times bestseller list.


Now that I’ve learned to follow my instincts, I’m writing what I want to write and loving every minute of it. It’s just so important to trust yourself and follow you instincts – in writing and in everything else.


Perfect example – in this second book, The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers, my protagonist is really coming into her powers. The first book was funnier because she was thrust into this magical world with no preparation. Now, the second book has a darker edge because she’s learning what that all means to her.


As I was writing it, I thought, “Can I abandon some of the quirkiness? Will readers follow me on this journey?” But I had to do it because in my heart I knew the story required it. The Dangerous Book for Demon Slayers could be funny, and serious.


And again, in A Tale of Two Demon Slayers and The Last of the Demon Slayers, I made the love story deeper, hotter. It was what had to happen in the book. And boy, was it fun to writer. But what would readers think? Luckily, I learned my readers don’t mind a little heat.


In order to write the books I needed to write, I had to trust my instincts. Thank goodness, I’ve learned how.


I’d like to give away a copy of The Accidental Demon Slayer today. Just take the What’s Your Biker Witch Name? quiz, tell us your biker witch name and you’re entered to win! Details on where to find it are down below.



Want More Angie?

Visit her website here: www.angiefox.com

Read an excerpt, click here.


Pick up your copy of her book today! Click here.


Contest Time:

Visit Angie's webpage here (http://quiz.angiefox.com), take the Biker Witch Name quiz and then come back here to post your results. One winner selected at random will win a copy of The Accidental Demon Slayer.


**Winners for Book Boost prizes are drawn the first week of the following month and posted in the Recent Winners box in the right hand side of the blog. Check back to see if you are a winner and to claim your prize! Please leave your contact information in your blog post!**

6 comments:

Angie Fox said...

Thanks again for having me, Kerri!

TheWaldos said...

I took the quiz, Angie.

Apparently I'm...

Rubber Neck Reba Wheelie-Gig

Ah, rubbernecking is the only way to travel...and to hold up traffic.

Great post. Very inspirational to struggling authors out there.

--JC

Angie Fox said...

Thanks, JC! If someone can learn from my less-than-speedy revelation, I'm all for it. :)

Margay said...

I'm EASY EDNA STEEL BUTT


just don't let that get around (the easy part!).

Jennette Marie Powell said...

LOL I'm FAST FRANKIE BUMPY PANTS. Thanks for sharing your writing journey, Angie! I bought Accidental Demon Slayer soon after I met you at lunch at National, and just got done reading it the other day - what a great ride!

BEAST FEAST!!!

Na said...

Hi Angie! I've taken your quiz before and I like all the names I've gotten. Here's the latest:
Linda the Lush Windy Pants!!
I sound pretty cool and breezy :)

I'm glad you are writing books you want to write about. You letting your natural voice take over, I think readers will notice and appreciate.