Ann lives in Texas with her husband and rescue pets. She loves libraries and book stores and owns two e-readers just for fun. Ann writes what she likes to read.
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
My favorite part about writing is when the words and images in my head translate to the page the same way I hear/see them. Sometimes it’s difficult to make that happen, but when it does, it makes me (and my readers) very happy.
What genre(s) do you write?
I write in several genres. From ghost stories and speculative fiction to realistic romance and suspense. I write what I like to read (and what the little man with the Muse-broom tells me to write). I was always told not to do this—publisher after publisher told me to choose a genre and stick with it. Then I found 5 Prince and they gave me free rein. It also made me feel much better when I attended an author event that included Neil Gaiman. He said he could never stick to one genre, either. And he turned out okay. * wink *
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m a hybrid. I start with an idea—usually a scrap of something I’ve read in the news or something that has happened in my life (or a little nugget the Muse sweeps into my consciousness while I’m out walking the trail or taking a shower)—and then I ask myself what the ending would be. I can’t write a story or book without knowing the ending first. Then I write a few lines to try it out, if it seems interesting to me, I work on a very lenient outline.
Why do you think people should choose your books over another author?
Seriously? I don’t. I think the reader should choose both. Everyone has his/her favorite author(s). And if I hook you with book one, you’ll be back for more. I don’t worry about competition. There’s room for everyone.
What do you hope readers take with them after reading one of your stories?
I hope I’ve touched them in some way, made them feel something, or perhaps made them question something they’d never thought of before. At the very least, I hope I’ve entertained them for a while. Sometimes it’s enough just to take readers away from their own lives for a few hours.
How would you describe yourself if you were “speed dating” your readers?
Shy, loves music, pets, children, books and my hubby. Not in that order.
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
There have been so many authors who influenced me. Mary Stewart. Harper Lee. Danielle Steel. Sidney Sheldon. Edgar Allan Poe. Shakespeare. Stephen King. Ray Bradbury. Rod Serling, and Alfred Hitchcock (his stories were always in print when I was a kid—plus he had that magazine that’s still going strong today). I’ve always loved a good scare and a good romance—they do go hand in hand, right, or is that just in my work?
Do you work on one project at a time? Or do you multi-task?
I work on several pieces at the same time. It’s the sure way to avoid writer’s block. If I get stumped on one thing, I put it aside and work on another. That gives the sweeper time to work his magic on problems that were bothering me on the first piece, and eventually I get back to it and clean it up. The only problem with working on more than one at a time is when that silly Muse throws ideas at me for all of them!
When not writing, how do you relax?
I love to read—anything and everything. Right now I’m reading Lee Child. Wow. He can write a character with only a few words and that character will almost leap off the page. When not reading I love to walk the trails around our area with my husband while listening to music on my iPhone. I have a couple thousand songs downloaded so there’s always a variety. In fact, I’ve got everything from Meghan Trainor to Micky and the Motorcars to Adele and more. Of course I’ve got all the classics (in rock, natch) such as Janis Joplin, The Beatles, The Stones, ZZ Top, and Elton John. I also like some country and some “real” classical. I could go on and on. Music and books—the soundtrack of my life.
What is your favorite vacation spot?
For many years it was Ruidoso, NM but I also like the Gulf Coast
What kind of kid were you in school? Which social path did you take?
I was the definition of straight-A wallflower until it came to choir and band. I loved both of those.
Which food could you not live without?
Toss up between Diet Coke and Chocolate (ridiculous, I know)
Do you have any pets?
I’ve never been without pets. Currently, we have an eleven-year-old Carolina dog, Rocky, that I inherited from my daughter, author Sara Barnard. She rescued him from an agency in South Carolina. He’d been thrown from a moving vehicle. I also have a seventeen-year-old cat, Maggie Mae, named after the Rod Stewart song, that was also rescued by Sara when she was a student at Permian High School (yes, the school in that movie Friday Night Lights). Little Maggie’s momma gave birth in the school’s atrium and when the kittens were old enough, a teacher gathered them up and kept them in a wastebasket until she found students willing to give them a new home—and my Sara was always willing to give a stray a new home. Maggie was the tiniest little thing—she fit right in the palm of my hand. She still isn’t very big. She thinks she is my furry editor—always asleep in my lap when I’m writing. We also have a silly tomcat named Mojo that appeared in our driveway one night all skin and bones and rusty meow. My sweet hubby fed him and he moved right in. Now the black and white monster weighs eighteen pounds.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you travel?
I would like to take a haunted-castle tour of Europe.
What are you working on now? What's coming up?
I have two books ready. Takers: Apocalypse in Eden (Book One) is being edited now—it is horror. It will be out before the end of the year. Copper Lake, the third book in the Stutter Creek suspense trilogy is waiting in the wings—ready for editing.
Where can readers find you?
5 Prince Publishing: http://www.5princebooks.com/annswann.html
Amazon Author page: http://tinyurl.com/6wl3oe2
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ann_swann or @ann_swann
Here's a snippet from what's coming next from Ann Swann.
A novel of suspense
Companion to Stutter Creek and Lilac Lane
The bones were wet and cold. The clay in the soil trapped the moisture as efficiently as a layer of mulch in a flowerbed. When Edgar held the femur up to the moonlight, he was thrilled to observe how fully the dirt and mold had settled into the cuts. It created an inky labyrinthine abstract on the once-white surface.
He caressed the soil around the bones, and then lifted the rest of them from their shallow bed. “Welcome back,” he whispered.
It took hours to finish his work. But it was all right. He didn’t think of his other girl even once. Well, not more than once, maybe twice at the most. The main thing was, the important thing was, he was finally free. He no longer felt trapped.
As soon as he’d begun to free the bones, he’d begun to free himself, too. His mood lightened. His outlook improved. The world looked brighter, even beneath the moon.
Guess I had buried myself along with my girls.
He felt so light by the time he finished it was as if his feet no longer touched the ground. Starting back down the trail, he realized he didn’t want to leave.
An idea entered his brain like an arrow.
I have my hiking gear in the car, my sleeping bag, water, an energy bar, maybe even a package of trail mix.
He grew so excited, the flesh of his scalp tingled.
I’m doing it. I’m going to spend the night with my girl.
My best girl.