Sunday, May 27, 2012

Meet Annette Bower

What motivates Annette Bower the author?

I am motivated by words that I hear on a radio broadcast, in a song or read in newspaper articles. These words blend with images that I’ve witnesses in real life. Then I imagine these words and images in a setting with characters. Finally I want to share my characters’ story with readers. 
Why do you write?
I write to explore feelings and ideas in a contemporary world. I often recall two ideas I heard about writing. One was suggested by the Canadian author, Alistair MacLeod during a keynote address at the Saskatchewan Book Awards, where he proposed that we write what we worry about. And the other I heard during an interview by Eleanor Wachtel in 2005 with the Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes when he suggested that we write the dreams we don’t remember. 
In Moving On-A Prairie Romance I explore how wounded characters could allow themselves to heal when they regain trust in themselves and in the world around them. The two main characters, Anna and Nick learn that their life can change and their wounds heal when they trust each other and they emerge as stronger and hopeful people ready to experience love.
When did you know you were a writer?
I knew I was a writer when I was accepted for publication in provincial and international magazines, anthologies.  During these years, I was accepted into various workshops and retreats where the submissions were adjudicated and my writing ability allowed me to attend.
Was it always your destiny or did you stumble upon your craft by accident?
It was my dream that I didn’t chase for a very long time. I had not internalized that it took practice, practice, practice. I had a childish idea that if it wasn’t like a Walt Disney movie where I did one piece of work and it was instantly recognized as exceptional then it wasn’t meant to be.  When I finally understood that I needed to learn the craft of writing just like I have learned other things, then I began to work and hope that my dream may become a reality. Writing short stories and novels became a goal that I worked at achieving and continue to work toward writing more and more.
What is your favorite genre to write and why?
My favorite genre is blending women’s fiction in the shorter word length of a series romance.
I like the length of the series romance novel and the accessibility of the language, however I also like to explore issues in my writing and at times the love relationship can recede while life happens.
Is there a particular genre you haven't tried but what like to? What is it and why?
I would like to try to write the quick read books for adults. "The Rapid Reads series for adults is designed for reluctant or low-literacy readers and features low page counts, swiftly moving plots, short chapters, and uncomplicated language and sentence structure. Even avid readers, though, may enjoy losing themselves in the accessible stories, many of which feature underrepresented voices in fiction.”
I would like to contribute to someone’s learned joy of reading.
How did you get into eBook publishing?
In the spring of 2011, I had two novels completed. I took part in the Brenda Novak’s 2011 online Annual Auction for the Cure of Diabetes. I bid on submitting to XoXo Publishing™ and won. The caveat was that if the work didn’t meet the expectations the publisher did not have to publish the novel. I read the guidelines for XoXo Publishing™ and thought the Moving On-A Prairie Romance manuscript would be a fit. Fortunately, Penny Adams, the acquisitions editor, agreed and assigned an editor and a cover designer and by December of 2011, I had an eBook available to the public for purchase. 

How many hours a day do you devote to writing? Do you have a set routine or do you write when the mood strikes?
On average, I am in my office at least four to six hours a day. These may be continuous hours or they may be broken up. I may be researching, writing, promoting, editing, or creating. I try to spend at least an hour a day reading.
Is there a certain aspect of the story you begin with? Do you create the characters first or do you come up with the plot?
I begin with a core story. That becomes the basic concept behind my characters, their conflicts, goals, and motivations.
What did you do when you found out your first book had been contracted?
I read the email and sat dumbfounded in front of my computer. I didn’t tell anyone, not even my husband, for about an hour. I savored the moments.
Has there been a person or influence in your life that has helped you reach your writing goals?
My husband is my emotional and financial supporter. The biggest influence in my writing life is the writing community in Regina, SK Canada. The Saskatchewan Writers Guild provides workshops, retreats and conferences at a reasonable cost. In a writing community and writing groups there is always someone who has been somewhere and shares the advantages of learning many things about writing.
Do you have any words of inspiration to aspiring authors?
Try many forms of writing and submit to different publications and contests. Every little form of recognition moves you one step closer to your goal.
What advice would you offer a writer trying to publish?
Go to conferences, go to workshops, and pitch your ideas even if you are shaking in your shoes. Take advantage of workshops that tutor you on reading your work to an audience. There is nothing like the thrill of reading to an audience and then the applause afterwards. That is pure star power. Oh yes, if your particular piece can be considered humorous, give your audience permission to laugh.

Anna is a mysterious woman that has just moved to Regina Beach. The residents of the small town know everyone’s business and they are very interested in discovering Anna’s secrets. Nick was a Sergeant in the Canadian Army, doing active duty until a horrific accident sent him home to recover. He helps Anna feel safe and comfortable in her new environment, just as he has always done for his men in strange, dangerous places. Meanwhile, he focuses on preparing for his future physical endurance test to prove that he is capable of returning to active duty.

Anna doesn’t talk about her past, and Nick doesn’t talk about his future therefore she is shocked to discover that his greatest wish is to return to active duty. She won’t love a man who may die on the job again. Intellectually, she knows that all life cycles end, but emotionally, she doesn’t know if she has the strength to support Nick.

Anna plowed through fallen leaves and broken twigs that were spread over the stone pathway leading to the stairs. The screened summer door sprung open but the solid weather door refused to budge. She twisted the key, jiggled the door knob and finally she turned sideways and bumped her hip against the stubborn paint- encrusted door. Banging against something and having it move felt wonderful. The momentary hip sting was an annoyance compared to the pain that she’d endured over the last year. Taking a deep breath she pushed the door open, inhaled stale air and watched dust motes floating on current of outside air. 
The lawyer hadn’t known if Murray had spent any time here. Part of her wanted to look around and think of him as a carefree child, then a young man whole and alive, while the other part of her wanted a clean slate.    
 Anna ran her hand over the white refrigerator and matching stove and trailed a finger in the dust on the country kitchen table and solid chairs. Through a large window was an expansive view of blue water. Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth reminding her that she was thirsty. Anna turned the taps at the kitchen sink. They squeaked, but nothing came. All that water out there but none where she was going to live. She walked down a hallway and peered into rooms until she found the bathroom. The taps in the sink and tub repeated the noise and the toilet had green liquid in the bottom. She stomped her feet against the tiled floor. Damn. There were a few bottles of water in the car, but how would she use the other facilities? She didn’t know how to rough it; Murray was supposed to teach her how to camp in the wilds.
Buy Link:
XoXo Publishing™:

Do you have any upcoming projects in the works?
I have just signed a contract with Soul Mate Publishing for my second novel. My bid at the Brenda Novak auction 2011 won the opportunity to send my manuscript to them for consideration.  
Where can readers connect with you?
Annette Bower lives and writes in Regina, SK Canada. She is an author of many short stories published in anthologies and magazines in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. She explores women in families, women in communities and women at the beginning and end of love and their quest for love. She pursues the writing craft in workshops, conferences, Writing with Style, Banff Centre for the Arts, Victoria School of Writing, Sage Hill Writing Experience, the Surrey International Writing Conferences and the Romance Writing of America Conferences.   
When she isn’t writing she walks or bikes around the streets and parks in her neighborhood imagining complex worlds behind seemingly ordinary events.  
Her first contemporary romance, Moving On A Prairie Romance is published by XoXo Publishing™ a division of Ninni Group Inc.  
Annette will award a $25 GC to All Romance eBooks to one randomly drawn commenter, and a $10 Amazon GC to the host with the most comments (excluding Annette's and the host's).

Thanks so much for joining us today!


  1. This sounds like a really a sweet story of people who are healing from some physical or mental wounds. I am looking forward to reading it.

    1. Good Morning Mom Jane,
      Thank you for dropping in to visit on Memorial Day and leaving a comment.
      Moving On-A Prairie Romance is a sweet, one flame, G-rated story about healing and carefully moving on to a different future than the one Anna and Nick expected.
      Yours truly,
      Annette Bower

  2. Nice interview today. Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Memorial Day!

    1. Good morning Catherine Lee,
      Thank you for visiting on Memorial Day. Nick and Anna's story is appropriate for today as Anna's fiance, Murray, was a firefighter and Nick is in the Canadian Army. Many memories will be shared today.
      Yours truly,
      Annette Bower

  3. Good morning Ella Jane,
    Thank you for hosting me on Memorial Day. It is an honour.
    I look forward to commenting throughout the week to readers.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

    1. Thanks so much for joining us;) I'm happy to have you.

  4. Those are interesting concepts--writing about what you worry about, or the dreams you don't remember.


  5. Good morning ad0ffae6:
    I agree they are interesting concepts. It is hard to think about the dreams you don't remember but they are probably in one's subconscious.
    I wonder who doesn't want to be loved? It may be a dream we are too afraid to think about, therefore do I write about love because I worry that I won't be loved or lovable?
    Hmmm, this does open many questions.
    Thank your for dropping in at Ella Jade's site and commenting on Moving On-A Prairie Romance on memorial day.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower

  6. As I read your post today, I was struck by the fact there is a lot more to the writing process itself than just sitting down and writing a book. In your opinion, what percentage of 1) book-learning including but not limited to, college courses, reading how-to books); 2) seminars, workshops, association membership; 3) talent/imagination/life experiences; and 4) actual writing of a story is really involved in getting a finished published book?

    1. Hello Karen H in NC,
      Percentage wow that is a tough question.
      Perhaps it is the type of person you are but I enjoy learning, so I take many courses. However, other writers learn more by the seat of their pants. And of course it is a gradual process but I have met writers who take Masters classes, I feel it is like any talent, a ballernia doesn't quit learning and practicing, even after they leave the stage and teach I assume they continue to learn but other aspects of the business. Part of the seminars, workshops and association memberships is finding a community of people who are working in the same field. I attended a retreat and a very famous author was also there. I was very early in my writing life and she was established. I said to her in a quaking voice, "I feel as if I'm in kindergarten beside you." She said something like, "When we begin a new project we are all in kindergarten." I understood what she meant and I also thought, yes but she probably moved through the stages faster than I might. Many will say talent is very important but even with talent there is still learning how to hone and direct the talent. Imagination is important as is life experiences. I remember being in a class when a young, I'd say not yet 20 year old, said she wanted to write her life story. Some of us more mature students, thought what could she possibly know of life. But now I know she may have experienced many wonderous or terrible things by her age. We shouldn't have judged her.
      The actual writing also takes time. How about if I said something like when you first begin, it is possibly 80% learning the craft and 20 % doing and as you mature they even out and near the time when you have honed the craft it is 20% learning and 80% doing.
      Thank you for stopping in at Ella Jade's and asking these questions. You have caused me to think about the process again.
      Yours truly,
      Annette Bower

  7. I like reading the shorter stories too! They get in all the story needs without drawing it out.

  8. Hello cait045,
    Thank you for stopping in at Ella Jade's and commenting.
    I agree that sometimes we are in the mood for a good story that we can experience in a short time.
    In a very long book there is a large investment in time and emotion and trust.
    Yours truly,
    Annette Bower