Anissa Stringer is a long-time resident of Ahwatukee, Arizona where summers are always apocalyptic!
Where did you get the idea for The Glare?
I’ve always loved apocalyptic fiction. There’s something so fascinating about the idea of a “do over” for human beings. Since I’ve always loved that type of book, it was natural for me to write my own story of the apocalypse. Three of my favorite pieces of apocalyptic fiction are The Stand (Stephen King), The Day of the Triffids (John Wyndham), and Peeps (Scott Westerfeld).
What about Blood of an Elf: Quinn’s Story? Where’d you get that idea?
Sometimes you’ll hear writers say that they dreamt the idea for their books, and I’ve certainly had that happen to me (My Virtual Life is an example of that), but that’s not how I came up with the idea for Blood of an Elf. That idea was the result of an intense brainstorming session where I took a hard look at the kinds of stories middle grade students like. A half-elf girl who is tasked with saving the world was the result. It just goes to show that there’s no single “right” way to come up with ideas.
Are you anything like any of the characters in either book?
I definitely share Jenna’s too-vivid imagination from The Glare! It’s the reason I refuse to watch scary movies— those images stay with me for far too long. My nightmares are always full of vampires, demons, and zombies who chase me while I run from them in slow motion!
When I was younger, I had a lot of the same feelings Quinn (Blood of an Elf) has, except that she’s good at everything and I definitely wasn’t! In fact, when I joined the track team in junior high, I discovered that I was literally the slowest runner on the whole team…by a quarter of a lap! Talk about a blow to my self-esteem. Yikes!
Between my lacking athletic abilities and the fact that my family moved frequently (my dad was in the Army), it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I shared Quinn’s self-doubts and often felt like I didn’t have any friends.
What made you decide to self-publish?
I sought traditional publishing contracts by querying publishers and agents for many years. I estimate that between all my books, I’ve probably received 300–500 rejection letters. Fortunately, the publishing world seems to be at a tipping point, and self-publishing allows new writers far more opportunities than the traditional publishing process does.
What’s the biggest challenge to writing a book?
Believe it or not, the writing part is easy—or at least it’s fun even if every word doesn’t always come easily. Unfortunately, even writers with traditional contracts often have to do much of their own marketing and I find that challenging. Editing can also be frustrating. Even though I work as an editor, it’s nearly impossible to catch the errors in my own work. On the other hand, the great thing about self-publishing is that errors can be corrected—that’s why I love when my readers point out missing words or typos!
What else have you published?
I’ve written extensively for several local magazines (East Valley Magazine, North Valley Magazine, 85086 Magazine, and 85085 Magazine. Links to some of the issues that have featured my work are available on my website.
Do you have any other projects in the works?
I’m currently working on a sequel to Blood of an Elf: Quinn’s Story and I’m slowly revising some of my older stories. It has been a fun trying to breathe new life into them—we’ll see which ones are salvageable!
What would you tell others who dream of being writers?
I would tell them to do it—just do it! With self-publishing being so accessible and inexpensive (often free), there’s no excuse for writers not to put their work out there. I would also recommend that writers be prepared to market themselves. There’s a common misconception that writing the book is the hard part, but that’s often untrue. Mostly though, I’d like to scream at the top of my lungs something I wish someone has said to me: Your writing is your legacy to your family and the world. What are you waiting for? Go for it!