Let’s dive into more about the amazing
Award-winning author ANNE PFEFFER.
Anne Pfeffer grew up in Phoenix, Arizona reading prodigiously, riding horses, and avoiding rattlesnakes and scorpions. After living in Chicago and New York, she escaped back to the land of sunshine in Los Angeles. She has worked in banking and as a pro bono attorney, representing abandoned children in adoption and guardianship proceedings. Anne has a daughter living in New York and is the author of four books in the YA/New Adult genres.
1. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I would guess I was in my fifties when I wrote my first proper novel. I probably wasn’t ready before then because I hadn’t lived life enough. But I was taking a writing class where we were given a drawing as inspiration and told to write a paragraph or two. I’ll never really understand what happened, but I started writing and three days later emerged with a 250-page manuscript.
I was obsessed with Dr Seuss and wanted to write the next Horton Hatches the Egg. However, to write verse like Dr Seuss does, you have to be a genius—like him. After toiling over the adventures of a pair of white rabbits named Peri and Winkle, I left those manuscripts to their deserved obscurity. However, I don’t think it was such a bad thing for me to spend hours trying to perfect my sense of rhythm and rhyme as I was learning to write.
I moved on to writing prose—children’s and YA books. The four books that I’ve published are all coming of age novels about young people looking to find their place in the world, to learn who and what they love and what things they want to devote their lives to.
I never stopped. Since then, I’ve written eight more books and am in the process of publishing my fifth.
In my latest book, What We Do for Love, I’ve moved on to women’s fiction and hope to write some more books for this audience.
2. Which book of yours is your favourite? Which character?
That’s like asking a mother to name her favourite child. I love all my babies. I love my books because if I don’t, no one else is going to. I always write exactly the book I myself would want to read, something that’s entertaining and uplifting and that I hope makes the reader think. And I hope the reader feels something for the characters and their journeys.
My characters are all flawed and have real problems. Alexandra (The Wedding Cake Girl) is an ambitious, brilliant student who finds it almost impossible to stand up to her demanding mother. As a result, her entire future hangs in the balance. Travis (Girls Love Travis Walker) struggles to provide for himself and his sick mother and, despite his charm and good looks, cannot get the girl he really wants.
When I send a book out into the world, I hope my readers will be able to stand in the characters’ shoes, suffer with them through their ups and downs, and ultimately share their break-throughs with them. As I do while I’m writing it.
True Anne, I myself like characters that sounds realistic and not something out of the world!
3. What does your family think of your writing?
I guess they’re proud of me, although not all of them read—or uncritically adore—my books. But basically, they support me whenever I ask them to. They tell me which cover they like best, give proofreading assistance, and rush to pre-order books when I give the signal. I wouldn’t exactly call them Anne’s Army (my family is too small). They’re more like a squad.
4. What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I wish I could tell you that I worked regular hours every day, but I never have. I work when I feel like it, and the thing that saves me is: I usually feel like it.
For the most part, I’m happy with this. The only time I’m not is when I’m really blocked on writing the story. Then I do make efforts to sit down and push things along. When things get tough, there’s nothing like a bit of the old BIC (butt in chair) to set you straight.
5. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I can’t imagine what anyone else would think of as my “interesting writing quirk.” If I really thought it was interesting I probably wouldn’t tell you about it 😉
How about I write in my pyjamas? There you go!
6. How long does it take you to write a book?
It varies a lot. My first book, Any Other Night, took three years because I didn’t know what I was doing. I kept bringing it to professional editors, who would tell me it was a mess: I wrote and re-wrote the entire book many times. Thank goodness the reviews were good in the end, so I felt that the effort paid off.
The next few books are a blank in my mind, but I remember that my fourth book, Just Pru, practically wrote itself. Nine months from start to finish, like a baby.
Then I fell into the Pit of Writerly Despair. I wrote an entire novel that I ended up junking, then finally began the book that turned into What We Do for Love. It took three years that were marked with long periods of uncertainty and writer’s block. I hope to do better in the next book.
6. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Yes, and it’s a great pleasure to hear from them. It’s been really gratifying to hear from young girls who’ve read my latest book Just Pru, about an exceptionally timid, anxiety-prone girl who is forced by circumstances to dive into life. I’ve loved getting comments from young girls about how their lives were changed:
To speak honestly. I began to realise how beautiful even the smallest things in life r … and I think all of us have a pru within us ..that is just waiting for this kind of a book ..to change their life.. to make it a celebration :).
As the story went on, she’s transformed into a completely new person and it’s very inspiring. Makes you feel as if you can do anything in the world if you just put your heart to it. I’m so glad you wrote this. Love you 🙂
I loved Pru as a protagonist- honestly one of the most unique and best role models ever.
This was such a brilliant coming of age story. After feeling so upset on getting waitlisted for one of my colleges, this just cheered my spirit from seeing’s Pru’s character growth and determination. I can only aspire to be like that!
7. How much research do you do for your books?
It depends on the subject matter. Little research was necessary for What We Do for Love, while others of my books have required quite a lot.
Luckily, virtually every human experience seems to be on Youtube. For The Wedding Cake Girl. I’ve dived vicariously among treacherous columns of kelp and alongside a 600-pound sea bass. For Girls Love Travis Walker, I’ve climbed ladders and blasted water from the hoses of a virtual fire truck. I’ve done those things so I can write about them.
Even very mundane things, like a drive up the 5 freeway from LA to Santa Cruz, have been recorded by someone who actually thought to strap a camera onto his dashboard – handy if you need to describe a certain freeway exit.
8. What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
For me, the hardest part is making sure that I’m conveying information in exactly the way I hope to. Like when I hope to portray a character as, say, dark yet lovable in an interesting sort of way, sarcastic yet vulnerable … how do I know I haven’t missed the mark? How do I know I haven’t inadvertently made her look like a b&$%#tch on wheels?
That’s when beta readers, or editors, or any honest eyes become helpful. These are people who will tell you in a kind, constructive way that you need to rethink your approach. That your leading lady is cruel and malicious (which is okay if you meant her to be that way, but not okay if you didn’t).
It’s also exactly the time to listen to that little voice in your head. You know, that little warning we all like to ignore that says you took that too far or that joke isn’t funny. But we don’t pull back, or we use the bad joke, and we fall flat on our faces.
My advice is, don’t do that.
9. How do you handle critical remarks about your books?
For the most part, I actually solicit remarks about my books, either before publication so I can rewrite and improve them, or after publication, so I can sell them. Although I don’t love hearing about the weaknesses in my books, I can’t really fault the people who point them out to me. They’re either being constructive and trying to help me improve my book, or they’re giving the public their honest opinion, which is exactly what they’re supposed to do.
So I generally just try to learn something from these types of comments and, if it’s not too late, I’ll try to fix the problem. Yeah, I’ve been known to kick a few walls and punch a few pillows, but only in the privacy of my home.
10. What advice do you have for other writers?
My advice would be to write something you love, something you want to read, that reflects you and what you believe. It’s the only way your book will ring true and resonate with readers.
Don’t write a romance just because romances sell, or a paranormal thriller because they’re the next big thing. For your book to succeed, it should be authentic. It needs to be something only you could write.
Thank You, Anne!
Contact page: annepfefferbooks.com/contact
How did you find the Interview and the Author? Is there something you could relate to? Do share your thoughts with me, I would love to hear them. Happy Reading!