Yvonne Anderson writes fiction that takes you out of this world. The Story in the Stars, first title in the Gateway to Gannah sci-fi series, was an American Christian Fiction Writers' Carol Award finalist in 2012. The adventure continues with Words in the Wind—develops further in Ransom in the Rock—and comes to a stirring conclusion in The Last Toqeph.
What five words describe you?
What are you working on at the minute? What is it about?
At this minute? Doing an author interview. What a silly question!
But I assume you’re referring to a writing project, so I’ll quit being an idiot (temporarily) and provide a better answer: I’m helping a friend write a nonfiction book on the subject of escaping the black hole of depression. This is a topic close to my heart. Not only is depression a widespread problem and growing, but I’ve been there myself. She has some wonderful things to say that are sure to be helpful to countless readers, but she’s not a writer. So I’m excited to help her craft the manuscript.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from
your most recent book?
This is a tough question to answer. I don’t watch many movies and consequently don’t know the names and faces in the acting pool. However, the lead character from my most recent release would be a short, muscular woman with a dark complexion and curly black hair. She's not beautiful, but is, um, sincere. Technically, though, that “most recent release” (The Story in the Stars) is actually a republication of a book that was originally published by a small press in 2011. I wasn't happy with the first version, so I redid it with minor revisions and new cover art earlier this year. The book I most recently wrote was released last fall (The Last Toqeph). That lead would be a tall, powerful man – not the linebacker type, more like a basketball player – of fair complexion and with rigid control of his facial expression. He’d also have six fingers on each hand, but I suppose that would have to be done through special effects.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
I can’t think of anything I wish I’d written other than the stories bubbling in my mind that I haven’t had the chance to write yet.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
The first draft is both agonizing and energizing. Once I have something to work with, I don’t mind the revision process so much. But the absolute worst is trying to sell books. I despise marketing and promotion and would rather just hibernate and write.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writers block?
I don’t recall ever having experienced writers block. I always know where I want the story to go, but if taking it there is a problem, I can usually find inspiration by getting some exercise – take a walk, work in the garden, whatever. Something get the blood flowing.
Where would your dream location be for writing?
Anyplace with a comfy chair, internet access (for research), and plenty of fresh coffee. And NO INTERRUPTIONS. Now that I think about it, that should have been my answer to the question above about the hardest part about writing. It seems I seldom get more than half an hour at a time without someone or something requiring my attention, and it drives. Me. Mad.
When creating characters, are they based on people in your life?
Not specific individuals, but basic types. There are really only about 40 people in the world, you know, existing in thousands of separate bodies in different places, with different names and faces. Although all my characters are extraterrestrials, readers recognize them as people they know in their own corner of our world.
Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I do read my reviews every now and then, but I seldom respond, and never publicly. On one occasion I wrote a blog post about my feelings about a review. If I know a reader personally and see they’ve posted a nice review, I sometimes contact them to thank them.
This might sound crazy, but I love bad reviews! The first 1-star I ever got is the one mentioned above, which I blogged about. It stunned me at first, but then I realized that the reviewer truly “got” the story—more than some positive reviews that made me wonder if the readers had understood what they’d read. I found that 1-star review to be very confirming, because the reviewer understood perfectly what I was trying to convey. She didn’t like it, but she plainly got it. And that made me grin. Overall, my take on a bad review is that it says more about the reviewer than it does about the book. Nevertheless, if an author has trouble dealing with it, I recommend he consider what it says. If it make a valid point, decide if it’s something you’ll want to change. For instance, if reviewers complain about typos, poor grammar, or other technical problems, then FIX IT, for goodness sake! Why settle for being sub-par? But if the reviewer doesn’t like the basic premise, no big deal; everybody’s not going to like everything. If they’re nasty? That’s their problem, not yours. Everyone who reads the ugly review will say, “What a jerk!” and discount it altogether. Maybe even buy your book out of sympathy.
If you couldn't be a writer, what would you be?
I was a legal assistant for 30 years before I was a writer, and I suppose I could still be one if I wanted to. There’s certainly more money in it!
What would you tell your younger self that would have helped you in your writing career?
Read a lot.
Where can we buy your work?
You can also find my work on Amazon
How can we keep up with you?
I’m a slow mover, so there’s not much to keep up with. But every once in a while I’ll write a new blog post at www.YsWords.com.