Monday, June 12, 2006

Make-Believe Mondays With Ann Macela

This morning on Make-believe Mondays, I'm pleased to introduce Ann Macela, (Fredericka Meiners) one of my RWAonline friends. Ann writes paranormal romance for Medallion Press.

First, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Ann: Right now I’m working on “Magic3.” Magic1 is The Oldest Kind Of Magic, which was published in October 2005. Medallion Press, my publisher, is looking at Magic2, tentatively titled “Do You Believe In Magic?” Magic3 has no title yet—I haven’t come up with its “true name” yet. Magic1 was the story of Daria Morgan. Magic2 is her brother Clay’s story. Magic3 completes the trilogy with sister Gloriana.

Mark Twain said, “You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” How do you fill your creative well to keep your imagination in focus?

Ann: I read, especially mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy. I also tell myself stories before I fall asleep each night. These stories have nothing or little to do with my WIP. I have done this since I was a small child. When my mind is thinking about another story, ideas about the WIP just seem to come. I used this technique to work out a number of the aspects of my magic system.

Debra: What a fascinating way to put yourself to sleep! And it sure beats counting sheep.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Ann: I think they’re alive from the first for me. However, I don’t know all about them. I’m a pantser for the most part, so I don’t do elaborate character sheets and outlines to begin with. So writing the story is an investigation into the H/H’s characters. I just realized an aspect of my hero’s character the other day, for example. Never would have thought it, but it really fits. Now to go back and make sure that aspect is “seeded” throughout the ms.

Debra: Most seat of the pants writers (including myself) enjoy those little surprises the characters can toss us even though it means rewriting. It's like getting to know a new friend.

Some very famous authors have played with language, creating words for people or places that no one has ever heard of. Have you ever played with words in that way and if so how?

Ann: Although I write paranormals and read lots of it and fantasy/sci-fi, I have not done this. I have created people and places, but I’m using plain old English to describe and explain my “magic practitioners” and their magic. If my story location was on another planet, then I might make up words—I’m thinking of the Darkover series as examples, but there are many others.

For some writers, dreams play a role in creating fiction. Has this been true for you? Have you ever dreamed a scene or an image that later wound up in one of your books?

Ann: I pay attention to my dreams, as I have found they tell me how I’m feeling—when everything’s going well, I fly in my dreams, like Superman. I haven’t consciously used any of my dreams in my stories, though. I do know there have been times when I wish I could have remembered what I was dreaming, because I woke up with the feeling of having a complete story in my head, but then, poof!, it was gone.

Debra: What a great dream to be flying! But oh, how sad to feel you had lost a story. I hope you can discover a way to keep them long enough to write them down.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Ann: What I remember most is reading Sherlock Holmes and other mysteries. I don’t remember any particular book. What I do remember is being a voracious reader who was always riding my bike to the library.

Debra: Those wonderful days of summer once school was out and you could read whatever you wanted, loading up that library card to the limit. Ah.....

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Ann: Probably what I’m writing now—lots of magic and hot sex! I do have a couple of ideas for stories set on another planet, but first I want to explore all the manifestations of my magic practitioners and the soulmate imperative.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Ann: Ask yourself, “What if . . . ?” and go from there. Nothing is too fanciful, too outrageous, too complicated. In fact, I prefer complication, not only in my plot, but also in the “world” of the book. When I first had the idea for Magic1, I had no idea the world of my magic practitioners would grow so complicated, so rich in detail and organization. I finally had to write it all down—see “A Theory of Magic” on my website.

Also, pay attention to your dreams. You may get a story out of them, you may not, but they will tell you how you are.

Debra: Excellent advice. Thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Ann: Thanks, it’s been fun.

Visit Ann at

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