Episode 96A – Ann Charles – Jackrabbit Junction

Overview

Ann Charles is the first USA Today Bestseller I’ve had on the podcast. And she didn’t even know she was a bestseller when it happened.

We discuss her publishing journey, which isn’t what she intended to do. Originally she wanted to be Indiana Jones, and tells us the ironic reason she didn’t do that.

If you remember kindle worlds, it helped get her started. She has multiple series, one of which she writes with her husband, and we discuss the latest.

Website

https://anncharles.com/book_cat/jackrabbit-junction/

Book

Favorites

Louis Lamour – Flint

YouTube

Transcript

[00:00:44] Stephen: Welcome to another great episode of discovered wordsmiths. And this is an exciting episode because today I have the very first USA today, bestseller that is on been on my podcast. Now, normally I wouldn’t even come close to having someone [00:01:00] like that on here because. That’s not what I focus on. I focus on new authors, still working hard for their career.

But Anne is a little different. I know a lot of you probably have any unheard of her and she got the USA bestseller kind of by surprise didn’t even expect it. But that doesn’t mean that she didn’t deserve it. So it’s an exciting one for me, because she’s still unknown. Somebody that everybody talks about and fits very well on the podcast and has a whole lot of things that can help to help other authors and things to talk about for other authors plus has some really great books.

So that’s always the best part of it is finding some really great books that people can go out and read. So I’m not going to sit around too much longer here. I know Anne’s been waiting to get this podcast episode up anyway, so here. All right. So today discovered will wordsmiths. I’ve got an Charles and I’m really excited to [00:02:00] talk to you.

How are you doing today? I am.

[00:02:02] Ann: I’m doing great so far, tomorrow’s the big Turkey day for us here. So I’m making a lot of, not eating much today so I can eat so much pie tomorrow. I just got.

[00:02:12] Stephen: Yeah, we’ve got way more pies planned and I think should be humanly feasible, but

[00:02:17] Ann: I don’t know.

There’s never too much pie for those of us who love

[00:02:21] Stephen: desert. I’m the, obviously I do the Turkey, that’s my things. And I’ve got a really good system and I’m just so proud of. I actually remembered all the steps so far. It took it out, put it in the brine. I, usually I miss something, so all good.

I was

[00:02:36] Ann: just going to ask if you have it bright if you’re brining it yet. So here on,

[00:02:40] Stephen: yeah, I, I am my wife wants to do like a oil roaster one year. We haven’t done that yet, we’ll see. And we’re chatting a bit, but tell everybody a little bit about who you are, where you live, what you like to do.

[00:02:53] Ann: Besides writing and Charles and I live in Prescott, Arizona, we’re up in the mountains for those of you. Aren’t [00:03:00] familiar with Arizona. We’re not down in the desert, like the Phoenix folks and outside of writing. Of course I like to read, but I also love to watch movies. We were talking about your star wars and Raiders of the lost Ark and all that good stuff.

So I love all kinds of movies, but action, adventure. Saifai anything fun? Humor, my favorites. And I actually, I really like to watch movies instead of read books because. It recharges me in a way that’s different. I do love to read books. Don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about, I think I’m a visual learner.

So watching movies really helps me think about how to create dialogue and set up a scene and things like that. When I go to sit down and write a story

[00:03:45] Stephen: it’s a quicker process that you can rather than spread out over, an hour and a half. All right. Yeah. I see that

[00:03:53] Ann: too. Yeah. And I like to, I go in thinking of myself as the director of the story, I’m going to [00:04:00] tell everybody no, let’s redo that, which is backspacing let’s replay that scene out and see how it goes.

It’s just fun. Think of it. And when I create on the page, how would this look, if it was a movie, how would this book look? If I, if it was a movie starting up and so I’ll approach a lot of my stories that way I want to open. You’re sitting down and you’re in a dark theater and the movie starts.

[00:04:21] Stephen: So do you drive your husband crazy? Like I drive my wife crazy by, yeah, this is coming up and they’re going to do this. And while they really should have done that different and blah, blah, blah. Yeah.

[00:04:32] Ann: For a long time. Yes. But a few years ago, my husband started writing to. We talked so much about it.

He’s been part of this process, since pretty much the beginning. And then once he really started in with writing the stories, we co-write one of our series. Now our kids, it’s who we drive crazy, but they’re pretty good too. They’ll go out first turning point. Oh, here comes black moment, and they’ll do all that kind of stuff.

A story structure, which,

[00:04:58] Stephen: yeah, our 14 year old, like [00:05:00] halfway through a movie will predict what’s going to happen at the end. And he’s like really good at it. So why did you want to start writing? What made you want to start this career?

[00:05:11] Ann: I didn’t, this was not what I intended to do as I grew up and went through life, I started, one of the things I wanted to do early on was be Indiana Jones, of course, because I was young, movies were big.

And ironically, I really looked into archeology and all, different parts of it. And I realized how much writing was going to be involved. And so I shied away from that. And now I write, so I should’ve just went with archeology maybe. And then I went to this bizarre phase. I was reading a lot of romance novels that were set over in England and other places.

I for ninth grade, we had to draw a picture of what we wanted to be. And I drew myself as a camel jockey, which really surprised my art teacher. He wasn’t sure what to think of that. And my more practical, good friend, she drew herself with a [00:06:00] break briefcase to be a social worker. And she did go on to do that.

But. Have yet to ride a camel so that didn’t pan out either flight attendant appealed because you could travel so much, but then that didn’t work out lawyer. The list just went on and on which really shows for me how much my brain was already creating stories of, what could be. And so going into a story just went naturally.

I think that didn’t happen until my mid to late twenties. So it was not. I’m a slow, I’m a turtle. I turtle into it. Yeah.

[00:06:34] Stephen: I don’t consider a still in your twenties turtle. I know a lot of people that spent many more years or decades until they figure it out. And I think sometimes people resist the creative urge.

I think that’s what it boils down to is sit in our society, get a good job, work for the man. And but when you want to do something creative, it’s against all of that and you almost subconsciously feel guilty about it. I think that’s where it stems from personal.

You, [00:07:00] as I mentioned, when we first got on you and I were talking, you’re unique for me because you’re not a new author and you have. Just gotten your first book out. You’re a very successful author. You’ve been to us eight times best selling author. And you’ve got multiple books out, which by the way after you were on with J thorn his podcast, I went and looked up some of your books and I’m like, oh, these look perfect for me.

I love these. So tell us about your newest book and some of the other books, the series that you have.

[00:07:30] Ann: Okay. If I go way off tangent, remind me where we started.

[00:07:35] Stephen: Okay. We’re talking about the books. That’s our point right there.

[00:07:38] Ann: So I have five different ongoing series that I’m working on. And I have my, one of my biggest ones, which is 12 books in so far, and that’s the Deadwood mystery series.

And that was the first book I published was nearly departed in Deadwood, which is the first in that series. And that was a multi award winning book. And it’s. It’s sold. Amazing. It’s been a [00:08:00] wonderful story and I just love that series and that world, but that’s one of them. And at the same time, that first year, when that one first came out the first book in the Jack rabbit junction mystery series came out too.

So I right at the get-go I knew I didn’t want to be a one series author because I’d seen that go south for several of my author friends. They get. In a groove and they couldn’t get out of it. Nobody wanted to read anything else. So I knew right away, we got to get at least two out there so that people know, she’s going to write the series, but she’s also going to do this one and, at least run two parallel.

Well, a few years in, then I decided there was a book I’d written actually before all the others. And that was my dig site series book. The first in that, which is look what the wind blew in. So I finally pulled that back around, did some tweaking and tied it in because I have an auntie Carl’s world kind of thing going on.

So tied it in so that the hero of the dig [00:09:00] site series is the brother of the heroine in. Deadwood mystery series. And so I got, I put that one out. I published that one and did the second one in that and get that series going to. So now I have three series I’m trying to keep going, which keeps me busy.

And then I got offered to be part of this Kindle worlds thing that some people might know about be with another author in a friend of mine invited me and I did. Then they canceled that program and give it back to me. And so that’s the AC silly circus series because it really fit with her world.

But then I’d really I guess I don’t play well in the sandbox with others because I really made it so I could take it back eventually and have my own. And so that’s, I wrote the second and that’s there. Those are novellas. So I wrote the second in that series and had that going. And in the meantime, my husband and I, we had an idea while watching a, an old west film about an undertaker.

Who’s a female in the old west. And it really tied [00:10:00] in with my current Deadwood mystery series, which is paranormal mixed into it. And so we decided. I knew I couldn’t do this on my own because anyone who writes westerns or historicals, you need to have your history, right? You don’t just wing it.

You need to have things accurate. Cause readers get really annoyed as they should, if you mess it up. So my husband’s so good at research. He always has been, and he’d been wanting to jump in at some point, and do some writing as well. So this really worked for the two of us to come together and create what we call the Deadwood undertakers series.

Which is the Deadwood mystery series back in 1877. What happened before? Way back in the 18 hundreds before modern day, that builds up to what’s going on modern day that I write about in that series. So it’s a prequel basically. So we have three of those out and he’s right now getting the fourth going and.

So those are all five of my series. And like I said, they all, except for that circus [00:11:00] series at the moment, they all have characters that go between because of the paranormal element, that’s in the two Deadwood series. They can go through time. That’s not a problem. You have a ghost in a modern day.

That’s maybe somewhat alive in the past, which is really fun. You get to see both sides. But the circus series will be tied in soon. That’s the only hint I give to my fans that it’s coming. You’ll see the connection soon enough. So that’s all of it. Now, the one I just have out black Friday November 26, that’s coming out that is called Jack rabbit jingle balls.

And it’s the Christmas story for the Jack rabbit junction mystery series. And it files follows up on the Thanksgiving story that was called the wild Turkey. And I have, I just have the proof you can, they cover it up, his Santa Claus, his face, but it’s a skeleton Santa Claus. And if you look at the covers of these series, they all have Sam, the skeleton gracing, the cover.

So it’s a Christmas novella and it’s a story it’s wacky, it’s wild. The Morgan sisters [00:12:00] who star in this series are pretty wild and Willy, they end up in jail now. And then and of course it’s not their fault. It’s a mix of kind of treasure island. That treasure hunting element with adventure, a little bit of romance, a lot of humor, some dirty jokes.

And that’s Jack rabbit, jingle balls. That’s your Christmas story right there. So it’s just fun. It’s. Gonna probably bring you to tears or anything like that, the big heartwarming, but it’s going to make you laugh and smile. And then, a few other things, cringes, undoubtedly.

[00:12:31] Stephen: Nice. So you’ve got some paranormal and humor and you described a cozy mystery.

So what other books out there are similar to yours to let people know if that would be up their alley?

[00:12:44] Ann: The only thing I have to say, just to clarify, Mr. Cozy only because if I get a cozy author that comes to thinking, and it is just cozy, I get mean letters because I have language on the page and often there is sex on the [00:13:00] page.

And so these are rated. I tell people these are rated R they’re edgy. They’re not, yes, exactly. Only turn up the, a little bit of everything. What was your

[00:13:10] Stephen: question? What other books out there would you say are similar?

[00:13:16] Ann: Oh, that’s tough. I have a lot of good friends that we share of sense of humor with Robin Peterman.

She writes mostly paranormal romance and other romances, but we share a lot of fans because of our sense of humor on the page. We’re very humorous, really high, and I’ve been in our books and she’s wonderful. We’ve we’re friends off screen too. So we have a great time when we’re together. She’s one of them I don’t know because, I mix genres and that’s really what made me stumble out of the gate was that I was, this author had mixed, my genre is up and back in the early two thousands.

Every time I had applied to one of the big houses that, sending my manuscript or my agent. I would get a we’re sorry, but you really need to pick a genre or you going to be mystery or you [00:14:00] going to be humor or you going to be romance. What do you do in here, paranormal? And fortunately the tides have turned and now mixed genre is not a problem.

And a lot of people do it. So I love that. But at first I beat my head against the wall a lot. I’m like many authors who they mixed. Several of the genres together and add humor. My books are not going to make you change your life and clean up your house or anything like that.

What they’re meant to do is give you some laughs. So smiles when you need an escape from regular life, when you just want to go and find something to laugh about and get away for a while, that’s what these are something to. It lifts your spirits, a thing are they have a lot of nonfiction in them.

Cause I do a lot of research, those historical elements in different stories that I bring in that I incorporate into the story, especially like the treasure island, the Jack rabbit junction series. There’s usually some element of history that I’m teaching, within the [00:15:00] pages. I can’t think of one right now.

I need more copy.

[00:15:05] Stephen: I love that. Because honestly that’s what I like about what you do and what you write. And that’s what attracted me to it. Those are my favorite types and I’ve argued and pushed back against other authors who say, if you write fantasy, keep writing fantasy. That’s what people want.

And I’m like, but I don’t read that way. And my brain doesn’t think that way, this story. Yeah, I can change it, but it really fits this other way. And JD Barker actually gave me some advice that I thought was perfect. He’s you can do that. You can be successful, but you have to do it from the start. You can’t write 10 books, all one genre and then switch.

You have. Three different genres right out of the gate. He said, think of the first Pearl jam album, there were multiple styles of music on that album and people loved it and they could do whatever they want after that.

[00:15:49] Ann: And I agree. If you look at the dead wood mystery series, that’s mystery paranormal.

Some romance, lots of humor, one thread throughout all minus humor. [00:16:00] So there’s that. And then if you look at that Deadwood undertaker series, there’s mystery, historical, Western paranormal little bits of romance, a little bit less, a thing. And then if you go to this Jack rabbit series, there’s no paranormal.

Although, the characters know each other a little bit and characters cross over into different series, but. It’s adventure. It’s action. It’s a little bit of romance. It’s a lot of humor, but again, the genres slightly cross on all of my series. So if you get, I do have people that go, oh, these are my favorite dead with my favorite.

Oh, the Jack rabbit. Once those girls are my favorite, so you fit in, but then they liked the other two. So I think because you cross some a little bit, it’s like sewing it together. So it’s a loose, Like a quilt,

[00:16:45] Stephen: and again, that’s what I like. So let me digress for one moment. A question earlier topic do you consider diehard and lethal weapon?

Christmas movies? Yes,

[00:16:56] Ann: of course, because I love those kinds of movies and there [00:17:00] they play Christmas songs and they have Christmas

[00:17:02] Stephen: decorations. I got to watch lethal weapon every year when I’m wrapping presents. It’s like my thing now. Okay. Yes. Diehard. Definitely. Why did you want to write this type of book, these genre, mashups with the comedy and everything.

Why did you want to write that?

[00:17:17] Ann: I wanted to write romances from the start because romance is a big market and I grew up reading. I read Stephen King. All kinds of stuff. Westerns Louis L’Amour and romances galore, but I really wanted to start on romance because my heart was in it.

And I thought, this is one of the, doing research bromance market is huge. And I thought, this is what I want to do. And I tried and I trust. And I just don’t emote enough on the page. And, I applaud those who do it really well because it wasn’t until I started adding, like dead bodies ghost killer, horrible monsters or whatever was in there.

Once that came in, then I really enjoyed it. [00:18:00] And the romance worked because of not a romance only writer. I just like to have. A little bit of it in there, so I tried that first and I didn’t succeed. And then I moved into the mix of mystery with romance and humor, and suddenly I was getting bites.

I got an agent. We were making our way through, and back in the day, when you were trying to get into the big houses, cause that was what you did. Indie was such a new thing back then that you really didn’t go there to. And I actually, with nearly departed in my agent, we made it into one of the big houses through editing and we made it clear up to the final acquisition for that book and marketing came in and they didn’t think that since it was in the Midwest, it would have a big enough audience.

So I was rejected at the tail end, which was, oh, so painful. But by then I’d written book to. And so that’s when we decided, okay we’re going to form a publishing house. We know how to do this. We’re going to go forth and we’re going to publish. And we [00:19:00] did. And then it midway through that. I pulled out because I couldn’t do both being publisher and an author.

I realized it was and having a family. So I had to choose and I chose author and I pulled everything. I had all rights to my book still, and I went solo. And so since 2015, I’ve. Mostly indie. I am hybrid when it comes to audio books. Cause I’m with Blackstone for part of them. But mostly indie otherwise.

So yeah, that’s the whole thing condensed.

[00:19:28] Stephen: I liked what you said that you wanted to write this. And it’s not that you couldn’t write romance. It’s just, it wasn’t really you. So it came across I’ve heard that a lot also. And you found what worked for you and it’s been the most exciting.

[00:19:42] Ann: And that goes back to your actual question, because again, I went off on that. Tangent

[00:19:47] Stephen: was forgetting my questions said,

[00:19:50] Ann: how did I choose this? It really it chose me. I, this is what came out was this mixing, but that’s like you, I like mixed genre movies. I liked [00:20:00] mixed gender stories.

So this is how it all came out. Yeah. Thankfully, the market has shifted to where this is people like this as well, and we don’t have to be in such boxes, and the rigid things of only this, I

[00:20:12] Stephen: agree. And I read, like I said, lots of stuff in these, mash-ups like one of my new favorite authors the last couple years Jeff strand it’s horror comedy.

And it’s, I always describe it as like a, an adult goosebumps. But he would have probably never been published through random house or anything.

[00:20:29] Ann: I’m going to write his name down. Cause that sounds

[00:20:30] Stephen: fun. Yeah, he’s a good guy. Okay, so you are pretty much independent. You went, tried the trad route and almost made it, do you think this is just opinion?

Do you think your books would have been successful if you had made it into the trad or do you think you’re more successful now?

[00:20:50] Ann: That’s tough. I would think it depends if they would have put some marketing dollar behind me. So when I turned around and had to go indie and chose to [00:21:00] go Indy, I guess I shouldn’t say had.

One of the first things that I did was that’s when Amazon’s free books was a new thing. It wasn’t, you know what it is now, it didn’t, you could put your book free and then pull it off. You didn’t have to be only Amazon. There was just all this, it was so new and a really good friend of mine said, you got to try this.

I did. And she was written up about, I think in the New York times it went so big for her. It was so brand new. So I took nearly departed and I went, I put it for free. And did the push and, oh, my, it was like 40,000 books. Went out, boom eBooks. And I was shocked and scared and thought, what did I just do?

Oh my gosh. I just gave away everything. She was right. It really builds. And by the time when I did that, I had the second book out already. So my second book went crazy. Nice and sold really well. That was a different [00:22:00] marketing. The New York was doing at the time. Of course.

So I and I still have a lot of those first readers that got that first book freeway back in 2011. They’re still with me and read everything, which is really cool. I don’t know what New York would have done to market and my fear. Then as, even as time went on was so many of my friends were getting two or three book contracts.

And if they didn’t make enough, do enough sell through their contracts were being pulled. So it killed their series because they kept the rights to the first three. But then you can’t write anymore because, you’re just promoting those first three really. And so I had that happening all around me.

So I’ve often. I think it was better. It was a horrible, painful lesson, but maybe it was better for me to have done it this way, because. I marketed in a way that they might not have.

[00:22:52] Stephen: And that’s what all of these been, I’ve been afraid of. I haven’t even really wanting to look for an agent and try trad because I don’t want to be told [00:23:00] the second book didn’t do too well.

So forget about the other five. You have planned. I’ve heard that from other authors. I know that it’s happening.

[00:23:09] Ann: Yes. Yes. And that was a big fear of mine because, anyone knows, once you invest in a two tour, two or three books in a series that you plan to do a long series, that’s a big investment of time and energy.

And to just have that shut down. Yeah. That would’ve been

[00:23:24] Stephen: horrible. Whereas I know somebody who is writing a trilogy. And halfway through the second book was told that it hasn’t been the first book didn’t sell too well. So they’re just going to cut it at two. So he had to combine two and three and put that out and then it took off.

So they told them to do another one and he had already. Combined, but now he’s up to book like 11 in the series, so I won’t

[00:23:49] Ann: get it worked out for him in the end. That’s

[00:23:51] Stephen: good. Yeah. You’ve told us a little bit about the feedback from your readers already. But what would be your choice if you got approach, would you rather turn your [00:24:00] book into a movie or a set of movies or a TV?

[00:24:05] Ann: I love those series. They do on Netflix and Amazon, where they have a season. Yeah. And you can, and I think you could take a book cause my books run around 125,000 words. So they’re not tiny. I can’t, I, one of my friends always jokes that I write these long books, but I can’t help it. That’s the story.

But that way you could take a longer book like that and fit it into, six to eight show. And then have it, there’s book one, your season one is book one. I think that would be really cool to do, to see. And that way you can fully explore the plot of each book and enjoy it and not be crammed in,

[00:24:43] Stephen: and that’s so interesting because I think almost every author I talked to has the same answer just about, when I originally.

Yeah, asking that. I thought, some people say TV show, but TV is so different nowadays. And it really, Marvel changed a lot of that when you’re putting the same [00:25:00] characters in with the same budget and the same quality of story, on there in star wars is doing better on TV in this decade than they are in movies.

So those are big franchises. So yeah,

[00:25:13] Ann: it’s really changed. It’s fun to watch that. See now, I’m the type of person who loves a series. So I love, like the Marvel universe and all that. I love all the different and how they’ll do that. Very thing at the very end, which is the teaser for another one.

I always love that because it’s oh good. More’s coming. There’s going to be another movie or there’s going to be more to

this.

[00:25:32] Stephen: Yeah. And what we were talking about with genre and the mashup in the difference. That you really haven’t seen a lot of on TV. It’s, each show is a very specific thing.

We’ve got Hawkeye that tonight. That’s our big thing. While we’re making pies, we’re going to watch Hawkeye. And the Witcher came out, but they it’s a fantasy. It’s a superhero and it’s with a little comedy. You always get that, but you don’t get the paranormal and the romance and the comedy all. And I think that’s an area where the indie [00:26:00] books are ahead of.

The film and movie TV industry right now. And I think we need to see something like that actually make it big and that’ll probably change a lot of things.

[00:26:11] Ann: I know I’m excited. It just feels like now with all these different series and the streaming and the different things going on, the scifi channel, all the different channels that show, different series.

It’s like finally we get to have more variety, in, in choice of shows instead of, I don’t know about you, but I’m old enough when we, when I grew up with the big old box TV and, turn the chair. We had three channels and that was it, and it was, yeah, exactly. So HBO, when that came out was wow.

The biggest thing ever. So now if I look back, I think, wow, we were so limited. It was whatever the, TV channels decided they wanted to show us. That was all that we got to see. And now. There’s so much choice and we can see so many different things that [00:27:00] support it’s really fun.

[00:27:01] Stephen: Yeah. I agree. We didn’t even had cable until I was a junior in high school. So I tell you the town in Ohio. Yeah. Did you say Ohio?

[00:27:12] Ann: I was Northwest Ohio. Yeah. Where at?

[00:27:17] Stephen: Where are you from? We live right by.

[00:27:19] Ann: Oh, you’re on the other side. Yeah. I’m we were, I grew up west of Toledo right up in the corner by Indiana and Michigan, like a mile from the Michigan line right up in there.

Yeah. That was out in the boonies farmland,

[00:27:31] Stephen: I always told my kids. I might, yeah, we had a 50 inch TV growing up. Of course the screen was only 12 inches. You guys don’t know the struggle with having to get up and walk through shag carpet to change the channel,

[00:27:46] Ann: green shade,

[00:27:46] Stephen: carpet.

Yep. So you mentioned a little bit about some of your favorite authors and books. Tell us what some of your favorite books are that you’ve enjoyed throughout your life.

[00:27:58] Ann: There’s a couple that I reread a [00:28:00] lot. See, now I’m a character. I love character centric, movies. It’s about, I do like the action and all the other stuff, but character growth is really one of my favorite things to, to watch to read.

And so character driven stories is, that’s what I write, that’s why I have these series. You’re really, and they’re not. They’re not individual little shows, a thing like a monk, the TV show, it’s more of, you really want to read the whole thing to watch the character grow and change.

So the books that I like to read are mainly about characters and so I have different ones in different genres. For example, I have re-read Lula Morris, Flint. Twenty-five times easily. It’s one of my, it’s my favorite Louis. L’Amour I love Flint. I don’t know if you’ve ever read that. I read that one now.

And I won’t be giving anything away to tell you it starts out with the hero. He’s going back to New Mexico from New York city. This was back in the 18 hundreds, and he’s going there to die because he has cancer. So he comes into the story with this attitude of, I don’t care what’s going to [00:29:00] happen and he’ll shoot.

He doesn’t care about people he’s going to die. So you have this really great. Character who’s tough and he knows he has nothing to lose. So when he comes across the villains, what’s going to happen. He doesn’t care, which is wonderful. So that’s Flint. Cheryl Reavis she’s a romance author that I ran into her books back in the nineties.

She has a series. And I think it’s called the Navajo blessing series, but it’s, there’s three or four. Talk about character driven romances, where it’s about the character growth. Unbelievable. It’s one of my all time favorites and I’ve read the first in that series as well, the others, but the first I’ve probably read that 40 times.

I’m not kidding. I reread it and then I’ll finish it and go, wow. I really, I want to figure out how she made me really feel that. And so I’ll go back and go back through it again. And I use those like Flint in that one to study because I’m trying to always improve my own writing and my make my characters feel more [00:30:00] real.

The stories, the, all that surrounding them more colorful, more real, and bring in readers even more. So Stephen King, I love a lot of his, but desperation. Is one of my favorites. His, do you remember that one?

[00:30:17] Stephen: Actually for that one as much? I like what was the regulators was the opposite.

[00:30:22] Ann: The regulators was the opposite. And then I liked, of course Salem slot was one of them. That was a creepy, scary. That was one of my favorites growing up. So some of his, and I’ve fallen away from reading him just cause they’re this thick. And I write for a living and have a family, so I just don’t have time.

He’s one of them odd Thomas by who is that? Dean

[00:30:41] Stephen: Koontz? One of my, I love,

[00:30:44] Ann: I actually studied OD Thomas to learn how to write setting and incorporated in to a story better because he does it so well in that book, he brings, he uses words that makes the. Come to life and you feel it, you feel the creepiness or you [00:31:00] feel, wherever we are.

So

[00:31:02] Stephen: that’s the, if you haven’t listened to the audio book of OD Thomas, you should check it out because whoever reads it captures OD Thomas. So perfectly that I can’t picture anybody else ever being odd. Thomas, his voice.

[00:31:18] Ann: Sorry. I was just gonna say, have you seen there’s a series? Isn’t there a TV show? It was a,

[00:31:22] Stephen: there was a movie with ant.

And what’s his name? Anton Yelchin the Russian actor who was. On a star Trek that died he made a movie, but they had some trouble with the production and it was released overseas and almost not brought to America. And it was, the budget was like cut in half. And so it’s okay. But I really had such high hopes for the movie, but yeah, the audio book is wonderful.

And if you’ve never read Koontz’s Watchers, that’s probably,

[00:31:53] Ann: that’s a good one. That

[00:31:54] Stephen: was fantastic.

[00:31:56] Ann: Yeah. And like I said, see, my problem is I get stuck on an [00:32:00] author. If I find one that it helps me think creative creatively, and then I love it. I’ll watch, I’ll read it and I’ll read it. And I read it and I won’t move on.

So

[00:32:11] Stephen: no problem, interview authors and hear about all these great books and then go I’m going to get that. And I’m going to get that one and that one. And then, three months later, they’ll I said, read my book. I’m like, oh my God. It’s like number 752. I’ll get to it.

[00:32:27] Ann: I bet. Yeah.

[00:32:28] Stephen: So you live out in Arizona.

Do you have a favorite bookstore that you’d like to go there?

[00:32:33] Ann: I don’t, I’m really bad about bookstores. And I don’t it’s I have nothing against him. I love him, but I just don’t. I T I tend to do so much online and like you, I talk to authors, I meet authors. I have authors tell me you’ve got to check out this book.

So I tend to buy online, whether it’s an Amazon or a. How one author [00:33:00] that a good friend said, you got to read her books and she’s from Phoenix. So I did read one and then I joke we’re good friends now. And I joke that I started stalking her and I was like, I live just north of you an hour and a half.

Is there any way we could ever meet for coffee and just talk about books and blah, blah, blah. And now we’re really good friends. So I tend to read a lot of my friends books because of. We help each other out, whether it’s, Hey, read this and tell me where, you know what I need or check this out, because it’s really good story.

It’s it reminds me of something you wrote. So yeah, I don’t go into the bookstore anymore.

[00:33:36] Stephen: Yeah. I did the same thing with J thorn. I found out he lived right up in Cleveland and I started stalking him a little bit, emails. Like I’m really not stalking you, but yeah, I guess I am a.

I love that also about authors, that movie stars there’s different level. You don’t get an average person talking to a big movie star, but quote-unquote average people [00:34:00] talk to authors because authors don’t get that big head as much. Even king and Patterson, don’t always come across as.

Egocentric like actors sometimes do even though you can’t necessarily walk up to their house and knock on the door. But I’ve found even the, some of the authors that I’m like, oh my gosh, I, my books have you sold and how long have you been doing this? And they’re just like, yeah, have a seat. Let’s talk.

So

[00:34:23] Ann: definitely. It is in, and it’s really hard for a lot of us to go out and do the public thing. And do you know, you see the actors all the time on, like the tonight show or whatever, and they’re out there acting funny and they’re and I watch them, I think why can’t I be that funny?

It’s just, but it’s really not most of our nature to be that outward thing. That’s why we write, that’s why we, do what we do. But so many that I meet. Every year I do the, every other year I do the South Dakota festival of books since so many of my books are set in South Dakota. I’m really fortunate that a lot of them in the state consider me one of their [00:35:00] own.

My mom lives there and I’ve been there most of the time since I was a kid. But anyway every year that’s a real mix of genres and. Writers coming in and it’s so much fun to meet all these other people and hang out. Like when you’re, I hung out with a bunch of kids authors and learned what it was like for them and how much they hit the road.

I had no idea they were on the road so much, but they really are, And then the next year I’ll meet another author. Sometimes I meet these really big name authors that come in for the festival and they’re wonderful. And we have a great time and some of them, I have their phone numbers in my phone because they were like, call me and we’ll go to dinner.

And I look at it now and I’d never call them, but I’m like, I can’t get rid of that number. That’s so and so in my phone, right? Yeah. That’s

[00:35:43] Stephen: one of the things I want to do with all the authors I’ve met on the podcast. As I travel around, if I know I’m going to a place. Where someone I’ve talked to is there.

I ask them, Hey, let’s meet up at this bookstore and do a little walkthrough and talk and look at the bookstore and stuff. And then we have a little [00:36:00] video of these two authors going through a bookstore and the bookstore on my website and stuff. I haven’t done a whole lot of them because of last year and a half.

But I, and I hope the do some more now that things are settling down. If I get through Arizona, I will definitely stop we’ll call and we’ll do a bookstore. We’ll find definitely.

[00:36:19] Ann: Yes. That would be fun. There’s so much to see out here too. You might go, I’ll see if I can fit you in between the grand canyon and all the other

[00:36:25] Stephen: stuff.

I love Arizona. I’ve been there. I love the climate. I love the way things look cause Ohio, I love Ohio bringing the trees and all that. With Arizona people have the red rock lawn, and I was fascinated by that,

[00:36:39] Ann: we will, one of the things when we lived in Seattle for a while, then we had kids and then we ended up moving down here to a little bit smaller area for our kids and to get them outside more.

Cause it’s so rainy. They just were always inside in Seattle. So anyway, fourth grade field trips here. It’s the grand canyon and I’m in Ohio. We went to a slaughter house. [00:37:00] So yeah, so it’s wow, we’re doing the grand cane in for a field trip. And I always tell my kids, you don’t know how lucky you are.

Nobody and out here in Arizona, I tell you they do field trips. Big it’s always an hour to an hour and a half bus ride. And it’s these major archeology sites are things that are just incredible. I’m like, yeah, we can’t at our little local lake. So

[00:37:28] Stephen: funny you say that my wife and I were just talking about VR and how you can do those things with VR.

I’ve wanted to research like our local little town and do a VR program where overlays the buildings. You could choose like 1950 and see what everything looked like. And then eight 20, whatever and see it through the VR goggles while you’re walking around town. So you see, I guess it would be AR more than.

Where it’s overlaid on top of what’s there. I thought that’d be cool.

[00:37:55] Ann: That’s really something that they’re coming out with. It they’ve come out with

[00:37:58] Stephen: no, they do have [00:38:00] tours of areas that you can do VR. They’re like Mount Everest, and you could do a four and climb Mount Everest and see it in VR. But the AR thing I think I would love to see and do little.

[00:38:13] Ann: Oh, yeah, it would be just really cool. Yeah. That would be so

[00:38:16] Stephen: much fun. I, yeah. All right. So to finish up talking about books and then we’ll move on to some author stuff tell everybody why they should go out and get your books. I know because they look really cool. But why would you say people should get your.

[00:38:29] Ann: It’s, like I said earlier if you just want to take a break from all the crazy crap going on out there, or maybe something you know, is tough in your family life, or your job’s giving you, making you crazy. If you pick up one of my books, I’m going to take you to a different, it’s contemporary.

It’s not totally crazy, but a different place. And it, and in the old west, one’s a different time. And the goal is always, when I write is to write. Include laughter and give you something to laugh about now in the, like the Deadwood mystery series the [00:39:00] heroine is violet Parker and she gets in some messed up stuff and she’s very spunky and she gets herself out.

She has two kids, she’s struggling single mom. But she gets some real zingers into her. One of her coworkers, who’s a real jerk and it’s, the paranormal, the ghost, all that kind of fun. It’s just. If you want to get away from reality for a bit and have some fun and action adventure pick up one of my books and give them a try.

[00:39:23] Stephen: Nice. And some people don’t realize that’s a powerful thing fiction can do that it’s needed in today’s world. So I love that. Thank you. All right. Thank you for talking about your book. Let’s go talk about a few other things. Okay.

[00:39:36] Ann: Let’s do it.

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