Interview with Author Anne Louise Bannon
You may remember Anne Bannon from her visits to my blog in the past:
Publishing World Wisdom with Anne Louise Bannon, where she tells us what she wishes she could tell her pre-published self.
And, Switching Things Up with Anne Louise Bannon, where she discusses author branding and writing in different genres.
Today, Anne has graciously agreed to more of a traditional interview, as I’m a nosy type of person and wanted to ask her a bunch of questions.
Q. Anne, did you always want to be a writer, and do you remember the first story you every wrote?
A. I don’t know that I *always* wanted to be a writer. I was one at a fairly young age, though. I wrote my first novel when I was 15, a novelization of Cinderella, and it pretty much stank. But it taught me a lot. The first story I actually wrote, however, was a school assignment when I was in the fourth grade. It was a jungle adventure and seriously awful, but not bad for a nine-year-old.
Q. Would you be willing to share with readers the different types of jobs you’ve had? I always like to ask authors this, mainly because authors always seem to have had interesting job histories.
A. My employment history was mostly retail until I got hired on at the Los Angeles Times as a desk assistant and ended up doing a fair amount of writing. Before that, I also worked very briefly as an associate producer at a tiny independent theater. Most recently, I’ve been picking up planning and other documents for a real estate developer, which has been surprisingly interesting. I ran across a zoning change letter for a defense plant that wanted to add a childcare facility to the plant. It was dated 1942. Stuff like that.
Q. I’m most familiar with your historical series. Can you tell us about your inspiration for those stories?
A. Both the 1920s series and the Operation Quickline series (which is not technically historical) were the result of some weird dreams I’d had back in the early to mid-1980s, when I originally wrote them.
The Old Los Angeles series has a very specific beginning, though. My husband, Michael Holland, is the archivist for the City of Los Angeles. So, there was this excavation going for a building that was going up, and they found some old brickwork that was the original Zanja Madre, or Mother Ditch, that was how the city was irrigated before William Mulholland raped the Owens Valley to bring water here. Michael not only got some of the bricks for the archive, he did a wonderful talk on irrigating L.A. from the early Spanish period through Mulholland. He explained how there were multiple zanjas that had been dug off of the Zanja Madre, complete with sluice gates. Every month, if you needed water, you went to the Zanjero, or Water Overseer, paid for your subscription, went back the next day to get your receipt, then on the third day, the Zanjero and his men would come out and open your sluice, and the water would rush into your zanja…
I write murder mysteries. What was I thinking? Obviously, perfect time for a body to appear, and the next thing I knew, Maddie Wilcox was talking to me in my head.
Q. One of the blog posts that I mention above discusses switching genres a bit to a more contemporary tale, Rage Issues, which introduces us to private investigator Berto Esparza and fill-in investigator, Daria Barnes. How did you manage switching up your genre focus and will we see more books with these characters?
A. I’ve got a couple ideas that I’m playing around with for Daria and Berto, so, yeah, there will be a sequel or two. I’m just not sure when.
As for switching up the genres, it isn’t that hard for me because Daria sounds completely different to me than Maddie Wilcox, or Lisa Wycherly, or my newest character Jannie Miller, in Running Away to Boston (which will be released on June 20 and takes place in Los Angeles, but Boston is an important metaphor).
There's always a way in...
Jannie Miller finds people. The only person she can't find is her mother, who supposedly perished in a tornado, but is deep in hiding from Jannie's abusive father. When Jannie's ex-boyfriend, FBI agent Brent Mikkelson, hires Jannie to find Tanya Coleman, a young witness to a vicious murder, he unwittingly drags Jannie into the violence.
Set in Los Angeles, Jannie soon suspects that Tanya might have more to her than anyone would guess. She's been working for Wheeling Corp., a think tank that only pretends to be benevolent. When Jannie gets too close, her mother comes out of hiding to warn Jannie off, but then accepts her daughter into the ragtag group of ethical computer hackers intent on bringing Wheeling down. It's not just Wheeling's unethical behavior. The group has discovered that the think tank is writing a virus that could bring the American economy to its knees. It's a race against time and a hired assassin, as Jannie comes to know a mother who never really abandoned her and faces a boyfriend who couldn't be there for her.
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Q. Of all the books you’ve written so far, do you have a favorite?
A. The only reason I have a favorite human child is that I have only one. As for my novels, they’re all my babies, and while I will go through phases where I’m more hung up on one series more than another, I do not have a favorite.
Q. Tell us about your publishing journey . . . Do you independently publish all of your books or do you have some books with a traditional publisher?
A. I had a non-fiction book out that was traditionally published twice. It started out as Deadly Doses: a Writer’s Guide to Poisons, then became Howdunnit: Book of Poisons. But the rest of my fiction is currently independently published. I’m fooling around with a new series that should be more of a standard cozy that I hope to publish traditionally. We’ll see.
Q. What sort of books do you like to read the most?
A. Mysteries. I’m not big on blood and guts and dark thrillers, but other than those, I tend to read most forms of the genre. I also like some fantasy and current romance is getting a lot better than it used to be, so I’ll dabble there, too.
Super Six List:
Fav Pizza Topping: Black olive and sausage
Book You’re Reading Now: 'Roman Britain' by John Wacher (it’s for research)
Coffee, Tea, or Both: Both
Fav Activity as a Child: Reading
Most Interesting Place You’ve Lived: Liege, Belgium
Best Place You’ve Vacationed: Liege, Belgium (or we actually stayed in Dinant)
Thanks so much, Anne!!
Author Anne Louise Bannon’s husband says that his wife kills people for a living. Bannon does mostly write mysteries, including the Old Los Angeles Series, the Freddie and Kathy series, and the Operation Quickline series. She has worked as a freelance journalist for magazines and newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. She and her husband, Michael Holland, created the OddBallGrape.com wine education blog, and she co-wrote a book on poisons. Her latest novel is book four in the Old Los Angeles series, Death of an Heiress. She and her husband live in Southern California with an assortment of critters. Visit her website at AnneLouiseBannon.com or follow her on Facebook or on other social media at:
Linked In: @AnneLouiseBannon