Today’s interview is with Annie Seaton, author of the soon-to-be-released Winter of the Passion Flower. She shares with us where the title for her works comes from, how her varied career choices affected her writing and her tips on creating a solid synopsis.
LUX ZAKARI: Where did you get the inspiration for Winter of the Passion Flower? Where does the title come from?
ANNIE SEATON: I wrote Winter of the Passion Flower in response to a call for a steampunk novel set in winter with a holiday theme. It is set on the Cornish coast and I researched the sorts of blooms that may grow in the temperate area of the Gulf Stream. Thus I came up with “winter” as it is set in swirling snow and gusting winds and “passion” relates to the blue passion flower that Indigo and Zane collect in the Amazon jungle. Also, passion refers to the steamy elements in the book
LZ: What is the premise to Winter of the Passion Flower? Would you like to share a blurb or an excerpt?
AS: Indigo de Vargas is determined to exhibit her pharmacologicals and cosmecuticals at the Great Exhibition in Crystal Palace, but the evil Duke Lorca and his shape shifting servants thwart her preparation at every turn. Her only hope is to trust the brooding captain who mysteriously appears at her door in the middle of a fierce snowstorm, and offers to navigate her submarine to the Amazon jungle to collect the passionflowers for her potions and hallucinogenics.
But the sexy Captain Dogooder and his sassy mistress are in for more surprises on the voyage than they ever expected.
Steam powers more than the submarine on this voyage. The sparks that fly between Indigo and her captain just may cause a combustion that ignites a passion that neither can avoid. Steam is put aside as they work together to fight those determined to foil their mission, ably assisted by two quirky servants, brass goggles and inappropriate accoutrements
Warning: Steam and immodest clothing
LZ: You write for several different genres, such as steampunk, romance and paranormal fiction. What genre is your favorite to write for and why?
AS: I love writing in the paranormal genre. It is most liberating and so much fun, not to be constrained by boundaries of time or physical capability. My latest novel (Blind Lust) is about witchcraft and Cupid. I had so much fun writing it!
LZ: You’ve undergone several major career changes. Have they affected or played a part in your writing? If so, in what ways?
AS: Being a career person did not allow me the luxury of writing until recently. However, my careers have given me a diversity of life experiences in several very different sectors and so many opportunities to observe human nature, I have thousands of stories to write! As a part of my teaching career, I travelled to different countries observing educational systems and enjoyed living in the homes of teaching colleagues in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and New Zealand. It was wonderful to be a part of a different culture for a significant length of time. I am sure walking to work in the snow in Denmark will appear in a story one day. That was pretty special for an Aussie who did not see snow until after she was 30.
Now that I have retired from my teaching career, I am writing 9 till 5, Monday to Friday and steaming along. I have written three books in four months so far.
LZ: Three books in four months is amazing. How do you motivate yourself to be so prolific?
AS: My motivation is intrinsic. While it would be wonderful be a New Your Times best seller author, the process of writing itself is reward enough for me! When I finished my first manuscript in April, it was an absolutely satisfying moment. To have the book picked up by Lyrical was the icing on the cake!
LZ: What part of the writing process is most fun for you? The most troublesome?
AS: I enjoy every aspect of writing from the first little niggling idea for a story right through the editing process. If I had to pick a most troublesome aspect, it would have to be synopsis writing, which I think is the bane of many writers.
LZ: What are some tips you have for writing a successful synopsis?
AS: Tips for writing a successful synopsis. Try and focus on your original idea or premise that hopefully editors have not seen a million times. Don’t detail the plot, concentrate on the progression of the story through the development of the characters.
LZ: Who has impacted your writing the most?
AS: That is a very hard question to answer as I have such wide reading tastes. I think one of my enduring favourites who has stayed with me for years has to be Mary Stewart and her Merlin trilogy. I like writers who have humour in their voice even in the most difficult situations. I really wish I had written steampunk like Gail Carriger before she did!
LZ: What are three quirky facts about you that we would never know otherwise?
AS: I am obsessive about organisation and neatness and never achieve either! I have a bizarre sense of humour. If I lose the muse, I walk the beach and it comes back instantly!
LZ: What is an example of your bizarre sense of humor?
AS: Ten minutes in Scotland at a whisky distillery where my daughter and I went into paroxysms of laughter at ducks diving in a pond. We were surrounded by a crowd of people staring at us, who could not see anything funny about the backsides of ducks!… And for clarification, it was on the way in to the tasting, not on the way out!
LZ: What are your writing goals for 2012?
AS: 2012 –my goals are to get my next three completed manuscripts picked up and published. Finish my romantic suspense novel. Finish the steampunk flower trilogy. Number 2 - Summer of the Moon Flower is underway. Write my 100,000 paranormal novel to pitch at the national conference in August!
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To learn more about Annie Seaton, visit http://annieseaton.blogspot.com or http://twitter.com/#!/annieseaton26.