Interview with Maree Anderson

How/when did you decide to become a writer?
Ten years ago I decided I’d have a go at writing a book. I'm told I have a sense of humor, so I thought I'd emulate one of my favorite authors of the time (Marian Keyes) and write something witty and contemporary and full of issues and angst. About two pages in I realized what I'd written sucked so hugely it was embarrassing. I gave up. And while reading Stephen Donaldson's amazingly dark and awesome-to-the-max space opera The Gap Sequence, I got an idea for a fantasy story about a blind seer. I couldn't stop thinking about this heroine and finally I decided what the heck, and started to write her story.

Nine months later I typed The End... and was really proud to have achieved my goal. I had ideas for more books featuring this heroine, but I didn't really intend to write them. A few weeks later I was out for dinner and someone (inevitably!) asked me what I did for a job. I remember being thrilled to bits to be able to say I’d written a book rather than admitting I was a stay-at-home mom and watching this guy stifle a yawn... and seek out someone more interesting to talk to. We chatted for a bit and he asked, “What scares you about taking the next step?” By that he meant submitting my manuscript rather than stuffing it in a drawer. Good question! When I got home I did some research and decided to enter the Romance Writers of New Zealand Clendon Award because it'd be great for feedback (the whole manuscript would be read and judged by readers). To my eternal shock I finalled! And that was it: I was hooked, and I've been writing ever since.
When were you first published, and how?
In 2008 a really famous author-friend of mine posted details of an erotic romance novella writing competition to a writers loop I belong to. I'd never written either erotic romance or a novella before, but the entries were going to be read by the publishing company's editors so I figured I'd challenge myself and give it a go. I emailed in my story, it finalled, and I was offered my first publishing contract. I still have the email about the offer to publish pinned to my notice board -- it was a hugely exciting moment for me.

I went on to publish 5 erotic romances with Red Sage Publishing before deciding to give self-publishing a try in 2011. I've recently indie-published my 10th book -- or 12th if you count the eBook bundles :)
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I'm a Kiwi -- a New Zealander, and I've lived in New Zealand all my life. So even though I started off aiming for the American market and try my best to polish the slang from my stories, I trip up every now and then. It's especially tricky when my American author friends will often debate correct usage of words and phrases till the cows come home... leaving me utterly confused over whether to use, for example, y'all or ya'll, and soda or pop etc. And don't get me started on trunk vs boot, and fanny pack vs bum bag.

One of the things I love about self-publishing is that I can experiment. The second Crystal Warriors book, Ruby's Dream, is set in my home town of Auckland, and all the characters are Kiwis save for Kyan, the hero. And it was a heap of of fun letting go and writing Ruby, a Kiwi heroine after my own heart. (Though I did include a glossary of Kiwi terms for readers -- just in case the meaning wasn't clear from the context.) Actually, can I boast a bit? I'm off to our annual romance writers conference shortly, and we're sharing our conference hotel with the All Blacks! *fans herself wildly and hopes for autographs* Yep, we Kiwis are pretty sports-mad.
All your books have a paranormal or fantasy element. What attracted you to those genres?
Um... I have a warped imagination shaped by years of devouring fantasy and sci-fi novels? I can’t seem to write anything “normal” -- even my attempt at a contemporary romantic comedy ended up having a paranormal element (the heroine decided she simply "had" to become a part-time cat shifter because of a Chinese zodiac curse!) I love writing the paranormal or fantasy aspects of my stories, so I figure, why fight it? I guess my brain is just wired that way.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been incredible to work with. For me, as a NZ author, it can be difficult (or impossible, in some cases) to get my books distributed as widely as I'd like, and Smashwords has been the perfect solution. I love that I can upload one document to one place, and have my book distributed all over the world.

The promos Smashwords run are so easy to manage, as well as providing great exposure to new readers, and I love the ease with which I can make a book free to encourage readers to try my stories. It was a couple of weeks after I made The Crystal Warrior free through Smashwords that it was discovered by Apple iBookstore editors and featured on a Breakout Author banner in April. That led to being asked to participate in an iBookstore Home Grown Romance promo with Lightning Rider, and to Liminal being offered an exclusive iBookstore pre-order and then being chosen for the Best Books of August selection. Thanks to Smashwords, and Mark's vision for indie authors, I've had the kind of exposure a little-known author like me could only dream about.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I got the idea for my latest book, Liminal, while reading Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series. Mac (the heroine of the Fever series) was talking about liminal states of being and my mind just went for a loop.

“Liminal” is an intermediate state or phase or condition; a threshold or transitional state. And it got me thinking about how sometimes I'm having a conversation and someone talks right over me like I'm invisible. So I grabbed a pen and paper and scribbled some notes... which expanded into a story about a sixteen-year-old named Wren, who feels like she’s invisible, and then discovers that on and off she really IS invisible... because she's a "lim" who can phase in and out of the real world. It sounds pretty cool but turns out to be really complicated because someone's blocked her energy flows, meaning she's in danger every time she phases, and she ends up caught between two warring factions who'd kill to get their hands on her. Worse, the only guy she thought she could trust has an agenda. (And I'm stoked to the max that Liminal was selected by iBookstore AUS & NZL editors as one of their Best Books of August -- woot!)
What do your fans mean to you?
I'm so honored and humbled to even have fans! And some of the fan-mail I've received has made me cry -- in a good way. In the past I've almost given up writing for various reasons, and it's been that unexpected email from someone who loved one of my stories that gets me through the rough patch. Those messages make me remember why I wanted to become a writer in the first place, and why I need to write. You guys are The Best! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
What are you working on next?
The 4th Crystal Warrior story: this one features Danbur and Opal (and Opal's daughter, Sera!)
Who are your favorite authors?
OMG, how much space have I got for this huge list? Okay, here's a few:
Nalini Singh, Rachel Vincent, Holly Black, Meljean Brook, Lilith Saintcrow, Robert Jordan, Robert Heinlein, Stephen Donaldson, Terry Goodkind, Melissa Marr, Charlaine Harris, Laura Florand, Janet Evanovich, Kelly Armstrong, S. L. Viehl, Anne McCaffrey, Rachel Caine, Karen Marie Moning, Kylie Chan, Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, Tad Williams.... and a whole bunch of others.

I average between 15-20 books per month, and I talk about them on Facebook, Twitter and my blog. I love reading with the same passion I reserve for reeeeally dark chocolate!
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
Thinking about what I'm writing, taking the occasional Ceroc dance or karate class, reading, thinking about what I'm writing, checking out blogs for ideas about what to read next, being a mom-taxi for my teenage kids, wondering what to cook for dinner, hoping someone else will cook dinner for a change, thinking about what I'm writing....
Published 2013-08-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Opal's Wish
By Maree Anderson
Series: The Crystal Warriors, Book Four. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 104,710. Language: English (New Zealand dialect). Published: March 31, 2014. Category: Fiction
Eight-year-old Sera accidentally frees Danbur from his crystal and bonds with him. Danbur now has no chance to break his curse. Worse, the child's mother, Opal, apparently wants nothing to do with him— or any man. Then Opal's past puts Sera in jeopardy and she's forced to turn to Danbur for help. But what Opal doesn't realize is that the clock is ticking, and Danbur's time is about to run out.
By Maree Anderson
Series: Liminals, Book One. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 83,340. Language: English (New Zealand dialect). Published: July 23, 2013. Category: Fiction
Wren’s a liminal who can phase in and out of the real world… except someone’s blocked her energy flows and she’ll die if she doesn’t get help. Two warring factions want a piece of her, and she’s totally crushing on her only ally, mysterious bad boy Kade. But he’s keeping secrets from her, just like everyone else. And what’s lurking in a ghostlike plane called Between is the biggest shock of all.
The Seer Trilogy Bundle
By Maree Anderson
Price: $6.99 USD. Words: 320,220. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2013. Category: Fiction
The Seer Trilogy eBook Bundle: Three complete full-length fantasy stories by multi-award-winning author Maree Anderson. Bundle includes: Seer’s Hope (Book 1: Hope’s story), Seer’s Promise (Book 2: Romana’s story), and Seer’s Choice (Book 3: Ryley’s story).
Seer's Choice (Book Three of The Seer Trilogy)
By Maree Anderson
Series: The Seer Trilogy. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 106,480. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2013. Category: Fiction
Ryley has discovered his soul mate living in the Earth town of Seaview, his mother’s hometown. Interfering in Rowan’s destiny will bring the wrath of the gods down on him, but he can’t stop now that her strange powers have spun dangerously out of control. And when Dayamaria is threatened by a deadly predator immune to magic, he must choose between the woman he loves and the people he left behind.
Seer's Promise (Book Two of The Seer Trilogy)
By Maree Anderson
Series: The Seer Trilogy. Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 110,330. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2013. Category: Fiction
Book Two of The Seer Trilogy: Romana is captivated by the prospect of becoming a powerful Sehan like her mother. But her dreams are shattered when everything she’d hoped for is bestowed upon one who couldn’t care less about wielding Sehani magic. She craves power with every fiber of her being… and when she finds a way to take it, the cost is devastating for gods and humankind alike.
Seer's Hope (Book One of The Seer Trilogy)
By Maree Anderson
Series: The Seer Trilogy. Price: Free! Words: 111,100. Language: English. Published: March 31, 2013. Category: Fiction
Seer's Hope (Book 1 of The Seer Trilogy): A young blind woman is snatched from her home and transported to a primitive world of magic and capricious gods where she’s transformed into a Seer; a golden-eyed being with awe-inspiring powers. Now all she has to do is learn to wield them. And if she’s to save those she loves from the horrifying evil that lurks in the darkness, failure is not an option.
The Crystal Warriors Series Bundle
By Maree Anderson
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 235,450. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2013. Category: Fiction
The Crystal Warriors Series Bundle, three full-length sexy paranormal romances by multi-award winning author Maree Anderson. Bundle includes: The Crystal Warrior (Book One, Chalcedony and Wulf’s story), Ruby’s Dream (Book Two, Ruby and Kyan’s story), Jade’s Choice (Book Three, Jade and Malach’s story).
Freaks in the City
By Maree Anderson
Series: Freaks, Book Two. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 76,680. Language: English. Published: August 20, 2012. Category: Fiction
Loving a cyborg isn’t easy! The timing couldn’t be worse for Jay and Tyler to take the next step. Tyler’s secrets come back to bite him, his destitute ex shows up on his doorstep and someone is manipulating her behind the scenes. Then Tyler’s family is threatened, forcing Jay to confront a ghost from her past. And this time, the weapon chosen to take Jay out really could be the death of her.
Jade's Choice
By Maree Anderson
Series: The Crystal Warriors, Book Three. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 73,040. Language: English. Published: March 8, 2012. Category: Fiction
Jade’s so desperate to provide for her chronically ill sister, she decides to sell herself. Her first client is a Crystal Warrior destined to be her life-mate, but this complex man who’s captured her heart plans to kill himself rather than risk imprisonment in his cursed crystal again. And saving him might be impossible... because he still loves the woman who refused to bond with him decades ago.
Lightning Rider
By Maree Anderson
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 78,260. Language: English. Published: January 27, 2012. Category: Fiction
Andie Brennan dies in a lightning strike and is miraculously healed and brought back to life. But now she’s sharing her body with an alien — the same alien who rode the lightning bolt that killed her. (Third place, Utah Romance Writers Heart of the West award, paranormal category; Highly Commended, RWNZ Clendon Award for full-length romantic manuscript.)
Ruby's Dream
By Maree Anderson
Series: The Crystal Warriors, Book Two. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 74,660. Language: English. Published: November 5, 2011. Category: Fiction
Book Two of The Crystal Warriors Series: She’s a plus-sized woman with sub-zero self esteem. He’s a Crystal Warrior, and the gods’ gift to women. But for a chance at the Happy Ever After they both deserve, they must learn that appearances can be deceiving... and pass the Crystal Guardian’s test before time runs out for them both. (Romance Writers of New Zealand Clendon Award finalist)
Freaks of Greenfield High
By Maree Anderson
Series: Freaks, Book One. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 70,650. Language: English. Published: September 9, 2011. Category: Fiction
Freaks of Greenfield High: Jay's a teenage cyborg on the run from a covert organization intent on using her as a weapon. But Jay's evolving, and she's experiencing human emotions for the very first time. So when she's forced to hide out at a small-town high school, the unthinkable happens: she falls in love. (Currently optioned for TV by Cream Drama, Inc.)
The Crystal Warrior
By Maree Anderson
Series: The Crystal Warriors, Book One. Price: Free! Words: 97,270. Language: English. Published: August 8, 2011. Category: Fiction
When career-focused dancer Chalcedony accidentally breaks a wulfenite crystal, a leather-clad man emerges. Wulf is a cursed Crystal Warrior, and before he realizes what’s at stake, he has magically bonded to Chalcedony. Now his life is in her hands. And when the Crystal Guardian’s Testing threatens everything she’s worked for, Chalcey must figure out how to save Wulf before it’s too late.