Interview with Anna Castle

What are you working on next?
Book 4 in the Francis Bacon mystery series, Publish and Perish, just launched. This month I'm doing writing business chores like spiffing up my mailing list ( July is Shorts Month in Austintatious, during which we challenge each other to write a short a story each week. In August, I'm researching and plotting book 3 of the Moriarty series, which is set in the late Victorian theater world. Draft 1 gets written in September and October, revised in November, and published in December, when I'll do a little more writing business and write a couple more shorts. Then the cycle begins again!
Describe your desk
I just got a Varidesk, which can be used either sitting or standing. I'm still fiddling with it, but the standing is good -- good for the back, good for the energy levels. I'm looking forward to writing my next book on my feet!
Who are your favorite authors?
Too many to list here! I've read the Lord of the Rings nearly every year since I was 12, so I guess Tolkein tops the list. Then I love Shakespeare, P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie, Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen, Pogo....
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Daylight. That was easy!
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I've been on a strictly indie book diet for the past year and I am loving it. The creativity! Fresh ideas, fresh voices. It truly is a brave new world. I find historical fiction at the
Historical Fiction Author's Cooperative. I just finished No Game for a Dame by M. Ruth Myers and gave it 5 stars. I'm reading the Sekhmet Bed by L.M. Ironside and Libbie Hawker. It's astonishing; so different, and so richly drawn. I can't put it down. I find thrillers and the like at Indies Unlimited and on the Alliance for Independent Authors (ALLi) Showcase.
What is your writing process?
I'm a plotter. The plot-a-thon -- about 3 weeks -- is the most fun part of the process, because at this point, it's all blue sky. Then I get myself through the first draft with curses and bribery, some wailing and a little gnashing of teeth. That's the cruel and unusual part. Once out of that tunnel (which gets a little less agonizing with each book), the editing begins. I like that part, too. Now I have a book, all I have to do is make it better.
How do you approach cover design?
I hire a pro, like Jennifer Quinlan at Historical Editorial for my historical series, or Renee Barratt at the Cover Counts for my screwball mysteries.
The thing to do is to look at lots of designers' portfolios and find someone who does covers that suit your sense of your books.
What do you read for pleasure?
Mysteries, a little romance now and then, an occasional dip into sff, but mostly, these days, I read Elizabethan history. I'm hopelessly addicted to the period. Luckily, this addiction is legal and non-fattening.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I have a Kindle.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I'm the poster child for indie publishing. Murder by Misrule attracted a top-rank literary agent. Most of the rejections letters she garnered for me were full of praise for the writing, the characters, the historical context. "Both knowledgeable and witty" was one of the phrases used. And yet, my witty, well-written book did not fit their catalogs. It's a little outside the box: an historical novel that is light instead of dark, optimistic instead of cynical, male protagonists in a genre most read by women.... I love this series more than ice cream, so rather than toss it into the bit bucket to be forgotten, I decided to let the readers of the world have a crack at it. Thanks to Smashwords, I can have Francis Bacon *and* ice cream.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Donald Westlake compared writing to sailing over the world in a hot air balloon. I've never done that, but when the current book is going well, that feels just about right.
Published 2017-06-20.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Publish and Perish
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 94,560. Language: English. Published: June 20, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
Francis Bacon must stop the murder of London’s popular pamphleteers, but he and his intelligencers are being deceived — by their own desires.
The Widows Guild
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 97,480. Language: English. Published: January 11, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
London, 1588: Someone is turning Catholics into widows, taking advantage of armada fever to mask the crimes. Francis Bacon is charged with identifying the murderer by the Andromache Society, a widows’ guild led by his formidable aunt. He must free his friends from the Tower, track an exotic poison, and untangle multiple crimes to determine if the motive is patriotism, greed, lunacy — or all three.
Death by Disputation
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 105,730. Language: English. Published: March 23, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
Thomas Clarady is sent to Cambridge to infiltrate a group of radical Puritans with Francis Bacon as his spymaster. When Tom finds his tutor hanging from the roof beams, his first suspect is the volatile poet Christopher Marlowe. Chased by three lusty women and spurred by the exacting Bacon, Tom risks his very soul to catch the criminals.
Murder by Misrule
Price: Free! Words: 90,850. Language: English. Published: June 8, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Historical, Fiction » Historical » United Kingdom
Francis Bacon is charged with investigating the murder of a barrister at Gray's Inn. He recruits his unwanted student Thomas Clarady to do the tiresome legwork, chasing witnesses from Whitehall to the London streets. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Bacon is at a loss — and in danger — until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule.