Interview with Annie Jean Brewer

What do you read for pleasure?
I read all types of things. I adore books on minimalism, frugality, the Law of Attraction (and similar subjects), science fiction, fantasy, and the occasional romance.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I do a lot of random browsing. If a book interests me I grab it. Occasionally I will have one recommended to me but I discover most of my books by happy accidents.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords gave me the ability to start living on my book royalties. When I discovered that Smashwords was going to send me a $1,500 royalty payment I stopped going in to work (I had a day job at the time) and focused on my writing full-time. I didn't even bother to give notice. Smashwords allows me to reach readers that I couldn't otherwise and I cherish the fact that they work so hard to help Indie authors. I would not be where I am today without Smashwords.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
While I was born in Chicago, I spent the majority of my formative years in the Mountains of Eastern Kentucky. My father was disabled, so he bootlegged to help pay the bills. I grew up helping him.

I saw a lot of interesting things as I grew up on "killer creek" in "bloody Breathitt." I learned about a completely different worldview. My father always taught me to do my own research and make up my own mind about everything so that gave me the courage to make my own path in this world.

I learned that many things people consider essential really aren't. For many years, we didn't have a phone. The Internet wasn't even a thing back then. Clothes were purchased when needed and kept until they wore out. If something broke you fixed it or did without. Instead of constantly rushing here and there our days were spent relaxing on the front porch, hiking in the woods, or occasionally hanging out with friends and family. There wasn't that big rush to make money or just stay busy like there is today.

As I look around at this modern age, where people stare at their phones instead of talking to the ones they are with, where they strive to fill up every moment of their time and their children's time, where they work long hours to buy stuff that will be obsolete or out of fashion in a blink I realize that we have lost something essential to true happiness.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I read my ebooks on an old iPad mini I purchased several years ago, though I occasionally drool over the Kindle. Maybe one day I will switch but for now I am content with my iPad.
Describe your desk
I have an inexpensive folding table set up in my kitchen (it is the brightest, cheeriest room in the house), set up with an old Windows XP computer, a large monitor, and external keyboard and mouse. Beside my keyboard I keep a dictionary, a thesaurus, my coffee cup, and a pad of sticky notes that I stick to my monitor whenever I want to remember something.

This particular computer is completely dedicated to my writing. It doesn't go online, which eliminates any distractions. I use an old laptop or my iPad mini whenever I want to check my email or go online during my breaks.
When did you first start writing?
I started writing before I even knew how to read. My father would bring in books that he picked up from goodness knows where. My mother explained to me that the markings were letters, the letters made words, and the words made stories. I decided then I would make my own. My very first story was about Spider-man. I wrote it on the empty leaves in one of the books my father gave me by picking out the "pretty" letters and making up my own letters to form words. I cornered everyone who would stand still and forced them to listen as I read my story to them.

Apparently I never grew out of that. I write every single day, if only in my journal and I have been writing professionally for around ten years now. I learned how to publish my own books by asking a lot of questions and putting their advice to good use.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
My five favorite books...that's a toughie. It is hard to just pick five.

1. "The Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum. I received that book through the RIF (Reading is Fundamental) program in second or third grade. Every night I would lay in bed and read on the book. I loved it so much I would flip back to the beginning and start over every time I finished. That book introduced me to the magic of other worlds.

2. "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley. It was required reading in English class my Senior year of high school. It opened my eyes to a society that I could have never previously imagined and really made me "think" about society in general.

3. "1984" by George Orwell. The older I get, the more that book resonates with me. When I first read it I thought "Oh, that stuff will never happen." And then the Internet became a Thing. Next thing I knew everyone had a cell phone. And now if you look at some random whatsit on one website that item will follow you all over the Internet, popping up in advertisements when you least expect it. "Smart" televisions come equipped with cameras, microphones, and Internet access, and there have been reports that they can be hacked and used to spy upon you. If someone wants to know where you are, they just have to check your Facebook posts for a check-in or one of the other sites we use daily. Our phones constantly ping the towers, telling companies where we are at all times. News agencies have become so biased that it is hard to know *what* to believe anymore. It has made me look at the world and wonder what will happen next. It is also one of the reasons why I keep my writing computer, the computer where I also keep my journals, completely offline. That sounds paranoid but I consider it to be a healthy caution.

4. "The Secret" by Rhonda Byrne. That book came to me in the strangest way. I was seeking answers and had a computer client press it into my hands and tell me to take it home. Normally I would have left it but something told me not to. Within a month of reading it I had achieved my dream of being a stay-at-home single mother. In less than six months I was writing professionally. I have seen some amazing things come to me by practicing the tips in that book. I cannot recommend it enough, though I advise you to read it with an open mind.

5. "The 50th Law" by 50 Cent and Robert Greene. Reading the story of how a poor kid went from dealing drugs to a famous celebrity has inspired me more than I can express. This is the book I turn to when I'm down and feeling sorry for myself. If he can make it, anyone can.

BONUS TITLES: The "Dragon Tattoo" trilogy by Stieg Larsson, "The Flame and the Flower" by Kathleen Woodiwiss, "The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin," "Total Recall" by Arnold Schwarzenegger, and "The Art of Being Minimalist" by Everett Bogue.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A mountain of rejection slips. As a kid, I submitted story after story, book idea after book idea, and saw them all shot down. In time I discovered other authors publishing their own books and realized that I could bypass the gatekeepers. I wrote the authors that were doing it, asked them *how,* and the rest is history.
What do your fans mean to you?
My fans keep me going. The simplest email, saying that I helped them achieve their dreams, live within their means, or simply gave them food for thought are treasures to my heart. I have several fans that email me regularly. We talk about all sorts of things and I cherish those friendships.

And when I am feeling down, when the times come when I wonder what the heck I've gotten myself into, I open the file where I save each and every one of those emails and they inspire me to keep going.
Who are your favorite authors?
Any author with the ability to make me think or carry me into another world is my favorite author. I love them all, each in a different way. It would take ages for me to list them all.

That said, off of the top of my head I would have to select George Orwell, Henry David Thoreau, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, J.K. Rowling, and Steig Larsson.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I read books, draw, hang out with my youngest daughter (she is 17), play with my pets (2 cats, 2 dogs), take long baths, talk to my beloved Auntie on the phone, and do a lot of thinking. Occasionally I watch a movie or a television show.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I'm a night owl, so I usually haven't been in bed very long before my daughter wakes to get ready for school. I make a point of spending a few minutes chatting with her (half-asleep or no) before I doze back off.

My next, official wakeup call is my pit bull mix Lilliput (Lilly). She sits down by my bed and stares me in the face until I get up and let her out every single morning. She refuses to let me slack and sometimes my chihuahua gets in on the fun by slapping the daylights out of me with her paws. Once I let them out I make a cup of coffee and get started.

Sometimes I look at my critters and wonder which of us is *really* in charge at my house!
What are you working on next?
A novel. By golly I am going to write and publish a novel if it kills me. That has been on my bucket list for ages!
Published 2017-03-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

How to Reach Your Ideal Weight
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,310. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Dieting
I looked like a potato. At 4'10" and close to 200 pounds, I lost hope of ever getting back to a normal weight until I stumbled upon a simple method that allowed me to shed the pounds easily and painlessly. I've decided to share my method here. It is short and sweet but contains all of the information you need in order to reach your ideal weight.
The Shoestring Girl, Second Edition
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 132,860. Language: English. Published: January 29, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Sustainable living, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance / money management
The second edition of The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too contains everything you wanted to know about saving money but were afraid to ask. It covers housing (urban and rural), medical, food, budgeting, furniture, fashion, personal care, and much, much more. Filled with tips, tricks, and stories, there is something for everyone within these pages.
The Car Free Experiment
Price: $1.99 USD. Words: 34,250. Language: English. Published: October 1, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Transportation » Automobiles, Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Sustainable living
If you have ever wondered if you can live without a car, this book will show you: * What it is like to live without a car for over a year * Advantages and disadvantages of the car free lifestyle * Car Free and Kids * Transportation alternatives * Tips and tricks for making alternate forms of transportation work for you. And most importantly, * Can living without a car really save you money?
Confessions of a Cheapskate
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 11,170. Language: English. Published: February 19, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance / money management
True stories to entertain and inspire your inner cheapskate.
The Slavery of Extreme Minimalism and other Minimalist Musings
Price: Free! Words: 9,720. Language: English. Published: February 8, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Sustainable living
(5.00)
This book contains eleven essays on the subject of minimalism written by Annie Jean Brewer, the author of "The Minimalist Cleaning Method" and other books. These essays have previously appeared on her website and have now been assembled into ebook format for easy reference.
The No Poo Experiment: Can You Really Clean Your Hair Without Shampoo
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 10,840. Language: English. Published: March 4, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Body cleansing & detoxification, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Beauty and fashion
Factual account of whether your hair can be successfully cleaned without using shampoo.
How to Stop a Puppy From Chewing
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,990. Language: English. Published: November 14, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Pets & livestock
Is your puppy chewing you out of house and home? As a former dog breeder who currently helps rescue animals, I know what it is like to have puppies chewing up your kid's toys and your prized furniture. I know what it is like when your precious furbaby discovers the rent money laying on the coffee table, and I know just how to correct this frustratingly destructive behavior. Learn how today!
Tips and Tricks for Living Small
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 8,860. Language: English. Published: November 9, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Sustainable living
Written from a real life perspective, the author shares her experiences with small space living. This book covers the reasons one may choose to downsize, the benefits, potential pitfalls, and practical tips and tricks that will make downsizing easier.
The Dinner Guest
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 1,510. Language: English. Published: November 1, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Themes & motifs » Crime, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Family sagas
An abused mountain woman has the local sheriff over for dinner to discuss her missing husband. Unbeknownst to the Sheriff, someone else is in the room.
Stay At Home, Mom--Even if You're Single!
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 7,740. Language: English. Published: September 13, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Careers, Nonfiction » Parenting » Divorce and children
Within these pages you will find the same method the author used to become a single stay at home mom with an income that arrives every month whether she works or not. Your personality and situation may be different so the author offers some options for you to consider but the focus of this book will be on the area that the author know best; that of selling information.
How I Designed My Life Using the Law of Attraction...And You Can Too
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 12,890. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Philosophy » Metaphysics
(5.00)
If you have ever wanted an honest report on the Law of Attraction, with proven tips and tricks to help you design the life of your dreams, this is the book for you.
Talk Cheap: Your Guide to Free and Cheap Phone Service
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,470. Language: English. Published: September 25, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Sustainable living, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Personal finance
Are you tired of overpaying for phone service? I personally used the methods detailed in this book to completely eliminate both my land line AND my cell phone bills. Buy this book and learn how you too can save a fortune on your phone bill using legitimate, established options to your traditional land line and cell phone service.
How to Survive the Death of Windows XP
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,480. Language: English. Published: September 10, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Computers and Internet » Operating systems, Nonfiction » Computers and Internet » Operating systems
Windows XP is Dead Microsoft's beloved operating system has been given the axe. As of April 2014 there will be no more updates coming for this old workhorse. For those who still have computers running XP, this places you in a dangerous predicament. If you keep using the computer, you risk getting attacked by hackers. Here is one way you can survive with your wallet intact.
Minimize to Maximize: Minimize Your Stuff to Maximize Your Life
Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 9,660. Language: English. Published: May 1, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success
Are you tired of working constantly, fighting constantly and never seeming to make any headway? Minimalism can offer a solution to your problems. By eliminating the nonessentials you can free your time, space and money for what YOU want in your life. Minimize Your Stuff to Maximize Your Life!
The Minimalist Cleaning Method Expanded Edition
Price: $3.49 USD. Words: 19,320. Language: English. Published: September 2, 2012. Categories: Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Cleaning & caretaking, Nonfiction » Home and Garden » Green living
How to Clean Your Home With a Minimum of Money, Supplies and Time (2nd Edition)
How to Watch Stuff Online For Free
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 4,450. Language: English. Published: December 1, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Handbooks and Manuals, Nonfiction » Entertainment » Television
(1.00)
How to safely watch movies, television shows and other videos online for free.
How to Write Ebooks For A Living
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 10,970. Language: English. Published: November 20, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Computers and Internet » Digital publishing, Nonfiction » Publishing » Self-publishing
Ebooks can provide a passive income large enough to live on. This book covers how to find the time to write, what equipment you will need to write it, where to publish and how to make the leap to the life of a financially independent author.
The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 24,020. Language: English. Published: October 31, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Handbooks and Manuals, Nonfiction » Business & Economics » Budgeting
(4.75)
The tips, tricks and methods used to live on less than $500 a month.
How To Be Happy
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 7,140. Language: English. Published: August 11, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Psychology » Depression
(4.00)
Tips and tricks to effectively bring happiness into your life.
How To Start Out or Over on a Shoestring
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 12,170. Language: English. Published: June 27, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Personal & Practical Guides
(4.50)
Everything you ever wanted to know about starting out (or over) on a shoestring. This book covers everything from clothing and personal items to furniture, appliances and transportation with everything in-between.
The Bean Pot and Other Tales
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 4,690. Language: English. Published: April 4, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Seven short stories from Annie Jean Brewer. "The Bean Pot" is about Bobbie Jo Fugate, whose husband Billy Ray has gone missing, "163 Nights" is one reason why your wife may constantly hang out on Facebook, in "The Festival" Jenny gets an unpleasant surprise. Other tales include "What About Bob?" "The Story of the Rose" and others.
163 Nights
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,040. Language: English. Published: January 19, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
When your wife prefers Facebook to spending time with you, perhaps she is counting the nights until...
How to Write and Sell an Ebook
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,960. Language: English. Published: January 9, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Computers and Internet » Digital publishing
This book guides you through the process of choosing a subject, outlining the steps & what software to use even if you don’t own a computer! You will learn where to go to market your masterpiece, how to encourage others to sell for you and even how to collect the money! This book takes the mystery out of ebooks, and dispells the myth that states you have to use expensive software to create one!
What About Bob?
Price: Free! Words: 1,250. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Young adult or teen » Sci-Fi & fantasy
(2.67)
Annie has finally found the perfect man. Mother thinks he is TOO perfect, however.
Where to Work Online
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 4,740. Language: English. Published: January 7, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Reference » Careers
(5.00)
A collection of legitimate work at home positions ranging from Assembly to Telemarketing and beyond; complete with tips, tricks, work at home resource links and much more. Compiled and written after years of work at home experience to help those wanting to break free of the traditional workforce.
Be Happy Now
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 2,850. Language: English. Published: December 26, 2010. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Motivation and inspiration
(4.25)
Sometimes it feels as if we have nothing in our lives to be happy about. We feel that life just stinks and we have nothing good to look forward to. Happiness, is like a snowball however and will grow if we just get it started rolling. Here are some tips and tricks to start happiness rolling in your life.
Professional Help: How to Prevent and Fix Malware, Viruses, Spyware and Other Baddies
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 3,730. Language: English. Published: December 24, 2010. Categories: Nonfiction » Computers and Internet » Security
(4.00)
Are you tired of malware sloiwing your computer down? Are you sick of toolbars and popups? Do you know what to do if a virus strikes? Get Professional Help! I have worked on computers professionally since 2002, and these are the exact same steps and software that I use to prevent infections and clean infected systems. Now instead of tracking down the local guru, you can fix it yourself!