Interview with Ann H Barlow

When did you first start writing?
I started when I was very young writing plays that I used to perform with my brothers and sisters in our back garden.I also started a number of novels but unfortunatly something always came up and I didn't finish them.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The story begins in a small country village where Sahara Driver, a seemingly ordinary girl, must leave everything behind and set off on a journey that leads her to understand that we are not alone in this world. From this humble beginning Sahara is capitulated into the world of the Guardians and from there on in she finds herself in a constant battle against evil.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
You can let your imagination run riot and create new worlds, new species or whatever takes your fancy. You can offer hope and encouragement, excite, scare, amuse, the possibilities are endless.
What do your fans mean to you?
It's important for anyone to have affirmation of what you do, and it's wonderful that people read my work and enjoy it. Without readers or fans I would be talking to myself and my work wouldn't amount to much. And would not evolve, because thanks to the comments I get an insight as to how people see the characters and stories. Their strengths and weaknesses. So thanks to everyone who takes the time to read my books and thanks again for the reviews. I hope that my future works won't let you down.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a new series which at this time is called The Other Realm, that may still change. - The first book is based in the future (2054) and is quite different from The Guardians Chronicles. The protagonist is a woman (Kate Palmer) and she is an Enforcer. The name of the first book is The Shallow Grave Killer, it's about the hunt for a serial killer and has lots of twists and turns. It is due to go for the first edit any time now. Book two has already been started but not named just yet.
Who are your favorite authors?
Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Stephen King, Somerset Maugham, PG Wodehouse, Thomas Harris to name but a few. I love thrillers, fantasy and espionage but I also love a lot of the old classics.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to travel, socialise, dance, go to the gym, walk, nice restaurants and spend lots of time with my family when I get the chance. Loving being a grandmother.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I mainly like to browse in the what's new section and try and find new and interesting authors and some of my old favourites. I love to read what's new on the Indie scene and also I read a lot of books on writing.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
The first full length novel I wrote was about 4 girls who during the day led very different lives but went to a Nightclub together. It took me ages to write as there was a lot of comedy in the book and my computer got stolen and I didn't have a copy of it. (long before cloud) It was heartbreaking.

I started a few stories before then but I didn't finish them, mainly due to lack of time. I was widowed before I was 30 and I worked full time and brought up my son on my own until he was 15.
What is your writing process?
I plan the beginning, middle and end and the main characters and then start. I write five days a week and usually start early morning and finish midday. If I have a good flow, I carry on unless I have something planned.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I came from a very religious family and I wasn't encouraged to read books outside of school. I got a copy of Wuthering Heights from my friend and after I read it, there was no turning back. I couldn't get enough.
How do you approach cover design?
I used to try and control that aspect but now I put the idea out to a couple of designers and hire whomever I think has come up with the best idea.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
That's a difficult question to answer because there are a lot of amazing writers and a lot of excellent books, but I'll give you five off the top of my head.

Frederick Forsyth - The Day of the Jackal - It's one of the most exciting books I've ever read. I love everything about it from cover to cover.

Thomas Harris - Red Dragon - I read this while I was working out of hotel rooms and got that scared that I put a chair against the door. Have to say I was disappointed with the movie. Excellent book.

John Whitburn - A Dangerous Energy - A notion that the world would still be in the Middle Ages without the Protestant Reformation, it's a dark fantasy with lots of magic. Brilliantly written.

Khaled Hosseini - The Kite Runner - A wonderful story, sometimes heart rendering and sometimes brutal, it portrays life in Afghanistan with a no holds barred frankness. It's a book that once read stays with you and makes you want to be a better person.

Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird - Although the subject matter was horrific, it was a great book that has so much to say on so many levels. It's one that everyone should read at least once.
What do you read for pleasure?
Lots of different genre's, the main criteria being that the stories ring true to me on an intellectual and emotional level. I want characters that I can l feel and stories that are different and exciting. I get a bit bored if the story isn't moving.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Describe your desk
Clear of everything except my laptop. I hate clutter, it distracts me. I move around a lot and if I'm in a warm country I usually write outside. Especially when I'm lucky enough to be near to water. when i was in Norway, I liked to write overlooking the marina. I'm in Portugal now and have a distant view of the sea from the pool. It's really relaxing.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Dumfries but I grew up in a village in Scotland called Larkhall. I don't know if it has influenced my writing except that everything in life influences us one way or the other.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I always wanted to write. I love stories, books and movies. I didn't set out to be an indie author and I may go another route with my second series, I haven't decided yet. I made a lot of mistakes, the main one being putting my work out there before it was properly edited. I think it's the worst mistake a lot of new authors make.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords is a great way of getting your books out there.
Published 2016-04-06.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Guardians Chronicles - The Sacrifice
Series: The Guardians Chronicles. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 101,830. Language: British English. Published: December 26, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Sahara discovers that her plan to rid the world of Barak has gone wrong. Go’el’s new found power has changed the young Guardian, but not in the way that was foreseen. Barak fooled them all and is in the background trying desperately to take hold of the power his son now possesses, leaving Sahara with a choice. Save Go'el or let Barak become the most powerful being in the Universe.
The Guardians Chronicles - Resurrection
Series: The Guardians Chronicles. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 94,380. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Unable to accept Romero’s advice to put the past behind her Sahara seeks vengeance on Barak after the devastating event in Dubai. Go’el, determined to fulfill his destiny as pertained by ancient scrolls found in Tibet, uses Sahara in an elaborate plan to get the other Guardians approval to fulfill his goal and to satisfy his own need for revenge against Barak, and to be reunited with his mother.
The Guardian's Chronicles - A World Without Faith
Series: The Guardians Chronicles. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 92,820. Language: English. Published: August 5, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Plays & Screenplays » European
Barak makes an appearance and hints something big is afoot. A forbidden romance will shock Sahara. The world still in turmoil Barak makes his move robbing mankind of faith leaving the human race lost and angry. Trying to rectify the situation results in a catastrophic event but still not content Barak takes a final act of vengeance on Go'el. Now Sahara wants to destroy him at any cost.
The Guardian's Chronicles - A New Dawn
Series: The Guardians Chronicles. You set the price! Words: 96,130. Language: English. Published: June 21, 2011. Categories: Fiction » Fantasy » Epic, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
It all begins in a small village in Clayton, where a seemingly ordinary girl is led to understand that we are not alone in this world. Her name is Sahara, and her only friend is a voice from within. Faced with what seems like an impossible task Sahara must face many trials before she can begin her journey and fulfill her destiny.