Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you got into writing?
I was writing books when I was 5 years old. My dad would "publish" them on his office copy machine, and I would try to sell them around my neighborhood for a dime. As I got older, I was a dedicated journal writer, and I wrote a TON of terrible poetry. Lily Hancock, one of the main characters in LIES BENEATH is a bit of a reflection of me in that regard. I think I write YA fiction today because my high school years were some of my favorites. I married my "high school sweetheart," and my own kids are now in high school. It's such an exciting, high drama time of life!
Author Anne at the age of 5 when she "published" her first book!
Can you tell us a little about your debut novel, Lies Beneath?
Absolutely! LIES BENEATH is a YA novel about murderous mermaids on Lake Superior, which is the biggest of the Great Lakes in North America. It's classified as paranormal romance, and there is a bit of that, but in my mind it's an evolution story. It's about a merman who adapts to a new situation and evolves over time, leaving his animalistic, predatory nature behind and becoming human. Here's what the flap copy says:
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.
Where did you get the idea for Lies Beneath?
I was actually writing a contemporary story set on Lake Superior. One of the characters worked on the ferry boat, and for several nights in a row I kept dreaming that he dove off the rail of the ferry. Lake Superior is bitterly cold, so this would be a stupid thing to do. Still, night after night, he kept diving. Then one night he dove and burst out with this amazing tail! I woke up with the first line of the novel in my head: "I hadn't killed anyone all winter, and I have to say I felt pretty good about that."
The cover for Lies Beneath is beautiful. Who designed it and did you have much say in the designing process?
Random House art design came up with the image. I had a little say, like, I wasn't a fan of the original font for the title (it was too girly) and there was a strange shadow I asked that they get rid of (which they did).
How does it feel to be releasing you debut novel?
Um… amazing! It's such a long wait. First the years of writing, working on the craft, and trying to break in. Then, after the sale, you still have to wait 18 months to see it on shelves! It's like the longest pregnancy ever. When book baby hits stores, I'll probably cry.
Lies Beneath is the first book in the series. How many will there be?
Two for sure and hopefully three. I'm finishing writing the end of the trilogy now. Book 2 is called DEEP BETRAYAL. It's a continuation of the story, but told from Lily Hancock's point of view.
Why should we read Lies Beneath in one sentence?
Because as much as we all love Disney's Little Mermaid, that's not what mermaids are really about.