Say hello to Annie Douglass Lima! She’s here today as a featured artist!
Please share some information about yourself.
I was born in Southern California but raised mostly in Kenya. After college (in Southern California), I spent a year teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in Indonesia, which was an incredible experience. Shortly after returning to the States, I married my husband Floyd, and the two of us lived in California for several years. Eventually all the pieces fell into place for us to move overseas together, and now we’re serving at Morrison Academy, an international school in Taiwan. I’ve been teaching fifth grade here for nearly nine years now, and I love it!
Tell us about your craft.
I’m actually a fulltime teacher. While I love my day job, unfortunately it doesn’t leave me with nearly as much time for writing as I’d like. I mostly write early in the mornings, on the weekends, and during school holidays, plus sometimes in the evenings if I don’t feel too brain-dead after a long day of teaching.
One thing I really enjoy is the fact that my students are at the right age (though at the younger end of the spectrum) to enjoy what I write. I read one or two of my books aloud to my class every year – often, it’s a manuscript I’ve not yet published, and my students’ feedback helps me see what works and what doesn’t and if there’s anything I need to change. It’s really helped me see what kinds of scenes and characters appeal to readers of that age.
How did you get started?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can recall. When I was seven years old, I had a sudden inspiration for what I thought was an amazing story and decided then and there that I was going to write a book and be the world’s youngest author. I ran to my room in great excitement, found an old notebook and a pencil, and started in. Well, that first novel was never actually finished, let alone published, but it got me started. After that, I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t working on at least one book. Prince of Alasia, which I started in college, was the first one I finished that I thought was worth trying to get published. I looked into traditional publishing and spent a long time trying to get an agent, but to no avail. Finally I learned about Kindle publishing and did it myself the indie way, eleven years after I first started writing the book. A few months later I added the paperback edition. It was quite a thrill to me to finally fulfill my childhood dream! Now I’ve published a total of twelve books (two YA action and adventure novels, four fantasies, a puppet script, and five anthologies of my students’ poetry).
Are you working on anything right now?
Well, I just finished a young adult action and adventure novel called The Gladiator and the Guard. It’s the second book in the Krillonian Chronicles, the first one being The Collar and the Cavvarach. The stories take place in a world almost exactly like our own. Although most aspects of the culture are just about what they are currently on Earth, a few sports are different, such as the martial art known as cavvara shil. The main difference, however, is that slavery is legal there.
To read more about the culture of the Krillonian Empire, take a look at this post on my blog.
Here’s the back-cover blurb for The Collar and the Cavvarach :
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?
And the blurb for The Gladiator and the Guard :
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is just one victory away from freedom. But after he is accused of a crime he didn’t commit, he is condemned to the violent life and early death of a gladiator. While his loved ones seek desperately for a way to rescue him, Bensin struggles to stay alive and forge an identity in an environment designed to strip it from him. When he infuriates the authorities with his choices, he knows he is running out of time. Can he stand against the cruelty of the arena system and seize his freedom before that system crushes him?
What are your future plans, long or short term?
There will be at least one more book in the Krillonian Chronicles, though I’m tossing around ideas that may eventually lead to other stories set in the same world. In the meantime, I’m working on a final book in my Annals of Alasia fantasy series, called King of Malorn, which should be ready to publish in the next few months. I’m also eager to get back to Heartsong, the science fiction novel that I drafted for last year’s NaNoWriMo. I hope to have that one polished and ready for publication in another year or so. Lots of irons in the fire!
Any parting words or advice to other artists?
My best advice for other writers, especially if they’re just starting out, is don’t try to write a scene perfectly the first time or get frustrated if it doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped. Just get your ideas on paper in whatever rough form you need to, and never mind selecting just the right words or fixing any mistakes. Leave the scene alone for a few days, and when you come back to it, read through it and smooth out the obvious errors. Repeat several times. If possible, read it aloud to someone; that will help you hear errors or issues you may not notice otherwise. I’ve found that it usually takes lots of passes before I’m satisfied with something I’ve written. Trying to make it perfect the first time is stressful and next to impossible, at least for me.
Share links to your social media and where we can purchase your work.
The Collar and the Cavvarach is available on Amazon here.
The Gladiator and the Guard is available at these locations:
Readers are welcome to connect with me:
Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/AnnieDouglassLimaOnAmazon
Click here to sign up for my mailing list to be alerted when I release new books (and receive a free fantasy ebook when you sign up!).