Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How to Date Dead Guys: An Interview with Ann Noser

   How to Date Dead Guys is Ann Noser's debut book in the series "Under the Blood Moon." I was lucky enough to get Ann to answer a few questions about writing, food, and life in general. Enjoy and please check out her book!

 1. 1. I know that you are an avid reader. What books helped inspire “How to Date Dead Guys,” and what books made you become a better writer in general?
 What a great question, but I'm afraid my answer might suck.
 Every book I've ever read has made me a better writer, whether I liked it or not.
 An obvious choice of a good book for the aspiring writer would be Steven King's On Writing. I remember his bewilderment when his first newspaper article got slashed and hacked to pieces. How wonderful that he was so honest about that.
 I was also left with the idea that a true writer lives as Steven King does, reading every morning and writing every afternoon, with a mind-cleansing walk in between. But I'm not so sure I want to leave veterinary medicine behind. Perhaps I want too much from life. I work and play, then write when I can. I start too many books, then scramble to finish. Somehow, it works for me, although at times I get frustrated with the constraints of the day.
 Although I do feel like I'm letting Steven King down when I'm "too busy" with editing and haven't read anyone else's book in a while.

2.    2. Emma is a strong, smart, talented, but very vulnerable character. What inspired you to write her, and when did she come to life for you?
Emma came to life for me the very first night I thought of her. Although I'm no longer this way, many of her characteristics were based on the awkward, shy, socially stilted individual I was at that age. People in college always believe they are so much more mature than they really are. I wanted to show college life as I remembered it, filled with flawed, work-in-progress characters.
I've loved the UWEC campus my whole life. My father taught Physics there in the Science Hall. As a child, my parents took me to university plays and concerts, followed by ice cream. We hiked along the trails. We bowled and swam there. It was the logical setting for the story.
Emma's mom and dad started in my head as shadows of Elle Wood's parents from Legally Blonde, but (as readers will see in books 2 and 3) appearances can be misleading.

3. Publication stories of the frustratingly magical variety are rampant in the writing community. “I submitted to only one publisher, and poof! My story was bought for a million dollars and became a New York Times best seller overnight! And oh yeah, now I can poop butterflies, too!” These stories can be very discouraging for hopeful writers. I know you worked hard for your success; can you talk a little about how you got to this point?
I've always wanted to be able to poop butterflies. Sometime you'll have to tell me your secret. J
 But to answer your question, my route to publication was less than magical. If I wasn't such a stubborn, determined person, it never would've happened. More logical people might have quit a long time ago.
 Once upon a time, I began penning a monthly Pet Vet column for the Post Bulletin newspaper. Then I published articles in RunMinnesota magazine, the DVM360 journal, and The Wagazine.
 I found querying HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS a rather frustrating process. The elation of a partial or full request thrilled me for days. Deflation would set in during the long wait, which ended in a revise/resubmit request, rejection, or sometimes complete silence from the other end.
 Some wouldn't agree with my tactics, but I did query both agents and publishers at the same time, basically because I joined Twitter¾the land of on-line writing contests.
 Everyone's journey to publication is different. It's easy to get frustrated and jealous when others surge ahead while we are paddling in the middle of the pool, just treading water. Try not to become bitter.

4. I know you have a very busy life between family, running, yoga, and your successful vet career. And oh yeah, writing! So tell me, is there anything that you’re dying to write about that you haven’t had time to yet?
I have so many projects in my head and so little time to get them all down on paper, plus the editing and revising left to do on a few projects. I have a weird idea for a horror story I'd like to try, but it might just end up as a short story¾which would suit me fine. It would be nice to write something without the full-out commitment a 70,000 to 90,000 word novel involves.

5. Since this is a mostly a food blog (with books thrown into the mix), can you share your favorite recipe? (Bonus points if it’s gluten-free!) (And yes, margaritas count!)

Now you'll know what an amateur cook I am. I like to keep things simple.

Here's a yummy pasta hot dish (oh no, did I just say "hot dish"? Hey, I am from Minnesota…) that I love to eat, partly because my kids will chow down without complaints. I swear we eat it once a week during the winter. It's so easy to make.

1) 1 box (1 lb.) gluten-free pasta, shape of your choice, already cooked
2) 1 jar (24 oz.) of your favorite spaghetti sauce
3) 1 bag (1 & 1/2 cups) of shredded mozzarella cheese
  (sometimes I mix in some parmesan as well)
4) pepperonis, quantity to your taste

stir ingredients together well
bake at 375 degrees
40 minutes (30 covered, 10 uncovered)

But my favorite meal of all consists of popcorn and ice cream shakes with our Friday night movie. That counts as gluten-free, right? J

I made it and it was awesome!

How to Date Dead Guys--The Spooky Synopsis:

College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice:  “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts”.  But when charming Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.
Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back.  Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell.  The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury.  As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he sn't the only one.  
Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a desperate victim determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first.  More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows.  Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.
Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will ignite the secret powers hidden deep within each of us.

All About the Amazing Ann M Noser:

My to-do list dictates that I try to cram 48 hours of living into a day instead of the usual 24.  I’ve chosen a life filled with animals.  I train for marathons with my dog, then go to work as a small animal veterinarian, and finish the day by tripping over my pets as I attempt to convince my two unruly children that YES, it really IS time for bed.  But I can’t wait until the house is quiet to write; I have to steal moments throughout the day.  Ten minutes here, a half hour there, I live within my imagination.

Like all busy American mothers, I multi-task.  I work out plot holes during runs.  Instead of meditating, I type madly during yoga stretches.  I find inspiration in everyday things:  a beautiful smile, a heartbreaking song, or a newspaper article on a political theory.  For example, a long drive in the dark listening to an NPR program on the SMILEY FACE MURDERS theory made me ask so many questions that I wrote HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS to answer them to my satisfaction.

I’d love to have more time to write (and run, read, and sleep), but until I find Hermione Granger’s time turner, I will juggle real life with the half-written stories in my head.  Main characters and plot lines intertwine in my cranium, and I need to let my writing weave the tales on paper so I can find out what happens next.

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