Welcome to Just Ella Author Annette K. Larsen! Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions about your life and book!
I was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff Arizona and St. Louis Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended college at Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children.
I have Charlotte Bronte to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself. My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to sacrifice what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but it the end, doing what’s right will always be worth it.
I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.
Just Ella Interview with Annette K. Larsen:
Welcome to Cuzinlogic! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’m a mama with a fabulous husband. I come from a large family and have lived in Utah, Arizona, Missouri, Virginia, and now Idaho. I first noticed my penchant for writing in fourth grade when we were assigned to write a one page, hand written story and mine was six pages–typed. But I didn’t start writing seriously until after I was married and had my first baby. I decided to try my hand at writing a novel, thinking maybe I would give it to my sisters and close friends if I ever finished it. Over the next seven years, amidst three more kids, I kept at it. I revised and rewrote until I had, not just a story I thought my family would like, but a novel that I believed many people would enjoy.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I think the most gratifying part was the process of learning how to write a book. It was a lot of trial and error, as well as improving my own skills and taste level. It was a very long, and very rewarding, process.
What Inspired you to write this book?
I had finished rereading Jane Eyre and was thinking about just how much I appreciated Charlotte Bronte and the heroine she wrote. I love Jane for making the right choices because she believed in being accountable to herself, as well as God. She didn’t have a family name to disgrace or even a friend’s expectations to live up to. She made her choices because they were quite simply the right choices.
I hadn’t found many characters like that, and I wanted there to be more heroines that I could really admire. So I set out to right my own, to right the kind of book for which I am constantly looking.
Do you have a favorite line or quote in this book?
ʺIt was an act of kindness. Yet, as I allowed the book to fall open in my hands, I despised him for it.ʺ
eBooks, hardcovers or paperbacks and why?
Hardcovers for large books like Harry Potter. I think they’re just easier to handle.
Paperbacks for books that I love and that I’ll want to reread or loan to friends.
Ebooks for new authors that I want to try, OR any time a favorite book is cheap in ebook format, I’ll buy that as well, so that I can have both the print copy and the ebook.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. However, I think the one thing that really gave me the push to pursue writing was a playwriting class. Dialogue is such a crucial part of writing and can be so difficult. I spent two semesters writing scenes of nothing but dialogue and having them read out-loud by my peers as well as reading the dialogues written by others. That gave me a love and appreciation for dialogue that became a vital part of my writing. After that experience, writing felt less like a hobby and more like the-thing-I-was-supposed-to-do, regardless of whether or not it turned into a career.
What genre do you write and why?
Why romance? No matter what genre I am reading, it’s the little bits of romance throughout the book that keep me reading. Relationships are such a vital part of learning and growing, I think they give some of the best opportunities for characters to show us what they’re made of.
Why clean? I am vastly uncomfortable reading explicit scenes in books. I just don’t like it. So I have no reason to write anything but clean.
What time of day do you like to write?
Any time my kids will let me.
What makes a book appeal to you?
I think the thing that makes me really go for a book is the description. If the description makes me feel like the character are going to have real chemistry, as well as having an intriguing plot, then I’ll go for it.
Who designed the cover of your book?
I designed my cover and had it painted by Cherise Davies with Art by Cherise Larue (http://artlarue.blogspot.com). The background it based off of a picture taken by Jen Fauset with Fauset Photography (http://fausetphotography.com). I wanted a painting because I had such a particular vision of the way Ella would be standing and the items she held. Plus, I now have a gorgeous painting to hang in my house that is a representation of my book.
If you could require high school seniors to read one book, what would it be?
What can your readers expect from you next?
My second book, Letters Never Sent, will be coming out in less than a year. It’s the story of Ella’s younger sister, Lylin. The blurb can be found here: http://www.annetteklarsen.com/works-in-progress/
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
It is my hope that readers will find in my story something genuine, some real connection to the characters and their emotions. I hope that they find not one-demensional caricatures, but personalities and feelings that resonate with their own experience.
Thanks Annette, for joining us today and good luck with your second novel, Letters Never Sent!
A Proper Romance
Ariella was only looking for a distraction, something to break up the monotony of palace life. What she found was a young man willing to overlook her title and show her a new and vibrant way of life. But when her growing feelings for Gavin spiral out of control and clash with the expectations of her station, she will discover that the consequences of her curiosity are far more severe than she’d imagined.
I watched in helpless horror as two guards hauled Gavin to his feet and dragged him from the room. My voice was frozen, unable to protest as another guard took hold of my arm, leading me upstairs. From the confines of my room, I stared into the darkness beyond my window, hoping to catch one more glimpse of Gavin. He was gone, and I wondered if he would have been better off if he had never met me.
Purchase Just Ella at Amazon
This giveaway is no longer accepting entries. For a list of winners visit the winners page.