Thanks to Twitter, I have been able to meet a few great writers. Here is an interview I had with Anna Kander as part of an interview-swap!
Anna Kander writes fiction, dark fantasy, and poetry featuring strong women. She’s also a licensed counselor in the Midwest. Her work is published or forthcoming in Star*Line, Leveler, Train, and other magazines. Kander writers with her sidekick, a fearless blue fish who doesn’t realize he’s only one inch tall. She also loves chai tea, kindness, and snarky advice. Read her blog HERE!
1.) If you could read from only one author for the rest of your life, who would you pick?
Bill Watterson. He wrote and drew Calvin and Hobbes.
2.) Coffee, tea, or 5-hour energy drinks?
Without coffee, I might die.
3.) Any “weird” writer’s habits you’ve developed?
On my desk I keep a kitchen timer shaped like a lemon. When I find myself avoiding the computer, I give the timer dial a twist. I can write for those few minutes. Often, when the timer goes off, I don’t notice. I’m back into work.
4.) How many hours of research have you dedicated to your writings?
Life is the best research. Even when I write fantasy, I’m drawing from our shared emotional experiences.
Once – before cell phones and the gig economy – I worked five jobs at the same time. At my day job, the government lost paperwork and didn’t pay us for two months. So I worked night security, sleeping on the floor under the guard desk, and I covered dinner shifts at the cafeteria. I was the only person in the kitchen who didn’t speak Spanish. Bless that chef! She taught me to wield a knife without chopping off a finger.
Other times in my life, I was in the Ivy League. I interned at the White House, then worked briefly for an agency in the presidential cabinet. Meanwhile, finishing school took more adventures and heartbreaks than I could count. As a young woman I started counseling people after trauma – in hospitals, shelters, and community shelters. Eventually I got my license as a psychotherapist. That was recent! So I’m still writing from what I know.
5.) Anything special/memorable/important you want to share about your writing?
By age 33, I’d dreamed of publishing for years, but I hadn’t sent out a single manuscript. Hours before my 34th birthday, I pulled out an essay and said to myself, “Send it!” I sent it and it got rejected. As a writer, that was my real start.
6.) What is your current manuscript title?
Slide a Mirror to Me is my first, short book of poetry. It’s about a woman training as a psychotherapist. Her studies are complicated – then derailed – by attention from a male teacher. Called to counsel a girl who’s recently attempted suicide, the woman must find a way to carry herself, and her lessons, forward.
My first novel, still in progress, is called The Breaking Heart. It’s a dark, magical realist tale with romance. Think Kill Bill meets Coraline.
7.) What is your work about?
Themes and tones unite my work. I write about girls who get their hearts ripped out and grow them back. I write about women who survive. My characters are heroes, and sometimes villains, in worlds with darkness. Families break, friends backstab, lovers betray – but there’s always hope.
I write fiction, dark fantasy, and poetry. Sometimes I write big emotions, and sometimes I write a play. This month I wrote four little pieces of pulp fiction – I mean pulpy as heck. “The more lurid, the better,” the editor said. I’ve written poetry about monkeys, songbirds, cellos, hydrangeas, and whales.
9.) What inspired you to write?
At their best, counselors are storytellers. My job is to put unspeakable experiences into words while bringing enough strength to the counseling room for us both to feel safe. A surgeon’s instruments are scalpels – mine are words. When I started counseling, I carried a pager and met college students at the hospital at 2AM to be with them through the evidence collection after they were assaulted. For a long time I have been choosing words with care.
My counseling teachers knew I was a writer before I did. When I graduated, my teacher gave me a writing pen. When I signed my first publishing contract eleven months later, I used that pen.
10.) Have you written anything in the past? Unpublished works count!
The first story I sold was called “The Body.” I have about twenty poems and stories published or forthcoming.
11.) How long have you been working on you most recent masterpiece?
Masterpiece? I’m a beginner! I wrote my first poem for Slide a Mirror to Me in December 2015. I wrote the last poem in July 2017. So, about a year and a half.
12.) Anything you’d like to add about yourself or your work?
At my website, annakander.com, you can read my work and sign up to hear about new stories. You can also contact me! I love the community of readers and writers.
If you enjoyed this, or would like an interview of your own, please contact me through the link above or click HERE for more information.