Random fact: my father is an alien. Not the green kind, mind you, but he’s a Canadian living in the US, so he has an Alien Registration Card. As a child, this fascinated me–and I’ll admit, I still find ways to tease him about this. Now, I really think that today’s interviewee should meet my dad. I think she would also find him amusing, and you’ll see why…
What is your earliest writing memory? What did you write about? Did it have a title?
In fifth grade, I wrote about an alien who looked like a dinosaur, whose planet got invaded by aliens who looked like bugs. The bug aliens killed pretty much everyone on the planet except for our dinosaur alien, and then at the end the dinosaur alien rushed the bug aliens and killed them. All of them. So, Shakespeare.
My teacher liked it so much that she read it aloud to the class, and my class liked it so much that they asked her to read it again. Their favorite part was when the dinosaur alien yelled “AHHHHHHHHH!” and killed the bug aliens in a bloody mess. So even at that age, I knew that my stories could touch an emotional nerve and resonate with readers.
When you were 6, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to own a bookstore. Then I actually worked at a bookstore.
It’s not bookstores that are the problem, really. It’s the cash registers. They hate me.
What is the best compliment your writing has ever received?
A couple years ago, a writing professor wrote in an evaluation (and I quote) that my “writing is bold, inventive, propulsive – again and again she finds new ways of fusing the popular and the literary, mixing elements of science fiction with psychologically and emotionally probing, literary prose.”
I was so amazed at his commitment to the lie that I taped that evaluation to my computer so that I could lie to myself too. I’m actually very good at it.
Can you tell us a little about your current WIP?
It’s about teenagers being abducted by aliens. It’s exciting because I get to write about aliens. And teenagers. There’s at least one obscene use of a ukulele, so that’s fun.
An important selling point for this WIP – when I told my mother about it, she said, “Annalise, no one will want to read that.”
Do you follow a routine when it comes to writing?
Sort of. For me, I’m not able to write every day. If I make that my goal, then I inevitably don’t write at all and feel guilty about it. But there are certain times every week when I have time to write, so I try to capitalize on that. I will say that I have to schedule my writing time at least a day in advance, or it won’t happen at all.
What do you find hardest about writing?
This is a huge cliché, but turning off my internal editor. I’ve often compared my internal editor to a fox, not the actual animal, but the children’s story kind. She’s crafty – she lures me into the woods with promises of perfection, then devours me whole. It doesn’t help that I’m an unrepentant perfectionist, which I think is probably true of most writers.
What is your favorite book (at least currently)?
There are so many books I could recommend, but my favorite book of all-time is Catch-22. There aren’t that many books out there that can make me laugh and cry at the same time. Reading that book, I had moments where I was laughing with tears running down my face.
What non-writing hobbies do you like to participate in?
Video games! Specifically, Bioware and cutesy stuff like Harvest Moon.
If you had $1,000,001, what would you do with the $1?
I would give it to my brother, because then he would have $1 and I would have $1,000,000.
Give us one random fact about yourself.
I have a huge crush on Patrick Stump. Both during the FOB days and his current look. He just strikes me as really sincere. I’m not even sure I want to marry him, just his voice. Conservatives will be aghast.