Thursday, May 19, 2011

Behind The Words // Ann Mauren

Author Ann Mauren pays attention. She pays attention to the details of story, character, plot and book marketing. And, what's even more impressive, she pays attention to the details of her tweeps' lives and all the various things they're doing. On Twitter--and in life--Ann Mauren is a pleasure to know. 

I was lucky enough to get some time with Ann and learn a bit about what she's working on, what excites her and how she works to produce her novels and stories. She's also arrived with a wonderful prize pack to give away to celebrate being ranked this week as #8 on Amazon's list of Top 100 Free Kindle eBooks, and #1 in its category, Romantic Suspense. But more about that in a minute... First, come with me and learn about her, in her own words...

I am Ann Mauren, an indie author who writes romance with elements of humor and suspense. My debut novel “In The Spotlight” is the first in a collection titled “Mayne Attraction”, named for the series’ heroine, Ellery Mayne, a young woman who discovers that she is being observed and protected by a private security force, and her efforts to get to the bottom of who, what, where, when and especially why.



Ann Talks Seriously -- But Only For A Moment

I began writing at night when my second child was only several weeks old. (As of this writing he is not quite two.) So writing just doesn’t feel right to me unless I’m sitting in a glider in the nursery in front of a TV tray for a workstation with a Boppy in my lap, keying my thoughts with one hand. When I get the occasional attack of the late night munchies I usually raid my eight-year-old’s school snack time stash (i.e., granola bar, fruit roll-up, or heaven forbid one of his precious ‘Lunchables!’)

This spring I was thrilled to discover that a pair of Red Tailed Hawks were setting up housekeeping in the tree just beyond the nursery window. They are such regal, beautiful birds—I find them mesmerizing. And I can’t wait to see how they deal with their kids!

Ann Gets Knee deep

I am still knee deep in the weeds of Mayne Attraction and currently working on “In The Shadow”, the installment told from the perspective of former CIA agent Ash Ryan, who goes from tortured obsession over a mark he believes he will never meet in person, to shocked bliss when she reaches out to him in secret for a romance that is pursued while he is on duty alone, to frustrated agony as he must observe and report while another man tries to win Ellery’s affections. Oh, and the other man pays all the salaries and expenses for the security team, did I mention that?

Ann Gets Personal

My storytelling approach for the Mayne Attraction series involves narrations from each of the three members of the love triangle at the heart of the story. While it’s not ground breaking, it is still uncommon enough that I hope it will be an intriguing, very personal way for readers to enjoy romance and character development told from the first person perspective. I love faulty impressions, misunderstandings and lots of emotion—they make for great humor and wonderful plot lines.

As far as equipment goes, I am armed with a laptop and broadband internet access. When I’m not home I carry a notebook, which has been providential a number of times it seems that most of my best ideas have hit me when I was not sitting at the computer. Often they strike while I’m working at my day job, so on lunch break I will jot down my thoughts—pencil in one hand, sandwich in the other.

Samples chapters of all three books in the series are available now at MayneAttraction.com and a free download of the eBook “In The Spotlight” is currently available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks and Smashwords. I’d love for you to grab a free copy and click the ‘Like’ button on your way through!

I hope to have the series completed before the end of 2011.

Ann Goes Undercover

I love big wonderful surprises—furnishing them as well as receiving them. So I undertook the writing of my first novel in secrecy. It wasn’t too difficult since I was already up all hours with a newborn anyway. I just pulled up a TV tray for my laptop and started writing while I was rocking and nursing my baby. After about six months as secret agent author Ann, it was so much fun to present my family with a beautiful glossy printed copy of a book that was written by yours truly. There really is no bigger thrill than blowing someone’s mind like that. (I highly recommend it.)

With small children the interruption factor is always off the charts, so I still write primarily on third shift, and on Tuesdays I have what I call my ‘Girl’s Write Night’ where I head out to a local coffee shop for some quality time with my story. It’s slow going, but it’s going.

Ann Shares Her World With You

Interested parties can visit MayneAttraction.com to see images from the story, hear music that inspired the characters, and check out special “Passport Perspective” links that carry you from one character’s version of events to another’s. There’s also a link to the current reviews and plenty of places to leave me some comment love. If you are a writer, you KNOW what I’m talking about. It would be such a thrill to hear from you! You can also hook up with me at Goodreads and my new site, Short and Tweet Reviews.


Ann Gets Her Contest On

To enter the contest, folks just need to leave a quick comment on this post. And before you ask, yes, this is open to international contestants. The Mayne Attraction website has had visitors from over 76 countries, so I couldn’t possibly exclude my friends from across the seven seas! Just for fun, I made a little video to explain the significance of the items they will win if their name is drawn.



Jason McIntyre was one of the first writers I connected with when I was brand new to Twitter (and writing.) I think you are a fabulous author with talents that spread far beyond storytelling. Your blog is educational and entertaining—and sometimes it makes me laugh out loud. It’s been an honor to have my say on The Farthest Reaches! Thanks j!

Don't forget to comment below to enter the 'Mayne Attraction' give away and check out my debut novel "Mayne Attraction: In The Spotlight" which you can download FREE for a limited time.


Ms. Mauren, dear, dear Ms. Mauren! It's my pleasure to see you out here in the Reaches and I thank you, humbly, for your kind words. It's my honour to host you -- plus all the intriguing knowledge you've shared about your life, work, and writing tactics. Readers! Post a comment for your chance at this unique prize pack. I'll draw a random winner from the pool of commenters and announce the winner here at the Farthest Reaches.

Now, let's all give Ann a round of hearty applause!



UPDATE! I’m pleased to announce that Enjoli Gilbert from New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A., will be opening a care package of ‘Ellery-Style’ treats sometime next week. Enjoli is a very recent graduate of Patrick F. Taylor Science And Technology Academy where she was head of her school’s American Library Association affiliated book club. You can read more about her and the results of the “Mayne Event” at Ann’s blog, Short and Tweet Reviews.

55 comments:

  1. Hi Ann! (and Jason too ;) Congratulations on the anniversary of your book! Thanks for waving that HUGE chocolate bar around on the video...I need chocolate now!

    I wish you nothing but success on your book promotion and your upcoming novels!!

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  2. Congrats! I just downloaded the book and liked it. Looking forward to reading it.

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  3. Yeah, Lisa (lmstull), I re-watched the video too. Now I'm eating chocolate caramels. Yes. For breakfast. Don't judge me.

    Lara, thanks for stopping by -- I bet you'll really enjoy Ann's book. It's like her interview above, but with a plot and a whole cast of equally quirky but lovable folks.

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  4. Hershey's Chocolate: the breakfast of champions!

    Thanks for the well wishes and all your fabulous support Lisa (LMStull)! And thank you Lara for giving my book a try! Hope you enjoy the romance and my version of humor.

    And j? Quirky? Who's Quirky??? Okay, you got me! Thank you so much Mr. Host Man! You are magnificent!

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  5. Dunno about 'magnificent', Ann, but I'll take the compliment! (And did I mention that I adore 'quirky'?)

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  6. Hi Ann,

    Email received, book downloaded, liked, messages tweeted and retweeted.

    Promoting, supporting, cajoling, and charming the universe for ya honey! Everyone will get to the know the amazing Ann Mauren, I have no doubts!

    Oh, and being here with J on the Farthest Reaches goes a loooooong way too!

    e

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  7. Ah, Eden! The very epitome of efficiency and excellence in support (kind of like a bra--a really fancy and cool one!)

    Thanks for all your efforts on my behalf. You are right, being here with j really does go a long way, and having Eden Baylee on my side feels darn good too!

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  8. (Not as long a way as having you doing some cajoling, Eden. Wanna cajole with me later?)

    (Wait. What does that even mean in this context? And does it involve a fancy bra?)

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  9. Chocolate (I'm an addict), pink (my favourite colour), and a signed book! I want in on the giveaway!!!
    Great interview, Ann & Jason :) I already own a download version of In The Spotlight; bought it ages ago, but as with all downloaded books on my computer it takes me ages to get around to reading them... I really need to get an ereader!
    I'm looking forward to reading it, and I'm going to be tweeting all about your free kindle version. Congrats on your kindle sales success too, Ann! xx

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  10. Maria Savva: officially entered!

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  11. Maria, I will NEVER forget how it made me feel when you bought my eBook. You were one of the very first to do so! Thank you for supporting me from the beginning--it means so much!

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  12. Maria Savva is one of the most supportive authors out there in the great wide yonder. She's done so much for so many of us and paved the way for much of the blogging, writing and publishing efforts we all do each day.

    Thanks Maria!

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  13. Hey Ann and Jason! This is a fantastic way to get the word out about Mayne Attraction. I loved it and hopefully this will show everyone else how great it is!

    This is Enjoli, avid reader and fan of Ann's. If I win this that book will definitely be placed in the school library for all the kiddies to read!

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  14. Enjoli! So great that you can drop by. Thanks for the kind words about Ann and her book. We think she's pretty special too.

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  15. Hi Ann! So glad to see you in "the reaches" one of my favorite places to hang. Seems one can always find interesting people here. (Must have something to do with the host) Im impressed beyond words that you wrote a book with a newborn! I am feeling like a huge slacker..I think I was lucky if I got a shower in, back in those days. Brava! Thank you so much for sharing your process.

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  16. Enjoli! My very favorite gal in the whole 'Big Easy'! Thank you for suporting me here at The Farthest Reaches like you have over at Mayne Attraction.com! Your comments are legendary, and have kept me encouraged and excited about writing!

    Oh, and whether you win the drawing or not, I will make darn sure there is a copy of 'Spotlight' for your school library, my dear! It will be my pleasure because it's a fact: You are pure Awesome Sauce!

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  17. Hi Kimba! "The Reaches" is like my own mental vacation spot that offers great entertainment, educational workshops for writers, an absolutely gorgeous prospect of Lake McIntyre, and a host who can guide your imagination on day trips to amazing, thrilling destinations! Move over Ricardo Montalban! Who wouldn't want to hang here?

    I think the forces of postpartum depression went seriously sideways in my case and accidentally made me a writer. That's the best explanation I have for completing a book under those circumstances. In fact, I may need to have two more babies to finish this series! (I'm so joking!)

    Thanks for your fun comment Kimba!

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  18. ok, who doesn't love a good giveaway? I have to be honest, I actually enjoyed watching your video. One request if I win, ok let's be honest, WHEN I win... can you just send me the little chocolate you can keep the big one as a Thank You. I look forward to reading the book and I might even use the flash drive to write my husband love letters... On second thought, send the chocolate, I am craving it now!
    Thanks,
    Barbara

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  19. Hi Barbara! You know, someday if things go really well for me, I'm going to give away the 5 pound Hershey Bar in one of these drawings (on second thought, encouraging death by chocolate in my fan base might be counter productive...)

    I think that creating flash drive love letters to your hubby is a fantastic idea! Why didn't I think of that?

    Thanks for checking out my book (and video) and for your fun comment!

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  20. Congratulations on reaching #1!
    Giveaway looks tasty =D And who doesn't love a good signed book?

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  21. I am, not so patiently, waiting for more.

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  22. Hello Persy, my book loving ballerina friend!

    Thank you so much for your support and encouragement from early on. Yeah, that big Hershey bar is long gone, and yes, it was incredibly tasty! ;) But don't worry. I'll put a fresh one in there before I ship it off to winner-ville!

    So glad you stopped by!

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  23. Hi Beth,

    Whenever anybody gets on me for taking too long with my follow up books I always ask if they'd like to come and wrestle... uh, I mean 'babysit' my toddler for a couple of hours so I can write a decent paragraph or two! Nobody ever takes me up on that...

    I'll take your impatience as a huge compliment! Thanks for visiting (and nudging) Beth! ;)

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  24. I liked how your book wasn't run of the mill same old story...we see the ending before it ends kind of book. I can't wait for the next one. However, I do understand the craziness of your life as another mom to young kids.

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  25. Hello Heather!

    I'm so pleased to hear that you enjoyed the twist at the end of Ellery's tale. Staying a step ahead of readers is both a fun challenge and a tough task!

    Of course, the craziness of daily life as head tamer of the 'monkey squad' doesn't make the 'tough task' of writing any easier! It's great to hear that I'm not the only one who gets that!

    Despite the monkey business and banana peels, there will be more from Gray and Ash before year end...

    Thanks for checking in here at The Reaches! It was fantastic to hear from you, Heather!

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  26. Downloaded and looking forward to reading your story. It is a wonderful thing when successful authors befriend and aid others to reach their potential. Long live chocolate!

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  27. Thanks Betty! I hope you enjoy your time in the world of Mayne Attraction.

    When it comes to being befriended by the successful, I can tell you that it is an amazing feeling. I've learned so much from and been helped along by a number of fantastic, successful authors, most notably the landlord of this website!

    And I agree: Up With Chocolate!

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  28. Great interview Jason & Ann. Loved the video too Ann! I'm delighted in relation to your Kindle rating for 'In the Spotlight', Ann. Very well done. You deserve it. Hurry up and finish 'In the Shadow', so I can get another great read!;-) Best wishes for now, from across the great pond!
    C

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  29. Kimba, Barbara, Beth, Heather, Betty and Calum! Thanks SO much for your comments! You are all entered in Ann Mauren's cool prize draw.

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  30. Oh hello Calum, my book blogging friend from across the sea! Wonderful of you to journey here to The Reaches!

    I appreciate your vote of confidence regarding 'Spotlight's' run on Kindle--I'm thrilled, of course, and more motivated than ever to complete the Mayne Attraction series.

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  31. WHAAAAAT!? I'm so happy for you Ann!! Congrats on being number one!! (Though I always viewed you as number one, lol)

    Now after watching your YouTube video I'm going to go re-read your book yet again...for the 47th time (yes I kept track)

    You should totally think about making 'Tips' videos for other writers :)
    -Danni

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  32. Thanks for the video!! Congrats!!

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  33. Danni!!! So glad you could make it!

    Only 47 times? Actually, I don't think I've read it that many times! Well, maybe...

    Just want to thank you for the amazing enthusiasm and support you've showered on me from the first moments that Spotlight flew from the nest.

    Here's the first installment in my Tip Video Series for Writers: Remove your 8 year old son's greasy finger prints from the video camera lens BEFORE shooting your prize give away promo piece.

    Think it'll go viral???

    Thanks Danni!

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  34. This is the first book-related give-away I've ever entered. This is also one of the few times I've regretted returning my ereader. The only thing better than an awesome sounding book is an awesome sounding book that's free!

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  35. Danni, Melissa and Lauren! So great that you could stop by and enter to win Ann's fantastic prize pack. Good luck to all of you!

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  36. I downloaded my copy and can't wait to read it! I love how you started writing while nursing a new little one. I spent many hours in my glider with my babies too. I wasn't writing then...not yet. I'm so excited for your book to be in the top 100! Yay!!!

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  37. Ah Sonia! The only buddy in social media-ville to have sampled my baking and lived to tell the tale! (She won a batch of Oatmeal Scotchies from my blog Short & Tweet Reviews.)

    I'm so grateful for your support in blogging, tweeting and now here as well! Hope you enjoy the story!

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  38. Hiya! Just putting it out there, but the name Super Agent Author Ann is an amazing name.
    ...
    And In the Spotlight is awesome/spledidilirifical. :)

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  39. Wel that was supposed to ay "Alyn says".

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  40. Sonia! C7! You ah ENTUH-ed! Good luck to you both, thanks for stopping by.

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  41. Well, Alyn, you and your robot companion are both entered in the draw for Ann's prize pack. ;)

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  42. Hi there Alyn!

    So glad you made it. And I'm really glad you clarified who you were because it sounded like Ned Flanders from the Simpsons had stopped by! "Spledidilirifical!

    Thanks for your fantastic support Alyn and for being such a good sport with the whole "20 Questions Exercise!" I think you're amazing little lady!

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  43. Lol. Thank you! :) and yea, my Internet went crazy. You're also welcome and I like answering questions! And then thank you. Again. Did I answer in the right order.

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  44. Hey Ann!
    I loved Mayne Attraction(its my fav out of all i've downloaded) I've read it a bunch of times. Can't wait for the others to come out!!!

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  45. Hello Aika!

    Wow! What great compliment! That's the kind of thing that really puts wind in my sails! Time to batten down the hatches and get the Mayne Attraction series finished--just for you!

    Thanks very much for your fantastic support and for visiting here at The Farthest Reaches!

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  46. Hi Ann
    Thank you for so generously giving your book away for free. I have downloaded it 3 times just so I could leave reviews. Totally prepared to pay for Ash and Gray's stories and can't wait to read them. 

    Love your style, you could drown in the emotion of all three main characters. 

    Would offer to babysit if it gave you more time to write but I don't think we live on the same continent so I will just have to be patient ;P

    Now just need to find and follow you on twitter.

    Steph x

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  47. Steph, I don't want to speak for Ann, but I bet some days she'd be willing to send her little bundles of joy to your continent.

    Just sayin'.

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  48. Hi Steph!

    I gave your offer for babysitting enabled writing time far more play in my fantasies than I should admit! But let's be clear, if anybody gets to travel between continents, especially to visit with you, it's gonna be me, not them! :)

    Thanks for your fabulous multi-faceted support Steph! I can't wait to tweet with you my dear! @AnnMauren is the link!

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  49. Your books sound great! Thanks for having the sample chapters up; I can't wait to check them out =)

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  50. Congratulations on your success and thanks for sharing it in such a sweet way!

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  51. Thanks to both of you ladies for stopping by!

    KeriLynn, I hope you enjoy yourself while visiting the world of Mayne Attraction--so kind of you to check my free download!

    And Y.K.? It's my pleasure ma'am! I am ALL ABOUT the sweets!

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  52. Really looking forward to reading Mayne Attraction!!! THRILLED that it was free, such a huge help :)

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  53. Hi Kristin! I'm thrilled for you to take a chance on my book! And thanks for taking time out to visit The Farthest Reaches, too! Much appreciated!

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  54. Mayne Attraction was a great book to read, during the period of time i was reading it i hardly got any sleep

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