I’m pleased to bring you this interview with Renee Garrison, author of Anchored Together.
1) What is your author name and in what state do you live (or country if not in the US)?
My name is Renee Garrison and I live in Central Florida.
2) What is the title of your newest book and what is the genre?
“Anchored Together” is a Young Adult book.
3) What is the book about?
It is a sequel to my award-winning first book, “The Anchor Clankers.” Being the only girl in a private boys’ boarding school has its advantages: There’s not much competition for the cheer-leading squad. (And plenty of opportunities to flirt and fall in love.) But it has disadvantages,
too, especially if your father is an alcoholic. Sixteen-year-old Suzette LeBlanc moved into the Sanford Naval Academy when her father became the school Commandant. She’s gaining confidence, but her father’s drinking is on the rise, a fact her mother seems to ignore. She finds strength in her friends and finds love with the battalion commander (a.k.a. senior class president) who also must deal with an alcoholic parent. They share their pain, their coping strategies, but can they share a future?
4) Where did you come up with the idea?
I grew up with a father who abused alcohol, yet it wasn’t until after college I realized the impact his drinking had on me. During bookstore and book club visits, many readers of my first book, “The Anchor Clankers,” confided they, too, had an alcoholic parent. We shared these traits:
Do you constantly seek approval and affirmation? Do you fail to recognize your accomplishments? Do you fear criticism? Do you overextend yourself? Do you have a need for perfection? Are you uneasy when your life is going smoothly, continually anticipating problems?
I decided to write about the issue in the hope that it might help others who are struggling. No one should feel they are alone if they grow up with an alcoholic dad or mom. As a teen, I wish I’d known that while I couldn’t control my parent’s drinking, I could talk about it. And I should have.
5) How long did it take you to write it?
It took nearly three years because I put the manuscript aside for a couple of months and then read it again with fresh eyes.
6) Did you learn anything from the project?
The best way to beat writer’s block is to write something every day – even if it’s just a few paragraphs or lines. I interviewed author Andrew Gross for The Tampa Tribune. He told me his best work (and probably mine) comes on the second or third draft of a story. But you can’t edit a blank page…
You have to enjoy the process or you have chosen the wrong field. It is very solitary and very difficult work, and often slow to show results. It has become harder and harder to get work published, but unless you keep at the writing – and polish your words – you’ll never get to the
finish line. And once you do, and you are fortunate enough to be published, it’s a great thrill.
Read, read voraciously – because good storytelling is inspirational, and seeing how other writers use the language is hugely helpful. No more procrastinating!
7) Do you have an author website and/or blog?
My author website is http://www.reneegarrison.com and my blog is
http://www.reneewritesnow.wordpress.com I also have an author page on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/anchorclankers/
8) Do you have any success tips to pass on to fellow authors? How about any great editors/cover artists?
Please don’t follow the advice of writers who think self-publishing or indie publishing means you don’t need outside professional help. To be perfectly candid, if you’re planning to publish, it’s going to cost money. It doesn’t matter that you majored in English or worked for a newspaper, you cannot edit or proof your own work. And the tragedy is that a reader who
catches your mistakes in those first pages or chapters will never buy another one of your books.
Working with Elizabeth Babski of Babski Creative Studios on the covers of both my books has been a joyful experience. I highly recommend her.
9) What genres do you like to read? Are you open to reading new authors and reviewing their work?
Young Adult, of course, but I’m also a fan of mystery books and I love discovering new authors!
All good storytellers influence my writing.
10) What is your favorite book of all time and why?
Wow – that’s a tough one. One made an early impression on me – Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. At 11 years old, Harriet carefully observes others and writes her thoughts down in a
notebook as practice for her future career. (Maybe that’s why I chose to be a newspaper journalist?!)
11) Fun Question: Do you have any pets? If so, what kind?
I adored my feisty, five-pound peke-a-poo (Pekinese mother + poodle father) who crossed the rainbow bridge one month shy of her 17th birthday. I’m currently filling the void she left in my life by dog sitting for lots of friends who travel.
12) Fun Question 2: Do you own an electronic reading device? If so, what kind and how do you like it?
NO! I’m ridiculously old fashioned and I love to hold a book in my hands. I haunt my local library and love the smell and texture of paper pages. (I even collect book marks.)
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