Monday, June 26, 2017

In The Spotlight with Bayou Book Junkie: Ann Lister (Giveaway)

Today we are thrilled to welcome Ann Lister to Bayou Book Junkie. I discovered Ann in my early days of reading MM and she's written one of my all-time favorite couples, Cooper and Jayson from the book Make You Mine, a couple I have continually harassed gently asked her about giving more page time. While I do absolutely love her stories, I also live for those glimpses of Jay and Coop. Ann's books are ones that I can't wait to see hit my kindle, but I war with myself. I want to dig right in, yet I want to savor the story as well because I'm never quite ready to say goodbye to her characters. Ann writes in the MF genre as well as MM. Her latest release being Honor and Pride, book two in the Guarding The Gods series, a spinoff of The Rock Gods series, was released in March of 2017. I've had a few interactions over the years with Ann via Facebook and she is super sweet and very appreciative of any review, share or mention from her readers. Okay, I've babbled enough, let's let Ann talk now.

Ann, thanks so much for agreeing to this interview and welcome to Bayou Book Junkie! Tell us a little about yourself and your current project(s)

Ann:  Hi Tracy!  Thank you so much for allowing me to visit with you and everyone again!  It's always so much fun catching up and I'm always happy to answer questions!

Tracy: How did you discover the MM genre and what inspired you to begin writing in it?

Ann:  I know a lot of MM authors can remember the first MM book they read, but I can't say for sure that I can.  I believe Hot Head by Damon Suede was one of the first MM books I read and loved, but I was writing MM short stories long before that.  It was back in the early 1990's when I started writing and MM stories were the first projects I had published.  For me, there was always something special about two men falling in love and the physical connection they shared.  I just loved writing the dynamics of the MM relationship.  It was after I had published five MF novels when the storyline for Fall For Me hit me like a freight train.  The story was so very vivid to me that I knew Dagger needed his story told.  With that story Dagger introduced me to his world and his friends and from that point on, I have been immersed in MM.  That doesn't mean I'll never write another MF story again.  If I get a good MF story in my head I will definitely write it!

Tracy: What draws to you to write the love stories of rock stars? Will your stories ever venture away from the music industry?

Ann:  I've always had two very big passions in life: books and music, so combining those two loves was an easy and logical merge for me.  Rock stars are so sexy, larger than life, and they give so much to their audiences.  I wanted to take that fantasy and write stories where the readers would feel they are part of that world with the characters.  
The Rock Gods series gives the reader a nice taste of the rock star life and, for sure.  The new spin-off series I've created, Guarding The Gods, is a small side step away from the rock stars while still keeping them within the stories.  The readers will still get a glimpse of the guys in Ivory Tower and also Black Ice but they're also going to be swept up in the guys that protect them – on and off the stage.
I have a couple of other stories swirling around inside my head that have nothing to do with musicians and those will eventually be published, but for right now, I am fully enjoying the fantasy world I have created with my guys!   

Tracy: You have created an amazing world with all these characters who are prominently featured throughout the series and in each other's stories. How do you manage keep their backstories and physical appearances all straight?

Ann:  LOL – that is a great question!  It is extremely important to keep those details straight, so I take notes to ensure I have the eye color correct or the occupations of a characters parents, etc.  That's my job as an author to get all that right for the readers.  I sometimes write more than one story at a time and that's when I really have to pay attention to the nitty-gritty details!  Otherwise I end up calling a character by the wrong name in the story!  

Tracy: Your books are surrounded by music. Who are some of your favorite bands and/or musicians?

Ann:  I love almost all genres of music and listen to something every day.  When I write, I try to pick music that matches the mood of the scene I'm working on or perhaps even is similar to the lead character's singing voice.  My favorites range from Shinedown to the softer stuff like Adele.  I buy music like some women buy shoes or new clothing and my collection is huge.  Seether, Pearl Jam, Three Doors Down, Daughtry, Nickleback, Theory of a Deadman, Staind, Puddle Of Mudd, Buckcherry, are a few.  I also love the classics like Metallica, Aerosmith, and Zeppelin, and so on.

Tracy: Have you ever received negative criticism about one of your characters *cough* Danni *cough*? If yes, which one and what didn't the readers like about them, and what would you change about the character if you could rewrite the story?

Ann:  Ah, yes, my poor misunderstood Danni.  LOL.  I did get a lot of negative feedback on Danni, but that didn't bother me – much.  Her character had a purpose in that menage and if I were to rewrite her, I probably wouldn't change too much about her.  She was meant to be the “voice of reason” and vocalize the emotions that Chase and Alex might try and gloss over because of their deep physical connection.  She expressed the jealousy most would feel in that type of relationship and she also allowed herself to be vulnerable to the change in dynamic, too.  So, if I were to rewrite anything, I might make her feelings even louder than they were.  LOL.
I've received other negative feedback on my characters, too.  Not just Danni, and I make a point of truly “listening” to what is said.  I try and take something from every review that is written, even if the reader didn't fully enjoy the story, I want to hear what emotions my story evoked for them and why.  As an author, I want to continue to grow and flesh out my characters and a great way to do that is to hear what works for some readers and what does not.  Feedback like that (although it might be negative) can be an excellent learning tool for an author.  As long as the reviewer doesn't make the review personal and more focused on the author instead of the actual story, then it's a good thing.

Tracy: For the past few years your writing has been strictly focused on MM pairings, which really pleases me immensely by the way, do you have any plans to explore anymore MF or triad pairings in the near future?

Ann:  I will definitely write another triad relationship in the near future and it could very well be MMM.  I will also likely stick my toes back into the MF pool, too.  I'm always creating stories in my head.  That is (thankfully) endless for me and most of those tid-bits turn into full length stories.  I just completed a novella that brings back a character from a previous MF story which I am very excited about.  The novella is sort of a launching point for this character's full length story which will release early next year.  I think this story will surprise a lot of readers who might not have liked him in the earlier story.  All is explained in the novella and it definitely sets things up for him to have his own story.  I can't wait for that one to release!

Tracy: If you could have any one of your books—other than Sheet Music which one of my co-bloggers mentioned read as if it were made to be a movie—made into a movie, which book would it be and which actors would you want to see play the parts?

Ann:  OMG – that is an excellent question!  First, Sheet Music would be perfect in a movie format, for sure.  I also think Fall For Me would make an interesting film project, too.  There is also a lot of imagery in Zac's Mulligan, Book One in Guarding The Gods which I think would translate well on film.  I would absolutely love to see one of my books made into a movie, but I'm guessing most authors say that about their books!
As for actors playing the roles . . . that's tough to answer.  My characters have a lot of swagger but would still need to have that rock star edge to them, so I'd have to think about that one a bit to make sure the right man filled the shoes properly.

Tracy: And last, the burning question, will Jayson and Cooper ever get a novella?

Ann:  Most definitely, and you'll be pleased to know I already have an idea brewing for Cooper and Jayson!  Look for something next year on them.

Tracy: Will you be attending any conferences this year. Please tell your readers where they can connect with you in the upcoming year?

Ann:  This year is an exceptionally busy year for me outside of the author world and that is due to our first grand baby being due in August and a move by the end of the year.  That being said, I dramatically reduced my typical 3 conferences a year down to doing just one this year.  The one book signing I have scheduled is the Shameless Book Con down in Orlando during the weekend of October 20, 21, 22nd.

Quick Fire Round:
Which are your favorite, Cats or Dogs?  Definitely dogs.  I currently have two pugs which are sisters and named Sophie and Izzy.
Do you prefer coffee or tea or something else entirely?  I don't drink either.  I am mainly a water person.
Your biggest addiction:  Sugar, but due to a recent diabetes diagnosis, I have had to change my eating habits a lot.  There is no longer a lot of sugar in my diet these days!
Favorite book of yours/other author(s):  Hmmm, that's a difficult question to answer because depending on my mood on any given day I might have a different answer.  One book which for some reason really hit me was Starfish and Coffee by Kele Moon.  Recently I read Football Sundaes and I really loved that story, too.  There are so many good books that have stayed with me over the years, and most of them I have gone back to read more than once.  
As for my favorite book which I authored, I'd have to say Fall For Me, since Dagger and Ryan were the launching point of my rock gods.  I do have to say, that I am pleased with the subplots I have threaded through most of my books.  I've written about chronic illness, depression, childhood sexual abuse, and most recently I tackled college hazing.  I love bringing subjects like that into focus and putting a face to it.  I think it helps to flesh out the characters when they are dealing with real life problems like the rest of us, but I always want to show them as survivors and strong for going through it.

Are you a morning or night person? Definitely morning.  My brain starts to shut down by 7pm.  LOL.

Thank you so much for the interview, Ann! We loved your answers!

PLEASE NOTE: The paperbacks are US Only since we all know how expensive posting can be. The e-copies of the books for this month-long contest will be sent directly to Kindle. 

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  1. I love this interview, I laughed out loud at the Danni comment. God, the poor lass was hated by many. You know what I find funny about that. I mean I disliked her also, but I would have loved to be her. Two hot Rock Gods all to myself #OnlyInMyDreams

    Thank you so much for a great interview. You guys ROCK!!

  2. I want to know what is coming next from ann

  3. I don't really have an questions. I guess if I had a question it would be what would your spirit animal be?

  4. Congrats on AotM. I enjoyed this post as well, with all the Q&A. I do indeed like spin-off books, because it says that there's something that good going on that it needs a spin-off. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com