Monday, April 29

Review: Falling for Heaven by Anne Conley

Recently, I was delighted to exchange books and interview questions with author Anne Conley.  The questions she sent me were so good, I sent them right back at her. Lazy? Perhaps, but I've never been good at coming up with interview questions, so hey. I work with what I've got. :) 


The book: 
by Anne Conley

Uriel is one of God's Four Winds, the Archangel of Destiny. He has helped thousands of people throughout the ages find their destiny according to His will. This time however, what he doesn't realize, is that it's his own destiny he's supposed to fulfill.

Heather is an exotic dancer, who's stage name is Heaven. It's not that that's what she's always wanted to do, it's just that it helps her pay the bills, and she's got a lot of bills, with taking care of her mother and her sister. When the mysterious Uriel comes into the club, she can tell he's different, just how different will rock her world...

My Review:

I was lucky enough to get an ARC of Falling for Heaven, and I was hooked from the first word. Ms. Conley's writing style flows very well, and Uri is just... *swoon* Such a sweet, strong, wonderful being. There's really not much I can say without spoilers, but rest assured that there's a HEA and some really steamy bits!

It's a short read, but felt like a much longer novel, as far as action, depth, and pacing. That's really hard to do, in my experience.

I definitely recommend this book, and can't wait for the rest of the Four Winds stories!

 Interview with Anne Conley:

1.  Describe your writing process. 

My process is a lot like dating…. I fantasize about the perfect story for a long time before I actually sit down to start writing it.  Then I put down an outline.  From there, I type up a rough draft, this is the first date.  Subsequent revisions are like the entire courting process.  Each revision allows me to delve deeper in the characters, the conflict, and what they're up against.

2.  What motivates you to sit down and write?

I'm very goal-oriented.  I set goals for myself, both long-term and short-term, and every morning, I wake up and decide what to do to accomplish those goals.  I know that I can't sell books if I'm not doing everything I need to be doing to sell them, and I need to sell books so that I can justify all the time spent in front of my laptop to my family.

3.  Where does your inspiration come from?

Everywhere.  I get a lot of inspiration while I'm in the car, either listening to music, or being quiet inside my head.  I also enjoy listening to my Aunt and my Mom talk about people in my family that lived years ago.  There are some pretty interesting stories to be told there.  Actually, I enjoy listening to everything.  Right now, I'm sitting in a tiny café, listening to a loud-talker telling stories about living in Austin.  There's probably a story there, too…

4.  Do you have any writers that you consider mentors?

Liliana Hart, without a doubt.  I heard her speak at a RWA meeting in November.  She told about her experiences as an Indie Author versus the traditional routes.  It inspired me to get my butt in gear.  She gave us a written plan to follow, and has been open to email questions.  Liliana's offered me much support in the past several months, that I appreciate greatly.  I wouldn't be where I am now if it weren't for her.

5.  What do you think your greatest strength is in your writing?

My focus is probably my greatest strength.  I am able to focus on one thing, and get it done in a relatively timely manner.  I may have to go back and fix it, but I get it done.

6.  What is your biggest challenge?

Patience.  I'm not a patient person, and I have trouble sometimes taking a step back and looking at the big picture.  I'll send my stuff out to beta readers, then check my email every hour on the hour for weeks until they reply.  When I publish something, I check my reports daily, trying to figure out what I can reproduce that caused that one person to buy my book.  When I figured out that Smashwords published their reports quarterly, and I had to wait three more whole months to figure out how I was doing, I cried.

7.  Do you ever experience writer's block?  How do you get through it?

The old fashioned way…Pen and paper.  I have discovered that if I close the lap top, and go someplace different, I can usually get through whatever scene or character I'm working on.  I used to teach writing to High school kids, and some of those crazy brainstorming tricks still apply.  Plus, your brain works differently when you write as opposed to typing and I find that that usually does the trick.

8.  Name some authors who have influenced or inspired you?   

JK Rowling, Stephen King,  Liliana Hart, honestly there are too many to name.  Almost every author I've read has influenced me in some way…

9.  Tell a little about your most recent work.  Title, genre, and tag line.

Falling for Heaven is a paranormal romance about the archangel Uriel.  The tag line would probably be…"She was his greatest sin…"

10.  Tell us about your favorite character from the book.

It would have to be Heather, who is an exotic dancer because it earns her enough money to support her sister and her mother.  I know I think I'm sexy when I dance, but the reality is something altogether different, I'm sure.  She's down to earth, and is just trying to make her life the best she knows how.  Like most of us.

11.   Are there specific themes that you would like your reader to grasp while they're reading your novel?

Well, for a novel of it's length (about 45,000 words), I think Falling for Heaven touches on some pretty deep stuff.  There are the obvious religious implications of good vs. evil, but there are also issues of addiction, care of the elderly with dementia, and dealing with death of loved ones.

12.  Do you have any words of advice or encouragement for other writers who are looking to publish?

Make a plan, write it down, and try to stick with it.  Not everybody does it exactly right on the first try.  Most everybody has to go back and re-do something.  Just know what you want, and have a plan to get it.

13.  What makes a good story?

A good story is one that the reader can relate to on some level.  The characters need to be likeable, and their reactions to their experiences need to be realistic.  In my opinion, anyway.

14.  How do you market your work?

How do I not market my work?  If there's anything I haven't done, please let me know, I want to try it!  No really, I try to be everywhere online, although building up a presence is time-consuming.  I will book for people to review, I'll talk to anybody about my work, and I'm not shy, although when the little old ladies in my church group ask about it, I tend to blush a little.

15.  Do you have a current work in progress?  Can you tell a little bit about it?

I'm currently working on Hot Mess, a continuation of my Stories of Serendipity series.  It's about a firefighter named Sam (yes, he's devastatingly gorgeous) and a woman hiding her HIV status from the small community. 

16.  Tell us about yourself, outside of writing.

I'm a wife and a mother, living on a goat farm in east Texas.  When I’m not writing, I'm planning menus that my children will eat, cheering on tee ball games from the sidelines, or pretending to be an awesome dance mom.  I also spend a lot of time reassuring my husband that he doesn't have to look like the heroes in my books for me to love him, although it is funny to watch him preen for me when he's feeling self-conscious.

If you'd like to read my answers to the above questions, and see what Anne Conley has to say about my book, head over to The Conley Corner and check it out. Leave some love for her there. :)

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