Get ready to laugh. Today’s uber-awesome guest is Anna-Marie Abell, writer of humorous science fiction, wine ‘connoisseur’, and all-round crazy woman (if her bio is to be believed, and I believe). She survived a childhood of trailer parks with her sense of humor intact, which probably helped her excel in school. She has two bachelor’s degrees and other honors, plus one of the funniest books around. Let’s welcome Anna-Marie!
Hi! Thanks so much for taking time out of your UFO-spotting schedule to chat with us. Before we get into talking about the book, I have to know: have you ever seen a UFO or met an alien (I’m talking other-world rather than illegal)?
Thanks for having me! I’ve never met an alien (at least that I know of). However, I did see an unidentified flying object. But I have no proof it was being flown by aliens (the outer space ones). I was walking along the beach in Oceanside, CA, with my boyfriend at the time, and something grabbed his attention in the sky. He pointed out two circular objects darting back-and-forth. They kind of changed color from red to gold as the light reflected off of them. We thought maybe they were balloons. But that assumption got proven wrong when two fighter jets coming out of Camp Pendleton flew straight toward them. These two objects took off at unfathomable speeds, and then the fighter jets banked right and flew off after them. There was no way the jets were going to catch them. Aliens? Well, I’m not sure. But, unless the government is hiding something from us, we don’t have technology like that.
I noticed from one of your pictures that you like to drink and eat while you write. What’s your favourite snack food to indulge in to get the brain cells firing?
Oh, I have a very specific routine. I only write at night. My brain doesn’t work before 5 pm (which is unfortunate for my day job 😂). I drink two cups of coffee to get my senses firing, then I pull out a block of cheese. I cut off a small slice and go back to write. I usually get up about fifteen times to get more cheese (I figure at least I’m burning a couple calories getting up). Around 10 pm, when I need another pick-me-up, I pull out the wine. That’s when my writing becomes humorous (although, many times I reread what I wrote the next day and wonder how in the heck I ever thought it comical).
LMAO! I hope if you have a day-job boss that they’re not reading this 😮.
As a writer, who (if anyone) has been your biggest influence?
J.K. Rowling. When she wrote Harry Potter, she not only told a story, but also created an entire world. I know many other authors have done that, but the world she created is one that I really wanted to be part of. I mean, how great would it be to sit on a couch and simply say “Accio wine” and have it come right to me!
In my book, I may not be creating a new world, but I am bringing an ancient one back to life. I only hope that one day others can get as lost in my story as I did with J.K Rowling’s writing.
Can you tell us about your first book, Holy Crap! The World is Ending!? (love the title by the way)
Thanks for the compliment on the title! The book was originally called Rigel. When I would tell someone what the title of my manuscript was, they would say, “What’s that?” It didn’t spark any interest. My editor, David Gatewood, suggested I make my title more along the lines of my chapter titles, which are long and crazy, and I thought that idea genius. Now, when I tell people my title, I usually get a giggle and an immediate interest to know more. Now I have to figure out how to top it for book two.
As you can probably tell from the book’s description, Holy Crap! The World is Ending! is very much a cross-genre book. The heroine has a chick-lit voice, there are elements of sci-fi and the paranormal, there is a historical retelling, a steamy romance with a Greek god, and a straight-out humorous adventure.
On the surface, the story comes across as escapist fun, but twenty years of research went into it. I have been studying the Sumerian culture and their ties to the ancient astronaut theory for two decades (that makes me sound old). I really wanted to write a fiction book and present my findings in a fun and unique way. Because of this, much of the book is steeped in the “myths” found in the ancient Sumerian cuneiform tablets (especially their version of the origin of the human race). The Anunnaki are all based on the actual “gods” of these texts as well. If readers have as much fun reading it as I did writing it, then I will be happy!
Where did the idea for the story come from?
So, I was really struggling with a storyline and how I wanted to present my research. Then one day my friend messaged me all excited because she saw a “super-hot tall guy” reading a UFO book at Barnes & Noble. My first thought was, “What if he’s an alien?” And that’s how the story was born.
If the world was ending, how would you spend your last two days?
I have actually already practiced this, believe it or not, and it was a big inspiration for the book. Back when the world was supposed to end in 2012, even though I knew the idea was ludicrous, I decided I should probably have fun in case I was wrong. So my friend and I spent the day eating all our favorite foods. I have never consumed so much in my life. Taco Bell, Subway, pizza, cookies, burger sliders, fries, nachos, filet mignon bites, mac ’n cheese, fried chicken, Arby’s, strawberry filled croissants… and so much more that I can’t even remember. I think all the processed food damaged my brain that day. It was the perfect way to go out! By the time midnight came, and we were counting down the end time, I was ready for death. LOL. If the world didn’t explode, my stomach would. It was perfect.
If you had a seat on a spaceship that could save you from a soon-to-be-destroyed Earth, and you could take one person, who would you take and why? Also, would you still want to be saved if there was no wine, chocolate or pizza where you were going?
Well, technically, I should bring some hot guy so we can repopulate the human race. But I’m not a fan of kids, so that wouldn’t work out too well. So I would take my bird with me. As for the second question, my bird is small, so there would be plenty of room in his seat to bring wine, starter vines for grapes (and seeds), and books on winemaking. I can live without the pizza chocolate, but not wine.
It’s clear you’ve put a lot of thought into this. I appreciate your candidness. Is ‘candidness’ a word? It sounds weird to me, but autocorrect hasn’t flagged it, so I’m leaving it in :).
As a writer, are you a planner or a pantser?
Very much a pantser. I do make notes, but my stories always play out like a movie in my head and I just go along with the adventure.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? And if not, when did the desire kick in?
Oh no, I was gonna be a pop star—until I learned very quickly that I was tone deaf. Then I decided I was gonna be a famous actress. I worked my way through the acting trenches for many years. The end of that dream came when I was at an audition for an AXE Body Wash commercial. I was auditioning with another girl, and we were instructed to “excitedly” wash each other under a waterfall with AXE Body Wash. As I was seductively rubbing imaginary bubbles on the girl’s shoulder, I thought to myself, “What the f@%k am I doing with my life?” And that was it for me. Back when I was in film school, I discovered I had quite the knack for writing, so I decided to give that another go, and quickly learned it fulfilled me in ways I never thought possible. Now I know it is what I’m meant to do.
With all the ‘information’ coming out about certain people in Hollywood at the moment, I think your epiphany came at the right time lol.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am currently doing the NaNoWriMo challenge and getting a draft of the last book in the trilogy done.
Good luck! I hope you get it all done by the 30th and that you have an ample supply of wine and pizza.
When can readers expect the sequel to Holy Crap! The World is Ending!?
Book two will be out next year, and book three shortly after that.
What’s been the best part of writing for you so far?
The best part of writing is escaping from reality. I truly get sucked into the story, and any and all stress goes out the window. It’s almost a form of meditation for me. Plus, I crack myself up all the time. Mostly because I can write some really ridiculous stuff. It may never get published, but at least it entertains me.
And I’m sure it entertains lots of other people too.
Thanks so much for joining us. It’s been a real pleasure. And I can’t wait to read Holy Crap! the World is Ending!
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