It’s my great pleasure today to welcome an author after my own heart. Anna Belfrage, the author of Revenge and Retribution (Book 6 of The Graham Saga) loves lots and lots of tea and lists …. in fact she could be my twin.
Aex Graham was born in the 20th Century but through a slip in time found herself back in the 17th Century. It’s 30 years since that fateful day and at the age of 52, Alex has embraced the life she now shares with husband Matthew.
It seems that Book 6 is one where the threads of past story lines are starting to come together. Although this could be a problem for other borderline fantasy novels, it actually works in this one and my overwhelming feeling was that you didn’t need to read the previous books in order to enjoy this.
Anna Belfage is a skilful with the written word. She deftly weaves plot together with character and history creating a scenario which is both believable, satisfying if not enjoyable – given the nature of events that take place. If the book had been a film, there would have been moments when I’d hide behind a cushion. The 17th century is definitely not the time to have made enemies.
The Anna Belfage Interview
What is one thing that no-one would usually know about you?
I’m not sure I am sufficiently enigmatic for there to be one thing that no one knows, but if I exclude my closest family, I suppose my obsessive list writing qualifies. I make lists about everything: things to do in the house, things not to forget in my WIP, details to add to my characters, long lists about things to do at work, even longer lists related to my writing. I generally write these lists in blue ink and then I use a red pen to cross off the items, one by one. As you can imagine, I am never quite done with everything on the lists – which is why I have the satisfaction of transferring open items to NEW lists. Never-ending story, let me tell you!
Are the names of your characters important to you?
“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” Shakespeare wrote, but I am not entirely sure I agree. Names are very important to me, how they roll off my tongue, what pictures they evoke. Generally, my characters pop up with a name – they introduce themselves, so to say, and I either accept them as they are or they fade away.
Matthew Graham, for example, is one such character. He surfaced from the depths of my subconscious, all six foot three of him, with dark hair and hazel eyes a long mouth that now and then softened into a smile – and his name. Now and then, I get my wires crossed. I have a female character in one of my WIPs who popped up with my sister’s name. But as the WIP has progressed, I could simply not allow her to keep that name – which suited her perfectly. Fortunately, this resourceful 17th century young lady already had a second name.
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
Constant insomnia? Borderline insanity? I live a life where my days are taken over by work, my evenings by my writing and my nights by my overactive imagination, throwing out scene after scene at a horrifying pace.
Compartmentalizing is a must, if not I’d go truly crazy, because it is not a good thing to think about the perfect love scene between the reunited couple while in a meeting discussing auditing standards. So these days I nap whenever the opportunity arises and write, write, write to stop my poor brain from exploding with all the stories it keeps on producing.
Have you ever wished that you could be or do anything else instead of writing, and if so what?
I am fortunate enough to have a professional career as well as my writing, and clock a substantial amount of hours in my role as Chief Financial Officer in an international group. Having this other side of me has three benefits: it keeps me very much in touch with the real world, it pays the bills, and it makes me truly appreciative of the joys – and escapism – of writing. I think my writing is better because of this, as I can allow myself to rewrite and polish to my heart’s content.
Have you ever written naked?
No. I live in Sweden, so the urge to sit around butt-naked is restricted to a couple of very sunny summer days, and those I prefer to spend outdoors, not by my computer. I do, however, have the luxury of living very privately by a lake, so most summer mornings start with a skinny-dip.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
If you want to be a writer, you must want it with every fibre in your being. There must be a fire in your belly, a hunger in your soul, to commit your stories to paper (or computer, as the case may be).
You must be true to the story you want to tell and turn deaf ears to those that tell you you should write to fit a trend. The only certain thing about trends is that they change all the time, so attempting to ride a trend wave is guaranteed to fail – unless you yourself set the trend. Ultimately, a writer must write the story they want to read, which is why I write about love and adventure, joys and sorrows, set in the past.
And should you decide you want to publish this masterpiece of yours, PLEASE, PLEASE get an editor! A good editor is worth his/her weight in gold, however painful some of the feedback may be.
What is the best excuse you have ever come up with for missing a deadline?
I don’t miss deadlines. Ever. I find it unprofessional to do so.
Are you jealous of other writers?
The obvious answer to this question is “Of course not!” said with a wide, toothy smile. The reality is that yes, now and then I am jealous, but I work very hard to suppress such emotions as they are non-constructive and leave a residual bitterness in my mouth. Instead, I try to learn from authors – or people in general – that wake that green-eyed monster in me.
What was the most important thing you learned at school?
That social skills are fundamental to success – but it sure helps if you know what you’re talking about as well. My school years were at times difficult. We moved a lot, and as a teenager I was far too often the new kid in town, which is not the easiest of experiences – but it did teach me how to blend and adapt.
My biggest take away from school was my history teacher Mr W, who was so passionate about his subject he could never sit still, he walked back and forth as he taught us about Crecy and Agincourt, about the Maya civilization and the English Civil War. I owe him for the greatest gift a teacher can ever give a pupil – the gift of wanting always to learn more.
What is the book that you wished you had written?
The book that I wished I had written… Very many come to mind, and while there are a number in my own genre (historical fiction) I would very much have liked to have my name on (Sharon K Penman’s Here be Dragons comes to mind) I think that I would have to say Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Can’t quite count how many times I’ve read it. Or Heart of Darkness by Conroy. Ha! Two extremes, if you will – one a large panoramic description of good and bad in an imagined world, the other a tight description of inherent human evil in the interiors of Africa.
Tea, Coffee, Water, Juice, Wine or Beer … which do you prefer when writing?
Tea – pots of tea, which probably contributes to my insomnia. Tea in my book is mostly black tea made with tea leaves not with tea bags. One drinks it as it is, without sugar or milk, and it is very nicely complemented by a piece of cake – or chocolate. Of course, given the amount of time I spend writing (and drinking tea) unfettered cake consumption would have led to a dangerous expansion of my girth, so I restrict my nibbles, consoling myself with yet another cup of tea instead.
Where can you find out more about Anna and Revenge and Retribution?
You can find Revenge and Retribution in Kindle and paperback format here:
You can also meet her:
- Blog: annabelfrage.wordpress.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/theAlexandMatthewstory
- Twitter: @Anna_Belfrage
- Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/Anna_Belfrage
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not visit Thursday Throng Author Interview Guidelines to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/.