As we gear up for this amazing event, I’ll be bringing you author interviews so you can get to know the attending authors in more detail! There are lots and lots of authors for you to discover, not to mention, hundreds if not thousands of books! Why not grab a cuppa and sit back and relax! All while hearing more about our writers and their writing lives, inspirations – and maybe even a secret or two!
What is the first thing people should know about you?
My first series, Waiting for Summer, was written in secret and only when I’d finished it, did I tell my family and friends that I’d completed it.
Tell me which genre or trope you are most well-known for writing.
Predominantly romance, with a healthy helping of sexy and plenty of family drama! I think it’s because I come from a big Cypriot family and so I can relate to multi-generational characters. I’m a hopeless romantic and always strive for happy-ever-after endings.
What is one thing people don’t know about you?
I was the first person to bring male strippers to Cyprus in 1998, which caused quite a stir, I can tell you! Now there’s definitely a book in that story!
Name a book you’ve written that you wish more people had read, and why.
La Casa Series, I love all my books but this is a big family saga with many sub plots that have you invested in each character. It’s based around the leisure industry in my home town of Leeds and it highlights the beautiful surroundings of Yorkshire, which I always like to promote. Plus, Jerome Ferretti is a total sex-pot!
What is your favourite book (not your own), and why?
So many to choose from but the most recent that I can think of are, The Kiss Thief by L. J. Shen, I admire her writing and the plot of enemies to lovers is done to perfection in this book. Mr Masters by T. L. Swan is just such a good read, with laugh out loud moments as well as tear jerking, I love all her books but this one has just something extra. Dirty Filthy Rich Men by Laurelin Paige, I marvel at how Laurelin can make you lust after a total asshole, but she totally nails it in this book, Donavan is just yum! The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, this book blew me away, so many layers, themes and takes on love and loyalty, I became immersed in the plot and its twists.
Was there a book you wrote that broke you and made you feel like you’d never write again?
Not at all! But at the same time every time I finish a book I think…I’m never going to find the strength, inspiration or time to write like this again, yet somehow I do.
Are you one of those authors for whom music is EVERYTHING and without it you’d never write?
Nope, I love music and it features heavily throughout my books but when I write, I need total silence, so I can hear my characters’ voices. Music would be too distracting.
Is your desk/writing space tidy or messy?
Desk? I wish! I write on my dining-room table, which needs to be tidy because it’s constantly on display but there’s usually a cat sprawled across the table and a bowl overflowing with keys, pens, papers and watches. I have an obligatory box of tissues, for when I get emotional, plus a bowl with either wrapped chocolates or sweets, for guests not for me. In the cool months I always have flowers on the table too, which just makes me feel good.
Who or what inspires you as a writer?
Many things, from a song I hear to other authors I talk to or books they’ve written. A scenario I witness or I hear about that has me thinking of what led up to it or what transpired afterwards.
Are you an introvert or extrovert? Or something else…?
Definitely an introvert. I’m a watcher not a doer, always have been but as I’ve got older I’m a little more comfortable stepping out from the wings of the stage, though not up front. I would’ve loved to be an actor but I was far too shy and self-conscious to ‘get up there’. Writing means I can act behind the comfort of computer screen, sitting in my yoga pants with a cup of tea or glass of wine and be anyone and do anything, without actually physically doing it! Perfect for putting my imagination to good use.
The literary world moves fast, but what’s the one thing that never changes?
A good book has to have good characters that you’re invested in. The characters can make a simple plot the most riveting book you’ve ever read. You don’t have to like them but you need to have a connection, that’s what makes you turn the page.
What is your advice to authors just starting out?
There will be days that you think you’re rubbish, there will be days that you think you are wasting your time and no one will care or appreciate what you’ve written. You will read your work and feel so despondent but those days will be erased when you nail a scene, get positive feedback about your work, when you touch a paperback that has your name on the cover and your words running though the pages. It’s worth all the self-doubt and endless lonely hours, just sit down and write, you’ll thank yourself for being that persistent.
Where is your favourite place to go on holiday?
I’m lucky to live in sunny Cyprus, so I kind of feel in holiday mood over the summer months. Not to rub it in too much but we can go to the beach eight months of the year. What I can say is that my favourite kind of holiday would be sightseeing. Ideally, I’d love to explore the whole of Italy. I want to experience new places and take in the culture, architecture and landscapes. Also eat my way through their culinary delights too!
Your favourite place to read and/or write?
Reading on the beach is definitely my most favourite spot, simply because I don’t feel guilty. If I’m at home, I feel I should be doing other things.
When you’re as old as Gandalf the Grey, how many books do you think you might have written?
I’d like to get into double figures and ideally twenty.
Who is the most famous person you’ve ever met?
I would say George Michael. I was lucky enough to meet him in May 1984 two weeks before he made it to number one with his WHAM! hit ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’. He came and sat next to me at an event I was at and we chatted about our Cypriot heritage. I told him I thought he was going to be a huge superstar and he genuinely looked unconvinced. I then told him I was so sure he would that I insisted he gave me his autograph, which he shyly and graciously did. It’s one of my most precious possessions.
What did you always want to be when you were growing up?
An actor, then for a few months I remember toying with the idea of being a biochemist, but I realised you need to be super clever for that, so it really wasn’t an option! Later, I set my heart on being a restauranteur.
If writing is your full-time job, have you ever been told to get a “proper job”?
Not in those exact words but when I told one of my closest friends that I had written my first book, she looked at me incredulously and scoffed, ‘What makes you think you can write a book?’ Needless to say, she isn’t my friend anymore and I’m writing my eighth book.
BONUS QUESTION: Tell me a secret about one of your books that nobody else knows yet!
The last chapter of La Casa d’Italia – For Starters has an incident that happened to the female character, this actually happened to me when I was twenty-one.
Thank you so much for your time, Anna-Maria! To find out more, visit…
If you want to meet Anna-Maria amongst others, click the graphic below! Authors at the Armouries is about inspiration for all!