- Please tell us a little about yourself.
Ann: My name is Ann Burgess, I will be sixty-nine on January 24th. I live in Mississippi with my husband of forty-three years. I have two grown sons and a thirteen-year-old grandson who I cherish. I have been imagining stories my entire life, and began to write around the age of ten. Being published has always been my dream. I write under the pen name Ann Parker Burgess and have been thinking of using another. I have known Kevin Porter for about 15 years. We worked together and have been friends for as long.
Kevin: I’m Tennessee born and raised. I have three amazing children and six wonderful grandchildren. Currently, I find myself on the wrong side of the pond, and, although I do enjoy Finland a great deal, I hope to return to the states very soon. I began writing in high school and wish I still had some of the short stories I wrote back then. In college, a had a couple of poems published (again, I wish I still had copies). A little over a year ago, I decided to take up writing again.
- What do you write (genre, length)?
Ann: I don’t want to be stuck in a genre box. Romance is mostly what I write, but I like to delve into other things. I write short stories, flash fiction and, I guess you would say, novels.
Kevin: Like Ann, I don’t want to be categorized as writing only one genre. My ideas for short stories and novels span several different genres; sci-fi, crime-drama, poetry, romance, and, yes, even fantasy. As for length, that actually depends upon the work.
- What is/are your current project/s? Please give us some details.
Ann: I am working on finishing Julia and editing three other books: my vampire series books # 3 and #4 and a romance Remember When It Rained. I have another romance titled Blossoms of the Heart on the back burner.Kevin and I are working on a project together. I will let him elaborate on it.
Kevin: Currently we are devoting a great deal of effort in our mutual undertaking of a YouTube Channel called Word Whisperers. The name stems from the delightful way Ann narrates her work. (Ann is blushing. Thanks, Kevin) The channel features short stories and poems narrated by the author of the work. Each story is accompanied by selected images designed to focus the listener’s attention on the story being told. There is also text so the viewer can follow along, if they like.
All of this is, of course, in addition to our continuing work on our novels, short stories, and things.
- Who (author or otherwise) or what book inspired you to write?
Ann: I can’t say any book or anyone inspired me to write. I have always had a vivid imagination that never runs dry. Anne Rice inspired me to write a vampire series, however. I am an avid reader. To name an author who inspired me would be hard. Like Kevin it is more teachers who inspired me. Especially one, Betty Seay, my senior English teacher. Loved her.
Kevin: Wow! Long list there! I started toying with writing in high school, which my teachers and friends encouraged me to pursue. In college, my writings found a broader audience. It was rather flattering to hear my peers praise what I had written. Sadly, I failed to discipline myself enough to continue writing until recently. The truth is, writing (as well as reading) helped me through an extraordinarily dark time in my life and I thought, perhaps, something I write might help inspire someone else who found their days more filled with darkness than light.
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Ann: Never give up on your dreams. You may not get rich from writing, but if you hav a story, write it. Who knows, you may have a best seller.
Kevin: Again, a long list. Don’t allow yourself to get discouraged. I know some push for writing so many words a day, and there’s nothing really wrong with that so long as your primary focus is on quality and not quantity. What’s the point in having a book done in a month or two if it isn’t worth reading? Go at the pace that works best for you. Persistence wins the day. Also, as I touched on before, find your tone and timbre. I’ve seen wonderful stories told badly and bad stories told wonderfully. I prefer the latter over the former.
- What do you do for a living?
Ann: Retired from retail and aspiring to earn money with my wordsmith skills. If I don’t get rich, I hope to at least get a small following of people who like my stories.
Kevin: Well, I suppose you could list web developer, although I haven’t really been able to make much of a living at it. I do look for things to change for the better in the relatively near future.
- Who is/are your favorite author(s)?
Ann: I like some of the new authors—ones I have met through my writing, like S.L. Baron, Soliel Daniels, and Rachel Wollaston. Others are Joanne Clancy, Patricia Rutherford, Elaine Meece, Edgar Alan Poe, Robert Burns, J. R. R. Tolkien, and the list goes on.
Kevin: Oh, my, let me see: Larry Niven, Isaac Asimov, Paul Anderson, Arthur C. Clark, Edgar Rice Burrows, Edgar Allen Poe, J. R. R. Tolkien, The Brontes, and many others. I prefer the more classic approach to writing than that of many modern writers. Mostly because I think the language we use in telling our tales is at least as important as the tale itself.
- What is/are your favorite book(s)?
Ann: Practically everything I read. Books by the authors I mentioned and many others. I am behind on my reading.
Kevin: Pretty much everything written by Douglas Adams. He has a complex sense of humor that I rather enjoy. Beyond that, as Ann mentioned, there are many, many more.
- What’s the best compliment someone can give you as an author?
Ann: That they loved the story or that they fell in love with my characters. Can’t wait to read your next book. I want to pull readers into my stories and feel as if they are watching it unfold like a movie playing in their minds. I want to make them laugh and cry. When they say they did, hey, I am happy. I did my job as a writer.
Kevin: That something I wrote has touched them intellectually and/or emotionally. I want readers to be carried away by the stories I write. I want them to become emotionally invested in the characters and places I write about.
Ann: I agree with Kevin.
- What is the strangest/most interesting/coolest/weirdest/scariest thing you’ve had to research for a book or short story?
Ann: How to break a neck, blood spatter patterns at a murder scene, anything to do with forensic science.
Kevin: The Orion-Cygnus Arm. Researching this gave me a much better perspective of things.
- What is the most difficult part of writing for you? Why?
Ann: Sometimes it is just concentration. I tend to try to accomplish too much at once. It is hard to stick to just one thing when your imagination kicks into overload.
Kevin: Overcoming my own perfectionism. I have spent four months writing and re-writing the first chapter of one of the two major works I have on the table. It isn’t so much about editing the work as it is I haven’t really found the right tone with which to start it. There’s just so much there. Aside from that, like Ann I have too much going on at one time and it is hard to focus on one thing. Between the YouTube channel, websites, staying on top of my programming, running a household and writing it is easy to get overwhelmed at times.
Ann: Yes, like Kevin, perfectionism can be a problem with me as well. Another reason I find it hard to finish a project.
- What is your favorite genre to read? Why?
Ann: I try to read a lot of different things. I don’t like anything to violent or scary, but I give it a chance. Erotica, uh, what can I say. It is a big no. Stick to the story, I am old enough to know how to have a sexual relationship and don’t need to be taught. Why do I like to read different things? To expand my own writing, I suppose. Like I answered before I don’t want to be stuck in one genre.
Kevin: Goodness me! I’m not sure I have so much a favorite genre as such. I enjoy science fiction to a large extent. Some horror works are good, too. Then there’s fantasy, comedy, and romance. Again, it really all depends on how well it is written.
- What are some little known facts about you? Hobbies, talents, anything?
Ann: I love to cook and find new recipes. I crochet, well, haven’t done that in a while, Talents I guess writing is a talent, yeah, I’ll go with that. LOL I sing a little. Even took voice lessons when I was a teenager. Had dreams of becoming a professional. Had a New York metropolitan opera singer tell me once I had a beautiful voice and to keep it up. Wonder where I would be now if I had followed that dream? La-la-la…
Kevin: Like Ann, I love cooking especially when it comes to developing my own recipes. I bake our bread, make my own wine, things like that. I’m also very into martial arts and, in my forties and early fifties, earned my third-degree black belt. I like to sing and spent a couple of seasons performing with Opera Memphis back in the 90s. (Ann: He has a beautiful voice). I’ve also done several community theatre performances in musicals and comedies. (Ann: My multi-talented friend.)
- Do you like physical books, ebooks, or audiobooks better? Why?
Ann: I like them all. There are times when I want to hold the book in my hand. The feel of the cover and the pages, even the scent of the paper are a part of reading. Ebooks are easy to get. I love my Kindle for that reason. And nice when I can’t curl up with a good book. I don’t have any audio books. I would rather use my imagination to conjure up the voice of a person. Movies ruin books for me sometimes.
Kevin: I prefer hardcover, primarily. Paperback books are second on the list followed by ebooks. I’m not a big fan of audiobooks **gasp**. When listening to audiobooks, it’s far too easy for my mind to wander to other things and, trust me, it should never be allowed to wander on its own! The written word holds my focus much better.
Find Ann & Kevin at the links below!