Anna Dagmara Cameron

Anna Cameron has always had a passion for writing.  She wrote her first novel, The Crest,  in 2008 and publishes her books under the pen name, A. Dagmara.

Hi Anna, please tell everyone a little about yourself.

Anna: I am thirty-five years old, married with children.  I have over fifteen years experience within the business community as a jack-of-all-trades.  Originally born in Poland, my family fled to Austria when I was four years old. The climate in Poland at the time, sadly, was volatile during the Union strikes. My family, consisting of my mother, father, and younger sister, lived in Austria for about six months until we were granted asylum in the United States. We immediately settled in the State of Maryland, where I currently reside with my Husband and children.  My family have moved back to Poland in recent years.

My life thus far has been an amazing journey. I consider myself more than just a survivor, a firm believer in truly living life. I was a young single mother who eventually married her high school sweetheart, followed by the birth of a second child, who unfortunately passed away at a young age. My eldest daughter and I bonded further than just a mother and child from that moment on. We grieved, mourned, and got through it together.  Now, at sixteen, she and I find courage and inspiration through each other.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Anna: The writing bug never really bit me, as I had been writing short stories and tales of woe since I was about ten.  By fate, and after reading a few books leaving me disappointed and frustrated with some of the story lines, possibly by their pace, I found inspiration to write what I would have preferred to read. During a stint of being ill with pneumonia, inspiration hit. Three weeks of fevers, lethargy, and bed rest, I wrote The Crest.  The intention to publish never occurred to me.  It was when I moved three years later, and my current husband picked up the dusty manuscript without my knowledge.  He read the manuscript and loved it immediately, suggesting I set a goal to one day publish.  I entertained him, stating that I would one day, simply to stop pushing the subject, never truly intending to publish.  Both embarrassment and lack of confidence hit me hard when I reminded myself what I had written in the first manuscript.  See, the genre in which The Crest falls under is an Adult Paranormal Romance, Erotica. Needless to say, I was a bit modest to the writing, or more like some of the scenes in the book.  Being my husband, I was insecure about how he would perceive me for writing about such an intimate subject.  Over a year ago, he decided that I needed to do this.  Revisiting the manuscript, I spent another four months re-reading it and altering it.  Since that time, I was so entrenched in the story I wrote two more books to follow it up.  I guess you could say I fell in love with my own characters.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish?  Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Anna: When I decided that I wanted to share my stories, the first thing I hoped for was that there were more readers, such as myself, that are annoyed with the pace of the average romance novel.  In real life, we don’t wait until we know we love the person to dive into all that leads us there.  Relationships are not a cookie cutter from each person, so why are most of romance novels?  Yes, their plots all vary, but the pace and structure of the romance between characters are not.  Personally, I’ve read over four hundred book alone in the past year and a half, and only a handful were against the grain. I wanted to have a “reality” approach. Perhaps I’m going against the grain and many do enjoy the long, and drawn out pace.  I also felt that I didn’t want to be predictable when it came to the development and story of my characters.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Anna: My most recent book is Holt’s Holding, due to be published in January 2013. This novel was intended to be a stand alone, until many of my trusted “beta readers” insisted on a sequel to the story. More than happy to oblige, I planned for a second book. Holt’s Holding, is very closely related to many of my experiences living in Maryland, though very fictionalized.  The Plot of this story is varied with a huge twist three fourths of the way into the book.  The main Character, Lillian Holt, is in her mid twenties.  Lillian, the only survivor to a house fire that took her family, finds herself amidst a corporate takeover of her father’s company, which has been safeguarded until her twenty fifth birthday.  Having known this day would come, she had spent seven years preparing and plotting her revenge.  Perfectly positioned, she falls in love, only to have her heart broken.  Her story is of survival and perseverance, as she learns that life is about living not plotting.  A preview of Chapter one is available on the website: www.adagmara.com

What’s the hook for the book?

Anna: The biggest hook to the story is Lillian Holt herself. Not all is as it appears to be. She is what most woman want to be, strong independent and driven.  However, like most of us, she’s flawed and has a lot of unwanted baggage. The development of her character leads into a world of underlying secrets and twists, sure to keep the attention of a reader.  Her strength is one of inspiration and her inner turmoil is emotional heart gripping.

How do you develop characters? Setting?

Anna: Most of my characters are inspired by actual people, events, and conversations – mostly conversations. However, my settings along with plot are inspired from dreams. The Crest, my first novel, was completely inspired by a dream. My daughter’s tenacity, humor, and strength inspired the main character. Though the character differs from her, it was my daughter’s nature that I modeled the main character after. I wanted to highlight those qualities within my characters and strive to do so.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Anna: In The Crest, my most likable character is Kurt.  He is a sudo, brother, and the main character’s best friend. He has known her since birth and kept watch over her. Being level headed and caring, he truly would do anything for her. As his character evolves through the story, it is easy to see how and why most of my readers fall in love with him. He is the good guy next door!

The most unusual character is Skylar, dark mysterious, not to mention the bad guy. In the second book in the series readers learns so much more about him and his motives, they won’t know whether or not they want to torture him or hug him.  He’s my loveable monster, so to speak.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Anna: When writing, I typically find myself writing an outline; however, almost always straying away from it. I also keep a separate file on each character – their description down to how I want them to develop through the story.  Initially, when I first wrote The Crest, I went by nothing and just wrote it as it came. Not the best way to write, but amazingly, it worked. My writing and techniques, with time and practice, are ever evolving.  I’m not shy about calling myself a young writer, and even revel in it.

What are your current projects?

Anna: My Current project is the last book in the Guardians of the Realm series, The Gates. This story gives the reader an insight into the “Tri–Fecta”, by giving her a voice. Through the first two books, she has no voice, and the opinion of her is less than favorable. The Gates brings us to the conclusion of the search and epic journey, safeguarding the Realms.

I am also finishing up the second book in the Holt’s series, Holt’s Vaihn.  The second book answers many of the questions left unanswered and is set in New York City.

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Anna: To learn more about my latest projects and upcoming events, readers can stop by my website: www.adagmara.com or find my author page on Facebook.

On my website, I offer previews of my books and latest projects, as well as encourage those to follow or participate in my blogs. In my blogs, I share with my viewers my current reads and thoughts. I’m a huge fan of books and emerging authors. Some of the best stories I’ve read were written by authors who could not get published traditionally.  They are my courage and should be respected for the time and work it takes to get our stories out there.  Happy Reading!

Thanks for joining us today, Anna.

Anna: Thank you for the opportunity.

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Norene M. Moskalski

Dr. Norene M. Moskalski writes about the intrigues and perils of university life. She strives for authenticity in her writing by visiting and researching all of the international places and university settings that she describes in her novels. Each novel presents a variation on a theme, using literary techniques and musical innuendos to move the action forward. Her plots revolve around the unexpected: what if the most beautiful things in the world turned out to be the most dangerous? Iridescent bubbles of sea foam – what exactly is sea foam? Your best friend next door – what does she actually do for a living?

Tell everyone a little about yourself, Norene.

Norene: I enjoy walking the beaches of the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, collecting sea glass, minerals, unusual shells, and artifacts from colonial shipwrecks. A naturalist and environmentalist by nature, and a medical diagnostician by avocation, I have a Ph.D.  in University Administration from Penn State University, a Master’s Degree in English from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Slippery Rock University. I’ve presented my peer-reviewed, published research on faculty work at international business and engineering conferences, and served as administrator, professor, researcher, grant writer, and mentor at research universities for over fifteen years. I am a member of various writing and environmental organizations, such as The Eastern Shore Writers Association, The Nature Conservancy, The Sierra Club, The Chesapeake Bay Foundation, The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary, The National Wildlife Federation, and The Smithsonian Institute.

When did the writing bug bite, and in what genre(s)?

Norene: I fell in love with the idea of writing a novel in elementary school when my English teacher taught us how to recognize the literary elements in the book she assigned for our class to read. The hunt began! After that experience, reading novels held a whole new dimension for me, not only reading for enjoyment but analyzing how skillfully the author used those techniques. When I became an English teacher, I realized we needed more contemporary novels suitable for classroom use that held the students’ attention while they learned how to analyze a novel. I often thought, “I really ought to try writing one,” but as a working Mom, my time constraints were prohibitive. Once the children were grown and off on their own, though, I began writing in earnest.

When you started writing, what goals did you want to accomplish?

Norene: My goals for writing during my professional career very much depended upon the current task, whether writing a successful grant proposal or a doctoral dissertation.  My goals for writing fiction are very different: I seek enjoyment in wordsmithing, peace in passing on life’s lessons, and inspiration from God.

Is there a message you want readers to grasp?

Norene: Each novel I write in the Kate and Jake Connors Series will examine critical contemporary issues through multiple perspectives. I want my readers to understand that there are many variables in life that affect a person’s decisions to act the way they do.

Briefly tell us about your latest book. Is it part of a series or stand-alone?

Norene: The Kate and Jake Connors series begins with Nocturne, Opus 1: Sea Foam, an international eco-thriller. Kate and Jake are university research professors at Atlantic University’s Institute for Public Policy and Safety in Dover, Delaware. They are also covert operatives for a secret, scientific subdivision of the Institute known only as the Agency. While vacationing at Venice’s Lido Beach, they witness the collapse of Kate’s sister on a sea foam covered beach. Her illness propels them into a seventy-two hour race against time and across continents to find the cure for Bacillus nocturne, the rogue scientist who created it, and to stop the bacteria from contaminating the world’s aquifers.

How do you draw your characters?

Norene: I draw my characters from real-life experiences with people I have met recently or known a very long time. Usually my characters are a composite of all those intriguing personality traits people have.

How do you develop the settings in your stories?

Norene: My settings are all places I have visited and researched in order to make them as authentic to the reader as possible. I want my readers to feel like they are in the scene right beside the character.

Who’s the most unusual/most likeable character?

Norene: Kate is the most likeable character in the story because she has achieved great heights in her career, yet inside is just like everyone of us coping with life’s variables and having our own flaws.

Do you have specific techniques to help you maintain the course of the plot?

Norene: Oh, no, I wish I did! Because I write from inspiration, I often have to rearrange scenes to put them into a more exciting order. That takes considerable time because suddenly, a statement in Chapter 32 doesn’t fit the story line anymore. I’ve never been big on outlining, so I’m always looking for a way to handle this problem. A seminar that Lisa Gardner gave at ThrillerFest a few years ago helped me a great deal. I adapted it to my “flat filing system” (on the floor), and now spread out printed chapters on my office floor, moving them around to get the best order of events and to see where I need to add a few more chapters.  What fun! What a mess!

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Norene: Immensely! We’re always taught to write about what we know, and I always thought that nothing really adventurous was occurring in my life, so how could I write about what I know? Now I understand–that statement really means to put what you know about in the descriptive details of your story. If you know what the sun feels like shining on your face on a very cold winter day, put that in your scene. If you’ve driven a clunker of a car driving on fumes past Empty, have a character do that. If you know about rocks and minerals, add a few to your scene details. If you love gold gemstone jewelry, wrap your character in it. It works and you get to write about some of the things you love.
Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Norene:

 “I forgot I was reading a work of fiction. The characters were so real.”

What are your current projects?

Norene: The next novel in the series and a nonfiction book about cats. Hmmmm. Maybe I can combine the two!

Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Norene: My website is www.NoreneMoskalski.com and my publisher’s website is www.DivinityPress.com
My book is at http://www.amazon.com/Nocturne-Opus-1-Sea-Foam/dp/0988381176

Thanks for joining us today, Norene.

Norene: Thank you for the opportunity to answer your interview questions.

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