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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Tara Newlands

Tara Newlands has been fascinated by books all her life and is amazed by their ability to transform worlds. She is contributing writer to a well known paranormal research site and a contributing writer for Night Owl Romance.

Shelagh: Hi Tara, please tell everyone a little about yourself.

Tara: I’m a native of Arizona currently residing in the United Kingdom. I enjoy creating new and different worlds for my readers. I’m an avid yogi and love spending time with my hubby and two young children.

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

Tara: My upcoming release with Whispers publishing entitled Nirvana is a stand-alone novella.  The story, which is an interracial romance, features a psychic with electrokintic powers, a sexy London cop and a few Indian demi-gods or two.  It’s releasing as an ebook on February 19, 2010 and with be available at Fictionwise, Mobipocket, the Whispers website and All Romance ebooks.

Shelagh: How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

Tara: These past few years have really allowed me to explore my desire to write.  I’ve travelled to Scotland, lived in Mexico and currently live in England.  All these places and people have taught me a lot about myself.  In each of my stories, I try to bring in the insights I’ve learned from the people and places around me to make better strange  – if not interesting – stories.

Shelagh: Share the best review (or a portion) that you’ve ever had.

Tara: I think the most interesting review was for my bestselling Urban Fantasy novel with Red Rose publishing – The Dream King.  Here’s a bit of what Tiffany at You Gotta Read reviews had to say about it:

“A good plot, believable characters, and a very creative magical world, all served to gradually draw me deeper into the story… I was thoroughly impressed and looking forward to the sequel.”

Shelagh: What are your current projects?

Tara: I’m currently working on the follow up to The Dream King which is entitled Dawnbringer.  As well as working on a new paranormal romance set in Scotland.

Shelagh: When did you begin writing, and in what genre(s)?

Tara: I first got the itch to write during high school.  My English teacher was impressed by a short poetry book I put together and she thought I should try to pursue writing farther.  When I moved to England a few years ago, I found myself wanting to write again.  I had enough free time to do so and I’ve also been interested in paranormal happenings.  So, the two feelings just seemed to go together, and then The Dream King was born.

Shelagh: How do you develop characters?

Tara: I’m afraid I don’t follow a set routine to develop characters.  I like to allow my characters to speak to me in strange ways: listening to music, people chatting on the street, a word on a page.

Shelagh: Who is the most unusual character?

Tara: I’d say in my current work, Nirvana, the appearance of Lord Shiva would be my most unusual character, but he just seemed to have so much to say that I had to include him.

Shelagh: Do you write paranormal romance only or non-fiction as well?

Tara: I’ve contributed articles on yoga to a popular paranormal website and it’s were I do research on subjects that interest me.

Shelagh: Where can folks learn more about your books and events?

Tara: Readers can contact me at www.freewebs.com/taranewlands, www.facebook.com/taranewlands and www.myspace.com/taranewlands

To learn more about my stories and books, readers can visit www.redrosepublishing.com and www.whispershome.com

Shelagh: Thank you for joining us today, Tara.

Tara: Thank you, Shelagh, for spending time discussing my work!

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