Meet Anne Marie, author of La Dame à La Licorne

Title: La Dame à La Licorne
Genre: YA urban fantasy
Publisher: Euterpe YA, an imprint of Musa Publishing

Description: Always obey your father. That’s what Katherine’s done her entire life. She studies dead languages and practices knife-throwing. Now Pappa’s listening to a virtual stranger, and she’s convinced the stranger cares more about killing monsters than her own safety. Pappa won’t even tell her what they’re going after. He says it’s because if she knows too much, then she’s tainted by that knowledge and it will spoil the hunt.

Can she trust Pappa’s judgment or leave her future in the hands of the stranger? With only her wits to protect her, she joins them in the most terrifying night of the year.

Reviewer’s Comments:

“… let La Dame à La Licorne take you on a late night journey you won't soon forget. Do yourself a favor and do not seek out any spoilers for this tale beforehand. The twists and turns in it will be far more rewarding if you don't know what to expect!” - LAS YA Reviews (4 of 5 stars)

“There’s a certain elegance in Katherine’s narrating voice, a cadence that I can almost imagine and hear, that gives this story a very authentic feel.” - Bookloversity Reviews (5 of 5 stars)

“So if you're short on time and you're looking for something original, this book fits that criteria.” - Reading Under the Stars (4 of 5 stars)

Introduction and Interview:

Thank you, April, for hosting me on your blog! I recently had a chance to sit down with one of my fellow co-writers on Cimmerian Tales , Audrey, and she was nice enough to interview me for your blog. We post a monthly themed story every Monday, book reviews and reading suggestions every Wednesday, and anything that catches our fancy every Friday.

Audrey: Was there a specific moment in your life when you knew you wanted to be a writer?

Anne: Short answer? Always. Long answer? I've been telling stories for as long as I can remember. The first story I wrote was a third grade assignment. It was about how I saved Tom the Turkey from Thanksgiving. (I'm pretty sure we all had that idea when we were little.) I kept on writing stories. My senior year of high school I had a substitute English teacher, Mrs. Olsen, who gave me an A+++ on a story I'd written for an assignment. She was the first person, outside my family, who really believed in me. It was about that time that I started writing articles for an online hockey magazine. Journalism is a kind of story telling. In college I took a multitude of writing courses, and I may have fibbed an entire psychology paper using story. Right now the only thing I’m chasing is the transition from writer to author.

Audrey: Any advice for young writers?

Anne: Ugh. I'm terrible with advice because I don't feel qualified to give it. This is some advice I've gathered from much more prolific authors than myself: read everything you can read -- inside your genre or not. Write as much as possible. Find a critique partner or group that you trust. And remember that everyone starts with a first draft. Editing is writing. Rewriting is writing. Respect the process. Your process! Oh, and steal liberally.

That is great advice. (No stealing!) Writing a story can take a lot of effort. When you were working on "La Dame à La Licorne" your editor asked you to make the story longer. Was that a challenge for you?

Anne: YES! It was agonizing. You were there. I raged at my inability to add anything meaningful at first. Originally, I wrote the story with a small, specific, moment in mind. Then, I was asked to double the word count. It probably took me three months to flesh it out and another couple rounds of edits, but we got there. My dad helped a lot in that regard, actually.

Audrey: It was fun to watch your story grow. One of the things I really admire about your writing is your ability to create a believable atmosphere that sucks you into the world of the story. Is that something you put a lot of thought into while you are writing or does it just happen naturally?

Anne: This is a great question! Nothing happens naturally for me. Sometimes I feel like I struggle over every single syllable -- even when an idea is flowing like a fire hose. I admire authors who can build worlds whole-cloth like Sarah Monette and Rachel Hartman, or authors that weave in the fantastical in the real-world like Emily Morgenstern or J. K. Rowling (to name a few). I do find that if you know a place, it helps to make that place into a character. This ties into the question about giving advice: go places and do new things. Everything is inspiration for some part of a world, character, or plot. Turn your experiences into fiction because grounding fantasy in reality helps to make it more believable for the reader.

Audrey: Your main character, Kate, struggles with the loss of her innocence and childhood as she faces a chilling adventure. What is one thing you admire about how she handles herself?

Anne: She's so much braver than I. In the face of flight or fight, I'm going to run every time. Hopefully, I can run faster than you.

Audrey: You can't run faster. Sorry. On Cimmerian Tales, we often end up writing stories quickly. Was "La Dame a La Licorne" a story that you thought about for a while before writing or a spur of the moment idea?

Anne: The seed idea for the story happened quickly. All my seedlings do. I had a very clear image for what happens toward the end of the story, and I built the rest around that one image which ties into the title. One little image doesn't make a story though, so the work began after I knew I had to find out more about this image.

Audrey: Do you usually work backwards from the end?

Anne: Not usually. Sometimes my seedling is an opening scene. Sometimes it's a line of dialogue. Sometimes it's a character or characters. And more often than not endings are one of the hardest parts for me. I've yet to find a satisfying ending for a certain Jurassic story of mine. Endings and titles are basically my Darth Vaders.

Were you happy with the title you came up with?

Anne: Mais bien sur. My favorite titles have all been taken from songs, art pieces, or poetry, which is why Cimmerian Tales is so fun to write for every month. The title and spark are ready-made.

Audrey: Also, you love French.

Anne: C’est vrai.

Audrey: Which brings me to my final question. When are we going to Paris for crêpes? For some reason your story makes me crave them.

Anne: That's very strange for a few reasons. One, the story takes place miles away from Paris in Lille. Two, no one eats any food during it's duration. And three, crêpes weren't invented until later in the 19th century. But, hey, I never need an excuse to go to Paris. Pack your bags and get your passport renewed!

Audrey: I never said it was a logical craving. Well thanks for letting me pick your brain. I'm so excited to see what you will do with our next prompt on Cimmerian Tales!

Author Bio:

Anne attended the University of Colorado for a BA in English Literature, where she fell in love with folklore and myths from around the world. She adores languages, great white sharks, and the impossible. Her work usually includes one of those three things. She currently lives in Aurora, Colorado with Brody Beagle. Her most recent short story, La Dame à La Licorne, was published by Euterpe YA, an imprint of Musa Publishing. Buy it from Amazon , Barnes and Noble , or Musa Publishing .

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Apryl Baker

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