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02 Aug

 

A wife, mom and a few other things besides, meet Annette Spratte…

 

JR: Tell us about yourself, and how would you describe yourself?

AS: My name is Annette Spratte and I was born 1970 in Germany. I refer to myself as a translingual person. I’m an American accidentally born in a German body. When I started learning English in school, I quickly came to love the language and henceforth devoured everything I could in English – radio, tv and books, books, books. I spent one year living in the States after school and when I came back to Germany, I spoke German with an American accent. Even now, almost 30 years later, I still find myself groping for the German expression because I’ve got the English one in my head. I live in the beautiful Westerwald region in Germany with my husband, two sons and a horse.

 

JR: When did you first realise you want to be a writer? Who spotted that talent and what was the first thing you do knowing that?

AS: I started writing stories as a teenager. I gave one to my teacher to read, but he was not very encouraging, so I quit. I started writing a diary instead, which I wrote in English so my mother couldn’t read it. In the States I found a dear friend and actually gave her my diary to read. When she returned it to me, she said “You really have a way with words”. I kept writing a diary and wrote a number of poems after that. Her words stayed with me until now.

 

JR: Do you have any formal education in creative writing? Do you think formal education in writing is necessary?

AS: No, I don’t and I don’t know if it’s necessary. If you are a perceptive person and read a lot, you know what works in a story and what doesn’t. You get to know different methods of writing, various styles to use. Perhaps there are people who need to learn these things because they are not the self-didactic type.

 

JR: Are you a full-time author? Do you have other activities as main source of income? How do you organise your schedule and time in writing a book?

AS: I’m a part-time author, I’m a part-time secretary, a full-time wife and mom and a few other things besides. Therefore, writing only happens late at night when the kids are in bed or on weekends when I manage to grab a few precious hours. I have no chance of scheduling. Any project I work on gets finished when it gets finished. Fortunately, I don’t have any deadlines to meet.

 

Survivor JR: What made you decide to start writing something? What or who influences you?

AS: The story decided it wanted to be written. It was really crazy. I have snatches of stories in my head all the time that I amuse myself with when falling asleep. But none of them is good enough to be a book. And then suddenly out of nowhere this entire story pops into my head and I look at it and think “Wow, this is great. I want to read that!” So I had to write it down.

My influences are too numerous to count since I’ve been reading almost all my life. I have read everything from Shakespeare to Stephen King and Dickens to Diana Gabaldon. I’m a great fan of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and I deeply enjoy the Outlander series.

 

JR: Do you have habits in writing? Any specific time and/or place to write?

AS: All I need is a bit of peace and quiet and off I go. I can type very fast so it may happen that I write 5,000 words or more in one go, if the scene(s) is clear in my head.

 

JR: How long do you normally finish writing a book? What is the hardest part in the process?

AS: I only wrote the one book so far and it took me two years to write. Which is amazing because it came out at 692 pages – after editing. The hardest part is marketing. I’ve got this lovely book and I know it’s good, because all of my readers have so far told me so. But it’s so hard to get people to read it.

 

JR: Do you have professional editors to furnish your books? If you do, any recommendation you would like to share to fellow authors?

AS: No, I’ve had the great luck to find a very motivated friend who did a marvellous editing job for me. Editing by someone else is so important because it makes you think every sentence over. Do I really want to say it like that? Is there a better way? Whatever was I thinking when I wrote that?

 

JR: How do you think you have evolved creatively?

AS: In my job as a secretary I get to write a lot of different stuff. Newsletter, articles for magazines, letters and so on. I also regularly correct other people’s writing and I have found that this has schooled me tremendously. So when it came to writing the novel, it wasn’t very hard because I know my way around with words and expressions.

 

JR: Do you ever face Writer’s Block? If you do, how did you overcome the situation?

AS: No. There are times when I’m not exactly sure how to continue. Then I let everything rest for a while, play around with it in my head and after a while the next step presents itself. Then I can go on writing.

 

JR: Do you have professional designer to design the cover and/or interior of your books? If you do, any recommendation you would like to share to fellow authors?

AS: I’m acquainted with a couple of designers, but when I told one of them my ideas, he declined. I then decided to try on my own, discarded my original idea and went photo hunting. I came across a picture that could have been a scene from the book and in that moment I knew exactly what the cover would look like. Feedback from my friends was positive.

 

JR: How do you involve in promoting your books? Any marketing technique you can share?

AS: I work my way around Goodreads and Facebook, have joined a number of groups that are helpful. But time doesn’t allow me to do more.

 

JR: Give your thoughts about traditional publishing Vs. self-publishing?

AS: I have the impression that traditional publishing is only serving the market. I had to self-publish, because a) my book doesn’t fit into one genre and b) I’m a German publishing a book in English in Germany…

 

JR: How many books have you written (published and non-published)?

AS: I have published “The Way of Life” in English, which is a romance novel. I have recently added a short story as a prequel to this novel, which has been published a few days ago. I am also working on a series of children’s books in German. One is in the editing phase, the second one is started and the idea for a third one hovers at the back of my head. There will also be a sequel to the romance novel, once I get around to it.

 

JR: What genre that you normally write, and what draws you to this genre? Do you always write in the same genre?

AS: One of my reviewers suggested creating a new genre for my novel: Adult Christian Romance. I don’t care about genre. I care about a story well told. The children’s books are totally different in everything from my English writing, so no. I do not stick to one genre.

 

The Way of LifeThe Way of LifeJR: Of all the books that you have written down, which book that you think the best one? And what do you think readers will find most appealing about this book? What’s the “real story” behind this book?

AS: I think “The Way of Life” is the best book so far. At least it’s the one I love most, because I wrote it for me. It’s got a lot of detail, it’s honest, it’s romantic, it’s dramatic, it’s believable and full of emotions the reader can relate to. There is a lot of Christian content in that book and the real story is that everyone can walk that way of life. I want to show what Christians are like, honestly. Without needing to prove anything. Without needing to moralize. I want to show the struggle every Christian has to live through to get every day challenges in line with the Bible. And yet I don’t want to do that at all. I just want to tell a beautiful love story. I think that’s appealing.

 

JR: What advice would you want to give to an aspiring writer?

AS: Write. Let people read it and listen to what they have to say about your work. Learn. Write.

 

JR: How can readers discover more about you and your works?

AS: Visit my website www.annettespratte.jimdo.com or follow me on www.facebook.com/authorannettespratte. I’m also active on goodreads.

 

Annette Spratte