Could you tell us about yourself?
My name is Ann Brady. I am 68 years old. Although born in Yorkshire I now live with my Welsh husband in Cardiff, South Wales. During my career I wrote over 200+ factual pieces relating to health, fitness and exercise. These were published in various formats: advertorials, editorials, and for newspapers and magazines. I wrote pieces for an award-winning website and for inclusion in an ‘A’ Level Educational Tutorial Booklet.
How long have you been writing?
I would say most of my life but I’ve been writing seriously for over 30 years.
Tell us about one of, or your most recent book?
My first fictional novel was a light hearted historical tale. It stemmed from my husband asking me what I was going to do when I retired. I told him I was going to paint and write a book. And for 18 months that is what I did. The story is about the friendship between two women from different social backgrounds. Based in the 19th Century it revolves around the letters they write to each other.
What do you love about writing?
The fact that as a writer you can lose yourself in a fantasy world that suits your own individual mood. I find writing a relaxing way to calm my mind and I really enjoy creating and developing tales of all kinds.
How do you get inspired/ where do you get your ideas?
Usually from everyday events. I write about different things I see or experience in different ways. Since doing the children’s picture story books I have found myself adapting everyday events for children to suit the characters within the stories. Eg Some children are frightened of going to the hairdresser but by telling them about the sheep getting their ‘haircut’ they learn to understand not to be. Or, I can show them in a fun way by having the farm animals play football in the farmyard.
Do you have a specific writing process?
Not really. I tend to write as the urge takes me. And of course, it does depend on the storyline at the time. Sometimes I have to leave what I am writing and go back to it later to complete it. That’s probably why I have about 5 or 6 different projects on the go at once. I want to ensure I get my thoughts and ideas down so I can come back to them later.
Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
You can only write what appeals to you. I have heard that publishers tend to want to change stories and that this can upset some authors. The question a writer must ask themselves is why are they writing and what do they want to achieve. Can you be true to your own writing? Also, a writer must never forget that there are lots of potential writers in the world. There are some 100,000+ books published each year but very few writers become as successful as J K Rolling!
What are you currently working on? How long before release?
Currently I am completing the reissue of the Little Friends Children’s Picture Story Books Sets. These books are aimed at young children aged from 2+ and are in sets of 6 books per series. Each set is titled: Woodland Adventures, In the Garden and Farmyard Fun. I initially wrote the stories about 5/6 years ago when I first took up fictional writing but have amended the stories and added new images. The first series of 6 books were launched 30th November.
What are you currently reading?
As I mentor young writers and edit and review other writer’s manuscripts I am currently reading a series of poems by a young writer who is aged 18 and a fantasy story by another aged 14 years old. I am hoping to see their work published in the New Year by the charity I work with Kids4Kids.org.uk.
Who are your favourite authors?
My reading genre is quite wide and varied but my favourite set of books, which I have had for many, many years, were written by the late Dorothy Dunnett. There are six books in the set and they follow the adventures of a fictional character called Francis Crawford of Lymond. The most enjoyable element of Dorothy’s writing was her great ability to marry factual events and characters with fictional ones. She always leaves the reader believing all the characters in the stories are genuine; fictional or true.
Do you have any favourite fictional characters?
Francis Crawford of Lymond, Niccolo Van de Pol (another Dunnett hero), Hercule Poirot, Miss Marples, James Bond are just a few.
Any fun facts about you that you would like to share?
My husband is often heard telling me I am ‘weird’ and he is probably right ha ha. I am an Aquarian and we are reputed to be 50 years ahead of our time. I certainly think outside the box so maybe that makes me weird. I do love talking to people so am often found chatting to strangers about anything. It’s led to some interesting conversations.
Recently, I was interviewed by a group of school children for their school magazine and one of the questions asked was ‘What was my most embarrassing moment?’ I did actually chuckle to myself when I read the question but had to think about the answer. On the day I told the kids that I had probably had a lot of embarrassing moments but, considering my age, I had forgotten them; although I hoped I had learnt from them.
However, the only funny thing I could think of was when I was once in the car with my two daughters who are now a lot older and we were singing to Queen’s song ‘I want to Break Free.’ The only problem was I was singing ‘I want to shake free.’ My daughters have never let me live it down and each time the song comes on the radio they start singing my version!
Find out more about Ann’s Little Friends on her WEBSITE