About Anma Natsu:
Anma Natsu has been writing since she was a kid, but waited until her mid-30s hit to get over the fear and start working on getting her stories out there for others to enjoy. A control-freak and proud of it, she took the indie route so she could write the stories she wanted to write and deliver them her way.
With a style that unabashedly reflects the influence of some of her favorite reads, manga and light novels, Anma uses her stories to explore the intricacies of life, relationships, and the various forms and flavors of love. She also hosts the mostly weekly podcast “The Lackadaisical Writer”, available on iTunes, iHeartRadio, and other podcast directories, where she shares her experiences and lessons she’s learning as an indie author.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve been a voracious reader since I was a kid, toting home the limit of 35 books every library trip before I was old enough for no more limits. As far back as I can remember, I’ve had stories popping in my head, sharing themselves with me. Since I suck at acting and I doubt I could deal with screenplays, writing novels became the best medium to nurture them from snippets to full, rich pieces that I, and hopefully many others, can enjoy.
Tell us about your writing process.
When it comes to first drafts, I consider myself to be a pantser. I don’t write up character sheets, do outlines, and of that. Planning works well for some writers, but for me it ends up stifling my creativity and makes it hard, if not impossible, for me to even write the story at all.
That said, I do usually have some idea about the story before I start that draft. Whenever I get any new story ideas, if I’m not actively trying to start a new story, then I’ll scribble them down in my “Story Incubator” Scrivener file and let it “marinate”, for weeks if not months. I don’t focus on it at all, rather I wait to see if it keeps coming to me and gets more insistent about showing me more.
If it will be awhile before I can work on it, I’ll add any important notes as well. Then when I’m reading to do a story, I review those first and whichever pulls the most (and usually its whichever one has been nagging me up to that point), and start writing.
But I never sit down and deliberately set out to plan. I generally don’t outlines, character sheets, any of that. It’s all about whatever comes to mind and sticks before and during the writing of that first draft.
Once the first draft is done, I put it aside awhile, a month at least. I won’t read it, I won’t even look at the file. I focus on something else. Once enough time has passed that I can look at with fresh eyes and am ready to focus on it, then it’s time to start the revision process.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
Definitely! Because of how my mind develops story ideas, almost like a constant looping movie in my head, I often say I’m just a recorded of stories that choose to reveal themselves to me. So the characters talk to me all the time (and I listen) about what “their story” is versus me just trying to do my own thing. More than once they’ve sprung surprises on me and 99.9% of the time, they end up being some of the best parts of the story.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
When I first began thinking about publishing my novels, I focused on the “traditional” method: querying an agent, courting publishing houses, getting advances, and so on. But in the last few years, indie publishing has gone from being unheard of and rare to relatively common place.
Having learned more about how traditional publishing worked, I realized it held no appeal to me beyond the nice upfront advances. They weren’t worth the costs though. I didn’t want to give up creative control of my novel, having someone else decide how my cover should look or even what my title should be. I didn’t want to have to wait years and years before my polished novel might finally be available, I procrastinate enough on my own!
Being an indie author allows me to retain full creative control of my works, as well as letting me set the pricing, formatting, and, to a degree, availability of my books. At the end of the day, I am happy knowing that the book my readers get is 100% the story I wanted them to read. Yes, it is a TON more work, because I basically have to do all the things a publishing company normally does: editing, covers, marketing, etc, and being able to honestly decide what I can do myself and what I have to hire out for.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
From what I’ve seen and read, I believe that indie publishing is here to stay and I believe the stigma against us will continue to lesson as more stores realize that readers do not care who published, they care about the books, and we as indie authors continue to show that we can produce professional, quality books on par with traditional publishers. I think most indies are starting to realize that by being indies, they are running a business and that, once they are written, our job is to make our stories quality products, meaning they have good covers, well written blurbs, polished prose, and a professionally designed book format.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: romance, fantasy, magical realism, young adult, pretty much whatever my story demands
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print