Friday, March 25, 2011

An Interview with Author Ann Regentin

Whee! It's Friday and time for author interview #16, with the lovely Ann Regentin! Ann has published three short stories in three different volumes of the Spellfire series at Melange Books. She also has two novels available now, also with Melange Books--Second Sight and Train Wreck.

Thank you so much for stopping by, Ann! Tell us a little about yourself. Who's that woman behind the screen?

Thanks for having me, Mysti!  I'm delighted to be here.

I'm a single mother living in the Midwest with two parrots and a
teenaged son.  I read a lot of non-fiction, watch documentaries and
British mysteries, and play video games.  I have two guitars and a
keyboard, although I've been neglecting them lately. I'm also fond of
manga, especially Fruits Basket and Fullmetal Alchemist, and I'm a
long-time Dr. Who fan.  David Tennant is my favorite Doctor.

Twenty years ago, I was diagnosed with lupus. It started out
moderately disabling but became more serious over time, which had a
profound affect on my life. As my ability to do big things has
decreased, I find that small things give me remarkable pleasure. It
sounds like a cliche, but it's true.

I remember in a comment on the Melange Author forum, you said Train Wreck was a novel ten years in the making. Can you tell us about the decade-long journey that finally brought it to life?

Well, my approach is extremely disorganized, and I have a tendency to
overwrite.  With short stories, this isn't such a big deal, but with
novels it means taking a lot of time.  I had something like 175,000
words in many separate documents before I put it all together. I also
needed to find people willing to edit it.  Tulsa Brown helped me make
necessary cuts without losing anything important, but there was a gap
of a few years before I met Nobilis Reed, who went over it with a
fine-toothed comb.  I'm eternally grateful to them both.  Then I had
to find someone willing to publish it even though it was still well
over everyone's word count limits, for which I am eternally grateful
to Mae and Nancy at Melange Books.  And of course through all of this
I was writing other things and working on a podcast with Nobilis and
Helen E. H. Madden called The Write Threesome
(  We're no longer recording,
but all of the episodes are still available.

I was also very ill for a few of those years, which slowed me down a bit.

In the description of your anthology Second Sight it says, "With her trademark mix of unflinching honesty and sexual heat, Pushcart nominee Ann Regentin brings you thirty stories of lust, love and complications; and explores the power of desire to heal old wounds, inspire new hope, and uncover the extraordinary beauty hidden in ordinary lives."  

Were any of these stories inspired by real life events or observations? Were any of them particularly difficult or easy to write?

I draw from life, but mostly for my settings.  The rest is a mix of
research and imagination, but on the rare occasions I tried to do the
real-life-disguised-as-fiction thing, people objected that it wasn't
realistic. Those stories did not make it into the book.

I think the hardest story to write was Wonder, because it walks some
very fine lines, not just the difference between BDSM and physical
abuse, but the reasons why someone might stay in a abusive
relationship.  It's very easy to say they should just leave, walk away
the minute the first blow is struck, but if you've ever known anyone
in such a relationship, you know how incredibly difficult that it.
Abusive partners don't just abuse.  They control and reward.  They are
often very kind and reasonable in public, which cuts the abused
partner off from any support system.  It's a complicated, difficult
problem, and I'm not sure I did it justice.

What, if anything, are you working on now? Care to share?

A sequel to Train Wreck.  Hopefully, I can get it done in less than ten years!

Today's random question is a goodie: If you could be any animal in the world for 24 hours, which animal would you be and why?

I'd be an echidna, because they're such fascinating creatures.

They're spiny like hedgehogs but have noses like anteaters, and
they're monotremes, egg-laying mammals, with pouches like kangaroos.
They don't fit very neatly into any classification we try to put them
in, but I can't imagine they'd care even if they knew.  I also favor
Pick up your copy HERE!
Knuckles when playing Sonic the Hedgehog games, and of course he's an echidna.

Finally, Ms. Regentin, could you share a short excerpt of a published work or a work in progress?

This is from Train Wreck:
      By the time they took a break, I’d heard Chris on both tenor and alto sax.  He played them equally well, but when he came to me and sat down, he looked nervous.  “What do you think?” he asked.
      “I could listen to you all night,” I said, then I felt myself
blushing, which only made it worse.  In vino veritas.  “You’re really
good.”  I was trying to recover, but it wasn’t working.
      His smile, though, was reassuring.  “I’m glad you like it,” he said.
      The waitress came and he ordered a beer.  I didn’t recognize the
brand.  “Do you want another glass of wine?” he asked.
      “No, thanks.  Have you ever recorded?” I asked.
      The question seemed to amuse him.  “Yes.”
      “I’d love to hear it.”
      “Easy,” he said.  “I’ll give you a CD, but under one condition.”
      “What’s that?” I asked.
      “That you let me see your work.”
      I smiled, smothering a twinge of fear.  “Deal.”
      He didn’t frighten me because I thought he’d hurt me.  I trusted him
implicitly, instinctively.  He frightened me because for years I had
looked into the eyes of so many men, realized that I could see the end
as easily as the beginning, and had turned away without the slightest
twinge of regret.  In Chris’s eyes, I saw no ending, only a beginning
that seemed to go on forever.  Part of me wanted to turn and run, but
it was too late.  On the soccer field, I’d fought him with everything
I had and he’d beaten me easily, cleanly.  He was going to win this
game, too.

Thanks for visiting today, Ann. I wish you great success and a great weekend!

Thanks very much, Mysti, and I'm wishing the same to you and your readers!


  1. Great interivew. Train Wreck sounds a really good read. Love the title. When I worked at Nurses Unlimited I had a patient that had Lupus and it's a hard thing to deal with but it sounds like you are finding your ways to live life to the fullest. Best Wishes to you. T.D. Jones

  2. "my approach is extremely disorganized" - I can relate to that! Folders all over my computer, text files with snippets of dialogue, or scene descriptions. Yeesh! And non-writers wonder what takes some of us SO long! LOL

    Nice meeting you, Ann! :D

  3. Great interview and excerpt, Ann. I look forward to reading Train Wreck.

  4. Great interview! I'm glad you're well enough with your lupus to write your books :)

  5. @ T.D. Jones: I also owe Nobilis Reed for the title. I had a terrible time coming up with something. And yes, lupus can be rough, but once I got through the first few years of panicky denial, I realized that I wasn't actually dead yet.

    @ benning: I'm so glad to hear from someone else who writes like I do! Even other writers I know think I'm nuts.

    @ M. Allman: Thanks! Hope you enjoy it.

    @ Ruth J. Hartman: Thanks, and I'm glad I can write, too! :)

  6. Hi, Ann! Super interesting interview. :)
    I enjoyed the excerpt too.

    Have a good weekend!

  7. Hi Ann, Hi Mysti! Thank you for a great interview, I love the sound of Train Wreck. You touch on some very important topics in Wonder. Wishing you all the best :-)

  8. @Nora: Thanks! Hope you have a great weekend, too.

    @Margo: Wishing you all the best as well.

  9. Awesome interview and excerpt. Thank you, Mysti and Ann!


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