Today I’m featuring Anna Clifton on my blog. A big thanks to Anna for getting in touch and answering all my questions!
Tell us a little bit about Copping It Sweet…
Copping It Sweet is about two people who frankly, should never be together.
Cooper’s a gifted detective on a steep career trajectory – Sara’s the estranged wife of a crime boss and holding a swag of secrets about her husband’s involvement in the murder of an innocent street kid years before.
Quite a challenge then for these two to ever see eye-to-eye. Only problem is, whenever Cooper and Sara are together sparks fly, and not the kind conducive to keeping their distance from one another.
Copping It Sweet is a stand-alone fifth release in my Murphy’s Law series published through Escape Publishing. It’s a story about the insidious nature of intimidation and control, and about the transformative powers of trust and acceptance, and finding hope where you least expect it. If you get a chance to read it, I really hope you enjoy it.
When you aren’t writing, what do you get up to…
As well as writing fiction, on most days I’m reviewing social policy for an organisation I volunteer for. On other days I teach English to a gorgeous group of migrant women. I also spend as much time as I can with my teenage children and at night, my husband and I love to collapse in front of the TV and commentate on whatever we’re watching, like a pair of Gogglebox heads.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Too easy! Have someone read your work and critique it. And although I understand the temptation, not someone who will tell you what they think you want to hear – so that rules out your mum – sorry.
Fact is, there were probably only two artists who produced close to flawless works first go, and they were Mozart and Jane Austen. For we mere mortals, there’s more work to be done.
Before I was published I submitted a manuscript to a competition organised by Romance Writers of Australia. I didn’t win of course (I didn’t deserve to as it was a hot mess) but one of the judges wrote reams of criticism about my writing and then made a final comment that she didn’t doubt I would eventually be published. After about six months – when I stopped feeling sorry for myself – I recognized this constructive criticism was exactly what I needed and got on with sorting out my manuscript.
So…find a competition for unpublished manuscripts offering feedback from judges and send that magnum opus in now! Failing that, find someone who hates your guts and ask them to do it instead – at least you’ll know they won’t hold back.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
I remember reading a great comment from another author once. She said that when a book is finished you’re no longer the same person you were when you began it. This is so true!
Writing a book is such an organic process. It comes from who you are, where you’re at and what is going down in your life when you write it. That’s why I think it’s really hard for authors to make hard and fast plans for their long-term career unless they’re taking a very commercial approach.
What I can say is that I plan to keep doing what I was born to do: writing love stories about big, chaotic families – traditional and urban – and portraying and celebrating life, warts and all, with some humour thrown in for fun.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does she do that is so special?
Sara is feisty, private, brave and stoic, devoting her life to protecting a child witness to a murder her estranged crime boss husband carried out years before. She’s also highly eccentric, never wearing anything but vintage clothing because said control-freak ‘ex’-husband also used to insist she wear the latest designer clothing so that he could show her off to his network. Needless to say, he’s both dangerous and creepy.
When Detective Sergeant Cooper Halligan inexplicably begins to circle Sara’s life she’s not unduly fazed. Over the years she’s become quite expert at keeping men at arm’s length. What she doesn’t count on is the man that Cooper is behind the badge: a bit of a lad, cuddly, brave, honourable and apparently, highly resistant to her normally bulletproof methods of jettisoning men out of her life. Suddenly she’s wondering whether she might finally have a problem on her hands, or should I say, with her heart… 😊
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Both, by choice. I become very immersed in the creative process in a full-time way when I’m writing a book. After that I’ll have an extended period when I step back from writing, take a deep breath, spend time with the people I love and live life without trying to deconstruct it.
Where do your ideas come from?
Every book I’ve written has been an expression of something that has touched my own life or the life of someone I care about.
Young women whose choices are highly controlled into adulthood by their own families inspired my first book, Falling for the Lawyer. New Year’s Promise, on the other hand, was about the discovery that the ‘in sickness and in health’ promise doesn’t always stack up when the chips are down in a family. Copping It Sweet is different again, inspired by domestic violence campaigner Rosie Batty, and those millions of women out there who receive little help from the authorities because their domestic violence injuries are psychological and emotional. Adam’s Boys and Making Ends Meet were also stories from the heart, for different reasons.
What books do you recommend to readers?
For every person who loves a book I recommend I know there will be ten who won’t. Fiction reading evokes such a personal response, as book review sites reveal – even the greatest classics ever written are often struggling to crack the 4 star mark.
I am crazy about books that do two things though. I love books that allow me to be a very active participant in coming to my own conclusions about the motives and behaviours of the characters – that elusive ‘show don’t tell’ quality in writing. Secondly, I adore stories that dig right down into the mystery of relationships and why we feel, behave and speak to each other as we do. If there’s a fascinating historical context to the setting – even better!