Monday, 5 December 2016

Interview with Annie Fisher

Today I'd like to welcome Annie Fisher to Just Books.

Annie is a 22-year-old Irish self-proclaimed writer and backpacker. In the past year, she has worked and travelled around the world after graduating from University College, Dublin, with a degree in English with Film Studies. For the last couple of months, Annie has been living back in Ireland to spend some time with her family and in that time, she has published her first novel, The Greater Picture.

Hi Annie, would you like to start by telling us when you started writing for publication and what made you decide to put your work out there to be read by others?
Since I was about 14 I imagined being a young writer publishing books and amazing the world so I was always writing for publication since that age. I started sending my books to agents when I was 16 and I did it on and off for a couple of years (it’s such a tedious task to email all those agents) until I decided to just go for it and publish my novel through Amazon this year.

What gets your creative juices flowing?
I love travelling and meeting new people so when I’m on the road I write down a lot of my experiences in a notebook which I sometimes refer to whilst writing. When I’m on my own with my laptop, I usually watch Cinematography compilations of films on YouTube alongside The Lumineer’s music videos, clips from Lord of the Rings, indie film trailers and the odd feminist slam poem. It’s an odd mix of things that make me excited to enter the creative industry and be recognised for my own work.

Do you listen to music while you write?
I’ll always have music ready to go if I hit a wall during a writing session but I never write and listen at the same time, I can’t even text and walk at once- I’m the worst multitasker!

Do you use your personal experiences in your writing?
In my first published novel, The Greater Picture, every scene in the novel is fictitious but in the book that I’m currently writing I find that I’m resorting to using a lot of my own anecdotes and experiences.
A quote from The Greater Picture in which Margo tells Alexandria
her thoughts on life after death, in the pagan ideal of the Summerland (chapter 2).

Who is your favourite character from your The Greater Picture?
Like a good mother, I like all the characters in my book equally. I didn’t write any villains or idiots: every person has their own good and bad traits. If I had to choose I’d say David - which is usually the character people prefer least- because he goes through the biggest spiritual catharsis, evolving from a depressed millennial businessman to an artist who understands more about himself and his own desires, and who may even have found love in an unlikely person.

How about your least favourite character? What makes them less appealing to you?
I think Patrick is my least favourite because he doesn’t experience any huge revelation and returns to his old life at the novel’s end unlike the other characters in the novel who are utterly changed.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
The Greater Picture wouldn’t have been written but for my own interest in Alexander the Great - after whom Alexandria is named in the novel. A large aspect of the book is about her namesake and whether she should consider herself more like the king or the city in Egypt (a flawed man on a search for meaning or a labyrinth-like, complex city). I also chose the other names in the novel carefully too: Elijah is a biblical name which suits his character and Lily’s name is representative of her delicate and kind nature.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve been given?
To stop waiting for inspiration or the right moment and just sit down and do it.

Tell us about the cover of The Greater Picture and how it came about.
I always knew I wanted a frame on the cover of the novel and some of my favourite YA novels are dark with white writing. I like that kind of simplistic appearance rather than having a photographed image on the cover.

What can we expect from you in the future?
Well, I’m heading off to Europe and Asia on some backpacking trips in the next year (which you can follow on my social media accounts) and I’ve written two novels (one based in Ireland and the other the first book of a trilogy) which I hope to have published in the next year or two!

What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
I think the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is read one of my own poems at my grandmother’s funeral in 2013 as she practically raised me and we were very close. I move around so much at the moment, getting settled in places all over the world and then having to leave, so saying goodbye every couple of months to people that I’ve only known a short time but have grown to love is pretty difficult, too.

What did you do this summer...?
This summer, after working in Amsterdam for two months, I moved to the French Alps to a little village on Lake Annecy in April. I worked there until September of this year for a holiday company which meant living in a tent for the whole summer, doing a lot of cleaning and looking after customers. I met so many lovely people out there and my time working in this amazing scenery gave me buckets of inspiration to edit The Greater Picture and motivated me to get published.

... and how did you celebrate last Halloween?
This Halloween was pretty boring because I was coming up to the novel’s release and I was super stressed out. The Halloween before that I spent on Khao San Road in Bangkok Thailand with my favourite group of friends. It was probably one of the craziest nights- the streets were so packed that you could only walk a tiny step at a time. We celebrated the occasion by doing body shots off one another whilst a group of 100 people watched on with their mouths hanging open, one of my friends fell over and knocked down two racks of clothes and nearly got us all in a brawl, there was a huge rainstorm at about two a.m. that was pretty surreal. I also ended up getting a stranger to buy me McDonalds then made him wait outside my hostel whilst I went to grab my friend- it turns out though I just fell fast asleep on my bed and woke up the next morning, having forgotten all about him.

Aside from backpacking, how do you spend your free time?
Recently, and admittedly, I do sleep a lot. Whilst I’ve been living back at home in Ireland the last three months I spend most of my day typing away at my computer- whether that’s sending emails, doing design work or writing. If I’m in Dublin, I’ll spend the day in Starbucks or just wandering around the city. My life is pretty chill at the moment- all my time is free time!

Which other country would you most like to visit?
Japan is on my list in January definitely- I literally eat sushi at least 3 times a week. I can’t get enough of a good temaki roll, I would survive on them if I could.

Who is your favourite female actor?
With a degree in Film Studies, people think I know a lot about films and they’re always disappointed. I’m always getting criticised for (still) never seeing the full Jaws or Shawshank Redemption films. My favourite actor is Marion Cotillard or Emilie de Ravin. I also love Annalise Basso in Captain Fantastic and the new Ouija film, she’s definitely going places. 

So... In a perfect world where you could cast your book for a movie, who would you pick for your main characters?
Like any writer I’ve imagined huge movie sets and Oscar-winning cinematography with an A-list cast. The location for the book would be cold and windy by the coast somewhere in England and I would love to see the big old house brought to life on screen. I’d love to have actors I really admire to play the roles just so I could meet them really, like Emma Watson as Alexandria; Juno Temple as Margo, someone like Jeremy Sumpter or Mathew Lewis to play Elijah, the only thing is they’d need brown contact lenses.

Are you an early riser or a night owl?
Definitely a night owl, I’m usually still awake when the early risers are getting up!

And finally... when did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
Everytime I visit my parents’ house I sing to myself all the time because nobody can hear me from my room. I’ve sang to a few people but they all do this strange thing of closing their eyes tightly and grimacing, then they tell me to stop. I think my voice is too beautiful for some people to handle.

Thank you very much for spending this time with us, Annie. Stay safe on your travels.

Follow Annie's literary and backpacking journeys on her website, facebooktwitter, and instagram.

Buy The Greater Picture on Amazon and Createspace.

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