In today’s blog post, I was privileged to interview indie author Annie Pavese! Hope you enjoy!
When did you decide you wanted to be a writer? Did you always know, or was it a realization you came to later in life?
A: I actually hadn’t even entertained the idea until I was about two years into writing So Sang The Dawn. Weird, right? I had played with writing when I was younger, but it wasn’t a major passion. When I was in my late teens, I had started journaling as a way to release some of the hurts I was facing, and when I was 21, I started writing pieces of the story that would later become Dawn. Because I was writing just for me, as sort of a self-therapy, I didn’t even consider the idea of sharing it with anyone until several years into writing it.
Is So Sang The Dawn your debut novel? When was it first published?
A: So Sang The Dawn is my debut novel! It took me five years to write and I self-published it in November of 2017. They always say you should never publish your magnum opus first, that you should start with something smaller and get the feel for it, but clearly I don’t know how to do anything in small doses.
What inspired you to write So Sang The Dawn?
A: So Sang The Dawn was inspired by a lot of different pieces of my life. I’ve walked a lot of really hard roads in my life, and I definitely know what it means to be searching for a small ray of light in the midst of the deepest darkness. I wanted to write a story that reflected that, that could show people they weren’t alone, and that could fill them with real, tangible hope that would last long after they walked away from the book.
Do you have a favorite character you enjoyed writing the most in your novel?
A: I love so many of my characters, and while some of them were actually really tough to write, I really enjoyed all of them for different reasons. Of course Aurora and Raine are at the top of the list, but I think for side characters, one of my favorites is a girl named Aara. You meet her about halfway through the book, when Aurora is sent into warrior training and is paired with Aara for weapons practice. Aara is cold, brutal, and sometimes downright ruthless, but she has a really amazing backstory and there may or may not be an even more amazing redemption on the horizon for her in future books. I like writing her because she’s so opposite of my personality and because I love the way her dialogue flows back and forth with Aurora’s, especially when they’re arguing about something.
Is So Sang The Dawn part of a series, or is it a standalone? If it’s part of a series, how many other books are you planning on writing?
A: So Sang The Dawn is definitely part of a series, which will just be named after the first book: So Sang The Dawn. I have at least five novels outlined that will follow the first book, and a list of novellas in the works that will be told from the point of view of side characters, Raine being one of them.
What was the hardest part about writing your novel?
A: I think one of the hardest thing about the actual writing of Dawn was definitely the worldbuilding and descriptions. When you crack open the book, you’ll realize right away that there’s definitely a reason the book is 750 pages long. The places that Aurora visits are so vast and so immersive, and yet so very intricate down to the last detail, that some places actually took years to shape.
What was your favorite part about writing your novel?
A: My answer to this question is actually on the opposite side of the coin as my answer to the previous question. The worldbuilding in Dawn was so incredibly hard to write, and there were a lot of days when I wanted to give up, but at the same time, one of my favorite aspects of the book is simply the story world. Aurora sees some really harsh places, but she also sees some really beautiful places that are totally beyond anything she could imagine. Once the worldbuilding was down, I loved being able to just sit with Aurora in those places and spend time there with her.
How would you describe your writing style?
A: I think my writing style is pretty straightforward, but it’s also poetic and beautiful in its own right. I’ve been told that my voice in writing is very down to earth and feels very approachable and honest, even through the lens of fiction.
Do you have a favorite snack or drink you enjoy while writing?
A: I love drinking hot tea when I write, especially at night, mostly because if I spend too long in the world of Frostholm, I get cold. My favorite tea is peach tea, which also happens to be Raine’s favorite!
What is your favorite genre to write in, if you have one?
A: Because this is my first book, and really, my first attempt at writing, I’ve never written anything outside of YA fantasy — or anything outside of this series, for that matter. I’m really comfortable in this genre, and I’ll probably stay in it for a good long stretch of time, simply due to the sheer amount of books in Dawn’s series!
Just because I’d like to include it for readers’ purposes, what would you say your target audience is for your novel? Is there any content I should warn readers about?
A: The book is under the genre of YA fantasy, and I’ve had readers as young as 12 and as old as 80 read the book and adore it. There is no adult language or sexual content in the book, and I’ve purposely kept the descriptions of the more gritty situations vague and minimal, specifically so that younger audiences could still enjoy the book. I usually recommend 14+, simply for the reason that a lot of the scenarios Aurora goes through in the beginning can be rough emotionally, like living in captivity, or being on the battlefield and seeing death in a very vivid way. It’s not all death and war though; just like the book’s theme, Aurora has to fight her way through a lot of really hard things in order to get to the peace and rest she so deserves.
What is some advice you can give aspiring authors out there that you wish you had known when you began your writing and publishing journey?
A: I think for me, writing became a very lonely game far longer than it really needed to. I would encourage anyone dabbling in writing to find a writing community, first and foremost, and everything else will follow. There are so many great groups out there on Facebook and other places where writers can share chapters and ask for help or advice, and learn how to navigate the publishing world from other authors who have already walked that road. Writing can feel really isolating, but it doesn’t have to be. I owe major credit for So Sang The Dawn to my close group of writing buddies who helped shape the world and make my dream a reality.
Thank you, Annie, for letting me interview you! If you’re interested in following Annie and checking out her novel, click any of the links below: