Interview with Anna Lowe

by AJ Alexander

USA Today and Amazon bestselling author Anna Lowe loves dogs, sports, and travel – and letting those inspire her fiction. On any given weekend, you might find her hiking in the mountains or hunched over her laptop, working on her latest story. Either way, the day will end with a chunk of dark chocolate and a good read.

What made you decide to write the genre you are writing now; did you ever write in another genre before you decided on this one?

When I first stumbled across a paranormal romance years ago, I was immediately intrigued. I loved being transported to a world of secret shifters, loyal lovers, and undying love. That first book I read was a wolf shifter story, and as a big fan of dogs, I could easily picture the thrill of running on all fours or howling to the moon. That led to dragons and other shifters – lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! Before long, I was thinking up stories of my own with characters whose personalities matched their shifter types (tigers are edgy, wolves are outgoing and social, while dragons have a penchant for tracking noble bloodlines, and so on). Eventually, I put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and decided to share my best stories with readers around the world.

I have also written action-adventure romance à la “Romancing the Stone.” What all my stories have in common are irresistible alpha heroes, strong heroines, and evocative locations that ignite passionate romances.

Within this difficult genre of fantasy and romance, did you ever have to face nature’s ‘paradox’ and how did you master that challenge?

With fiction, you get to escape to an entirely different world. And as an author, you get to set the rules of that world! So I don’t find writing PNR to be a challenge so much as an opportunity to explore a whole new world. Readers feel the same: we all want to suspend our disbelief. We want to live vicariously through great heroines. And we all want to experience amazing new adventures and romance. Therefore, I’d say there’s no paradox in the world of our imagination!

As many authors know, it isn’t easy to write blurbs, synopsis, short descriptions, or catching headlines for our books. How are you working on these?

Yes, they can be tricky. What works best is to write the blurb before the book and use that as my overarching guide. Things might detour into new directions along the way, but that’s all part of the fun.

Please, describe your working space and working process – what is important for you to dive into your story and be able to concentrate, undisturbed by life?

As a working mom, “undisturbed by life” is as much as a fantasy as turning into a dragon and swooping over the ocean at night! That’s doubly true because I mostly work from the dining room table, right by south-facing windows that bring in a lot of light and birdsong. But I’m not sure I’d want it any other way. It helps to be disciplined in terms of carving out chunks of time for work as well as time for my family. I don’t always get as much done in each writing session as I’d like to, but that’s life. In the end, it’s the little things that bring spice to life – a good motto for a multi-tasking, author/mother/partner/professional like myself!

Where do you get your ideas, how do you name your characters, and do you have character cheat sheets? What else would you like to tell us about your books?

I love putting the “hero” back into heroine and letting location ignite a passionate romance, so most of my story ideas start with those two elements: character and location. My heroes and heroines might be based on real people or a mix of people, to bring out the strongest characteristics of each. Names can be fun, and I often base them on friends, readers I’m in touch with, or names traditional to a certain area.

I get a lot of inspiration for characters and stories from my travels and while out walking or running. That’s often when I get the overarching idea for a new book or series, like my latest Fire Maidens series set in Europe, based around young women who discover they are descended from dragon royalty. Once I get a more specific idea, I usually travel to the place I have in mind to scout locations, soak in local atmosphere, and gather new inspiration. For example, I traveled to London with Book 2 in my Fire Maidens series in mind (Fire Maidens: London), and it was great. If you study the city closely, you’ll find countless lion statues and references. Those inspired an entire subplot about conflicting shifter factions that added a fascinating new dimension and lots of details to that book. Locations can act like characters in a way, so that’s always a strong element of my stories. (I post a lot of bonus extras on my website, including a “making of” for each of my books, where you can read more about the funny little experiences and places that turned into major plot points for each of my books. They’re a lot of fun to read!)

In romance, characters come first, but conflict and ever-building tension come close behind. What really make a story come to life, though, are details – especially all the sensory details of evocative settings. Just picture the Arizona desert bathed in moonlight, the sound of footsteps down a rainy alley in Paris, or the whisper of palms on the wild shores of Maui. Quirky secondary characters are another key to building a memorable story, and they can be loads of fun, so I strive to fit those in too. Some of my favorite examples are Gareth, the dry, bossy butler in Fire Maidens: London, and Keiki, the adorable kitten who steals the show in Lure of the Bear and other books of my Aloha Shifters series. Other characters are the you’ll-love-to-hate type, like Moira of the Aloha series, (see especially Love of the Dragon and Rebel Lion) or Audrey, the man-eater of Twin Moon Ranch.

Thanks for your interest, and thanks for all you do to provide a wonderful platform for readers and authors of paranormal romance!