As it so happens, a couple of months ago, I came across this really crazy good blurb on Facebook, and I have to say I was hooked before I’d even read a single word of the book. But boy oh boy, when I finally got my hands on it, I have to tell you, I was mind=fucked, because not only did I absolutely adore the story, but the writing was easily some of the best I’d ever read.
Enter Anne Malcom.
Before Birds of Paradise, I hadn’t read a single book of her’s, and really, if she’s a new to you author, then I highly recommend you pick any of her books and start ASAP. Where was I? Yes, yes- how I roped Anne into doing this. See I was so mindblown after BOP that I did what every reader ever does- I stalked. And somehow instead of getting me convicted, I was able to convince Anne that doing an interview with me would be a good idea because.. duh..
And so it began. And after about two months I’m finally here with her answers, and I hope you stay around because they’re frigging awesome. Eekk!! I am just so excited to have her here on the blog!!!
There’s a bonus question at the end of the interview, and honestly, I want to know what your answer to that is too. Let me know!
Anne Malcom has been an avid reader since before she can remember, her mother responsible for her book addiction. It started with magical journeys into the world of Hogwarts and Middle Earth, then as she grew up her reading tastes grew with her. Her obsession with books and romance novels in particular gave Anne the opportunity to find another passion, writing. Finding writing about alpha males and happily ever afters more fun than reading about them, Anne is not about to stop any time soon.
Raised in small town New Zealand, Anne had a truly special childhood, growing up in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. She has backpacked across Europe, ridden camels in the Sahara, eaten her way through Italy, and had all sorts of crazy adventures. For now, she’s back at home in New Zealand and quite happy. But who knows when the travel bug will bite her again.
Let’s start with introducing yourself. Tell me something that makes you you. What do you consider the most weird thing about you that you think others might be creeped out by, but you still find it adorably quirky?
A: Okay, something that makes me me…this isn’t exactly weird or even quirky but it’s something I think is very central to who I am. I’m super comfortable in my own company. I adore socialising and hanging out with girlfriends but I love doing things alone. I’ll take myself to the movies on a Wednesday afternoon, go out to dinner with a good book and a full bodied read. I backpacked around Europe alone. I’m very comfortable in my own skin! Though that’s not weird…I’m just super weird in general. Lots of people are creeped out by my obsession with peanut butter, especially how I put it in my porridge haha
What was the first time you decided to become an author? Does your habit of wanting to be on your own have something to do with the stories you come up with?
A: The first time I wanted to become an author, it was actually when I was backpacking around Europe. I started a travel blog to keep my family up to date and just fell in love. I’d been writing before then but that was the first time I put something out into the world and I really enjoyed the feeling. Plus, all the inspiration came from my adventures!
I think my habit of being on my own has something to do with my stories purely because I need solitude to write. But most of my characters (apart from Elizabeth) have very strong female friendships and treasure their girlfriends, which is true for me too.
I know it’s a bit clichéd, but what was the most extreme thing you’ve done in the name of writing?
A: I honestly don’t think I’ve done anything super extreme (yet). I would say the most extreme thing to date is honestly just pushing myself to the limit and forgoing sleep and sanity in order to finish my books!
What was the inspiration for Birds of Paradise?
A: My inspiration actually started with a nightmare I had about two years ago. I have always had very graphic, crazy dreams, ever since I was a kid. And this particular one I dreamed someone was in my bedroom, watching my sleep. I woke up and I was SO certain there was someone there. Scared me enough I couldn’t get back to sleep so I opened my laptop and started writing about that exact scene. That first chapter sat on my computer for two more years before I picked it up and then went from there. It actually had the title of “Nightmare” before I actualised it into a book.
Birds of Paradise is filled with exotic birds and there’s a lot about them. Is it one of your interests- bird? Or was it all a research process for the book?
A: Funnily enough, I’ve never really been interested in birds but for some reason it was very apparent they would feature heavily in this book. So I spent a lot of late nights researching and pouring over pictures to find the perfect examples for Lukyan’s collection.
Like I mentioned in my review for BOP, the book has a really gothic feel to it. Was it something you were looking to portray intentionally?
A: I didn’t really have any expectations of what I wanted to portray at the start, I just let the story flow organically. But I did come to realise it was very dark and gothic toward the end, and I’m really happy it did turn out that way
I haven’t read any other book of yours, as you know I was introduced, and subsequently fell in love with your writing with BOP. But which character in all your stories was the most difficult for you to write? Why?
A: My most difficult character would have to be Bex, from Dauntless. She was a drug addict and suffered serious trauma. I wanted to portray her as realistic as possible, and in doing so I had to explore the ugly truths about addiction and abuse. I really dived into that character and made sure I did extensive research before I wrote the book. It was a huge struggle to write some of the more harrowing parts of her ordeal but I’m glad that I did. I will also say Lily in Beyond the Horizon was extremely difficult too. She suffered with anxiety and the time, I was suffering very badly too. So I injected a lot of my own demons into her character.
Out of all the couples you’ve written, was there ever one where you just thought that they might not end up together?
A: I actually have never written a couple thinking they wouldn’t end up together. I think that’s because, as a reader, I need a HEA and I tend to write what I like to read.
I do write long separations etc in my stories but I seem to kind of ‘know’ when it’s time for the characters to find their way back to each other.
I’m not ruling out a tragic ending, but I think it would be in a different genre, as romance readers (me included) need their HEAs.
Probably the most clichéd question of the century, but which author do you get the most inspired and influenced by?
A: Although it seems strange, Stephen King has been and always will be my ultimate inspiration. He is (IMO) one of the best authors on the planet and reading his books always pushes me to want to be a better writer.
As an author, what is the one thing you’re absolutely terrified of?
A: Hmmm that’s a tough one. I think in general, authors are terrified with each and every book they put out because we are exposing little bits of our soul to the world and that’s a scary thing.
Is there any topic in your particular genres that you are a writer feel uncomfortable to tackle?
A: There are a couple of topics I find it hard to write, either ones I have no experience with, or ones that hit really close to home. For example, I wrote about a heroine addicted to drugs and I have never had that experience I was worried I wasn’t going to portray it correctly. So I read countless books about addiction, through various different lenses to make sure I had the most information possible. Still, I feared that I wasnt representing the true struggle correctly. This was until a reader told me that this book helped her understand her daughter’s version addiction. One of the most powerful and emotional moments I’ve had with a reader. And her daughter is clean now, which is just amazing!
And when a character is struggling with
Topics I myself battle with, I also find it hard to write. I’m not sure if there’s a topic I wouldn’t tackle at this stage, well at least one that comes to mind. I don’t have much control over it, the characters talk to me and it’s my challenge to overcome the difficulties involved with telling their stories.
OK, last question, let’s end this on a high note- what was the most hilarious negative thing someone has said about any of your books? Something that was supposed to be bad, but just ended up making you laugh.
A: Oooh that’s a good one. I don’t tend to look at negative reviews anymore because I used to torture myself reading every single one and it just wasn’t healthy. I do remember a 1 star review that simply said “too much swearing and sex.” I didn’t know what this particular reader was expecting considering the half naked man on the cover and the fact it was in the ‘erotica’ category on Amazon. That gave me a bit of a laugh.
Which character from any fictional world immaterial of whether its yours or not, would you like to become if you could? Because let’s face it, reality sucks lol.
A: If I could be any character from my own books it would totally be Isla, since I think she’s kind of awesome. It would be so hard for me to decide a single character from all the books I’ve read…eek I don’t know. There’s too many to chose one! Maybe Daenerys Targaryen because she’s awesome.
Thank you so so very much for bearing with me for the length of this really really long interview Anne- only you and I know how long this has been going on lol.
If Daenerys is your “to-be” character too, then go show Anne some love, and if she is not, then seriously, who would you want to become to escape reality bro? Let me know in the comments down below!
But seriously, if you haven’t checked out her books yet, then I really recommend you do, because her words are absolutely addictive! If you want some incentive, then check out my review Of Birds of Paradise, and then come back and tell me you did not absolutely love it. I dare you.
Birds of Paradise
He collected beautiful things.
Ripped them out of their natural environment and preserved them in all of their dead splendor.
The problem was I wasn’t beautiful. I was all of the hideous and ugly realities of the world packaged into one broken human being.
He came to kill me.
That was his business.
He ripped me out of my natural environment, the prison I’d created, and locked me away with all of his beautiful dead things.
I hated him.
I still hate him.
But if I was given the choice and the ability to leave this cage, come back to life, I’d stay dead.
In all of my hideous splendor.
Because my murderer can only possess dead things.
And I can only be possessed by someone more broken and ugly than me.
—Books by Anne—