Today, I’d like to share an interview with my good friend, Annette M. Irby. I’ve been a team member on her blog, Seriously Write, for many years. In addition to equipping and encouraging writers, she’s also an excellent editor and musician, too. I can’t wait for you to learn more about her!
INTERVIEW WITH ANNETTE M. IRBY
Annette, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?
As a child, I would lose myself in stories. At first, I daydreamed about new storylines based on TV shows and their characters. Then, my ninth grade English teacher’s TA visited one week and gave us an assignment. She taught us how to create characters by giving them a name and describing them. (A “novel” idea for me at the time.) She provided the class with a list of five characters’ names, including an oddball name, like Iggy or some such. Each student could describe these characters however we wanted and then write a two-page story using those characters. This assignment opened a world of creativity for me. I could take control and create whomever I wanted. From then on, I invented stories peopled with my own characters.
Around the same time, a neighbor friend (who was a peer of my parents), pulled out an old manual typewriter. She let me pound away on that thing for hours. And I did. Page after page, my story developed. No idea where that story is now. But I’m very grateful to her. Before that, I’d only written songs. Now, I was writing stories.
Fast-forward about ten years—time enough to meet my husband and have a few children, and that’s when the writing bug hit again. The creative side of me spun stories in my mind, whether I was on board with penning them or not. So, I used our desktop computer to type them out. I even pitched that first series (yes, a trilogy) at my first writers’ conference where the editor was very receptive. He took the project back to the publishing board and since (ironically, impossibly, incredibly) they had a book coming out with the same character name as mine (an unusual name) in the same setting (a cabin), they passed on my submission. Since then, I’ve learned this isn’t so unusual. But, what an eye opener. Still, I kept on writing and submitting, and eventually, publishing.
Somewhere in that timeline, God communicated with me that writing was a part of His calling for me and tied it all together.
So you’ve always been creative! That doesn’t surprise me. I wonder if that teaching assistant realizes how important those assignments were in your life? Speaking of influence, have there been any specific authors who influenced you?
Many authors have influenced me, but none more than Susan May Warren and Rachel Hauck of My Book Therapy. I’ve used their workbooks and how-to guides to deepen my characterization and plots. These two are geniuses. 😊 And they write great novels!
Agreed! They are excellent craft mentors. I’ve learned so much from their materials, videos, meetings, etc. And I’ve learned so much from you! What’s the one thing you wish your readers would take away from your novels?
I’d love if readers take away a sense of wanting to draw closer to Jesus, of seeing His heart and being drawn to Him. Here’s my favorite verse for my writing calling:
And let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us,
And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.
(Psalm 90:17 NKJV)
That is beautiful, Annette! I see so much of God’s beauty in your work and your voice. Thank you so much for visiting and sharing with us today.
And look for my review of her latest book, Finding Love in Friday Harbor, Washington. My review goes up the same day you can order it: September 1st.
Book One in the Washington Island Romance series by Annette M. Irby
Release date: September 1, 2017. Pre-order it now here.
About Finding Love In Friday Harbor, Washington
Will keeping his promise lead to another broken heart—or help them find love again?
Professor Mikaela Rhoades has a plan: she’ll encourage her students’ marine biology research through an exclusive program while helping an old family friend’s whale touring business stay afloat. The challenge is the tour captain is her first love and ex-fiancé. Mikaela longs to help his family in the wake of his father’s death, but she’s keeping secrets. She’ll have to face her past and overcome her concerns about the future to make it through the summer.
Captain Hunter Cahill has taken over the family touring business after his father’s death. Unfortunately, he’s drowning in grief and accumulated debt. He’s hoping the incoming stodgy professor will help resurrect the failing business, but he’s not prepared when that professor turns out to be Mikaela, his former fiancée. To make matters more difficult, he’d promised his father to pursue her if she ever returned to the island single. The more time they spend together, the easier it is to keep that promise, though she still plans to leave at the end of the season. How much will it cost him to spend the summer romancing Mikaela?
About Annette M. Irby
Annette M. Irby has been writing since her teen years when she sat pounding out stories on a vintage typewriter just for fun. Since then, she’s joined Christian writing groups and launched blogs so she could share the joy of writing. She likes to say she’s addicted to color as flowers and seascapes inspire her. In her off hours, she enjoys gardening, photography, and music. She lives with her husband and family in the Pacific Northwest.