Less than two weeks before her baby girl's due date, the fabulous, lovely, and talented Anne Riley gives us an interview for the New Year's Revision Conference. We are honored. And we hope right now she is somewhere with her feet up, relaxing.
Katrina: What were you doing when the idea for Shadows of the Hidden first came to you?
Anne Riley: Basically I was playing house. Rob and I had just gotten married a couple months earlier and we were still child-free, so I was cleaning house, cooking a lot, and waiting for the school year to start at the high school where I teach. The idea came to me slowly over that summer of 2008, and by August 1 I was ready to start writing it down!
Katrina: What was the research process like, and how did you come to include Druid magic in your tale?
Anne Riley: Erm...it was a lot of Googling! The great thing about Druids is that they didn't keep a lot of written records, which means there is only a very skeletal history of who they actually were. This gave me a lot of freedom to create and elaborate where needed! I included Druid magic because I've always been fascinated with their mysterious rituals and the myths surrounding them. I couldn't resist building on their legend!
Katrina: What was the hardest part to write?
Anne Riley: The kissing scenes! Teaching adolescents makes me feel super awkward about writing romantic scenes that involve adolescents. I have to work really hard not to feel like a creeper.
Katrina: What was the most fun?
Anne Riley: The scene at the end where several characters end up in this place called the Orb. It's nowhere, no-when, and it's sort of become its own little mini-society. I loved that part because it is so unlike anything else I've read or written.
Katrina: How long did revisions take, and what's the biggest thing you had to change?
Anne Riley: Revisions took about 600 years.
Oh okay, more like 6 months total. But it FELT like 600 years! The biggest change I made was the ending--at one point I cut the last 20,000 words and rewrote them. *stabs self in eye* It was painstaking, but totally worth it!
Anne Riley is an author of young adult fiction from Birmingham, Alabama. Her first novel, Shadows of the Hidden (previously self-published as The Clearing), will be published by Compass Press in December 2012.
Anne is a high school Spanish teacher by day, a writer by afternoon, and a mom and wife all the time. Her writing career began in August 2008 when she began working on her first novel, The Clearing. By December, she had a completed manuscript, and by January 2009 she had signed with literary agent Alanna Ramirez of Trident Media Group.
When Alanna left Trident in September 2011, Anne began the search for a new agent, ultimately landing with Emma Patterson of The Wendy Weil Agency.
Books by Anne: