Saturday, October 25, 2014

An Interview with New York Times Bestselling Author, Anna Banks

Not only is Anna Banks one of the funniest, sweetest, and kindest authors I have ever had the privilege of meeting, she is one of the most extraordinary human beings I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, period.

Back in May, I met Anna Banks at the spring Fierce Reads event at the Vero Beach Book Center, along with Katie Finn (a.k.a. Morgan Matson), Lindsay Smith, and Marie Rutkoski.

She charmed the audience with her wit, made sure each and every fan received the attention they desired, and left a lasting impression on dedicated fans. (Not to mention some new fans as well!)

Because of Anna's kindness, I built up the courage to ask her, one of my all-time favorite authors, if she would honor The Literary Connoisseur with an interview, and she said yes.

So without further ado, may I introduce the sensational Anna Banks!

The Literary Connoisseur: Hello, Anna! Thank you so much for stopping by The Literary Connoisseur and answering some questions about your life as an author, your work, and yourself. If you're ready, let's begin! Tell us a bit about yourself and your books. 

Anna Banks: Hi! Thanks for having me! Here are a few things you should know about me: I enjoy pranking/scaring people. Even strangers. It's an illness. I grew up in a town called Niceville. For real. My home office has a NYC theme. I shop for pajamas more often than I shop for real clothes. I increased my life insurance after I bought a pair of high heels. As for my books, don't read them if you don't like/understand sarcasm. Seriously, they're not for you. Also, there will always be romance in them. I can't halp it. I've written The Syrena Legacy series, which includes OF POSEIDON, OF TRITON, and OF NEPTUNE. My next YA novel JOYRIDE will be released in June 2015. I also write adult fiction (again, sarcasm and romance included) under the name Anna Scarlett. My novel DEGREES OF WRONG is out now, and it's....well, it's really good. If I do say so myself.

The Literary Connoisseur: Have you always known that you wanted to be a writer? What made you feel passionate about writing? 

Anna Banks: I've always been *good* at writing, like in school and stuff, but I didn't really consider that I could make a living from it. What made me passionate about it was when I was writing DEGREES OF WRONG in my spare time, and someone told me (someone who hadn't even read it!) that I would never be able to get published and make it as a writer. Telling me I can't do something is the best way to get me to do it. Ever since, I set out to prove that I COULD do it.

The Literary Connoisseur: Many authors have said that their characters "speak" to them, and tell them their story. Do your characters speak to you? 

Anna Banks: My characters don't shut up. It's honestly a tad embarrassing sometimes, because when they're talking to me I will zone out of a conversation, miss a turn while driving, or put the milk in the cabinet and the cereal in the fridge. I've gotten so distracted that I actually went to a psychiatrist to determine if I was schizophrenic; turns out I was just a normal writer.

The Literary Connoisseur: Which of your characters from the Syrena Legacy has been your favorite to write so far? Emma? Galen? Toraf, perhaps? 

Anna Banks: I think my readers will understand when I say that my favorite character is Toraf/Rayna together. Toraf wouldn't be the same without Rayna, and Rayna wouldn't be the same without Toraf. They make each other who they are.

The Literary Connoisseur: You write romantic books under your pen name, Anna Scarlett, and you write your Syrena Young Adult series as Anna Banks. Which of the genres has been more fun to write? 

Anna Banks: I have to admit, I enjoyed writing DEGREES OF WRONG as Anna Scarlett because it was so much fun to put my feisty main character Elyse into so many awkward situations. Plus she has a horrendous temper, which is always excessively fun to write! :)

The Literary Connoisseur: Your plot and characters for Of Poseidon are unlike most Young Adult books and series out there. What drew you to write about the Syrena? 

Anna Banks: I was writing a documentary once about the giant squid. Up until 2005, scientists thought the giant squid (you know, the ones we see in paintings or drawings with its tentacles wrapped around ships, dragging them under?) was a legend or myth, mere fishermen's lore. But in 2005, one washed up on shore, and so all the scientists were like, "Um, we were wrong. Sorry." It got me thinking, what else could be out there? Mermaids have been a myth for as long as history has been recorded. Even Christopher Columbus documented a mermaid sighting in his journal on the way to the Americas. So I set out to prove that scientifically, mermaids could exist. And a story unfolded from there.

The Literary Connoisseur: What has been your biggest achievement as an author so far? 

Anna Banks: Hands down, it was when OF TRITON made the NYT Bestsellers list. I cried and cried. I was on book tour when I found out, checking into our hotel before an event that evening. When I got the email I just started bawling. The other authors, my publicist, and some other guests checking in thought something terrible had happened, like my whole family just died in a plane crash or something. But I couldn't help but cry. It was my dream for a long time.

Also, I was pretty freaking excited when Mad Hatter Entertainment acquired rights to make The Syrena Legacy series into a movie. :)

The Literary Connoisseur: Early on this year, you went on a tour with Katie Finn (also known as Morgan Matson), Lindsay Smith, and Marie Rutkoski as part of the Spring Fierce Reads Tour! What was your favorite part of the tour? 

Anna Banks: Ugh, there are so many good times to choose from. I will say that with all tours, my favorite part is meeting/connecting with fans and readers. You're my people! :) But to be specific...We were once stuck at the airport because of a canceled flight and we were all tired and bored. I had an app on my phone where you take a picture of yourself and the app will turn you into a zombie. We entertained ourselves and irritated other waiting passengers for a solid hour with this.

Also, at one tour stop, a blogger asked how we felt about diversity in YA. I was so proud that this subject is really spreading, and that people are really taking notice of its importance and relevance.

The Literary Connoisseur: Is there any exciting news or upcoming announcements you would like your fans, and future fans of yours, to know? 

Anna Banks: The cover to my upcoming YA novel JOYRIDE (releasing June 2015) will be revealed in a few weeks, and I'm really excited about it! I can't wait for you guys to read this one. It's Bonnie and Clyde meets a Latina Pretty in Pink.

The Literary Connoisseur: Are you currently working on any new projects? 

Anna Banks: I'm working on NEMESIS, a YA fantasy based on ancient Egypt. Hot prince, clever princess turned slave, a plague, and impending war. What's not to like? :)

(From left to right: Katie Finn and her book, Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend, Anna Banks and her copy of Of NeptuneLindsay Smith and her book, Sekret, and Marie Rutkoski with her book, The Winner's Curse.)

My review for Anna Banks' Of Poseidon

  We've all gotten into the Young Adult paranormal romances that have loved us, had us fall in love with them, used us, and abused us (in the very best ways a book can abuse us), and we all admit that we're hopelessly addicted to them.
  Girl meets boy, boy sees girl, they fall in love, but there is something keeping them apart...
  One of them is a paranormal creature that cannot fall in love with a human! (The best part of the paranormal romance in my humble opinion.)
  But Of Poseidon by Anna Banks is unlike these others... It is a real "fish out of water" story. Almost literally.
  The Syrena Legacy is about mermaids.
  Although Galen, his sister, and his best friend do not like to be called mermaids, they are in fact not mermaids, they are Syrena.
  Emma, our main character, bumps into Galen (literally) on her trip to Florida and cannot stop thinking about him. After Galen recovers from being semi-attacked by Emma, he starts to think about her non-stop as well. But Galen is not the only mysterious being in this new and budding romance... Emma is showing some clear signs of Syrena as well, but nobody has ever seen anything like it before.
  This book is HILARIOUS! I laughed so hard at times, I almost cried! Emma is completely 100% normal. She trips, she falls, she says embarrassing things in front of gorgeous guys, and she's basically like every single normal teenage girl I know. (No typical stereotypes, thank you very much, Anna Banks!)
  Galen is beyond charming, and Anna Banks' secondary characters are the most lovable characters in the bunch!
  Of Poseidon is such a charming read. It's funny, witty, adorable, goofy, and I loved every bit of it!
  Also... If (when) you read Of Poseidon, make sure you have book two (Of Triton) and book three (Of Neptune) right near you. I didn't, because it hadn't come out yet, and it's been killing me ever since!
  These books are so worth a marathon read. Read them straight though, on vacation, near the water, with a floofy summer drink near you, because I cannot imagine anything quite as blissful.

Book                                ebook

To purchase the other two books in the Syrena Legacy:

Book                                ebook

Book                                ebook

Anna Banks

Anna Banks is a young adult author whose primary goal is to entertain smart, funny gals like herself. You can expect her works to be centered around a love story, freckled with humor, and seasoned with sarcasm.
Anna grew up in a small town called Niceville (yes, really) in the Florida Panhandle. She now lives with her husband and daughter close to her hometown. The youngest of seven children, she was spoiled beyond comprehension growing up. Before she started writing, Anna worked as a banker and a waitress. She loves old movies, fried chicken, and Simon Cowell, but loathes exercise, licorice, and haters.
She also spews sarcastic, romantic fiction under pen name Anna Scarlett.

For more on Anna Banks, check out her website here!

Her Facebook page here!

Follow her on Twitter here!

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