Monday, December 3, 2018

Interview with women's fiction novelist A.K. Arlington

Novelist A.K. Arlington joins me today to share a bit about her new women’s fiction novel, Anna: The Story Behind the Star.

A.K. Arlington lives in Los Angeles with Bella, a fairly ancient Silken Windhound. A dog lover. An optimist or a pessimist, depending on the day (and sometimes the time of day). Loves reading, but can’t help writing. Years of acting, directing, and writing plays and screenplays, have led to ANNA: The Story Behind the Star.

Welcome, A.K. Please tell us about your current release.
ANNA: The Story Behind the Star is a novel, written in the form of a memoir, about a young woman growing up in Des Moines, Iowa, who decides at a very early age that she wants to be an actress. In her own words, Anna tells us how she made that happen and, often in intimate detail, about the men she encountered along the way. Ultimately, it’s about a woman who sets her mind on a goal and will stop at nothing to achieve it.

What inspired you to write this book?
Having acted for many years, the idea of a young woman’s rise to stardom seemed a natural fit. Many events in the book are inspired by events I encountered in my own career (although Anna is definitely more “adventurous” than I was).

Excerpt from ANNA: The Story Behind the Star:
Jake must have had feelings for me for months. We’d been in each other’s company nearly every day all that time, but he never pressed it. He waited until I brought it up, in that basement Chinese restaurant on Mott Street.
I leaned across the table.
Even though I made my intentions clear, he still hesitated. Then, slowly—achingly slowly—he moved his lips to meet mine.
His kiss was sweet. Tender.
A grumpy voice interrupted the moment. “You finished?” Our waiter dropped our check on the table and stood there, poised to grab our plates.
Jake looked at me. I nodded. “Yes, we’re—”
“Need table,” the waiter snapped. “You go now.” He hurried off with our plates.
As we climbed the steps back to the street, I stopped Jake and leaned against the rail. It took him a moment to figure out I wanted him to kiss me again.
He did, lightly—once, twice. Then he looked into my eyes and kissed me a third time.
I pulled his lean, hard body against mine. I slipped my fingers under his t-shirt to feel the abs that occupied my thoughts so many times.
I asked, “How far away is your place?”
“Four blocks. Did you want to …?”
I nodded. He took my hand, and we and headed up Mott Street.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m still deciding, actually. I’m developing outlines for a few things, which tends to be how I work. I’m outlining one about a group of women in a trailer park; a detective romance; and one about a lawyer who gets involved in a case that’s way over her head, both with the case itself and becoming involved romantically with the shady client. At some point, one of them will demand to be written, and that’s what I’ll do.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I began writing short plays and monologues to get scenes to perform in acting class. I found it easier to write a scene that focused on what I wanted to work on than to search through plays for the right material. An agent called me in from a showcase I’d done, where I’d performed something of my own. It turned out she wasn’t interested in taking me on as an acting client; she’d called me in to find out about the writer who’d written the scene. That’s when I knew I was onto something as a writer.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
My day job is actually a fairly boring office job at a law firm. Finding time to write is hard, but I try to carve out at least an hour or two a day to do it.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I talk to my characters. This is a carryover from my acting days. They become real to me. I can hear their voices, and get the cadence of their speech. When I write, I give just enough character description to allow the reader to decide for themselves what the characters look like. But I could tell you what Anna looks like to me, how she walks, what she wears. And even though all this comes from inside my head, I’m always delighted when I character decides to do something I don’t expect.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A veterinarian, of course. Then, I think, a singer. Then an actor. But I’ve always been interested in writing. I remember writing short stories as far back as elementary school.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
I’ve been most gratified by comments from friends, and reviews I’ve received, in which people seem to “get” that Anna’s story is about a woman taking charge of her own life, her own body, and her own sexuality. I was concerned that in the #metoo era, some people might be uncomfortable with a woman using her sexuality as one tool in her struggle to get ahead. And, to be fair, some have felt that way. Mostly, though, people find it refreshing that Anna’s journey is one of empowerment.


Thank you for joining me today, A.K.

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