Our very own resident episode reviewer, Annie Kenney, published her first book entitled “A Cynical American’s Guide To British Myth!” We are so excited for her that we interviewed her to find all about the book and how she got it out to the world. Read on!
How did this book come about?
I actually started writing a story about ‘Black Annis’ which is a local legend about a child-eating witch but half way through I hit a bit of writer’s block and put the story to one side. Over the next few months I started several different stories and never completed any of them. My hubby suggested I tie them together and make one whole book about them and so “A Cynical American’s Guide to British Myth” was born.
How long did it take to complete?
All in all – with additions and rewrites – it took about three years!
Tell us a bit about the book.
It’s about Lydia, a teacher of English folklore and myth, who contacts a cynical American writer, Jensen, online. Their relationship seems doomed because despite their shared love of the paranormal and supernatural their beliefs are poles apart. To Lydia’s astonishment, Jensen accepts her invitation to visit England and to explore its myths and legends. They take a road trip across Britain in a tiny KA and as Jensen travels the country with Lydia as his guide; his cynicism is tested, not only by Lydia herself, but also by the colorful array of characters that they meet along the way.
Jensen’s efforts to debunk legends such as Black Annis and the Cottingley Fairies are thwarted by both Lydia and those who truly believe. As time goes on, Jensen begins to question what he sees and feels as his love of the British countryside and Lydia become entwined. Jensen hears tales of the White Worm, experiences first-hand a Phantom hitchhiker battles nature itself when he confronts the legendary Green Man. The final tale of shape shifting Selkies makes Jensen realize that his cynicism is being replaced by humanity and humility and as his love for Lydia grows deeper, he begins to believe in the myths and legends he once wanted to disprove.
How hard was it to get published?
Really hard. I sent it off to agents at first and then directly to publishers. I spent nearly every vacation for about two years trying to get it accepted. When Ravenswood took it, I was overjoyed as it had been a long and arduous road!
How long have you been writing?
At the risk of sounding very, very old – about forty years!
What is your favorite thing to write about?
I like writing stories with a supernatural twist and I enjoy writing historical fiction. I’m not so good at things set in the present day. I have also been known to write articles about soccer and I love writing about my local team!
Besides Supernatural of course, what are some things that inspire you to write?
I am always inspired by people who I admire; most of my characters are based on real people (family, friends, actors, soccer players). Events in history, myths about the supernatural, stories people tell me, they all inspire me to write.
Who are some of your favorite authors?
I love John Grisham and Michael Crichton. My favorite book is Dracula by Bram Stoker and I also love ghost stories by M R James.
I see you write daily. How do you deal with writer’s block?
Very badly! I get frustrated but find that talking about what I am writing with my hubby helps a lot! Sometimes the block will clear in the middle of the night or when I’m at work and that can be extremely annoying!
Tell me about your dream writing project.
I would dearly love to write a script for Supernatural – I have tons of ideas! I guess it doesn’t really count, but I would like to see one of my stories turned into a film. I guess my dream project would be a book that went global in a ‘Harry Potter’ way but I’m always happy to write for pleasure and will continue to do so!
Congratulations, Annie! We are so proud of you.