I’ve been acquainted with Amber Addison and Anna Bishop Barker for a while now. Not only are they passionate and talented individuals, but they are also the type of people that strive to make the lives of those around them a little brighter. Anyone that has had the pleasure of getting to know them, will understand when I say that they have a benign aura about them. There is never a dull conversation with these two ladies.
Anna is definitely the ‘mummy’ of the pair, and please don’t misunderstand me, this lady is full of wit and dry humour – however, she is also full of great advice and willing to take you under her wing at any time. Amber, on the other hand is the spunky ‘sister’, she’s beautifully bashful and soft. With an affinity for body art – she boasts some pretty cool and stunning tattoos.
With the Titan World project launched, and with the immediate success of their Debut novels Flightpath (Amber’s) and Going Under (Anna’s), I thought it only fair that the world get to know them a little better. After all, there aren’t many debut authors whose work debuts in the iBooks Top 20 Latest Releases Bestsellers.
As we’re chatting you can feel the excitement oozing from them. They still can’t believe that they’re published authors!
So, girls. What’s it like to finally have your work published and available to readers worldwide?
Amber (AA): Insane! That’s the only word that even comes close to how I’m feeling!
Anna (AB): Yas! Exciting, surreal, like a very scary, wonderful dream come true.
Mammie (MB): Scary? Why?
AB: Scary I guess because as a writer you put a lot of yourself out there. It’s your creation and there is no real way to judge if people will accept and like it. If you still have it in your brain with only yourself as a critic, you are safe. Once it’s out in the world, anything goes.
AA: Yeah, there’s so much of me in what I write, so putting myself in a book like this is a really vulnerable thing. That’s scary.
MB: Has the reaction from your readers surprised you?
AB: Yes! I’m overwhelmed with the support and love. It is beyond anything we that I had hope for.
AA: What she said. I went into this fully expecting people to dislike my book because of the format I wrote it in, and I’ve been SO surprised to find so many people loving it and connecting to it. It’s amazing.
MB: How about your families? What were their reactions and feelings towards your books? Have they read them?
AB: Well, my family is a very nerdy, book-loving household, as well as being very sarcastic and teasing. I’ve definitely gotten a lot of guff about writing “love stories”. [laughs] But, they are telling their friends that their mom is a writer now – So I think they are proud and happy. Although, my son refused to read the sexy parts. [giggles]
AA: Yeah, I’m not sure I want my family to read my sex scenes. [blushes] But, they are super proud. It’s a blessing.
MB: Was there a point in your lives where you had that A-HA! moment that you wanted to be writers?
AA: I’ve always loved writing – journalistically at first and then I blogged for a while. I read two books back to back that really spoke to me – John Green’s Looking for Alaska and Jandy Nelson’s The Sky is Everywhere – and I thought that if their stories could help me, maybe I could do the same for someone else. That’s what got me writing my first book. Flightpath is actually my second book, first published though. I have surprises see? [laughs]
MB: How about you Anna?
AB: I don’t know if I ever had an A-HA moment as such. I’ve been such a book nerd all my life – it just seemed natural to think about writing someday.
MB: So, now that you’re Authors, what are your aspirations? What can we expect from you now?
AB: Ideally, I want to write the kind of books that I like to most read – passionate, funny, and suspenseful. Hopefully as I learn, I would like to include underlying messages about things I believe in, or themes that are universal to women. Ultimately. If I can make someone’s life a bit easier for a few hours, that’s all I really need.
MB: Do you not think that the storyline of Going Under already fulfils this? You must be aware that there are many women out there that will resonate with Rebecca Shaughnessy’s story.
AB: When I started this I wanted to make sure that anything that I wrote contributed something to the greater good. Certainly Rebecca’s story is the story of far too many, and I hope that the story, particularly her strength, resonates with those who, like me, identify with her.
MB: I haven’t been through anything like Rebecca, however, I found it easy to empathise with her and I only hope that I have some of her strength. How about you Amber? Where do you see yourself going from here?
AA: I want to continue writing in this world. I’ve become obsessed with the selflessness of the Air Force Pararescuemen (PJs). They don’t get enough credit, in my opinion. As for my characters – I’m so in love with them and they have stories to tell! I also plan to release the book that started it all at some point soon!
AA: It’s a contemporary romance with a steamy soccer player! [winks]
MB: Cannot wait! Does that mean that you guys are full-time writers?
AB: Not yet, but that is the goal!
AA: Like many writers it’s my second job.
MB: I hope that changes, because I can’t wait to read more of your material! Let’s talk titles and covers. How did you come up with those?
AB: The tittle [Going Under] just fell out of my brain – it and the book concept were actually there before I had a full idea of the story. The cover was nearly the same. I literally went to a stock photography site, typed in a very vague description of what I was looking for and the photo was the 4th one I saw. I sent the photo to the designer, she sent back the first proof and we were essentially done. It was that easy. This time anyway.
MB: Anna, every time I see the cover of your book or hear the title, I can’t help think of Evanescense’s song. That was my go to Emo tune… when I was a teen. What about you Amber?
AA: [laughs] When I found my cover model, I stopped looking. I knew when I saw him that he was what this story was going to tell. As for the title – Flightpath can be written as one word or two, but it’s about a traveller’s directional path. Where are they going? Where does their flightpath lead? Seth and Maddie have an insane flightpath, and it relates to him being an Air Force PJ. I don’t know, it just came to me! The rest is history!
MB: Are there any authors you’d like to co-lab with?
AA: Where do I start? [laughs] I have a whole slew of authors. I’d love to co-write a novel with someone. I think that’d be cool. I’d really like to co-lab with some musicians at some point too. My list of names is endless!
MB: Off the top of your head who’s THE musician?
AA: Oh man, that’s a hard hitter! Hmmm… My first kneejerk is someone who just does something acoustic, simple. I’d probably want to use a friend or someone who’s not super well known. My friend Beth Crowley does amazing book related songs, and my buddy Justin Nault is pretty amazing too. They’re both from Nashville. [hoots] There’s a couple more Nashville artists I’d be thrilled to work with.
AA: Kane Brown and Devin Dawson, although Devin isn’t as mainstream Country. To me anyway. That’s probably why I love him so much. I’ve also really got into a bad called Arlo McKinley recently, I’d fangirl all over to work with them in any capacity!
AB: I’d love to do a dual POV single book with Cristin Harber. She doesn’t know this!
MB: She will do now!
AB: [smiles] I’d also love to do a sci-fi romance collaboration with SE Smith.
MB: Would you two ever consider collaborating with each other? I think the end material could be incredible. Just saying!
AB: [laughs] We have actually already talked about this. One of the top highlights of this entire experience has been getting to know Amber and seeing her talent and her tremendous heart and spirit up close. It would be an honor to do something with her.
AA: I think it would be really fun to work on a project with Anna. We write very different stylistically and could probably put together something super kick ass. You never know! [giggles]
MB: Do you think that your roots influence your writing? Where you grew up.
AA: Your environment definitely influences you! I grew up in the deep south – Mississippi – and a lot of my family is from Louisiana. I think that it definitely helped me set the scene of a small town couple, but I’ve also had city experiences to mix in.
AA: Definitely. My character Maddie goes through a lot of growth in Flightpath, and most of it happens after becoming a mom. I think it happened that way for me, as well. That’s just another piece of me that’s very much in Maddie!
MB: Anna, tell me about your roots.
AB: I grew up in the southern US, so I probably will always gravitate back there. The characters, the language and the mind-set of the South is always in my soul somewhere.
MB: I love the Southern drawl. I’ve kind of found myself reading more and more books with Southern characters. There’s just something about them… they have so much spunk! Talking of characters. Are any of your characters based on real people? If so, who, and do they know?
AA: Maddie is very much a part of me, but I find that a lot of my female leads are. Seth is a work all on his own, I don’t know how he came to me but I’m so glad he did.
MB: You and I previously discussed your links to the military. Do you think that having a Marine in your family played a subconscious role in the direction you took Seth in?
AA: Definitely. My brother is my freakin’ hero and in my eyes he hung the moon. Frankly I don’t think there’s anyone better in the world than him. I like to think Seth is that kinda guy, too.
MB: Wow, your brother sounds pretty amazing, his would be some big boots to fill! How about your characters Anna? Are any of them based on someone in your life?
AB: Well, in this book, there are big chunks of me in the heroine. She’s NOT me, but there are significant parts of her that are very close to me. There is also a secondary character that is a shout out to a colleague that I lost recently. He was a mentor and a dear friend.
MB: I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m sure he’s looking down and feeling so very proud of what you’ve achieved and of being a part of Going Under. Tell me a bit about your steamy scenes. Where did you get inspiration from?
AA: I usually draw inspiration from music. I’m still learning sex scenes. And they make me blush! But if I hear a good song that gets the brain going… I’m off to the races! [giggles]
AB: My inspiration comes from every good sex scene I’ve ever read!
MB: Is there anything you would never include? Why?
AB: Hardcore BDSM of any sort. It’s just not my thing. I’m not sure If I’ll ever do any butt sex, but never say never! I think my personal voice is passion, but underlying romance. I’ll definitely let the hero slam the heroine against the wall of an elevator, but it’s probably always going to end with him nuzzling her neck afterwards.
AA: For me it’s hard to say. I don’t want to box myself inand say I’ll never write this or that – everyone’s got their “thing”. I can say that I’ll most likely always write dominant men. [laughs] I can’t help it.
MB: I’m with you on the dominant love right there! Soooo, men… Who would you consider your celebrity cringe crush?
AB: I don’t know about cringe, but I’ve had several unusual crushes.
MB: Such as?
AB: Peter Dinklage, Stanley Tucci, Brian Williams – the news anchor.
AA: [blushes] I still cringe on him, so I’m not sure if it’s cringe or not, but teenage Justin Timberlake with that bleach blond mop on his head. [sighs] Wowza!
MB: My heart still skips a beat for a young Robert Redford. Rob Lowe is right up there too – even today! I’m not sure if you guys have ever played this game – Snog, Marry, Avoid? Basically, just pick which one of these three you would like to do to either Scott Eastwwod, Henry Cavill and Ryan Gosling.
AA: Snog? That’s not an American thing, I have to look that up.
MB: Yeah? What’s the American term for snogging then?
AA: I think we’d say cuddle or snuggle? I Googled it!
MB: In the UK snogging is like smooching. Like making-out?
AA: Well, Anna would off me if I did anything with Henry Cavill, So I’m gonna avoid him. Scott Eastwood is so dreamy, I’d have to “snog” him. Ryan Gosling, I’d marry because… uh… hello… Ryan Gosling!
AB: Scott Eastwood – snog. HARD! Henry Cavill, I’d snog, marry, worship, have for dessert… [sighs] I don’t really get him, so I’d avoid Ryan Gosling.
MB: So, between us three we’d all be happy! I do love a little Eastwood. Mmmm… Anyway, what’s the one thing you can’t live without?
AB: My grankids’ hugs. Simple.
AA: Easy, my cell phone and coffee. Period, end of story. But to add to what Anna said, man I really struggle when I travel and don’t have my little one’s hugs every day.
MB: That’s two things… I’ll let slide this time since you’ve been so accommodating! Is there anything you ladies would like to say to your readers?
AA: THANK YOU. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for asking for more Seth and Maddie. Thank you for taking a chance on an author you don’t know. I appreciate each and every one of you!
AB: What she said. Thank you for giving a piece of your life and time to reading something that I wrote. Don’t ever be concerned about giving me a shout – to complain, to ask, to critique, whatever. I may not agree, I may not change, and I may not answer your question as you would like, but I am ALWAYS willing to talk and to listen. It is an honour and a privilege to have someone consider your art. Always.
MB: Very last thing. Will you be doing any signings?
AB: Sure, if I’m lucky enough to be successful enough to work it out and people want it.
AA: There are no signings planned for me at the moment, but I would consider doing a virtual signing if that interest was big enough!
MB: Thank you both so much for taking time out of your busy schedules for me. I have a feeling that you’re both going to be well known names very soon. Congratulations on your incredible debuts and I hope you’ll continue dropping by Mammie Babbie. We are definitely fans!