“I believe there’s room for more blending of genres, more innovative ways to tell a story, more formats for presenting stories to readers. My commitment is to wrap my writing around these advances whenever or however they come.”
A member of the Writers’ League of Texas for a year, Ann Fields lives in Dallas.
Ann Fields: I started out in romance but after six years (and five books), I switched to paranormal. My novels and short stories primarily feature ghosts, spiritual beings—both good and evil—families who are cursed, and urban legends.
Scribe: What author would you most like to have a drink with, and what’s the first question you would ask them?
AF: One of my favorite authors is J. California Cooper, and I would love to have a drink and chat with her except she has already passed through this life. So when I meet up with her on the other side and we’re enjoying huge mugs of tea or coffee, the first question I plan to ask her is “what, if anything, would you change about your writing career?” The second question—and I know you said only one question but I just gotta know—is “why Marshall, Texas?”
Scribe: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what book would you want to have with you to keep you sane?
AF: The biggest, fattest compilation book of classic American and Harlem Renaissance literature; one book that contains all the great novels and short stories. Since it’s a compilation book is that cheating?
Scribe: What have you learned from your association with the Writers’ League?
AF: I appreciate the Writers’ League for its intelligent discussions on contemporary (and future) trends/issues in writing/publishing, like “How to Be a Good Literary Citizen.” Those discussions always challenge my thinking and help me evolve as a writer. I also appreciate the Texas Writes program. Those seminars fill a need and help to ensure literary voices from across the entire state are represented in the canon of Texas literature.
Scribe: Where do you see your writing taking you (or you taking it) in the future?
AF: Every year I see growth in my writing. With each successive project, I structure sentences better. I eliminate unnecessary clutter. I delve deeper into motivation, action, characterization. I edit better. All of which means I am becoming a better storyteller. On the flip side, where am I taking my writing? To genres unknown. To formats as yet uncovered. I believe there’s room for more blending of genres, more innovative ways to tell a story, more formats for presenting stories to readers. My commitment is to wrap my writing around these advances whenever or however they come.
Scribe: Here at the Writers’ League, we love sharing book recommendations. What’s one Texas-related book that has come out within the past year that you couldn’t put down?
AF: Oh boy, that’s a toss-up between Death Ain’t But A Word by Zander Marks and Rain, Snow, Sleet, or Hail by Nikki Coe. These were both highly entertaining stories, well written, creative, with characters to root (or boo) for; a very good use of my reading time. Even though they’ve been out longer than a year—I’m behind in my reading—I highly recommend them.
Scribe: Is there anything else about you that you would like to share with the world? An opportunity for blatant self-promotion!
AF: I’m sometimes asked why I switched from writing romance to paranormal, especially when I had a growing readership and editors offering me multi-book contracts. It’s a long answer but the Cliff Notes version is I needed to strengthen my writing muscles plus I encountered my first ghost. That one brush with the supernatural shifted my focus from love and happily ever after to love and life in the here and after. In my novel Fuller’s Curse and my short stories in Voices from the Block (Volumes I & II) and Lyrical Darkness, I explore life in all its many dimensions. That’s something I’m not sure I would have been able to do with romance.