Melchior: Vengeance Is Mine is a sweeping saga that shows the generational effects of our choices. The tapestry of interwoven characters was rich and well done, in my opinion. I’ve seen written that during the development of the novel, your husband passed away. How was the novel’s development affected by your grief, and how did that grief affect the novel?
Writing has always been a bit if an escape from reality and yet an opportunity to look at life—my life as well as life in general—from a fresh angle. John suffered the effects of Leukemia for four years before he passed away, so my writing during those years shadowed that reality. Many questions arose while I watched the man I loved suffer and die. At the same time, God’s grace remained tangible and held me together far better than I realized during the ordeal. The dual reality of grief and comfort, testing and surrender, informed the complexities of the novel. I realized I could no longer simply tell a “story.” Rather, I reflected through character, plot, and setting something of life’s mystery, which pointed to something beyond me as a writer and humanity as a whole. That is the core of Melchior’s journey—to realize that he didn’t have to understand God or even himself; he simply needed to allow God to grow inside him no matter what was happening around him.
Last of Her Kind, a science fiction novel, is vastly different from your other (historical) novels. In it, dying humanity encounters an alien race. What inspired a story radically different from your other work? What was its genesis?
I wrote the original version of Last of Her Kind twenty years ago, when I was pregnant with my second son. At that time, I had to make a choice between writing, managing the details of my home, raising little ones, and homeschooling. I chose to put the writing aside. The spring after John passed away, a friend I had not heard from in years called to offer her condolences. During our conversation, she reminded me of my first story idea and suggested that I get back to it.
At the time, I wasn’t sure I would ever write again. I didn’t feel I was a good writer, and I was emotionally drained. But a series of incidents kept bringing the story back to my mind, and I decided to enroll in a graduate level writing program. I worked on Last of Her Kind through the summer and rewrote it during my graduate program and even completed a screenplay based upon the novel. I decided to attempt a new style of writing—more visual and modern. Science fiction fit the bill and happened to match the genre of Last of Her Kind.
The Adventures of Tally-Ho is a children’s picture book. How did you find the process of creating a book for young children different from publishing a novel?
The Adventures of Tally-Ho was an uncompleted project that John and I had started together. When I decided to finish it, I had to find an artist to replace John’s work, which he had only just begun. Christine deShazo is a gifted artist, and she brought the story to life better than I had dared to dream. It would hardly have been a story without her pictures. I have worked with editors, proofreaders, and book designers in the past, but working with an artist was new territory. I enjoyed the experience mostly because Christine’s talents and enthusiasm complemented the story so well.
You have self-published eight books for adults, one for children, and produced a steady stream of short stories over the past five years. And you’ve earned an advanced degree. How do you make time for writing amidst all of your other responsibilities?
It has to be a God-thing because I can’t explain it. The kids, school, and home come first, so I only write in the in between times: after school, in the evening, or at odd moments on the weekend. I used to keep a schedule, but life is never predictable, so I constantly flex my schedule to deal with the unexpected. Perhaps allowing myself that flexibility has been the key—I’m not sure.
Your children have developed a love for writing too. How have you fostered literary and creative interests in them?
My eldest son Ian just graduated with a degree in Computer Animation, and he is just now setting up his own freelance illustration business. He also writes and shares his work with the family. His first young-adult fantasy novel, The Dwarven Pillar, should be out in 2018. My second daughter, Teresa, is also an accomplished writer, though she has not planned to publish any of her work—at least not yet. We enjoy gathering as a family to listen to each other’s latest creation. It draws us together, and, frankly, it’s a wonderful source of family entertainment. Two of my other daughters enjoy drawing and painting, and we hang their pictures around the house. Enjoying each other’s creative endeavors had been a source of joy and an inspiration to us all.
What project(s) are you working on now?
Currently, I am completing my newest 2018 short stories series, which will include a new historical—science fiction blend. Each of my novels follow the same family line—from Aram in ancient times to Melchior in the Medieval ages—all the way into our science fiction future. It occurred to me that it might be interesting to consider what the alien worlds I encounter in Last of Her Kind and Newearth—Justine Awakens (due out in 2018) would have thought of early humanity. So I wrote stories involving the characters from my science fiction novels observing the characters from my historical fiction work in The Deliverance Trilogy, Georgios, and Melchior.
In addition, I’m in the final stages of development for Newearth—Justine Awakens and finishing the first draft of my next novel—Newearth—A Hero’s Crime.
I like to work on various projects to give my writing a fuller perspective and allow a change of pace when I need it. I also like to stay sane. Time will tell . . .
As an author and teacher with a degree in Elementary Education, Ann Frailey has written and published nine books, and several of her articles have been published in national magazines. In 2016, she earned a Masters of Fine Arts Degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment from Full Sail University and won two course director’s awards.
Ann belongs to the Catholic Writer’s Guild, home schools, and maintains a mini-farm with her children and their numerous critters. She is currently working on a science fiction and literary, short story series, a new science fiction novel, and a science fiction, miniseries screenplay. To check out her short stories and information about her current writing projects, visit her blog: https://akfrailey.com/blog/
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