Name Anita Cox
Age This is my last year in my 30s! I can’t believe it.
Where are you from? I hail from a tiny NW Indiana town called Wanatah. Blink, and you might miss it. It’s a small farm town where everyone either knows you, or is related to you.
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc.
Well, my family life sort of fits the motto go big or go home. I married a giant who stands 6’ 8” tall and I have a 250lb English Mastiff. I’m not sure what that says about me, except I’m pretty fearless.
I have two biological children who are just awesome, and two wonderful step-children. We only have one child left at home though, my 14 year old son (and my reason for hair dye.)
I cannot forget Tommy Chong, a cat who cannot get enough affection and looks perpetually stoned (hence the name.)
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Well, I sit on the Board of the Erotic Author’s Guild and I, along with another board member and some of our members are putting together an Anthology for Valentine’s Day. It’s nice to collaborate with so much talent.
I’m also looking forward to the Northern Iowa Book Bash at the end of April, where I’ll be attending as a signing author. There is a lot of talent attending this show and I’m humbled to be included.
In May, I’m representing the Erotic Author’s Guild at Wild and Windy in the City in Chicago.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I have always written, ever since I can remember. I started writing short stories in middle school for fun. I never really took it seriously, I just wrote for the love of the craft. In 2006 my father pushed me to try and publish (I started off writing suspense novels – before I created Anita Cox.) It’s been an obsession ever since.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I have no answer for this. I know, I know, it’s lame. But I’m not big on labels. I guess the first time I sold a book, I became a bonafide writer.
It really wasn’t until a friend introduced me to one of her friends as, “This is the author I was telling you about.” That’s when it hit me… oh yeah, I’m an author.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
When I started my Dirty White Candy series, it was loosely based on a young divorcee I knew. She’d only had sex missionary style and only with one man ever. Her new single life was scaring the hell out of her. Her story was so sad to me…so I changed her story to something more exciting. Not only did she love it, she started to learn from it.
That series is less about love and more about growth sexually. And while I didn’t realize it at the time, I’ve been told the entire series is not just entertaining, but instructional. I even teach a trick on how to cut off the gag reflex.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
It has evolved over time. I used to just write by the seat of my pants. Now, I outline. Well, I make a loose outline. I make character sheets, some of them are very detailed, some are not. I find this helps reduce time in editing and really speeds up the novel creation.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
With my latest series, the Shifter Chronicles, the titles are almost a micro-synopsis of the novel. The free Prequel, Pursuing Grace is, quite literally, about a Lycan pack searching for Grace, a missing link in their pack. Saving Grace, Book 1, tells the story of Grace’s growth and her rescue from her captor. Resurrection, Book 2, is about resurrecting an entire race of beings. No Quarter, Book 3, is about a real no quarter battle that is an integral part of the story, and very important to the main character.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
All of my work is centered on a fierce female main character. I love the romance genre and the subgenres, but I get so irritated by weak women. I say, no more! Strong women are sexy. Strong women deserve the strong man that stand beside them.
My first born has just turned 19 and I have spent her entire life empowering her. When she reached adulthood, she began reading my novels. It is her opinion that I have a White Knight complex and that I think it’s my job to empower women everywhere.
Maybe that’s true. Maybe it’s not. But I do love strong women.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic ?
My Dirty White Candy series is quite realistic. The same cannot be said for the Shifter Chronicles. Unless you can show me a sexy Centaur shifter…then by all means, I’m open to change my mind!
Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Oh there’s a bit of me in my books! Don’t judge me…someone had to do the research!
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I’ve read so many books that have really gripped me. The Celestine Prophecy was such a dry, challenging read but a friend encouraged me to finish. While it might be a work of fiction, it really changed my whole perspective on life. I understand how I affect and effect those around me.
There are a ton of authors I love, David Baldacci, Kelly Armstrong, Sylvia Day, Joe Konrath, Stieg Larsson (RIP) and of course, all of the classics.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I just started The Art of D/s Trilogy by Ella Dominguez
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Not lately. My TBR list is a mile long. I read my first Joanna Wylde book recently and holy hell! Hot, hot, hot! Sarah Fine is new to me but I have loved her Servants of Fate series so far. Jenna Fox’s dark erotica is pretty good.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
I’m currently writing two novels at once (this is a first for me.) The first is for the Guild Anthology, Indulgence. It’ll be a novella for the anthology and my MC is a CIA spook. I’m also working on a Sci-Fi Dystopian Erotic Romance.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
I’ve had different colleagues in the writing world that have continually supported me. We really do have a wonderful community in the writing world.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Without a doubt.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Self-Doubt is suicide. No. Once it’s done, it’s done. Let it be and move to the next book on your list.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I have always loved books. Always. As I said earlier, I began writing short stories just to entertain myself when I was very young. That desire never left. Except I’m not writing in multiple colors of ink (remember the pens, red, blue, green all-in-one?) Now it’s on a laptop, holding my cat, because he does not give me a choice.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Oh man… only if you promise to understand this is rough draft stuff… Not even a first read through, it’s a work in progress.
The end of the world didn’t come the way I thought it would. It wasn’t a nuclear war, pollution, or alien invasion. Something much more organic destroyed the earth. It didn’t matter really. Humans almost destroyed humanity on our own.
I remember saying goodbye to my family, thinking I’d see them again in ten years. It was a practice of the young women my family for generations.
Perhaps I should start at the beginning. Long before I was born, we were visited by an alien race. They promised to share their wealth of knowledge and medical advances with our planet. They wanted nothing in return, only to further the advancement of our race. That should have been our first clue.
They cured us of everything. One vaccine made us all immune from infection, cancers, and disease. But it came at a price. Slowly…over time fewer and fewer couples were able to conceive. People didn’t seem to notice or mind at first. After all, now that humans were living 150 years, our need to procreate at the usual rate had decreased.
But then…the babies that were born were predominantly male. Twenty males for every female born…and the rate of female births were still declining. With fewer and fewer fertile women on the planet, our safety and freedom were constantly in question. The wealthy and powerful were able to stake a claim to fertile women, holding them as a spouse whether or not she agreed.
At eleven, girls are tested. The fertile were given a tattoo on their arm. Those that weren’t were less valuable, less desired.
My family began sheltering their daughters, sending the fertile off to be trained by the Amazonians. Not the Amazon Women of pop culture, but the fearless warriors feared by the Ancient Greeks. The moment my tattoo was complete, my parents raced home, reassuring me that I’d be okay. Once inside, my mother told me to kiss my father goodbye. My lips barely graced his cheek when she pulled me away, hurrying me to the basement.
Once in her library, she removed a book on the third shelf. I remember the shock I felt when the bookcase moved revealing a hidden doorway. She pushed me through, pressing a button to close the shelf behind us. Out of fear, I cried as she pushed me down the hall, telling me she loved me. It was such a mixed bag, to have your mother tearfully pleading her love for you, all while shoving you quickly down a dark hall you didn’t even know existed in your own home. I couldn’t imagine where I was going. Was I going to live my life out in some kind of dungeon?
We came to a small room. The only thing in the room was a travel bag and what looked like a glass casket on its end, standing upright. My mother opened the lid, and then turned to hug me. I remember her green eyes, filled with tears. That image is still burned in my brain.
“Vala,” she sniffed, “this is a transporter.”
“Mom?” I cried. What did she mean?
“Vala, listen. We don’t have much time. You’re going to step inside and I will close the door. All you’ll see is a white light and when the light dims, you’ll be somewhere else. Somewhere far, far away. My mother did this for me, and her mother for her, and her grandmother before that. A group of strong women will greet you on the other side. They’re going to teach you things…amazing things. You’ll be a fierce warrior. In ten years’ time, you’ll step back through the transporter, and back into my arms. Be safe, Vala. Know that I love you.”
I held on tight, crying into her hair as she hugged me. After all, what eleven year old was prepared to flee her family and go live with strangers? What would happen if the government discovered illegal technology in our basement?
She kissed my forehead before she picked up my bag and slung it over my shoulder. Her gentle hands guided me into the casket. As soon as the door closed, I was blinded by light. When the light dimmed, I was no longer in our basement, but in a stone building. Three very tall women stood there. They just stood there and waited for me to come out.
“Vala?” The one to the left had a long chocolate brown hair, braided loosely to one side. She smiled and said my name once more. “Vala, come on out. It’s okay.”
Gathering whatever bravery I had at such a tender age, I wiped the tears still streaming from my eyes and stepped out of the casket and into training.
For ten years, I learned various forms of close quarter combat skills like stick fighting, Aikido, and other forms of martial arts. At fifteen, the Amazon women taught me how to use knives and guns, though they preferred a more stealthy approach.
“As a single warrior, the element of surprise will always be your strongest tool. Get in, kill quietly, get out.” Katana towered over me, her arms crossed over her chest until she received some sort of acknowledgement from me. Her long dark brown hair rested in a braid over her shoulder. A braid that had wound around my neck more than once. “Everything is a weapon, if you know how to use it.”
I was a quiet student, silently waiting to return to my family. The lasting image of my mother’s tearful goodbye was all I had. So I worked hard to please my Amazon masters. I studied the books they provided, trained more hours than was required, and stuck to myself.
My only downfall was my curious nature. Insomnia as an ally, I often snuck around the village late at night, a true voyeur at heart. I recall coming to the cabin of one of my trainers, Tatiana. The noises I heard from the cabin led me to believe she was training with a male companion. As I crept closer to the cabin and peeked through the window, it was obvious the grunts were not from strain due to training, but sounds of pleasure.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I get nailed, every single time, by my editors for head hopping. I don’t mean to do it, it just happens. I see this movie playing in my head and write what I see. I always have to go back and fix the head hopping and even then, I miss a bunch my editors have to catch.
I fear, one day, they’ll bludgeon me to death for the head hopping.
Fiona: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
In my humble opinion, the author best at world building and getting us emotionally invested in her characters is, hands down, J.K. Rowling. No, I’m not ashamed to admit that I love Harry Potter. I scooped up every book as they became available.
My other favorite author is David Baldacci. His stories have many layers and I can’t put his books down until I reach the end.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Book conferences require travel. Other than that, no.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Roxie at Syn Publishing and I collaborated on the Shifter Chronicles series. I’ve requested a reversion of rights on my Dirty White Candy series from Liquid Silver, mostly because I absolutely hate the covers.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Finding the time. I still have a full-time job and a family so, finding quiet time to write is my biggest challenge.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I do a lot of research for my books. I’m always learning. I also am a firm believer that sex education should never stop. I read a lot and also watch SexPlanations on YouTube because Doctor Doe is an invaluable resource.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
The pool is very diluted. It’s a challenge to stand out in a sea of veteran authors and the plethora of those that come and go. Don’t do this unless you truly have the passion to stick it out. This business requires thick skin (and a lot of coffee and/or wine.)
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I love you all for following me through these years. Your emails, comments, and reviews really do mean the world to me.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Leo the Lop
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I’m not much one for tears. I’d much rather laugh. With that being said, the Notebook still makes me bawl like a baby. Comedy is my go-to though. There are a lot of physical benefits to laughing. Plus, it feels good.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Sir Anthony Hopkins. Because, he’s Sir Anthony Hopkins.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
She came. She raised hell. She left.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
I’m an avid fisherman and if I were independently wealthy, I’d fish and write. The end.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m absolutely obsessed with The Blacklist. I also never miss an episode of Scorpion. Other than that I don’t watch much television other than the random episode of Bar Rescue or Drunk History.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
Food: Steak, medium
Music: Classic Rock
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
There’s something else?
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it? Blog: http://authoranitacox.wordpress.com
My other links: Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/U99P9
Publisher’s Author Page: http://synpublishing.com/anita-cox.html
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/author/anitacox
Free Prequel for the Shifter Chronicles http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00TO0NVH6
Thank you so much for having me today!