Name Anne Carlisle
Where are you from
Born and raised in Ashtabula, Ohio, in recent years I have lived on both coasts. Currently my husband and I divide our time between homes in Key West, Florida, and Seattle, Washington. Between us, we have six children and four grand-children.
Besides working on novels, I teach writing on the university level. I am a professor of writing at the University of Maryland, University College, and American Intercontinental University Online. My doctoral degree is in 19th Century British Literature from Case Western Reserve University, where I also served on the faculty. Later, I served as a Dean for Golden Gate University in San Francisco.
In college, I was a magazine editor and a columnist. Later, I authored a trade book on business writing for Penton Press and published hundreds of feature magazine articles and theatrical reviews for Solares Hill magazine in Key West. Among these were interviews with literary giants: Kurt Vonnegut, Nancy Friday, Wendy Wasserstein, Thurston Clark, and Peter Matthiessen.
My writing wards include a prize from the National Writer’s Club for a novel manuscript, a prize in poetry, and an ANPA journalistic award.
I started publishing paranormal romance novels in 2012. The first one was loosely based on Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native. Writing and publishing novels seems to have become a permanent habit.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
In March, Absolutely Amazing eBooks, a publisher located in Key West, published my latest novel, the first in a new series: Birdwoman: Memoirs of a Lovesick Siren (Diaries of a Siren, Book One). I’m excited to announce the book has received four five-star reviews on Amazon and was featured at the Mystery Writers Key West Fest earlier this month. It is available electronically or in paperback.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
In the second grade, I composed and illustrated a short story about the school janitor, whom I had a crush on. The teacher caught me passing it to a friend and kept me after school. She admitted to being impressed with my vocabulary.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I was in high school, I was asked to write a monthly guest column about our school for the local newspaper. When the paper announced I had won the best columnist award, I was hooked for life.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I have a love for reading novels which prompted me to live in the library during the summer vacation months and, eventually, to pursue a doctorate in English. To me, writing a novel is the highest calling. In my late twenties, I made my first attempt. All the Peanuts in Purgatory was highly autobiographical, and one editor described it as “Peyton Place without the solid saga.” Thirty years later, I set out to try again, with better results.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
Steeped in nineteenth century novels (Dickens, Austen, Thackeray, and so forth) as I am, there is an unavoidable fustian flavor in my use of the language. To balance this out, I also attempt to make my writing funny.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The title has changed a hundred time. One day, after watching the movie Birdman, I thought of Birdwoman, and that was it for me. My lead character is a siren, and the classic sirens were bird-like women.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
We don’t know who’s “out there.” Ancient aliens may have left behind hybrids. My sirens-in-human-form could well be the women of the future.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The novel is rooted in contemporary reality. Destiny, my siren protagonist, is an advice columnist. Destiny and her readers face predicaments in their love and family relationships that are similar to my own and/or the problems of others I know.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
There are so many! I go back to Anne of Green Gables; Anne Shirley, I convinced myself, was my literary twin. James Joyce, William Faulkner, and all the 19th century greats captured my attention in college. More contemporary writers I have admired and re-read include Muriel Spark, Flannery O’Connor, and Anne Rice.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
What strikes me about Muriel Spark, author of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie among other works, is the economy and acerbity of her style. The work is sculpted; no clutter remains.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
My publishers at Absolutely Amazing eBooks are a dream to work with. It helps to have a publisher in the same town; they are real people I can sit down with.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
It already is. My entire career has been involved with writing—either doing it or teaching it.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Paranormal psychology pand modern love are brewed together in this romantic coming-of-age saga about a 23-year-old siren-in-human-form. Destiny Dragoman (the word “dragoman” means interpreter or guide) possesses gifts of eidetic memory, mindreading, and musical genius — not to mention vestigial wings hidden under her shoulder blades. She flies like a migratory bird between Pinnacle, Wyoming, and Key West, Florida, two small towns where extremes in sex and religion are the norm. Along the way she attracts a tribe of sirens from antiquity. Are they friend or foe?
When not consulting the stars or Match.com in her quest for love, Destiny writes a popular syndicated advice column. Everything from computer dating to sexual fantasy is explored in Destiny’s columns and blogs. Although Destiny’s predatory powers outmatch any human’s, she experiences heartbreak over and over again. She lives under the shadow of a family curse — the women can have any man they like, so long as they like him dead. In these memoirs she refers to herself as a “damned creature.” Is she a force for evil or good? If for good, how will she defeat the curse and find true love?
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Showing rather than telling is easier said than done.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Living in two places myself, as the main character does, contributes to my understanding her better.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Hemingway said, “Kill all your darlings.” That is hard, but necessary. I will work on an opening, over and over, only to realize I need to scrap the whole thing.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Writing never gets easier.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
I see Emma Stone playing Destiny Dragoman.
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
As a college writer, I met the columnist Art Buchwald. He wrote this advice for me: “Stay out of my business.”
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I’m reading Fay Weldon. I have a friend who writes Regency romance, and I want to familiarize myself with the genre.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Lorna Doone, in the fifth grade.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I rarely cry, but a sudden emotion will sometimes do it. I laugh easily; anything can make me laugh. I see human existence as a comedy.
Fiona: Is there one person past or present you would meet and why?
I’d like to sit next to Woody Allen at a dinner party.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
No headstone for me. I want to go up in flames and have my loved ones carry my ashes with them.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I am addicted to Turner Classic Movies.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
My main character has her own Facebook page: Birdwoman 2016. On it, she answers questions from readers. She writes an advice column when she’s not writing in her diary.