About the Author
What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?
I normally write either historical fiction with theological backgrounds, Urban Fantasy, or contemporary literature. I have a degree in Theology, though I’m not a religious person, I am a historian and a theology fanatic, so I like to fictionalize different theological theories, and different historical events. I find a lot of characters in religious mythos interesting and fun to explore. Urban Fantasy has so many avenues that you can take with it, and it’s a nice break from the traditional fantasy universes from time to time.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a writer from a very young age. In fact, as soon as I was old enough to start creating fictional stories, I was. I think I wrote my first story when I was about seven or eight, and it just grew from there. When I was a teen, I spent more time scribbling away at the piles of notebooks I had in my bedroom than I did hanging out with friends. I remember spending hours sitting under my loft bed in my makeshift writing space, blasting old sixties folk music and just writing page after page of vampire stories.
Who or what was your inspiration for writing?
I take inspiration from almost everything. Things I experience in life, stories from others, books I’ve read, places I’ve visited. I’ve found the best way to make a story realistic and readable is to write what you know. If I’m interested in a subject that I don’t know a lot about, I will spend months researching before I start writing about it.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I’m a mom, so I do a lot of mom stuff. A lot of scout meetings with my son and daughters, and art classes, as all three of my kids are aspiring artists. We do roller skating on the weekends, whenever we get the chance. I live in the desert so the season for hiking isn’t long, but we try and get out as much as we can. I’m an amateur gardener, getting into it this year and having a great time. I landscaped my entire backyard all through the spring and I’m finally seeing the delicious, green results from all of my hard work.
Where do you hang out online? Website URL, author groups, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc?
I use a lot of social media to market myself, and I also have a blog of my rants and raves… mostly rants, haha.
What books are currently on your nightstand?
Currently I’m reading my favorite theology writer, Elaine Pagels, Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas.
Do you remember the first novel you read?
I wish I did, but I was reading at a really advanced level really young. I remember, though, that my best friend and I were reading The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner, and Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell on a repeat basis. My first adult novel was Interview with a Vampire, by Anne Rice. My mom was reading the series and she told me I wasn’t allowed to read it, so I snuck in her room when she was done with it and devoured the first three books. Once she realized I’d done it, she let me have the rest, but she wasn’t happy about it.
What would you like readers to know about you the individual?
I’m a pretty simple person. I’m happy, I enjoy being a wife and a mother. I’m super nerdy, obsessed with Doctor Who and BBC Sherlock, and nearly any and everything Joss Whedon has done. I work in a restaurant, Saffron Indian Bistro, which feeds my constant craving for all things curry, and other than that, I’m a writer.
Who are your favorite authors and why?
The first mention goes to Anne Rice, though honestly I’m mainly a huge fan of her early works. Ramses the Damned was probably my favorite book of all time, and I re-read it any chance I get. I’m a big fan of Jim Butcher as a writer. The way he handles himself with his fans, dealing with his notoriety, I really respect that and hope to conduct myself similarly should I ever gain that kind of fanbase… though I’m not holding my breath haha. Elaine Pagels is my favorite theology writer. Her research and unbiased way of providing the information really inspires me on my journey as I study the very wide world of theology.
Name one thing that your readers would be surprised to know about you.
Probably that I don’t really read a lot of fiction at all, though it’s almost the only thing I write. I find myself drawn to non-fiction history and theology books, and my list of books I want to read is so long I’ll probably never get through it all.
Where are you from originally? Family?
I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. I’ve traveled a lot, Mexico, Canada and Europe, and a few states through the US here and there. My mother was born in Arizona, my dad was born in Paris, France, though he lives in AZ and honestly I have family so spread through the globe that were a veritable melting-pot of cultures!
Is there anything unique about your upbringing that you’d like to share with readers?
I spent a lot of my childhood with my dad’s mom, who is French, so I was brought up with a lot of the French culture, which is really a lot different from American culture. They don’t give out a lot of compliments, and they’re really brutally honest, so as I grew up, I had to learn that there were moments when my brutal honest just wasn’t appropriate, though I still have a hard time not telling it like it is!
Your Writing Process
Why do you write?
I write because it’s probably the one thing I do just for myself that I enjoy most. I like gardening, I like doing yoga, and getting pedicures, and reading books, but I love writing.
What excites you about writing?
Creating a new world, new people, falling in love with brand new characters. It’s all so exciting, and sharing that with the world… there’s no better feeling.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
My schedule is always hectic. Between kid events, scout meetings, my husband’s job and my own, I have to squeeze writing in where I can. When I’m working on the meat of a book, I usually take time off of work to get a lot done. I usually give myself page goals, and make sure I take frequent breaks between pages so I don’t lose focus.
What would you consider is your favorite part of a book to write? The beginning, the middle or the ending?
The middle, for sure, and the ending isn’t so bad for me. I love the middle because it’s the heart of the story, and it’s really getting to know who the characters are as people. I just love that!
Is there any other genre you have considered writing in?
I would eventually like to write a memoir, or two, and possibly co-author with a couple of friends of mine. I think we could come up with something quite hilarious and definitely relatable.
Do you listen to music or have another form of inspiration when you are writing?
Music is very distracting, unless it’s something classical and quiet. The words of lyrics tend to influence what I’m writing, and not always in a good way. I want my characters to come from my mind, and speak for themselves, and as much as I love music, which I do, I try to keep that separate from when I write.
Most people envision an author’s life as being really glamorous. What’s the most unglamorous thing that you’ve done in the past week?
I’m not sure where people get that idea! Haha! The most unglamourous thing I think I’ve done this past week is standing in a hot restaurant kitchen covered in boiling hot korma sauce. Some day I might have the gorgeous outside gazebo with the writing desk and hammock where I can create my fictional worlds, but for now it’s all carpools and playdates and grocery shopping, and cleaning up messes, and when there’s time, writing pages.
Do you track work count or write a certain number of hours per day?
I usually have a page goal that I try and meet. This week my page goal is 80 pages, and so far I’m about half-way there. I have a deadline that I set to have the book ready for the beta-readers, which is my step before re-writes and editing. I try and write at least two to three hours per day if I work, and more if I don’t.
What was the most uplifting moment you’ve experienced during your writing career?
I would have to say holding my paperback copy of my first book in my hands. The UPS truck delivered it, and I remember opening the box and just sort of staring down at the cover thinking, “Wow. I wrote this.” I put the picture on Instagram and then on Facebook and twitter, and in fact, I’m still excited about it!
Your book is about to be sent into the reader world, what is one word that describes how you feel?
Absolutely terrified, and desperate for response. The worst thing a writer can get is silence. I’m never going to think my writing is perfect, but sometimes I don’t realize there are areas I need to improve on until someone points them out to me.
What can we look forward to in the upcoming months?
The end of November will be the birth of my series, The Judas Curse. It’s a theological inspired Urban Fantasy delving into the world of all theologies, from Greek, to Hindi, to Buddhism (though that’s a philosophy), to the legends of the Norse gods, and of course Christianity. The books draw from old Gnostic gospels like the Gospel of Judas, and from old legends from the ancient worlds. It’s all in modern day, however, and I think the readers who like that sort of genre will be really excited to read it!
Do deadlines help or hinder your muse?
Because I have so much going on in my personal life, deadlines really help. They give me a focus and goal, so being able to keep a date in mind keeps me on track.
Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I know a ton of writers who live on outlines, but for me, they’re distracting. I like my books to unfold organically, and for that to happen, I stick to the central theme I have in my head, but try and make sure nothing is predetermined.
What was your first published work and when was it published?
My first published work is Moments Collide, and it became available for the public on September 24th, 2012, which was also the day my sister gave birth to my newest nephew, so it was a really, really good day!
Is there something special you do to celebrate when one of your books is released?
My husband took me to one of our favorite fondue restaurants, and when he told the server about my book, she brought us a plate of chocolate covered strawberries and one of the chefs had written Congrats in chocolate on the plate. I hope to make that a tradition! It was delicious, too, by the way!
Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?
All of my characters have personality traits based on people I know. To say that I created people out of nowhere would be arrogant of me, and rather untrue. I believe all writers draw from the things we know and experience. That’s not to say that they don’t develop, over time, a life and personality of their own, but they always start from something I learned from someone else in my past.
Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?
It can be. I have a list of favorite names, but I tend to exhaust that list quite quickly and coming up with new names for characters for new stories gets difficult. Last names are probably the worst for me!
Which of your stories would make a great movie? Who’d play the lead roles?
I think my Urban Fantasy series would be a great movie, but if Moments Collide ever made it to the big screen, I’d love to see Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Hiddleston play Felix LaPage. For the character Rayne, I always kind of pictured Felicia Day, not because she’s crazy, but because I think she’d be good at playing it! The true love interest was the hardest, but my husband and I eventually came up with Jenna-Louise Coleman, who consequently plays the new companion on Doctor Who, and she’s gorgeous!
Do you make a conscious decision to write a certain type of character with a certain occupation, or do the characters decide for themselves what they want to be?
Yes I do. In my new story, one of the main characters, Ben Standford, is a detective, and I made that decision based on the person I wanted him to be. I try and make it fit as much as I can.
Is there a character from one of your books that resonates deeply with you?
Probably Felix, from Moments Collide. I know people who went through similar situations, I, myself being one of them, so it’s easy to sympathize with the character and definitely easy to feel the pain as you read through his journey.
Name one website you visit every single day.
Tumblr, for my geeky Doctor Who/Sherlock/Avengers fix.
Where do you get your daily dose of news?
Haha, from the news app on my husband’s phone, because the news app on mine is total crap. And secondly from the people on my personal Facebook who are constantly posting articles saying, What the heck is going on, world?!
Angella Graff was born and raised in the desert city of Tucson, Arizona. She married and became a mother very young, and after getting started with her family, began her University studies where she found her passion for creative writing, history and theology.
She now resides in Tucson with her husband Joshua, three children, Christian, Isabella and Adia, and their three cats, Archive (Ivy), Lasciel and Fix. She prefers to spend her days writing, gardening, and reading non-fiction theology theory books. Angella is also an avid, if not fanatic fan of Doctor Who and BBC Sherlock, which tend to dominate her dry, sarcastic humor, a lot of which is apparent in her writing.
Currently Angella is working on an Urban Fantasy series called The Judas Curse, involving extensive research into Mythos, Christianity and history. The first book of The Judas Curse, The Awakening, is due out November 2012.
Description: “There are no beginnings or endings, just a series of moments colliding.” Felix LaPage was a rising classical music star, but his personal life was full of pain and heartache. It wasn’t until he met a woman who changed his views on life and love that he truly understood the meaning of those words.