Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south west of England and now lives in Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before turning her hand as a professional writer.
Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theatre (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), visiting friends who live in other countries, Marvel Comics, learning new things, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.
Although her most recent work is in the LGBT Adult Fiction genre, in the past Anna has worked on a variety of different projects including short stories, drabbles, flash fiction, fan fiction, plays for both children and adults, and poetry. She has written novels in the Teen/ Young Adult genre, Romance, and Fantasy novels.
Anna is, by her own admission, almost unhealthily obsessed with books. The library she has amassed is both large and diverse; “My favourite books,” she says, “are The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.” She also several well-read copies of Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park books and re-reads the Harry Potter novels with almost startling regularity.
Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading and creative ass-kicking provided by her closest friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept any responsibility for anything Anna has written.
So, what have you written?
At this point… sixteen novels! Plus a handful of novellas and short stories. Back in the spring of 2011 when I signed the contract for Another Way I never could have dreamed that my career would have progressed like it has.
I think at this point people know what to expect from an Anna Martin novel. I write love stories about men who fall on the gay-bisexual-queer spectrum. I don’t write a huge amount of angst or drama. My stories are very character driven – I love exploring people and what makes them behave in certain ways, react the way they do, the reasons why they fall in love.
I feel very fortunate to have a publisher in Dreamspinner Press that has openly encouraged me to explore different types of novel and storytelling and published books that I’ve truly loved writing.
Has your writing evolved since your first book?
Oh, definitely. Enormously. This really hit home recently, actually. I’ve spoken a bit about how it took me almost four years to write my most recent novel The Impossible Boy. By the time I got to editing it, my style of writing had changed quite dramatically from the sections I’d written early on to where I am now. That meant deleting a lot of ellipses. (A lot). Smoothing out the writing so it felt like a coherent piece was more work than I was expecting!
A lot of writers will say they don’t read reviews, but I do seek out that feedback. Both the positive and negative. I think that possibly comes from my background as a fan fiction writer – I’m used to taking on constructive criticism and using it to inform my next project.
What do you think makes your books stand out from the crowd?
I’ve always been really interested in experimenting with different formats and styles, such as the change in tense in Tattoos & Teacups (some people notice it, some don’t, but it was definitely fun to write!) or the way Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me is actually six short stories told out of chronological order. Those books were written five years apart. Cricket was my attempt at writing an English Pastoral novel as a gay romance. My Prince is a modern Cinderella story. I like to think I’m willing to take risks.
The Impossible Boy definitely felt like a big risk – it’s a romance between a gender fluid man and a bisexual man. For most of those four years I was working on the story I felt like no one would want to read it, that it would be a story that wouldn’t be accepted by a publisher and I’d have to self-publish if I wanted to release it at all. I think 2017 was the right time for this story, so I’m actually glad it took so long to hit the shelves!
Is there a character you feel especially connected to? Why?
I’ve (intentionally) written a lot of fantastic, bad-ass women in my books! I like to slip in characters who are named after wonderful women in my life – Carrie Anne (Signs), Kirsty (Impossible Boy), Katie (Five Times), Clare (Les Faits Accomplis), Jennifer (Another Way). I absolutely loved writing River and Raven in Jurassic Heart; I’d love to bring them back in another book at some point.
There are definitely characters who will always have a special place in my heart. Both Ryan from Cricket and Tone from The Impossible Boy are from the West Country, like me, and I definitely injected a lot of personality into them based on people I know in real life. And Ellis and Harrison from Summer Son were inspired by one of my best friends and his relationship with his little boy, so again that’s pretty special to me.
Oh, and creating Biggie from Les Faits Accomplis is probably the most fun I have ever had as a writer. I was literally crying with laughter writing some of his scenes. I had to send them to a trusted friend to read it over to make sure I wasn’t being too self-indulgent, and it actually was funny to people other than me.
What is your very favourite holiday destination?
Or Disney World. Or Disneyland Paris.
I’ve loved the Disney parks since the first time I visited Disneyland Paris, but my absolute adoration of the original Disneyland in California is unsurpassable.
When Dreamspinner announced their States of Love series I immediately jumped at the chance to claim California and write an incredibly sweet romance between a guy who makes ice cream at the Dreamy Creamery, and a real life Prince who works at Disneyland. It’s called Rainbow Sprinkles and it’s due out March 29th!
I was quite open about my mental health struggles last year, and I think knowing that there’s a place that was built with the purpose of making people happy is very soothing to my soul. My dream one day is to be able to retire and move to California and spend the rest of my days working at the happiest place on earth!
Cooper Reed has a fairly relaxed life for someone who lives in LA. He’s no celebrity—just the guy who makes sundaes at the Dreamy Creamery, and that’s the way he likes it. The highlight of every week is the beautiful guy who turns up and orders a sundae with rainbow sprinkles. Cooper still isn’t sure if that’s a code, because he has a huge crush and the hot guy is terrible at flirting.
It turns out Drew Tanner is an original California dreamer. He’s as wholesome as apple pie and twice as sweet, a real-life Disney Prince at Disneyland. But while Drew’s head is in the clouds, Cooper’s feet are firmly on the ground, and their different outlooks might be more than their new relationship can take.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.
Coming March 29 from Dreamspinner Press
Where to find Anna Martin
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/annamartinfiction
Twitter – https://twitter.com/missannamartin
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/missannamartin/