We were very luck and got Annie Wood’s first novel First Came Forever to read and review, so we dedicated a whole week last week to First Came Forever reviews.
In case you missed other reviews you can read them here:
- Click here to read Githmi’s review of First Came Forever
- Click here to read Alison’s review of First Came Forever
- Click here to read Lauren’s review of First Came Forever
- Click here to read Ana Paula’s review of First Came Forever
- Click here to read my review of First Came Forever
- Click here to read Tanushka’s review of First Came Forever
So now, that we all know how awesome and amazing her novel is I think that it is time to find out who Annie even is. A while ago I started a new blog series on my Blissful Life Project blog and it is a series where authors introduce themselves to my readers. Here is what Annie shared with us. Enjoy! 🙂
I’m Annie Woods, author of the YA novel First Came Forever (the first book in the Angelheart Saga trilogy).
I grew up in Stockholm, Sweden, but I’ve spent a lot of time in USA, mostly in New York, and England. I feel like I have two home towns – Stockholm and New York, but most of all home is where my family is. My family, yes, I am married and have two gorgeous children. And a dog.
Reading has always been a big part of my life, I’m a true bookworm who sometimes (too often) prefer books to people… I just love to read and travel through books!
Besides books I also love music, theatre, dance, art and movies; anything that brings magic to your life, really.
I also love traveling with my family and experiencing the world together and doing outdoor activities, like hiking, surfing or skiing. I’ve been hiking a lot in the Swedish mountains as well as in Yosemite in US and skied a lot in the Alps. I’ve also done some other exciting traveling, which you probably can tell from reading First Came Forever, for example through South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mocambique. In Zimbabwe we stayed at in tents in the middle of nowhere, doing amazing walking safaris at sunrise, and in Botswana we did hippo safaris on the river. I also love Cambodia and Vietnam, which is quite obvious from the book… On the top of my bucket list I have walking the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, I hope to be able to do that very soon!
I’m a person who freezes very easily, so I love the sun and being in warm countries. (Funny, considering that I live in cold Sweden most of the time and in NY during winter, which is also as far from warm as you can get…) My favorite thing is when it’s warm enough to lie under a sunshade (preferably in a hammock under a large tree) reading books without being cold. I love the feeling of being outdoor and healthy, when in reality you’re just lying still and reading…
Other things I love are Italian food, champagne and, embarrassingly enough, Cosmopolitan drinks (yes very 1990s and Sex and The City-ish, I know…) But more than anything I love YA books. I have always been a huge YA fan. Teen love stories just have so much more to them, with all their intensity and all-consuming feelings; the first crush and the emotion of it all; the coming of age and accepting who you are. And the characters you get to know and love and who stay with you long after the story is over.
I started writing as a way of extending my love of reading YA stories, when new stories of my own kept popping up in my mind. First Came Forever is my first novel and very dear to me. It’s the first book in The Angelheart Saga trilogy following 18-year- old Erica Lindell as an unexpected meeting changes her life forever.
It’s a story I’ve been carrying with me for years. The image of Erica and how she moved to US for love came to me on a vacation in California over four years ago. Driving along Highway 1 the plot and the other characters crystalized; how she meets Sasha and falls heads over heels in love with him, but how difficult even such a strong love can be when reality hits with their different worlds and the mixed feelings for Tyler that intrudes Erica’s mind. On the plane back home I started writing this book. I am so nervous and excited about sharing the story with you all and to hear what you think about it. I really hope that you will get to love Erica, Sasha and Tyler just as much as I do!
I also have to admit that Erica is pretty much based off of myself… Erica is just a tiny bit… oh, alright, A LOT… smarter and better looking and with way more integrity. But, just like me, she’s clumsy (we both actually walk into walls, missing the door opening), a kind of bad driver, but a great runner finding peace and quiet and respite from all demands out in the woods with her running shoes on.
Tyler is a classic jock, at least that’s how he appears at first, but there is more to him than meets the eye. (Even though that isn’t so bad. Not bad at all actually.) And then there’s Sasha. The love of Erica’s life. Well, I can’t tell you so much more than that, as it would be a spoiler alert. But I can tell you this: if there would be a First Came Forever movie I would cast Kit Harington as Sasha. He would be so spot on! (Or, if he’d still be too busy with the GoT, I could settle for Douglas Booth or Dave Franco.)
As for the nearest future, I’m almost done with the first draft of the manuscript for the second book in the Angelheart Saga trilogy. All I can say is that here is a LOT going on. Some unexpected twist. Some truly heart-wrenching decisions. And Erica’s life will take yet another change of direction. But if you have any suggestions or ideas or persons you’d like to get more attention in the next book, or persons you don’t like and want me to get rid of, please reach out to me! I’d love feedback and to hear what you wish for! When re-reading the manuscript you always make a lot of changes and add or remove parts, so your feedback might still set the story on another direction!
Since I decided already from the start that it should be a trilogy, I then naturally have the third and final installment to write. I’m anticipating that it will be really hard to write, as I have to wrap everything up then, not leaving any loose ends and, potentially, have to break a heart or two. I’d love for every character in the book to get a happy ending, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to accomplish that. I already feel like I’m gonna eat a lot of ice cream and have lots of ugly cry moments writing that book.
The parts about writing a book that I like the most is when the characters takes over, when they kind of creates their own story. That happened several times for me when writing First Came Forever. It was especially Tyler and Francesca who worked their magic on me. They were never meant to play such important roles, but they just grew on me and made me so interested and intrigued by them that I just wrote more and more about them…
The hardest part to write was definitely the sex scenes. (I’m blushing just thinking about it…) I actually thought about not having any explicit sex scenes at first, but then I really felt that they were important for the story, so I just had to bite the bullet. I’ve worked really hard to get them to be sweet and overwhelming at the same time (definitely nowhere near any kind of Fifty Shades of Grey- sex!). It was especially awkward when my husband read the book. But he took it really well.
Besides my husband and the publisher, no one has read the book (as I am using a pen name I couldn’t really ask my friends to read it…) so the first person besides my husband to read it was Rose Tomes of Tea With Rose’s Tomes. Luckily she loved the book and wrote a wonderful review about it, I can’t tell you how much that meant to me!
So, about the pen name. I use it to keep my YA author life a bit separate from my other professional life. Kind of lame, I know. Sorry about that. The avatar is however made by a friend and really resembles me (so much that some of my friends might soon figure out that I’m behind Annie Woods…) so it really feels like it’s me anyway.
For the future I hope to be able to write more full-time than between driving my kids to soccer practice and during nights after working full-time in the day. The hope is to spend more time in New York and have full weeks where I can just focus on writing. (And drinking Cosmopolitans.) I have so many more stories I’d like to tell!
Favorite quotes from First Came Forever
“With you I feel and I trust my feelings and I trust you and I’m happy. With you, everything is different – like there are no normal rules.”
“Well, that would never happen, would it? I’m so not your type. I’m definitely not blonde enough, my boobs aren’t ridiculously big and my IQ is way too high.”
“You’ve changed,” she finally said. “Really changed. “Why? What happened?”
“The more I got to know you, the more amazing you were. And the more I wanted you to like me, to see the real me and not the cold, selfish, shallow guy I let the others see. I thought I was broken till you came along. You bring out the best of me, you make me want to be the best me I can.”
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