Please welcome Jess Anastasi to my first blog party, celebrating our new releases with Noble Romance Publishing. So glad to have you here, Jess!!!
Now, Sanctuary is your first book and is released today with Noble Romance Publishing. Congratulations!!! Can you tell us how long it took you to write, edit and submit your manuscript? And what led you to write in the paranormal, sci-fi genre? Sanctuary is only novella length at 30,000 words and I wrote it in about 3 weeks in November last year (how’s that for poetic, exactly 12 months later, its being released!). While I was doing industry blog rounds one day, I saw a publisher asking for angel/demon based stories and the idea kind of just hit me, I wanted to write about angels and demons, but put them in spaceships. Seems kind of silly saying it that way! I didn’t write it with the intention of submitting it anywhere and I only kept it short because I honestly thought “who the heck is going to publish a cross-genre of sci-fi and paranormal romance?” I wanted to see how quickly I could bring it together, hence writing 30,000 words in three weeks. I then edited it on and off with the help of my wonderful crit partner Chelle, who told me numerous time she thought there was something special about it, and that I should find somewhere to submit it. And yes, Chelle, I can still hear you saying “I told you so!”
I ‘met’ Jill Noble during the Clayton’s Conference I did this year, since I couldn’t make the conference in Coogee. I missed the initial pitch session because I thought Noble only published erotica (which, they once did) but they’d recently moved into publishing all romance levels of heat. During the Q&A session with Jill, she said if anyone had something they wanted to submit, to send a query letter and first three chapters to their general submissions email and mention we’d been involved with Clayton’s. She’d also said that sci-fi and paranormal tended to be big sellers for them. I checked out their website, found their slogan is ‘dare to be different!’ and that they were looking for stories that were completely different or mixes of sub-genre. I didn’t have a second thought about submitting Sanctuary to them.
Can you tell us a little about the book? It’s set 500 years in the future. Humans have colonized other galaxies, but are on the verge of being wiped out by an on-going four-hundred year war between angels and demons. The heroine, Tori, sees something she’s not meant to, so the demons are after her for information. The angels send the hero, A’albiel, to protect her. They’re fleeing to Sanctuary, a planet protected by ancient pacts, and along the way they find danger and romance.
Oh wow, Jess, what an amazing idea, it sounds great! So tell us, how much fun did you have writing this book, or were there times when you wanted to throw up your hands and walk away? I had a great time writing this book! I think it was because it was just so out-there idea wise, I didn’t feel I had to restrict myself in any way. I didn’t once feel like I wanted to chuck it, though I have been there and felt that with other projects.
I’m sure there are a lot of us who’d agree with that. Now, for those writers out there reading this and trying to break into publication, what advice would you give them? Oh my god, I always dreaded being asked this question! I know as an aspiring author, you’re looking for that magic formula that will get you a publishing contract. Unfortunately I can’t tell you anything that hasn’t been said before. The best thing to do is study the craft, sharpen your skills, be determined to succeed, and persist through all those rejections. It took me 9 years to get here and when people ask me how I kept going for all that time, I usually just tell them I’m stubborn to the point of being stupid. I couldn’t foresee any other outcome besides getting published, no matter how many years it took.
Great advice. So, are you a member of any writing or critique groups? And how have they helped you to succeed and become a published author? I have to say that most of my experiences with crit groups were short lived and not always pleasant. But, then I’ve met a lot of lovely RWA members (well, not ‘met’ as such, but gotten to know via the web) and managed to stumble across Chelle. Or should I say, she found me. And next thing I knew, I had this wonderful crit partner. I suppose it’s kind of like dating to find a husband… when you find the right one, everything just clicks and makes life easier.
Well, not always easier, sometimes you argue, sometimes you agree, sometimes agree to disagree. There’s lots of support and encouragement going on. So I have to say, there’s no doubt finding a crit partner was the last piece of the puzzle I needed to get my publishing contract. I would definitely recommend finding a group or partner that is right for you, that will help you move forward with your career. (I just have to add that when I told Chelle I’d compared her to having a husband she said “actually we are worse, ’cause a hubby will be very tactful when you ask ‘does my bum look big in this?’ He’ll say ‘no, darling…’ Your crit partner would say ‘what in hell were you thinking?'”
Haha, so very true. Now, what’s next for Jess Anastasi? At the moment, I’m working on the second book to Sanctuary, (working title as of now) called Severance. Some people might be glad to hear it’s Alastor and Nakita’s story. This year I wrote a straight sci-fi romance, which I’m shopping around to agents. I’ve had a bit of interest, but no love so far. So, keeping my fingers crossed I can sell that to an agent and mainstream publisher as well.
For four hundred years, angels have been at war with demons while humans fight both, trying to survive. As world after world is destroyed by the conflict, there is a race to terra-form planets for colonization before mankind is wiped out altogether.
Toriane Cresol is part of a team leading the terra-forming charge. On assignment, she stumbles across a scribe and six warrior angels hiding sacred relics. Within a few hours she comes face to face with A’albiel, an angel sent by Archangel Michael to protect her from the demons, who want to know what she saw.
Ripped from her life, Tori is taken on a flight across the galaxy by A’albiel, their destination is Sanctuary, a planet protected by ancient pacts, and the only place the demons can’t get her. Though hate for angels and demons alike is ingrained deeply within her, Tori can’t fight the growing spark of attraction between her and A’albiel. Bit by bit, everything she once thought or believed is eroded away, replaced by the knowledge that if she and A’albiel don’t make it to Sanctuary, the entire fate of the universe could hang in the balance.
Thank you, for joining me today, Jess, and may I wish you all the best with your future writing career. Sanctuary sounds like a great read, can’t wait to read it myself. Jess has been kind enough to say she will drop in over the day and reply to any questions you may ask, so feel free to chat, we welcome all comments. You can find more about Jess Anastasi and her book(s) and works in progress on her website or blog. To Purchase Sanctuary please visit Noble Romance Publishing.