Author Q&A with Anna Ferrara

Introduce yourself to the rest of the class. Who are you and what makes you tick?

Hi, I’m Anna Ferrara—lesfic author and digital entrepreneur. I grew up without a mum, in a variety of other people’s homes, figured out how to live by reading self-help books, concluded I was 100% gay at 18 but remained in the closet due to the nature of the country I live in, so I think I’m a little hard to classify.

What does it mean to you to be an author? What makes a writer a writer?

I never set out to be an author for the sake of being an author, actually. I am a scriptwriter, film-maker and producer by training and profession but because I live in a country where homosexuality is technically illegal and thus censored or severely limited from mass media, I was never able to earn a living by creating the kinds of stories that were of genuine interest to me. Self-publishing turned out to be the miracle medium I’d been wishing for since forever because it allowed me to access the international market directly and gave me a platform through which I could put the stories that were continually forming in my head to good use. So to me, also because most people wear a ton of hats these days, an author is simply a person who has published at least one book (full-length or otherwise; self-published or otherwise). A writer is, therefore, a writer in the same way a driver is a driver, regardless of whether or not she/he makes a living from it.

Are you promoting a specific book? Tell us about it. Include the book blurb if you’d like.

The last book I published was The Woman Who Tried To Be Normal—the third in my Those Strange Women series which follows an interconnected group of lesbians with superhuman abilities over many decades—however, since it’s my first time on Women and Words, I think I should introduce myself properly by talking about my very first lesfic, Snow White and Her Queen, instead.

Here’s the blurb:

bookcover swq socBefore there was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, there was another story some preferred not to tell.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in this land is fairest of all?”

“You, my Queen, are fairest of all,” the Princess once said, unravelling a nightmare of obsession and forbidden desire.

This intimate lesbian retelling of the popular Grimms’ fairy tale will change your understanding of the wicked Queen’s infamous jealousy forever.

The idea came to me when I was on the train home from work one day and from that point on I simply researched the era and transferred the inspiration and historical facts into words until it became a full-fledged novel. I often create stories that way, somewhat on autopilot, somewhat subconsciously, so I tend to think of most of my written endeavours as works of art, pieced together with the energies and opinions of the world around me, rather than as intellectual conversations built around my own opinion or experiences. I am of the opinion that the universe is fascinating enough as is and that by simply exposing yourself to as much of it as is possible and channelling the patterns and forms that come to you naturally into structures, written or otherwise, you will be able to create something meaningful for other people. But that’s just my technique and what I think; I’m not quite sure how the experience is for readers yet so I’d love to hear all the feedback I can get.

Tell us about your biggest guilty pleasure. For example, to you sit naked in your pantry in the middle of the night and eat Nutella with your fingers?

Haha, no, food isn’t my weakness, but I am a survival-sim game addict. Put me in front of one of those (E.g. The Sims 2, This War Of Mine, Superstar, Hollywood Mogul, Real Lives, Sim City) and I will lose all sense of time, responsibility and conversation because I will be thoroughly obsessed with my in-game goal of becoming richer, safer, more skilled, less defeatable, etc. My partner, whom I’ve been living with for 7 years, now forbids me to play such games when she’s home because, she says, I don’t even notice her when I’m ‘in that mood’. I now only get to indulge when she goes out of town or out for a full day, and, boy, are those days the best ever 🙂

Tell us one thing that you’re passionate about. For example, would you strap yourself to an oil rigging a la Lucy Lawless with a Greenpeace sign in your hands?

Haha. No, I wouldn’t like the attention. My passions change every couple of years but right now, since my estranged mum just died very abruptly from stage 4 cancer (less than 2 months after diagnosis), and when relatively young at that, I am presently very passionately seeking an answer to what the whole point of life should be, and what all of us should really be doing with our lives. Because I also only just found out her mum, my grandma, died even earlier, also from cancer, when about 5-10 years older than I am now, I am suddenly absolutely aware that I might not have that much time left after all, and am desperately eager to make sure I don’t waste anymore of what little I have. So, yeah, I want the answer to the meaning of life, and fast. Feel free to let me know what you know.

What’s your writing process? That is, do you have a particular place you write and/or time of day? Do you have any particular things you do before you write? (e.g. do you listen to music, drink coffee, take dance breaks…)

When I’m working on a novel, I treat it like a job in that I schedule it into my month and do nothing but it when the time comes. The time for writing is always first thing in the morning on a weekday till lunch, after which I will either be too creatively spent or preoccupied with other tasks. I mostly work off the floor of my dining room when doing this because it’s usually the only stretch of time in my day that I have to sit right next to my pet and offer him outright companionship. Because I find it very difficult to do all the visualizing and sentence creation required when in the presence of other people or conversational sound, I tend to stay secluded and in absolute silence when writing.

Tell us something that most people don’t know about you (unless you’d have to kill us, in which case tell us something that some people don’t know).

I have four tattoos in total. (Most people can only see three.)

Is there a book by another author that you wish you had written?

The Torn Skirt by Rebecca Godfrey. I first read it when I was the same age as the lead character, Sara, and I related with her 100%. Sara was me when I was that age. Her boredom with her world, her ceaseless desire to fuck everything up and join the world of the messed up was exactly me, and beautifully, poetically written about too. I loved the book to bits then, and in fact, now that you’ve reminded me of it, I think I want to go read it again, just to see whether I’ve changed, decades on.

If time and money were no problem, where would you most like to go in the world?

I would like to go on a round-the-world tour of every single country, city, town and village in existence and spend three days staying in a different local home each time. I would love to personally experience how different peoples live amid different income levels, different religions, different family dynamics, different environmental and political conditions, different cultures, then see if I can conclude what life should really be about after that. Since money is no problem, my partner and pet, and translators for every language in existence (even the really obscure tribal ones), will be coming with me the whole way of course.

And finally, what sorts of writing projects are next for you?

I was working on my next book, Eritis Mea, up till the point I got the news that my mum was dying and have since been too busy with her death, estate and my own emotions and other business to resume writing. I will probably go back to doing Eritis Mea once I get to have my old routine back but in the meantime, I have also been keeping a daily journal about my thoughts and changes in the days after my mum’s death so, maybe, if that turns out to hold some valuable wisdom, I might publish it eventually too. I think I have changed a great deal since my mother died and have learned a whole lot I didn’t realise before so, I don’t know, perhaps I shouldn’t be keeping that newfound wisdom to myself? I have also spent the past few weeks actively seeking the opinions of motherless daughters, to know how they coped and what they concluded from their experiences, so my gut tells me such a book might be appreciated by others going through similar situations too? I’m not sure yet; my life is a little messy right now so we’ll see.


Anna Ferrara is a novelist who specialises in plot twists, horror and lesbian characters. Strong, independent women feature in all of her novels because she often finds herself mesmerised by them in real life. You can read more about her work and person at annaferrarabooks.com

Pick up your copy: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071RFXVW6

Before there was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, there was another story some preferred not to tell.

“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in this land is fairest of all?”

“You, my Queen, are fairest of all,” the Princess once said, unravelling a nightmare of obsession and forbidden desire.

This intimate lesbian retelling of the popular Grimms’ fairy tale will change your understanding of the wicked Queen’s infamous jealousy forever.

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