Anna Staniszewski: The idea for the first book in the series, I’m With Cupid, came from a brief mention of a play in the British classic The Children of Green Knowe in which Cupid and Death accidentally swap powers. I loved that idea and wondered what would happen if those mythical characters were average middle school kids. For the sequel, Finders Reapers, I wanted to throw my characters into the midst of more magical mayhem and see how they dealt with it. 🙂
KC: What is your process and how long did it take you to complete the book?
AS: These days I sell most of my books on proposal which means that I send my editor a few sample chapters and a detailed synopsis, and then I have to complete the book by a specific date. That means that from the time I start writing a book to the time it hits shelves, it’s usually about a year. I guess you could say my process is a bit stressful, but I seem to work best when there’s a little adrenaline involved!
KC: Do you have a writing schedule?
AS: I used to! Then my daughter was born and that all went out the window! These days, I sneak in writing time whenever I can. If I don’t have time to write every day, I try to still check in with my current project every day or two (even if it’s just five minutes of brainstorming while I’m in the shower) so I don’t get too far away from it.
KC: How do you choose what to write about?
AS: When I get a story idea, I usually write it down and then go back to it later to see if I still like it. If I do, I’ll see if I can come up with some concrete scenes that would happen in the story. If those scenes start playing out in my head like a movie, that usually means there’s something there worth pursuing. If there’s no movie then I often put the project aside and let it stew for a bit longer.
KC: What is your favorite story that you’ve written, and why?
AS: I actually think I’m With Cupid is my favorite project to date. The idea hit me very suddenly, and I rushed to write it down as quickly as I could. Normally my ideas change a lot while I’m working on a project, but this story stayed basically the same from first idea to final revision. I added a lot to it in my rewrites, but the overall story is very similar to what I first imagined. It was a very satisfying (if not always easy!) writing experience.
KC: What other projects are you working on?
AS: Right now I’m planning for the launch of the fourth book in the Dirt Diary series, The Truth Game, which comes out on May 3rd. I’m also drafting the third book in the Switched at First Kiss series, Match Me If You Can, and waiting for copyedits on a new standalone book, Once Upon a Cruise, which is due out in the fall from Scholastic.
KC: What is the best response you’ve gotten from a reader of your book?
AS: There have been so many great ones, but I actually just got an email from a young reader who was wondering what it was like to be a famous author. I said, “If I ever get famous, I’ll let you know.” 😉
KC: What is your advice for aspiring authors?
AS: If you want writing to be your job then you have to treat it like a job. That means writing even when you don’t feel like it and finding ways to finish projects and to meet deadlines even if you’re completely uninspired.
KC: Are you more of a Cupid or a Reaper?
AS: Good question! I must admit that I’m a bit of a romantic, so I think I’m more Cupid than Reaper.
Thank you Anna! Finders Reapers is incredible fun! It’s the perfect companion to I’m with Cupid. Anna manages to write a light hearted novel with some very serious issues sprinkled in: abandonment, divorce, secrets, betrayal, and of course death and matchmaking. This book is funny and filled with angst at the same time. There’s also some good suspense and mystery too!