Welcome back for another Spotlight Saturday! This week, we’re talking with dark fantasy romance author Anna Patrick Paige. We’ve talked about Anna’s book, Dreams of the Fae: Transcendence on the blog before, but let’s take some time to get to know the woman behind the dark love story.
Welcome! Can you start off by telling my darling deviants a little about yourself? What do you write, and when did you get started?
Thank you for having me! I’m Anna Patrick Paige. I am a dark romance author writing mostly fantasy and paranormal reads with a fair amount of blood and gore. I love splicing violence and romance together, and I’ve been doing so since I was about eight years old
Tell us a little more about Dreams of the Fae: Transcendence. What made you want to write a twisted fairytale?
Transcendence is the first book in my Dreams of the Fae series that follows a Princess named Ayleth through a journey of self-discovery as she flees a genocide against the Fae, and learns to fight under the instruction of a dangerous dark assassin. The series is interwoven with new spins and retellings on classic fairy tale elements while adding blood, gore and a healthy dose of steamy romantic tension. I never actually intended to write a series about Fae or fairytales. In fact, at one point my Fae were not called Fae at all, but a made-up word I had created. It all started rather accidentally. Years ago I had these three burned CDs that were filled with soundtracks from animated movies. I’m a dork and listened to them all the time. After a while, I started to see the story of Dreams of the Fae emerge in my head as if it were a musical playing out to the order of the songs. I plotted the entire series this way before I ever wrote a word. Though now much of the story has changed, the major plot points remain true to those silly little CD’s I had as a teenager. Now I look back and laugh because I can still see my brooding hero and naïve heroine literally singing kids songs to each other. The fact that the story inevitably became such a twisted fairy tale is due to my own love of reading darker content and wanting to write a book I simply couldn’t find anywhere.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
There is the normal stuff: the learning curve of the publishing industry, marketing, edits, etc. But really, for me, it was Chapter Ten. I groan internally when I think about the beating I took while perfecting that chapter. At one point I had written, “I hate this chapter” across the top of all my printouts. The scene just did not want to be written but was impossible to remove. The cat was also a pain. Since the cat has no dialogue, I would often forget about her completely and write entire chapters without her, then I would have to go back and add the “freakin’” cat. It got so bad I finally taped a note to the top of my computer that read, “Where is the Cat?” to help me remember she was a constant presence in the story.
What sort of stories do you enjoy reading? Who are some of your favorite authors?
Dark romances check all my boxes. I love codependent characters whose love stories border on unhealthy obsession for each other. Couples on a killing spree are my weakness, and I adore steam mixed with gore/violence. I am a huge fan of Indie Authors. C.M. Owens is absolutely brilliant. Her ability to write such a broad spectrum of romance, from sweet to violent to comedic, is simply delicious. K. Webster is another I can’t get enough of. Natalie Bennett and Laura Thalassa are wonderful, and Tillie Cole never fails to captivate me. Most recently I was completely sucked into The 24690 Series (Welcome to Whitlock) by A.A. Dark.
What drew you to the darker side of romance?
I didn’t actually realize I was so drawn to writing and reading dark romance until it was pointed out to me just in recent years. Dark romance followed me from a very young age. I wrote my first full-length novel when I was thirteen and several others during my teenage years—not things I would ever publish—even back then, I was already writing about demonic possession, murder, and gore, all of which always had a strong romantic story fueling them. The genre really chose me—the wand chooses the wizard.
When you’re not crafting deliciously dark fantasy romances, what do you do for fun? What’s your favorite way to unwind?
Writing is my unwind. I really enjoy every part of the process from the first draft, to the revisions, to the editing—there is nothing I truly dislike. I look forward to getting the time to indulge in my stories and characters. Outside of writing, I’ve been involved in wildlife rehabilitation and conservation since I was a teenager. I started out rehabbing and bottle-feeding abandoned baby raccoons…but they weren’t dangerous enough. Eventually, I started volunteering at wildlife sanctuaries where I had the privilege to care for tigers, bears, and other exotic animals. I found a home working with venomous reptiles and that’s how I met my husband. He and I started removing nuisance venomous snakes and housing them for venom extraction.
If you could gift your younger writer-self with any piece of advice, what would it be?
Back up your files! A fifteen-year-old me lost an entire novel (50,000 words is a lot at that age) because the one and only copy was stored on an old floppy disk (yes, I’m that old) and I lost everything when it malfunctioned. It took years for me to sit down at a computer again and write something new. Losing a book is devastating for anyone, let alone a teenager. Of course, this probably isn’t as big an issue these days as it was back then. I would also tell myself to just write the damn book without getting stuck in the first draft perfection syndrome. These days my first drafts are a wreck. I’ve learned to just spit it out in all its imperfect glory, rather than break the creative process to fix my grammar, misspellings, missing words/scenes, and never allowed myself to have “writer’s block” over a first draft. You can’t revise or edit a blank page. Write it. Then figure out the rest.
What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?
Demon Mine by Marina Simcoe. I recommend it to everyone because who doesn’t love a good Incubus story. I find Incubus to be one of those underrated paranormal subjects, so when I find them written well, I eat them up.
What scene in your novel was the most difficult to write?
This is a hard one to answer without spoilers. The last ten chapters of Transcendence were tough. I loved the content. I loved writing those scenes, but the amount of research and plotting I had to conspire to make those chapters a reality was daunting. Aside from the research, I was faced with having two characters front and center, over and over, scene after scene, so their chemistry and development had to be spot on to keep things interesting.
Are you working on any new projects? What can we look forward to reading from you in the future?
Dreams of the Fae: Redamance is the next book scheduled for release. I have a dark comedic romance standalone I hope to release late next year, not tied to Dreams of the Fae, as well as a Dark Reverse Harem well underway. The remaining three books in the Dreams of the Fae series are also under construction. So, lots of fun things planned over the next twelve to twenty-four months.
Can you share your social media links for readers who’d like to find out more?
Of course, stalk me! I love stalkers!
The best place to get updates on all the words is my readers’ group The Glitter and Gore Basement. https://www.facebook.com/groups/theGlitterandGoreBasement/