Abby George Series, which includes her debut novella, All Fruits Ripe, and first novel, Rum Punch Regrets, which is available in print and as an eBook. She is also the columnist behind “Anne In Progress,” which appears monthly in the Frederick News-Post, a newspaper in the DC-Metro area. As a blogger, she was nominated for a 2012 Bloggers Choice Award for Best Humor Blog, and is known for penning “The Ultimate Late Bloomer.” Follow her on Twitter, @MissAnneKemp, or join her fans on Facebook for fun contests and giveaways. You can always find her at her website: www.annekemp.com. A portion of Anne's proceeds are donated to Lupus LA.
Q. What inspired the plot for "Rum Punch Regrets"?
When I was laid-off in 2008, I was lucky enough to get a very generous offer to lay low on St. Kitts, an island in the Caribbean, for a few months. I had enrolled in a Fiction 1 Class with UCLA's extension program and began to "work out" my bruised ego through a fiction piece (class project) while on the island. My classmates - and other beta readers - responded well to the story and the character, so I kept going.
Q. Who would you cast to play Abby George in a movie?
Such a hard question! I would hope the actress picked would honor the character with humor, sass, strength and integrity. Abby is real and relatable - She's meant to be an everywoman.
Q. How would you describe your writing routine?
It's more structured now than it ever has been, that’s for sure! I don't look at writing for word count or time, but I do sit down and block out time and just begin. Some days my fingers are just moving faster and have purpose, while others I end up maybe editing or doing some research because thoughts aren't flowing. I set time aside, but I never push too hard. I know the story is there and sometimes freedom is what it needs to come out.
Q. Your book was very descriptive of the island that Abby lived on while helping Leigh with La Cantina, did you have to do a lot of research on islands and the language, or did you rely on your imagination?
Since I lived there and wrote almost every day for nine months out on a porch surrounded by a tropical paradise, I find it really easy to slip back there when I need to! Before St. Kitts, I lived on Siesta Key in Florida, and also spent some time in Jamaica. If there is something I know, I know my tropical paradise!
Q. Will there be a third book in The Abby George Series? How many books would you like to have in this seers?
There will be a third book in the series - in fact it should be out in September. It's a six book series, and after the third book, which is actually a novella, it's going to get really interesting!!
Q. How important was it for you to have a portion of your proceeds donated to Lupus LA? Was it something that occurred all of sudden, or did you already have it set in mind that you wanted to donate to that foundation?
I learned about Lupus over ten years ago when I first met my friend Adam. He told me he had Lupus and to my embarrassment I had no idea what it was. When I learned over 1.5 million people in the US are diagnosed with this disease, and realized I didn't no squat-all about it, I knew I wanted to help raise awareness one day on a grand scale. I finally get my chance to help my friend, his cause and all of the other folks I know and love or even have not met yet who live each day with Lupus.
Q. What are four things you would like for your fans to know about you?
1. I have been gluten free for over a year (not by choice) and I'm always looking for good recipes, ideas or for someone to tell me something good out there I can have - bring on the emails!
2. I have a weak spot for M&M's and frozen yogurt. They are my Kryptonite.
3. When someone asks "Star Trek vs. Star Wars?" I roll my eyes. There is NO question. Star Wars all the way!
4. When I was little, I could recite every word and part to the first 45 minutes of "The Wizard of Oz." You can ask my Mom, she witnessed it.
Q. At what age did you know that writing was something you wanted to pursue?
I found my baby book the other day and inside was a story scrawled on a tattered sheet of legal pad paper. It's a tale of three kids, one of them named Gator, and how their lives changed when one of the friends became a big brother. I must have been seven when I wrote it? Maybe eight? I know I was reading and writing very early, and loved to make up stories when I was little! So, long answer to a short question? I've always known and always loved it.
Q. What are you currently reading? Do you have a certain amount of books that you'd like to have read by the end of 2012?
I'm in a book club, and we read a book a month, sometimes two if we have time! Presently my book club is reading the next installment in the Abby George series - They are my beta readers and give me the best feedback ever. By the end of the year, I hope to have read at least two books a month.
Q. What are you currently working on?
I'm in the beginning stages of book four for the Abby George Series.
Q. What is your advice to aspiring authors?
Embrace rejection and don't give up. With every no, every "we'll pass" you get stronger. Eventually someone out there will like the story or connect to the character. A lot of this business is perseverance and believing in yourself. If you go the route of an agent, I hope everyone is as lucky as I am to find a friend and partner in one - Cynthia Manson, my agent, is someone I would not be able to survive without. Build your support team around you. They are just as important to hold you up when the going gets...well, when it does what it does!