Anthea Carson is an award winning tournament chess player, chess author and chess coach. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, with an emphasis in literature and mathematics. She is the co-author of How to Play Chess Like an Animal, a children’s chess book based on chess openings with animal names. She is the co-author of the best selling chess book Tactics Time, and Tactics Time for Kids. She is also a fiction writer, and had penned a trilogy, several novellas and short stories, some of which (not surprisingly) are about a chess playing female in the male dominated world of tournament chess. She currently resides in Colorado Springs with her husband and two children.
What inspires you to write?
I am fascinated by people, the odd things they do, and the way their minds work. One of the most interesting things about the mind, and the way people think, is memory. Proust was one of my favorite authors, because he wrote about memory. The mind is capable of some very strange things, and the way it stores memory, especially the memory of anything traumatic, has always been particularly fascinating. I see this theme coming up again and again in the stories and novels I write.
Tell us about your writing process
When I write, it is as if I had a virtual world in my head. But it isn’t fantasy or another world I have created in there, but images and sights and sounds already stored there from my life. However, I do not stick to life as it happened. If I did, I would be writing memoirs. I don’t want the limitations of that. I want to be able to shift things around, and have things happen that didn’t really happen, or change the way they happened, or even add magic or mythology (in a subtle way) if the story calls for it. This means that when I write, I am completely immersed in this virtual reality in my head, and I will experience all the sights and sounds and emotions as if I were really there. It is almost quite literally a trance, I am in. So where ever I am, I am not there, I am completely in my head.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
I can almost literally hear the characters talking to each other, and see the drama unfolding in my virtual world, and if feels as if I am merely taking dictation or describing what I see.
What advice would you give other writers?
Try not to edit as you write, and then be sure to edit after you do write. If you edit while you write, you kill your creative voice. If you fail to edit, you confuse your reader, because you may understand what you are trying to say, but that doesn’t mean it is coming off clear to the reader. Try reading your work aloud to another person, this will help reveal confusing passages or repetitive words. But remember, the writing process is not the editing process. Don’t try to save time by combining the two. Treat them as two entirely separate processes, each equally necessary.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
The first book I published was published by a small local publisher. It was a children’s chess book called “How to Play Chess Like an Animal.” This experience gave me the confidence I needed to write and publish my work on my own. I quickly discovered all the marketing and promoting fell to me to do. I decided that since the opportunity to self-publish was so readily available, affordable and easy, why not do that instead of trying to get in with the big publishing companies. After all, if a tiny book publisher didn’t have the time to put any effort beyond a cafeteria style plan into marketing me, why would a giant corporation put that kind of time and energy into an unknown author.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
Nothing can stop indie authors, we will continue to publish our books, improve our quality and marketing and no amount of discouragement, bad press or literary snobbery will ever slow us down. And readers, they will follow where the interesting books are, whether those be through the traditional publishers or the independent ones. After all, they just want a good story, wherever they can find it.
What do you use?
Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer
What genres do you write?
Psychological suspense, romantic suspense, nonfiction (chess instruction)
What formats are your books in?