by Timothy Pike
The way international bestselling author Anna J Walner explains it, the stage was set from the very beginning of her life.
“I was adopted from a hospital in Houston,” she tells me. “Growing up being adopted, there are always these questions you have about your heritage.”
These questions eventually inspired her award-winning debut novel, Garkain: Book One of the Uluru Legacy.
If you haven’t read it, here’s what’s in store for you:
A vague text and a life-long search for her biological family sends Amelia on a quest to discover the story behind her heritage. But the family she finds is far from what she ever thought possible. She’ll become something she never thought existed and agree to things she never thought she would. She’ll find a life worth dying for.
In this unique and delicious twist on the genre you love, vampires exist in a secret society, deep within the heart of Australia. Defying expectations, this debut novel by Anna J Walner, begins the Uluru Legacy Series, and leaves you craving more. A remarkably new experience that doesn’t disappoint. Welcome to your new obsession.
If this premise sounds familiar, but you can’t put your finger on why, it’s because it’s based on Anna’s real life. “I knew my biological father was Australian, so I set the story there and it began to take shape,” she says. “I’ve always loved the supernatural, and the mythos behind them. I knew I wanted to explore that in this series, and it’s been very well received.”
That’s an understatement. Anna has received heaps of recognition, and has since become an international bestseller, Amazon bestseller, and Barnes & Noble bestseller. “I’m immensely proud of the reception the debut in the series has received,” she says, “and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, Larougo, releasing November 2nd.”
But all of this success didn’t come overnight. In fact, the last several years have been full of change for Anna. “I’ve lived in Texas all my life,” she says. “I used to work in oil and gas, but made the transition to other things in 2019.” Those other things included becoming an author, starting her own company, Silver Dawn Publishing, and becoming a host on the Author Library Network.
“I begin with an idea,” Anna tells me, “or a sentence that won’t leave me alone. From there I plan out certain aspects of the plot in my head and write them down. A skeleton of a story, really.”
Even after immersing herself in the literary world, she still needed time to develop as a writer. “It took some time for me to find my authentic author voice,” Anna tells me. “Even as a young girl, I’ve always loved the written word. Reading and writing. The entire creative process.”
Reading, however, wasn’t just for pure enjoyment—it also served another purpose for Anna. “My love of reading really began as a way to escape the social anxiety I had as a child,” she says. “I didn’t realize it until later, but reading, and being immersed in another world, if only for a short time, helped me to cope. The more I read, the less anxious I felt.”
Out of this coping mechanism, her own author voice emerged. “It’s really a blending of all things I’ve written or read that began to shape my voice over time. With every sentence, every paragraph, and every chapter written,” she says, “you’re defining your voice as an author. Don’t give up.”
These aren’t just empty words. Her own tenacity is evident in the way she lets her stories slowly unfold. “I begin with an idea,” she says, “or a sentence that won’t leave me alone. From there I plan out certain aspects of the plot in my head and write them down. A skeleton of a story, really. From there I begin to put fingers to keys and see how the story begins to take shape on its own.”
And it’s not just the plot that develops on its own. “The characters,” she explains, “develop their own unique identities with the choices they make along the way.”
Anna needed time to develop as a writer, even after immersing herself in the literary world. “It took some time,” she says, “for me to find my authentic author voice.”
Between attending to her busy career and raising an energetic toddler, Anna does her best to find time to write, but it’s not always easy. “I have a beautiful two-year-old that is quite a spitfire, like her mom,” she says. “I take stolen moments to write and edit. Mostly at night, or during nap time.”
Anna has clearly made the most of these stolen moments, because books two and three in the Uluru series are right around the corner—news that her fans will be delighted to hear. “The second book will be releasing November 2nd of this year,” Anna says, telling me that although Garkain is in the young adult genre, she’ll be making the leap to new adult fiction with Larougo.
And the third installment? “The third will be releasing early next year,” Anna teases, “so stay tuned.”
You can also connect with her on TikTok. All of her social media handles are AnnaJWalner.
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