Anna Day Q&A
I am very excited to be able to bring you today's post!
On March 24th, I am off to Preston, for the first Northern YA Literary Festival. The festival is being run in association with the University of Central Lancashire's BA in Publishing programme. It'll be a full day of panels and authors, and I've been invited to go down and attend the event with some of the other Northern Book Bloggers. There's more about it here.
As part of the event, I've been given the opportunity to do questions and answers sessions with a couple of the authors who'll be attending. There'll be one with Danny Weston in the near future, but today I am thrilled to bring you the absolutely lovely Anna Day, whose debut novel, The Fandom, came out in January. You can find my review of her book here.
Hi Anna, welcome to the Book Worm Hole.
Hi Liam, thanks so much for asking these questions!
For anyone who hasn’t read it yet, can you tell us what The Fandom is about?
The Fandom is about Violet, fangirl of the book and movie franchise, The Gallows Dance, and her friends. They go to Comic-Con, dressed as characters from The Gallows Dance, expecting to meet their favourite actors, when they are transported into the world of The Gallows Dance for real. Within the first few minutes of their arrival they cause the death of the heroine, which is unfortunate, as the story must complete exactly according to the canon in order for them to return home.
The Fandom came about as the result of two different competitions. Can you tell us how that happened?
I initially wrote The Gallows Dance as a standalone novel (it was very different from The Gallows Dance in The Fandom, but the world was the same!). This was shortlisted for the Times/ Chicken House’s unpublished author competition. Angela McCann was also shortlisted for a different competition, The Big Idea, where she pitched the idea for The Fandom. Barry rang me up and asked if I’d write The Fandom, using the world of The Gallows Dance. I short, my original book became the book within a book.
The Fandom is based upon an original idea by Angela McCann. How much detail were you given to work from?
If memory serves correct, very little. It was just the premise really. The characters, plot, relationships, world and everything else came from me. I’m not minimising Angela’s input, because the premise is a crucial part of a book. It’s the spark which starts a fire. But I do feel a bit miffed when reviewers make out the book isn’t mine … it took me 18 months to write. The book is definitely mine.
How much of your original story, The Gallows Dance, is there in The Fandom?
The world is the same, so the idea of humans divided into a two-tier system based on genetic enhancement. The idea of publicly hanging Imps at the gallows dance was also in there. Everything else was different though, the plot and the characters for example. So in the original Gallows Dance, Willow and Rose were reversed: so Willow was the Imp, and Rose was the Gem … you can see it was a complete rewrite, making it work so Violet, a contemporary, real-world character, could step into the place of Rose, the Imp.
You’ve said elsewhere (#SundayYA) that The Gallows Dance was inspired by the birth of your daughter. Is there any message in your work that you’re trying to get across to young, female readers in particular?
That perfection is a social construct, don’t worry about it so much! For example, slim is only considered beautiful because we say it is, the ideal body shape has changed dramatically over the centuries. Embrace who you are and try and ignore all the pressure. I know this is tough, but at least being aware of it is helpful!
You were at YALC last summer, promoting The Fandom with the release of a lot of advanced reader copies, and then DEPTCON, and I see you’ve been doing a lot of bookshop appearances now that it’s been released. How have you found those experiences and how have they changed since the book’s publication?
I loved YALC and Deptcon, everyone was so lovely and warm. I was extremely lucky to do these events pre-publication, although I did feel like a bit of an imposter at times. The book hasn’t been published long though so I’m not convinced I’d know if the experience changes post-publication. I can actually see my book in a bookshop now though, and that is AWESOME!
What impact has becoming a published author had on your life? Does it feel like you expected it to?
Well I now have to cope with negative reviews, which is new. Up until publication, feedback is all very positive, which I guess is to be expected, as you’re working with people who believe in the book and who like your writing. It goes with the territory though, and people are entitled to their opinion.
Also, everyone thinks I’m rich now. I’m a single mum who works part-time … I am so skint. It’s kind of funny, but I do get sick of explaining that very few authors rake it in!
On the plus side though, I’ve met so many amazing new people, and connected with some lovely folk on social media. I get free books too which is a bonus, and did I mention, I get to see my book in an actual bookshop which is AMAZING!
Do you have plans to write anything else? Will we see any more of Violet and her friends or are you hoping to move on to something different?
I’m hopeful I can do both. I would be sad to leave Violet and her friends at this point, but I’m also keen to write other stuff too.
If The Fandom had a soundtrack, what would be on it?
Abba, cos it’s Nate’s favourite band (he’s so cheesy, I love him!). Some classical music for the Harper estate, but maybe new classical music, cos I doubt the Gems would listen to Mozart or Handel, cos they’re Imps don’t you know! Have you seen The Fifth Element, there’s this alien opera singer and it’s strangely beautiful and ethereal sounding … so maybe something like that! And then something really grungy and dirty for the Imp city, lots of distorted guitars, lots of bass. I’m into music, and have very diverse tastes myself, so I love that I could have weird alien opera next to grungy guitar music! It is a bit like my Spotify account tbh!
The Fandom by Anna Day is out now, priced £7.99. Get your copy here: