Friday, 13 April 2018

Interview with Annie Woods & Review of First Came Forever


I am delighted to welcome Annie Woods to the blog for both an interview and my review of her book - First Came Forever. Here's a little about Annie:

I’m Annie Woods, a Swedish author, who has spent a lot of time in the USA and UK. Currently I am partly living in the US, dividing my time between Stockholm and New York. Reading has always been a big part of my life. I’m especially addicted to YA and teen love stories. The books I read as a teenager have stuck with me through life and I still love YA books more than any other kind of literature. My own YA novel First Came Forever, which is the first book in the Angelheart Saga trilogy, was published last year in August. I have just sent the second book to my publisher and am eagerly awaiting a release date.

And onto the interview!

How long have you been writing?
In a way the answer could be “always”, or at least as long as I have been able to write… When I learned to read a whole new world opened up to me. I can still remember the feeling of being blown away. So, reading has always been a big part of my life and I’ve always been (and am still) a true book worm, and soon (I think already in first or second grade) I started to write my own stories. But I never thought I could be a writer, so I went on to study other things and pursued another career, and never really did a serious attempt to write. But still, stories of my own kept popping up in my mind. First Came Forever is based on one such story that I’ve been carrying with me for a long time. The image of Erica and how she moved to US for love came to me on a vacation in California over four years ago. Driving along Highway 1 the plot and the other characters crystalized; how she meets Sasha and falls heads over heels in love with him, but how difficult even such a strong love can be when reality hits with their different worlds and the mixed feelings for Tyler that intrudes Erica’s mind. This time, I felt that this story was so strong that I could not just let it go but had to try and write it down. So, I did. The feeling when I held the first copy of the book in my hand was so overwhelming. I wish so much that I could go back in time and tell the younger me to believe in myself and pursue my dream to write, not to wait this long to do it.

Do you write in the genre you love to read?
Yes, absolutely! I’ve always read a lot of different genres, but I’m especially addicted to YA and teen love stories. The books I read as a teenager have stuck with me through life and I still love YA books more than any other kind of literature.

Do you have any favourite authors to read?
I have so many, it’s almost impossible to choose one! I love YA authors like Rainbow Rowell, Marie Lu, Cassandra Clare, E. Lockhart, contemporary authors like Maggie O’Farrell, Curtis Sittenfield, Nobel prize winners like Toni Morrisson, Nadine Gordimer, Doris Lessing… And an all time favorite is Joyce Carol Oates. But if I have to choose one author and one book or series, it would have to be J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter series. To me, those books are pure book perfection! The way J.K. Rowling has created a whole universe on her own and all the characters that you love and carry with you in your heart forever. With Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling has also helped so many troubled and lonely children, giving them hope and bringing them joy, it’s utterly amazing. There’s even a research study proving that the Harry Potter books help children to be more accepting of LGBT persons, so the books are literally making the world a better place.

Are you an organised writer or not?
I am a very organized person in everything I do. Love making lists and need to have things tidy around me… So, I guess I’m the same way when I’m writing. I start out with setting the overall plot and the most important events. Then I kind of start writing a chapter at a time. Sometimes I have to go back and add an extra chapter in between, but it’s not often.

What's your favourite social media? And why?
Definitely Instagram! I love the bookstagram community and all beautiful and inspiring photos of books. There are so many incredibly talented bookstagrammers out there! And it’s such a supportive atmosphere, everyone is kind to each other and just shares the love for books.

Do you prefer ebooks or paperbacks? Why?
Definitely paperbacks! I love the physical feeling of the book in my hand, paperbacks are much more “real” to me in a way. I also love to have a book shelf so that I can look at all the books I’ve read and remember them and the characters from time to time just by looking at the cover. And also, you can take so much better photos of paperbacks for bookstagram.

Do you have a favourite writing food? Drink?
Favorite writing drink is definitely coffee! I’m such a huge coffee addict. I’m not myself in the morning until I’ve had at least one large cup of coffee… Besides coffee, I also love to drink water with some fresh ginger or lemon in. I don’t need to eat while writing to the same extent as I need my coffee, but in the afternoon when you need to refuel, I have a favorite snacks – chocolate almonds from Superfruit. You can kind of tell yourself that they are healthy because they’re vegan and free from any additives… Lol!

A beautiful romantic teen novel about overcoming barriers to be with the one you love, by Annie Woods.

First Came Forever is the first book in a new trilogy following heroine Erica Lindell as an unexpected meeting changes her life forever. This swoon-worthy read for teens has several twists, including a love triangle and an assassination plot, where Erica is pushed to question her own aims and choices and make the hardest decisions of her life. What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Backpacking with her high school friends, Erica’s life takes a thrilling new turn. Meeting the fascinating Sasha Ailes, she can’t help but fall completely and irrevocably in love with him. When he feels the same way about her, Erica finds herself drawn into a fairy tale love story that will set her life on a new direction. But Sasha has kept his true identity a secret. Finding out who he really is, Erica must overcome the betrayal and make the hardest choice of her life. Can she give up her own dreams to live in his world, or leave and lose him forever?

First Came Forever is an enchanting, heart-wrenching story about friendship and first love and the devastating consequences a mistake can lead to. A deeply romantic read, full of characters who will stay with you for a long time.
My review: 5 stars
WOW! I picked up this book and thought it sounded amazing, something I could really enjoy and it was so much more than that! It was well-paced and just all out amazing! I found myself losing time as I sat down to read just one more chapter. Erica was so well written and the love story makes you feel like you're actually reading a grown up relationship. There was always love, and consent which is a huge issue. The only bit I didn't like was the end because it left me wanting more and I don't know if the next book is out, but when it comes, sign me up! Sold on this story completely. Highly recommended!

You can follow Annie on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Join Joey here on the blog on Fridays for interviews, reviews and guest bloggers. If you'd be interested in doing any of those, you can contact Joey here.

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