Tuesday, July 29, 2014

A Little Romance with Anna Faktorovich

With my review quota on maximum, I was pleased my next guest graciously agreed to an interview.  Tonight let's sail back in time as author Anna Faktorovich takes us on a historical journey with her debut novel Romances of George Sand.

DAB:   Where do you come up with ideas for your novels?

AF:      I’ve published a few academic books and essays, and as part of these projects, I have done a lot of research into popular and classical fiction. I have read widely in most genres, periods and national literatures. Across all of my readings, I have picked out the styles, genres, techniques, and other elements that I find to be appealing in literature. I have also come across topics and ideas that have not been covered widely in literature and should be. My research focuses on the study of literary formulas and genres, and when I dissect a formula that I like, such as the one for the rebellion novel for my Rebellion as Genre, McFarland book, I make a mental note to attempt writing a rebellion novel myself, as both an academic and a creative exercise. I prefer writing historical fiction, so coming across an interesting historical event or person also prompts ideas. I used to rely on inspiration in the first dozen novels that I wrote, but I have not attempted publishing any of them because they don’t reach my standards; thus, I’ve stopped relying on the muse, and only trust in logic when I choose a topic.

DAB:   What was the catalyst for this novel’s premise?

AF:      This novel began when I fell in love with George Sand’s works in college. I found her after reading through the entire collection of Alexander Dumas, pere, novels (over 40) because she was basically the only female novelist in the French Romantic Movement. Then, I recently had an idea about writing a romance series, and I wanted to do something a bit funny, so I decided to do a series where the heroine keeps finding in the happy ending the one-true-love in each book in the series, and then begins a search for the next true-love in the following book, and George Sand was the perfect heroine for this plot. But, when I read her biography and autobiography, I realized that she might have been asexual, or she might have failed to find love in each of her dramatic affairs, so I realized that this was going to be a single anti-romantic novel, and not a formulaic romance novel series.

DAB:   Do you ever have difficulty writing from the point-of-view of a member of the opposite sex?

AF:      University of Ottawa Press is currently reviewing my new academic book, Gender Bias in Mystery and Romance Novel Publishing: Mimicking Masculinity and Femininity. This book is about this very question, how authors mimic genders in fiction and non-fiction, and this is both in dialogues and in the narrative or authorial style. My Romances of George Sand novel also presents an interesting study of gender in dialogue because the heroine is a cross-dresser, as she dressed as a male to participate in politics and literature. So, Sand’s voice is not exactly “feminine.” I have studied the various stereotypes about gender bias, and how women are supposed to talk, and occasionally I do mimic gendered points-of-view in my fiction. The only difficulty I have is with finding motivation to create a gender divide in points-of-view, as I naturally don’t want to make women sound dimmer or more flighty than the men.

DAB:  How long did it take for you to craft this novel?

AF:      This novel was a special experiment for me. I took around a month (while I was also working on some other projects) to slowly do my research into George Sand and French history. Then, I set a 5,000 words per day goal and finished writing 110,000 words in this novel in the 20 days I set aside. Then, I spent a couple of days on design, and a couple of days on editing. The marketing, so far, is the most time-consuming task, as it’s tough pushing a novel published with my own independent press out there. In addition, the novel is anti-formulaic and radical, so pop reviewers think it’s too dense for them.

DAB:   Tell us about a typical day in your writing world.

AF:      On a typical day, I wake up at around 10am. Spend a couple of hours waking up. Reply to the 100+ emails I get daily. Post updates on social media. Complete new editing, design, formatting, etc. projects that come in that day to my Anaphora Literary Press. Spend some time on marketing, or coming up with new promotion methods for my books. When my backlog of practical projects for the day is done, I do some writing. When I was writing Romances of George Sand, to finish 5,000 words+ daily, I spent the entire day writing (at least 12 hours), and did not begin any new projects, only spending a few hours on catching up with essential Anaphora projects.

DAB:   What kind of research practices do you utilize for writing?

AF:      I prefer to do a lot of research because I want to create a realistic world that readers can trust. If it's a historical novel, I research the general history of the period, as well as all of the key historical figures, monuments, locations, and sometimes the weather on a specific day, if it's relevant and I can find the information. I use Google Maps to see street-views of locations I'm describing, and otherwise try to always be specific in all descriptions with the help of research.

DAB:   There's the eternal debate whether to outline or not.  What is your preference?

AF:      When I was younger, I believed in free-writing, or writing without an outline, just letting art happen.  Recently, I've decided that it is the writer's job to be in control of their novel, and that readers enjoy novels that are logically organized. So, I have started doing very detailed outlines, and I plan on doing detailed outlines for all of my future novels.

DAB:   What are some things you've done to get the word out about your novel?

AF:      Since this is my first novel, I'm especially excited to promote it.  I've created giveaways on GoodReads and LibraryThing, on the latter over 450 people have requested the novel so far. I have also created a YouTube trailer, upon a request from a reviewer: http://youtu.be/DgWPh5pBpm4. I've also sent out 30 print review copies, and around 100 electronic review copies, and some reviews have started to come in. Here is one from the Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/review/aurora-dupin-s-fairy-tale-romances-of-george-sand

DAB:   Care to tell us what is next on your writing horizon?

AF:      I plan on writing a series of historical novels. Romances of George Sand is the first book in this series, and the next one will be a novel version of my poetry collection, Battle for Athens. This book will be about an anti-corruption rebellion in Athens, Tennessee by veterans in post-WWII America.

DAB:   Now's your chance - give us the final plug for your novel.

AF:      The Romances of George Sand takes the heroine from a childhood in the aristocracy amidst the Napoleonic Wars, to an unhappy early marriage and eventual divorce, to her careers as a country doctor, pharmacist, lawyer, and most successfully as a romance novelist. This is a story about the revolutions in a woman’s heart as she goes through dozens of love affairs. It is also about George’s involvement in violent, political revolutions of her time, including the July and June Revolutions and the 1848 Revolution; in the latter, she served as the unofficial Minister of Propaganda. The story is full of military battles, coup d’etat maneuvers, duels, malevolent plots, infidelity, artistic discussions, monumental legal cases, and reflections on the nature of love, family, romance, rebellion, and femininity. The history behind each of the events depicted is researched with biographical precision, but liberty is taken with some events that have been contested by historians, including the lesbian affair George had with Marie Dorval and the identity of the real father of her second child. Students of literature and history will recognize many of the central characters, as George befriended Napoleon I and III, Alexander Dumas pere and fils, Frederic Chopin, Alfred de Musset, and a long list of other notables.

Author Bio:
Anna Faktorovich is the Director and Founder of the Anaphora Literary Press. She taught college English for three years before focusing entirely on publishing. She has a PhD in English Literature. She published two
scholarly books: Rebellion as Genre in the Novels of Scott, Dickens and Stevenson (McFarland, 2013) and The Formulas of Popular Fiction: Elements of Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, Religious and Mystery Novels (McFarland, 2014). She completed two other scholarly books: Gender Bias in Mystery and Romance Novel Publishing: Mimicking Masculinity and Femininity and Wendell Berry’s New Agrarianism and Beyond, for which she received a Kentucky Historical Society fellowship. She also published two poetry collections Improvisational Arguments (Fomite Press, 2011) and Battle for Athens (Anaphora, 2012).

For more information about Anna or to pre-order her novel, click on any of the links below:

Anaphora Literary Press: http://anaphoraliterary.com
Amazon Pre-Order page: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1937536696

No comments:

Post a Comment