A Few Quick Questions With… Anne Dolleri

Earlier, I posted my thoughts about Anne Dolleri’s debut, Anbatar: Legacy of the Blood Guard. Now, she’s generously agreed to this brief Q&A. I enjoyed her responses to the questions and the opportunity to get to know her a bit better, I hope you do, too.

Tell us about your road to publication—was your plan/dream always to become a novelist and your education/other jobs were just to get you to this point, or was this a later-in-life desire?
I started writing when I was 13 years old. I never really did it with the intention to become a novelist. I was just thrilled about stories, about those beautiful things you could experience in the eternity of your own mind. Even today I consider myself as an amateur. Writing is a beautiful hobby and as weird as it sounds but I never want to make it a day job. I guess that would just rob it of it’s magic. I am a skilled gardener which on the first look might seem like something completely different, but really the fresh air and the hard work inspire me a lot.
I don’t want to ask “where do you get your ideas?” But out of all the ideas floating around in your head, why’d you latch onto this one—what was it about these characters, this idea that drove you to commit months/years to it?
I don’t really have a lot of ideas floating around. My ideas are born from the characters that occupy my mind. Nareth was actually my first book character I ever created. The first story I told was his and somehow there was this world growing around him. This sounds quite vague, I know, but sometimes I got the impression that writing is a mystery to the author even more than to the reader.

Well what made me spent that much time with this book? It’s the unbearable feeling of untold stories. It’s the feeling most of us have when our favorite series seasons finale has aired and ended with the worst cliffhanger you can imagine. You’ll just have to keep going until the story is told. I got my people in my head. And they got their story. And the story needs to be told.

I loved your use of Nareth;s dog and horse. Sure, as with 99% of all books, more of the dog would’ve helped. Was that a conscious choice or just something that happened along the way? [Note: I forgot I asked this question when I wrote about that in my post. I don’t mean to harp on the point, it just happened]
That is a really hard question. As a war horse Alahar has his purpose of course but I can’t recall having planned to create him. The same counts for Revo, who is Nareths dog. I do like having animals in rather descriptive episodes of a book (like journeys) so my character is capable of interacting with something. So you can say in retrospective Revo is a beloved unexpected helper, who does a great job in those scenes. But like Alahar this wasn’t a conscious decision, more a very happy coincidence. Of course I do have a thing for animals, so I guess it would be harder for me to write a book without animals in it.
Similarly, I loved Keni. Without spoiling anything, what can you tell readers about him? Where did the idea to include him come from—not just to include him, but to use him so often?
When Nareth enters Anbatar for the first time I needed someone he could talk to. As a stranger and even more so an enemy to the people of the North it needed to be someone he could risk talking to. Who could be better for that than a boy, who is experiencing the poverty of Anbatar every day while he’s roaming the streets for food. So at first Keni was only planned as Nareths first contact. But the naughty little thief turned out to be a great counterpart for Nareths soldier-like disciplined attitude. And to be honest Nareth grew very fond of the little guy. So he found his way into the story, and turned out to be an awesome character who finds his way from the beginning of the book until the very last chapter.
Who are some of your major influences? (whether or not you think those influences can be seen in your work—you know they’re there)
Of course most of us authors insist on being a unique sparkling unicorn but to be honest the stories of Terry Goodkind (The Sword of Truth), Kristen Britain (The Green Rider Series) and Naomi Novik (Temeraire) had a huge impact on me. What might be seen in my own work from these books is the very character based writing. I am telling my story through the eyes of my main character. And I believe this is what I adapted from the writers above.
What’s next for Anne Dolleri, author (if you know)?
I wish I had an idea. Considering that I am a self-published author and not a native english writer, it’ll definitely take some time until there will be something new to read from me. I had planned to continue Nareth’s story but until it is written, published, translated, edited and published in english, many month will pass I’m afraid.
Thanks for your time—and thanks for Anbatar: Legacy of the Blood Guard, I enjoyed it, and hope you have plenty of success with it.
Thanks for the interview, thanks for reading it, I am glad you enjoyed your time in Anbatar.

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