Exploring the Darkness Within with Author Anna Cartwright
We first wrote about Anna Cartwright when she published her first novel, The Darkness Within, in April 2015
Reflecting over that time she recalls that the idea came out of a recurring dream.
Anna laughs: “ It just took over my entire life for four months… it just fell out of me wherever I was.”
Looking back, it’s the intensity of the experience and how exhausting it was that has stayed with her. The ideas, she remembers would start with one thing but, as the characters took shape, changes she wasn’t expecting would alter the course of the book.
“I didn’t think about publishing really. I always wrote and loved to read but hadn’t thought that anything I could write would be good enough. I always assumed publishing would be awkward and difficult.”
The friends and family who saw the value in her writing encouraged her to publish and when she found that Kindle would produce books as they were ordered, she decided to go ahead.
“It wasn’t ever about money,” she says. “Writing was about leaving the mundane behind… all the boring repetition of the everyday.
“I only write magic. I love the idea of something more to believe in. The idea that I could go to the bottom of the garden now and meet a Bog Troll, or some other magical creature really delights me.”
Anna makes it clear that she isn’t talking gentle, floaty fairies but beings of mystery and power that aren’t always a friend to humans.
Her fans have been asking for a sequel ever since that first book, but that proved difficult.
“I kept trying but there was nothing there that worked. It wasn’t supposed to have a happy ending and I had pretty much killed everyone off. Anything I subsequently wrote related to that theme would have been a spin-off, but trying to get it written was not a pleasant experience.”
So sorry, folks, there will be no sequel to The Darkness Within, but trying to make that happen meant that Anna had the writing bug again.
“I had worked in care for 29 years, and with one particular person for over nine years. When he died, I retired but I soon found that washing dishes and feeding the chickens and rabbits weren’t enough.”
Anna was bored; she has always needed that magic to lift her and carry her away, so more writing it had to be.
She says: “People think writing is so glamorous. They picture the writer in a silk blouse with perfect hair at a tidy desk. The reality is that I am probably in my pyjamas, eating crap, because I can’t be bothered to cook, and being woken in the night with the sudden realisation that I have left something out.”
What do you think is the biggest challenge in writing?
“Continuity is the most difficult. I realised in the early hours of one morning that I had completely forgotten an invitation that one of my characters had received.
“Writing also has to fit around real life, and then there is the editing.”
Anna has a great supporter in her son whom she laughingly describes as a “grammar Nazi”.
“Morgan goes over everything I write. We share a strong bond and he will be honest. I really trust his advice and support. When he said the failed sequel was no good, I knew he was right.”
So Morgan will be involved in the edit for the new book which Anna tells us will be called Faerie, though, as you might expect from what we have already said, this is no gossamer-winged extravaganza of cuteness. The book will start with a funeral and a sceptical character who has nothing left to lose. As the book unfolds, we meet an autistic young man with his own struggles and a battle for nature that looks deeply at the legends of the Green Man. I have sworn to say no more regarding the plot. You will have to wait and read it for yourself.
When this is likely to be? Anna tells us that not being attached to a publisher means no contract and no deadlines.
“I hate deadlines, and it’s not about money. It’s that I wrote it, that I didn’t waste the little bit of talent I have,” she says, laughing.
I am inclined to slip quietly away and not disturb her any more… the sooner for her fans to enjoy the dark magical world of Faerie. We will keep you updated
You can buy The Darkness Within on Amazon.