Author Bio: Anne Pfeffer lives in Santa Monica, California. She loves her family, cool breezes, and elastic waistbands. Her third novel, Girls Love Travis Walker, was named one of IndieReader.com's Best Indie Books of 2013. Learn about Anne’s latest projects at www.annepfeffer.com.
Description of Just Pru: Timid Pru Anderson leaves her controlling parents for Los Angeles and soon finds herself assistant director of a play, muse to its temperamental star, Blake, and falling in love with her new neighbor Adam. When her folks come to LA to bring her home, she faces a decision: will she give in or stand up for herself and claim her new life?
Interview with Anne Pfeffer
Just Pru is an interesting take on the "new adult" genre. Why do you think "new adult" is having such a moment in publishing right now?
Perhaps because “New Adult” covers such an important time of life—the college and immediate post-college years, when most young people leave home and become emotionally and financially independent from their parents. It can be a huge adjustment for them and a period of enormous challenge and growth—or a period of falling apart. It’s a rich area for a writer: so many stories to tell! It’s particularly interesting for me, since that’s what I write—contemporary coming of age novels.
What was your inspiration for creating a heroine who struggles with anxiety?
I wanted to write about a character who was profoundly troubled, yet sympathetic. A lot of us experience anxiety, so I hoped that readers could relate to her a little, even if her anxiety far exceeded theirs! I also wanted to give her plenty of room to grow during the story, hence starting her at a low point where she had nowhere to go but up.
Moving to Los Angeles seems to play an important part in Pru's character development. Do you find LA to be a source of inspiration for you?
It is. I live in LA and set all my stories here. In Just Pru, my character finds in LA a large, diverse community where anything goes and where anyone can meet a kindred spirit. It’s the perfect place for Pru to discover herself.
Other books I’ve written take place in specific parts of town; in fact, the location is part of the story. The Wedding Cake Girl, which is set on a fictionalized version of Catalina Island, is about a girl, a scuba diver and aspiring marine biologist. It features lots of diving and scenes integral to life in a small island town. Girls Love Travis Walker, about a boy in training to become a firefighter, is set in a fictional La Canada, an area frequently ravaged by brush fires.
Do you have any plans for a series featuring Pru?
Not currently, no. It could happen, but right now I’m working on a new book, a stand alone novel.
Do you have any advice for first time authors attempting to finish their first novel? Do you have a daily writing routine?
My advice would be, just keep at it. I myself don’t have a specific routine, although I write most days. But I always finish a book. I also solicit lots of feedback, but that subject is for the next question.
When writing Just Pru, did you complete multiple drafts? Did you show unfinished versions to friends or beta readers for feedback?
Yes, I rewrite over and over again until I’m satisfied. And I solicit a lot of feedback from others. It’s important to know how your work comes across, and it’s hard to see this yourself sometimes.
I read my first draft at my weekly class, run by a professional writer and writing teacher, Linzi Glass. I bring in ten pages a week to be critiqued by Linzi and the group. I rewrite based on their comments and from this get a second draft that’s clean enough to show to others.
In addition, I at the very least run my early chapters through an online critique group and send the whole manuscript for professional editing. I may also ask beta readers who I trust for their opinion. I’m not looking for fine editing here, but more things like: is it engaging? Do you like the main character? That sort of thing.
The self-publishing industry has really exploded, especially in e-books. What advantages and/or challenges do you see in self-publishing your work?
I think self-publishing is what has kept me writing. It has enabled me to have fun and to live the life of a writer in a small way without having to spend years querying agents or waiting for my books to go through the traditional publishing process.
I’ve published four books and have readers who write me fan mail and ask for sequels. I do interviews and get reviewed in book blogs. Three of my books have won literary prizes. Just Pru was selected by the Library Journal for the self-e collection, which is why I’m doing this interview!
So I’ve had the opportunity to be a “real writer” without going through the process of querying agents and publishers. Would I have gotten a traditional book deal if I’d gone that route? Maybe, maybe not. I chose a different way, and I’m a happier person because of it.
Explore the SELF-e collection to discover more great new talent!
If you are a self-published author please consider submitting your work to the Library’s SELF-e platform. Click here to learn more.