I'm happy to be kicking off a new week
with a new interview
with a new author!
Anya Josephs was raised in North Carolina and now lives and works in New York City, where they are pursuing a career in social work. When not working or writing, they can be found seeing a lot of plays, reading doorstopper fantasy novels, or worshipping their cat, Sycorax. Their writing can be found in FANTASY, ANDROMEDA SPACEWAYS, and MYTHAXIS, among many others. Their debut novel, QUEEN OF ALL, a fantasy for young adults, is forthcoming from Zenith Press.
Jena lives on her family’s struggling farm and in her beautiful friend Sisi’s shadow. She’s not interested in Sisi’s plans to uncover the Kingdom’s darkest secrets: the suppression of magic, and the crown prince’s systemic murder of those who practice it.
Jena only wants to keep a secret of her own—her changing feelings for Sisi. Yet when a letter arrives summoning Sisi to the royal Midwinter Ball, Jena has no choice but to follow her into a new world of mystery and danger.
Sisi falls into a perilous romance with the very crown prince she despises. Desperate to save her, Jena searches for answers in the halls of the palace and in the ancient texts of its library.
She discovers that the chance to save her friend, and their world, lies in her own ability to bring the magic back and embrace her own power.
Did you always dream of being a writer?
I was fortunate to have parents that read to me a lot when I was a child, and encouraged me to use my imagination. I think I thought of myself as being a writer when I was still young enough that I honestly didn’t think about having a career or a job at all!
When did you start pursuing publication of your work?
Intermittently, about four years ago. But at first I didn’t do a very good job—I queried the right people, but my work wasn’t polished enough, and I took every rejection way too hard. It wasn’t until two years ago, when I started pursuing publication for other projects, mostly short stories, that I saw a lot more success!
How long did it take from that first thought to release day?
I started writing this book when I was maybe about 12 years old, and I always imagined one day it would be in print, though of course at that time I had absolutely no idea of what that would actually require! So, I guess, fifteen years, give or take a few months: ten years of writing, three years of unsuccessful querying, two years of actually chasing publication in a productive way.
What’s been the hardest part of publishing a book so far?
Something I never expected—dealing with the fact that other people are going to read it! I wasn’t thinking that would be a problem. After all, I want other people to read it! But every time I realize it’s in front of unfamiliar eyes: when the Amazon pre-sale went up, or when I saw someone posting about it in a Facebook group, for instance, I feel oddly exposed! This book was just mine for so long that realizing other people are going to have a relationship with it, one that doesn’t involve me, is strange.
And the easiest, or most enjoyable?
Knowing that the book is finding the right audience! I’ve already had a few people reach out to say that they’re really excited to hear about a book that’s queer, that’s Jewish, that has a fat main character, and that’s the whole reason I wanted to get the book published. If it can find its way into one set of hands that needs it, I’ll be happy.
What’s next for you?
Well, I have two more books in this series! No info yet on when they’ll be out, but I’m hard at work on book #2 in the Jena Cycle.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to writers just started their pursuit of publication?
Find a way to cope with rejection. It’s going to look different for everyone—I gamified it, making a certain number of rejections a goal. Other people treat themselves after rejections. Some people celebrate them. But you have to find a way to make it, not just okay, but positive. If you’re gritting your teeth every time you get told no, if everyone lands like a punch, you won’t be successful in publishing. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Last book you read?
I just finished the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb.
What book are you reading now?
Gideon the Ninth. I know, I’m late to the party!
Best book you’ve ever read?
This is a hard question, but I think NK Jemisin’s The Fifth Season.
Best moment of your writing life?
Relatedly, getting a blurb for my book from Tamora Pierce.
Name of your newest WIP?
It’s a secret for now, sorry.
If not an author, what would be your dream job?
Artistic director of a major Shakespeare theatre company.
Want to guest blog or be interviewed? Got a cover reveal or book coming out?
Get in touch today!