Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Author Interview: Anneli Purchase

As I've mentioned previously one of the things I've loved since I set up the blog is contact with authors worldwide.  Today's guest is Canadian author Anneli Purchase who's here to talk about her latest book Julia's Violinist as well as give us a little insight to her day-to-day writing experience and influences.

Can you tell us a little bit about Julia’s Violinist?
Having lost everything in WWII, Julia receives a letter from her first love of twenty years ago. It is at the same time a blessing and a curse.

What did the inspiration come from for this book?
My mother told of being driven out of her family home after WWII. I was an adult before I realized that this happened to thousands of her fellow citizens. This is a story that could have happened to any one of them.

Which comes first, the characters or the plot?
In this case, definitely the plot because it begins with true events that devastated so many people’s lives during and after the war. The characters are also important because it is not a war story but rather about human relationships.

Are you able to give us a hint as to what your next novel is about?
I’m working on the sequel to The Wind Weeps, a suspenseful drama set on the West Coast of Canada.

Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I wanted to write when I was four years old, scribbling on a piece of paper and pestering my mother to tell me if any of those squiggles were letters.

Have you ever had writer’s block?
Yes, and I hate it. I call it going into the doldrums.

If you weren’t a writer, what career path would you have chosen to follow?
I love languages. I would like to have become an interpreter.

Being a writer appears to be such a solitary lifestyle, especially when you’re in the midst of writing, so do you consider the influence of social Media, Facebook and Twitter, a blessing or a hindrance?
Obviously, we need social media to get our work “out there” but I find that it cuts into my writing time in a huge way – something I had not anticipated. I wish we didn’t need it.

How long did it take you to get your first book published?
The first book I wrote is Julia’s Violinist. I started it eight years ago, but rewrote it several times while writing and publishing The Wind Weeps and Orion’s Gift.

Do you have a set daily writing routine?

I write best in the morning, but often there are many pressing obligations that interfere with it. It’s a constant battle to find writing time.

Would you say that any of your characters are like you? If so, which one(s)?

I try to give my protagonists characteristics that I aspire to. They all have a love for the outdoors and they all have kind hearts. Of course they have flaws too, but those are not the same as mine. I do have one or two.

If you could write another style of genre, what would it be and why?
I’ve already written three very different novels. Each one is very different from the other in setting and plot.  The only thing they have in common is that there is a love story in there somewhere. I do love a love story, but what I write is more substantial than a quick tale of romance.

If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Hire a copy-editor before you publish, and have a critiquing buddy or group for support along the way.

If you could invite any three authors, alive or dead, to a dinner party whom would you choose and why?
Stephen King, Robert Sawyer, and Rohinton Mistry. These three are excellent writers and I think they are well grounded in the real world, even though the first two write science fiction.

Do you prefer to read physical copies of books or e-books?
I love a real book for the feel of it, but I find the e-reader much more convenient and wouldn’t want to be without it.

Are there any books you’ve read that you wish you’d written?
I would love to be able to say I wrote A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry).

When you’ve finished writing a book, do you treat yourself to a reward?

Not really. I feel rather sad when I finish writing a book. Happy, and yet sad that I have to “let my friend go now.” But when I finished writing Julia’s Violinist, which is sad in some places, I rewarded myself by writing Orion’s Gift, a happier story.

Where would be your idyllic location for a writing retreat?
I wrote the beginnings of Julia’s Violinist in a student notebook on a beach in Mexico. The vendors left me alone and I had quiet time in a beautiful atmosphere. Each day I took my daily writing back to my bungalow and transferred it to my laptop, editing as I did so. That was pretty idyllic for me.

If you were going to be stuck on a desert island and could only take 3 books with you, which ones would you choose?
It would be a shame to take books I’d already read, and risky to take ones I hadn’t, so I’d have to go with ones I’d already read. I would re-read “A Fine Balance,” “Crime and Punishment,” and “Ahab’s Wife.”

Can you describe Julia’s Violinist in 20 words or less?
A widowed refugee after WWII, Julia remarries just before an old love finds her after twenty years. Choosing is devastating.

For more information about Anneli's books, why not visit her website anneli-purchase.com or stop by her blog, wordsfromanneli.


  1. Thanks for hosting me on your blog, Sharon. It's great to be here.

  2. Sounds lovely! Great to meet you Anneli! ANd you too Sharon. Great questions! I'll have to remember some of these. :)

    1. Thanks for dropping in, Pk.

  3. Really interesting post and nice to find out more about Anneli. I've read The Wind Weeps and Orion's Gift and enjoyed them both. I am looking forward to reading Julia's Violinist, the plot sounds intriguing.

    1. How nice to have a fan who has read two of my books! Thanks so much, Sue. I hope you enjoy Julia's Violinist.

  4. Loved Julia..my favorite of the three but I must admit I really enjoyed Anneli's painting of local areas like the Coast of Beautiful British Columbia!!

    1. Thanks for reading my books. Glad to hear that you enjoyed them.

  5. Great interview. I love all of Anneli's books, but Julia's Violinist is my favorite. The heroine is so real and so admirable! Darlene

    1. Julia had her faults but she was a woman to admire.

  6. Another fabulous addition Anneli - and the cover is very atmospheric! Hope it's a huge hit!

    1. Thanks, Linn. I hope so too.

  7. I do adore that cover, Anneli, as you may have gathered. Looking forward to reading this asap! :) xx

    1. So good to hear that, Sheryl. Happy reading.

  8. You are building a great selection of books Anneli. Julia's violinist interests me. HB

    1. I think it would suit you too because it tells how it was after the war from a human point of view. Sure it's a love story too, but that doesn't mean only women would like it. I used to think that when war ended everything was lovely again but that's far from being the case.