Annie Seaton – Kakadu Sunset – Podcast

Annie Seaton, and internationally bestselling author, talks about her latest novel Kakadu Sunset with the Co-op.

In the ancient lands of Kakadu, it’s not just the crocodiles you should be afraid of…Helicopter pilot Ellie Porter loves her job. Soaring above the glorious Kakadu National Park, she feels freed from the heavy losses of her beloved family farm and the questions around her father’s suicide. But when a search-and-rescue mission on the boundary of the older property reveals unusual excavation works, Ellie vows to investigate. Annie Seaton is published internationally in e-books across the romance genre and she has sold over 100 000 e-books. In 2014 she was voted Australian Author of the Year in the AusRomToday.com Readers’ Choice Awards and in 2015 she was voted Best Established Author in the AusRomToday.com Readers’


Rob:
You are listening to the co op book podcast. I’d like to welcome Annie Seaton to the Co-op chat. Hello Annie.

 

Annie:
Hello Rob. Thanks for having me.

 

Rob:
We are using the Wiz bank nature of technology to speak to you. You are in Baccaheads. Is that right?

 

Annie:
That’s correct. Sitting out, looking out the window at the beautiful Pacific ocean.

 

Rob:
Annie, you are one of the authors, the awe inspiring authors, desperate to find out about their back story. Because you’ve had many lives before you were an author. Is that right?

 

Annie:
I certainly have. Mostly in the academic and teaching field. I’ve got an arts degree in British constitutional history and English literature. I’ve got a post grad diploma in education. Post grad diploma in library information science and a masters degree in education, and my last actual going to work job was as a tutor at Southern Cross university, after I retired as a high school principal. Now just my dream job, that I dreamed about it my entire life. I am a full time author.

 

Rob:
Do you think you needed all this life experience to become an author first?

 

Annie:
Absolutely. Saying that, there are many young writers in their 20’s and 30’s who produce wonderful work. I don’t know that I could have given the depths to my novels that I do now without that life experience of work and family, career and just life experiences really help you delve deeper into your characters.

 

Rob:
Absolutely. I’m holding your … is it your first physical book. Kakadu sunset.

 

Annie:
It was my first pre book with one of the traditional publishers. About 10 or 12 of my ebooks are available on Amazon, as read on demand. Of course I have copies of those, but they are not available in malls and bookstores. Whereas Kakadu sunset is my first book that will be out there where I can go into a bookshop and say; “See that book, I wrote it.”

 

Rob:
Very exciting. Not to underplay the fact that you’ve sold over 100 000 e books. Is that right?

 

Annie:
That’s right. I only started writing … I wrote my first book when I was 11 years old. Which was a few years back. I joined a local writers club here when we moved to the North Coast about 28 years ago. But then I started to study again and started to work and writing was probably 10th on the priority list. When I retired, and I retired young, five years ago. I thought; “Okay, now is the time to give it a shot.” I wrote my first little book with about 35 000 words. A little steamed up novel for a competition. Didn’t place in the competition, but I subbed it to some US digital publishers and I got offered four contracts within the first week. Which was amazing. Since then I’ve e published with a few publishers in the States. I’ve self published a few books on Amazon and now I have the contract with a traditional publisher. I dipped my toe in a few different types of water and it’s been a wonderful experience. As you’ve said, aspiring writers have to endure and I enjoy spending time with aspiring writers and telling them how I did it. I’m happy to talk to people. I’m actually presenting a workshop next year to aspiring authors and I do a lot of talking to them individually as well.

 

Rob:
I think it is a great message, because I think we often get asked; “How do I get my book published. Do you know any publishers.” Things like that. It just seems like the growth of e books is sometimes a gateway into traditional publishing.

 

Annie:
Yes, it is. I tend to have an OCD and ADHD personality, so whatever I do gets 100% of my attention. I research it. I want to know the best way to do things and I have spent the last 4 1/2 years building up a presence on social media, in the reader world and I hope of course my book is very good to read, but I also think having such a wide social media presence also makes you more attractive to a publisher.

 

Rob:
Absolutely. Let’s talk about Kakadu sunset. My understanding, this is the first of a trilogy?

 

Annie:
Yes. It is the first of a series about the three Porter sisters. Ellie Porter in Kakadu sunset is a helicopter pilot. Emma Porter in book two, which is currently with my editor at PAN is a … She’s a doctor and she is up in the Daintry rain forest. I listen to [inaudible 00:05:24] interview with interest the other week. Because my book is also set, not up on Cook town, but it is set in a town based on the real town of Mostman. The third book is called Kimberley moonlight and it is set up in the east Kimberleys in a diamond mine. We’ve just been up there for … We had a six week trip to western Australia in our trusted canvas camper trailer. Researching the setting and finding out how the mine works and looking at the security and it was a very interesting trip. I’m writing that book at the moment and loving every minute of it.

 

Rob:
Excellent. There is a lot to be looked forward to. Readers of Kakadu sunset. Give me a head space … what is the elevated picture of Kakadu sunset for people that haven’t read your stuff.

 

Annie:
It has been tagged by a bookseller an Eco adventure romance. In it I explore the environmental issue of calcium gas mining. International park, Kakadu international park. I look at political corruption. I was very interested in following the ICAC investigation into Eddie Obeid and what happened there in the hunter valley, because that’s another area of the state that I have some ties with and I really love the Barlong valley. When I did Kakadu I got to thinking; “What would happen in a beautiful environment like this if there was a bit of political corruption.” We’ve got some corruption. We’ve got some environmental stuff. We’ve got a helicopter pilot. We’ve got some suspense and intrigue. A lot of my underlying message, I know in the world these days there is a lot of horrible things happening. There is a lot of sadness. There is a lot of grief in families. I like to talk about the enduring power of love. Whether it be romantic love between a man and a woman or a partnership or whatever or the love of family. The love of a parent for a child. The love of friends for each other. There is a lot of different aspects of love throughout the book and I suppose the over arching thing is; I’m comparing the purity of love, of a one particular instance. The chief minister of the northern territory for his wife and family, against the political corruption and the blackmail that he comes across in the Calcium gas exploration in Kakadu. It’s more than a straight romance, which is what I’ve written for the last four years. I’ve honed my craft in category romance with a big historical steaming hunk. But this is a much broader book that will appeal a broader area of the population, I hope.

 

Rob:
Maybe you haven’t been to the new category which is activism romance.

 

Annie:
Yes, well that’s true too. A new genre.

 

Rob:
Tell me about your writing method. How do write? How do you write? How do you get books out there?

 

Annie:
Diane Marcy talks about just being a pants as she called it. I went to a conference a couple of years ago and I love the term Organic Writer. I’m an organic writer. I don’t plot. I have no idea what’s going to happen to my characters. I’ve got no idea how it’s going to all pan out. They take me to places that are totally unexpected and it’s … For a reader hearing that, you think that surely the the author knows what they are going to write. I really don’t, and I find that my characters develop and turn into real people for me and they have the appropriate emotional or action response to a situation appropriate to their character. Which of course is very different to what my character or my reaction or response might be. It’s a lovely, intriguing part of writing a book and saying; “Oh, I like how that happens.”

 

Rob:
You obviously, you know your characters deeply.

 

Annie:
Sorry? Do I know my characters deeply. Yes. I was talking to another interviewer earlier in the day and I said if got a secondary character in Kakadu sunset, who is an Indigenous representative on the Aboriginal council for the protection of the environment of Grand Kakadu. I did all of my research and one thing being a past librarian, my research is meticulous. But this particular character, I really felt as if I got to know him and I really loved the character he turned into. He plays a big role in the investigation and the Black mile as well. Yes, I get to know my characters very deeply and they live in my head and I live in their lives. It’s a funny way to live your own life.

 

Rob:
Absolutely. Your influences. Who do you follow as a author?

 

Annie:
I have got the widest reading range at the moment. I read a lot of Australian authors because my goal for my writing career is to be an Australian writer, set in Australian locations for an Australian readership. I have written for the US market and you’ve got to change the spelling. You can’t call a caravan a caravan, it has to be called a trailer park and things like that. I’ve been there done that. I’m ready to write for an Australian audience. A lot of Australian authors. I read a lot of UK authors. I love Emily Robinson, Peter Robinson, Ewan Rankin, Elizabeth George, Rachel Abbot. Lots of British crime writers. Kate Fernival, again a British author, and of course Sharon Morrisey. I’ve read every one of her books that she’s written over the last 20 years. Then I also love reading the classics, because my degree is in English literature. I do regularly visit the Jane Austins and George Elliots and still have ties with my classical literature career.

 

Rob:
For anyone not sure what book to read over these summer holidays. I can highly recommend the Kakadu sunset book. It is a great holiday read and it’s got more depth than your average romance book. There is a lot to it and Annie, well done and congrats and good luck.

 

Annie:
Thank you very much. One thing I must say too, is that I am just so grateful to Pam McMillan for the absolutely magnificent cover that they’d produced for Kakadu sunset. For me it’s the book cover of the year. It’s a glorious cover, that I just hope will jump into readers hands and they can delve into the pages.

 

Rob:
It will be available online at the co op and of course in store on all the campus stores. Thanks for your time Annie.

 

Annie:
Thank you so much for having me Rob. A pleasure to talk.
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