I am so so SO excited to introduce you all to AnnMarie Pavese! Not only is she a fabulous writer who draws you into worlds crafted with ...

    I am so so SO excited to introduce you all to AnnMarie Pavese! Not only is she a fabulous writer who draws you into worlds crafted with perfect attention to detail, and creates extraordinarily vibrant characters, but she's also a sweetheart! I have her to thank for helping guide me deeper into the writing community.

    In celebration of her debut novel, So Sang the Dawn, that has been released today (24th of November, available for sale on her website!) I'm going to be interviewing her. But first! Here's a little bit about AnnMarie!

AnnMarie Pavese lives in the mountains of Arizona, which were a huge inspiration in the creation of Frostholm. A former waitress and web designer, she unashamedly skipped college in order to pursue writing full-time. She spends her days writing, dog-momming, and mentoring other girls as they pursue their own writing dreams. She is obsessed with the woods and the cold and always writes best when it's raining or snowing.

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And this is the wonderful back-cover copy to So Sang the Dawn:

Seventeen-year-old Aurora Ballern has never had quite a normal life. As an orphaned ward of the state, she’s been sent to live out her existence at the city’s most prestigious boarding school while waiting to be adopted. The only family she’s ever known is her best friend and boarding school roommate, Raine Fording. As the two girls approach their final year of school, they find themselves longing more and more for escape from the confining walls of the academy, but when escape comes in the form of a kidnapping, everything they’ve ever known changes in an instant.

They wake to find themselves captives in the strange and somehow intriguing land of Frostholm, a mountainous region of vast forests and continual snow, completely undiscovered by the rest of the world. The warlord responsible for their capture is ruthless and unwavering in his demands that Aurora become a warrior and take lives for his kingdom, on the grounds that if she refuses, Raine will pay the ultimate price.

While in captivity, Aurora and Raine strive to cling to their unfaltering devotion to one another, though eventually, the lines between love and survival begin to blur, and their sacrifices become much steeper than they ever thought possible. Even in the midst of their greatest darkness, they’ll discover that hope can always be found, and that though the pain of night seems endless, the light of dawn will always return.

Now for the interview! I'll be bold, and AnnMarie will be the one giving the lovely, thought-provoking answers.

When did you first tell yourself ‘I’m going to be a writer’?

Honestly, I didn’t decide that I wanted to be an official writer until about two years into writing So Sang The Dawn. When I began writing, I was doing it for me, and so that I could find myself and find healing. It wasn’t until after working on Dawn every single day for two years that I started to entertain the thought that I could possibly share my gift with the world.

Who was your early writing inspiration, and who is your current one?

C.S. Lewis was probably one of the most major of inspirations for So Sang The Dawn and my writing in general, especially The Chronicles of Narnia. I remembered being so enraptured with his world of Narnia, and the battling kingdoms and the beautiful landscapes, and the personality depth of Aslan and Jadis and the Pevensies and all the other characters, and I just remember longing to figure out how I could pass those gifts on to other people.

My current inspiration comes from all over the place, but I have to say that I probably draw the most inspiration from other indie authors. There’s something about reading another indie’s work that just makes me feel really connected to the author themselves, whether or not I know them in person, and it’s so neat to see the similarities and differences between our worlds and characters.

What or who inspired ‘So Sang the Dawn’?

That’s definitely a loaded question! Without getting too lengthy, it was my own battle to keep searching for the light in the midst of the worst of darknesses that inspired the story of So Sang The Dawn. In the book, Aurora and Raine go through a lot of hard moments, where they feel hopeless and want to give in. But there’s always glimpses of light and hope to keep pulling them forward, and even writing those encouragements for them was a huge encouragement to me in real life.

On another note, the setting for So Sang The Dawn was definitely inspired by my love for rain and snow, and my affinity for wildlife and the woods. My home in the mountains of Arizona was a huge inspiration for some of the places that Aurora and Raine find themselves in the book.

What’s been the hardest part of writing for you? The easiest?

The hardest part in the beginning was finding my voice. If you’re a writer, you know right away what I’m talking about. It’s that specific style that an author writes in, their tone and their manner, which can be lengthy and poetic like the Classics, or it can be short and choppy with details and descriptions being few and far between.

It took me a lot of years before I really discovered where my own voice fell, and where I wanted it to fall. I love my writer’s voice now, and it’s now turned from the hardest part of writing to the easiest, because it comes so flawlessly to me which makes writing so much more enjoyable.

How has your faith come into your book?

My faith has definitely been a major part of Dawn, and was a huge inspiration in forming the storyline itself. I actually set out from the beginning to make So Sang The Dawn an allegory, similar to The Chronicles of Narnia. I wanted to give people something adventurous and dramatic and thrilling to read, but also give them something that was encouraging them between the lines and breathing hope into them, whether they realized it was happening or not. I really wanted it to be a story that changed with each reader; I wanted each person to be impacted by something different, rather than just following one, cemented message that you would have to feel, or not enjoy the story at all.

Which character reflects you the most, and which is your favourite? (Shhhhh, it’s possible!)

There’s a lot of me in my characters, even in the ones you wouldn’t expect. Unquestionably, the ones who reflect me the most would be the main characters, Aurora and Raine. I definitely poured my heart and soul into those girls to bring them to life.

As far as side characters go, my favorite is one you definitely wouldn’t expect. It’s a girl named Aara who comes into the story about halfway through, and she’s hardened to the world and is under the impression that compassion is a weakness. She’s really tough on Aurora, and though her indifference seems to come into play at a really bad time for Aurora, it’s also the thing that lights a fire under her to pick herself up and keep going.

If you could describe your writing journey in one word, what it would be?

Incredible. Writing is definitely a journey, and you never know what kinds of things you’ll discover about yourself as you go. I would absolutely be a completely different girl if I had never chosen to start writing.

If you could alter any part of your journey, would you? Why or why not?

I think the only thing I would change would be to go back and make myself connect with other writers a lot sooner than I did. I wrote by myself for a lot of years, and while it was very healing, it was also very lonely on a lot of days. Writing is such a different experience now that I’m connected with other authors and have someone to share my struggles and triumphs with.

Other than that, I don’t think I would change my journey at all. Some parts were hard and frustrating, and there were some really rough days where I thought I would just give it up completely, but I think the way my journey happened is what made me who I am, and made Dawn the story that it is.

Would you rather spend a day as your protagonist, or a day as your antagonist?

Now that’s a hard question. I actually don’t hate my antagonist (though you probably will once you meet him). Truthfully, I really respect him and his character as a whole — maybe that’s just because I know his full backstory and understand what made him the person he is. That being said, I really wouldn’t want to live as him. On the other hand, I would hate to be Aurora or Raine, and have to deal with all the things he puts them through. I don’t know… tough question!

What advice/encouragement would you give to other writers?

I actually spend a great deal of hours during the day mentoring other girls, not just with writing, but with their lives themselves. I love every part of it. One of my favorite things to tell them is to just let go and write. Don’t worry about prose or tense or character arcs or worldbuilding. There’s always time to go back later and add those things. But if you just pour yourself onto the page and write what you want to write, and not what you think others want you to write, your story will be drastically more vibrant than you ever thought possible.

Thank you for all your wisdom, and for sharing about your world and characters with us, AnnMarie!

Thoughts on AnnMarie's advice? How does So Sang the Dawn sound to you? How would you describe your writing journey in one word?
Please thank AnnMarie for coming over as well, and I hope you have a fantastic day! <3

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  1. Ooh, this book looks super interesting. I'd love to read it. Very nice interview. If I had to pick one word to describe my writing journey so far it would be "learning", because I've worked hard at learning how to write better.

    1. I hope you get a chance to read it Rachel! :) Aw thanks! Yes, that's a great way to describe a writer's journey--constantly learning, and growing. Thank you for commenting!

  2. This was pure epicness!

    And that book is so going on my TBR.

    1. Thanks Gray! <3

      Yay! I really hope you get to read it!

  3. I LOVED doing this!! Thank you so much for having me, Liss!! <3

    1. You're so welcome Annie!!! Thank you for doing the interview. <3