Guest author: Ann Duran

Ann Duran Photo SDPlease help me welcome author Ann Duran to my blog today.

Thanks for joining me, Ann. First, can you tell us a little about yourself?

By day I am a stockbroker, working with people to make their financial dreams come true…at least as much as these difficult economic times will allow. By night I am a writer, making my own dreams spring to life. To me, history is fascinating and I’ve always enjoyed reading authors from the 1800’s such as Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Jane Austen. Their use of the English language is beautiful and evocative. I enjoy writing stories that involve unexpected elements whether ghosts, angels, demons, or shapeshifters and where love transcends time and even death.

Take it away, Ann.

The Anatomy of an Idea

Many times readers ask: “Where do you get your ideas?” Or “How do you think of things to write about?” It’s an interesting question with as many answers as there are authors.

An idea may percolate in my mind for quite some time before I put fingers to keyboard. I write novels with romance, either as the main driver of the plot or as an element of the story, so that’s one given. I also prefer to write in the paranormal/fantasy genre so there’s apt to be ghosts, angels, demons and shapeshifters in the mix. Specific story triggers can arise from many sources.

I’m not quite sure when the idea for my current work in progress, Waking the Dead, arose in my consciousness. It may have been when I came across an online article involving a little known, but, in my opinion, very romantic story about General William Tecumseh Sherman several years ago. Subsequent to seeing the story about General Sherman, I was fortunate enough to be on a trip with my significant other to Tupelo, Mississippi when a friend of ours gave me a personalized bicycle tour of the Shiloh Battlefield. The Shiloh Battlefield of today is a peaceful scene of rolling green hills and tree shaded valleys and the contrast between the pastoral countryside of the present with the war torn and bloody site of April 1862 I found nearly incomprehensible. But now I had two elements of an idea: one character—General Sherman—and a setting.

As time went on, my cousin told me the story of a Civil War soldier’s ghost visiting her property in Virginia. I found it fascinating and a little creepy. In short, the perfect story trigger. Now I had three workable elements of a story (setting, one character and its genre, paranormal). I was a fan of the Ghost and Mrs. Muir television series years ago. Thus came into play a workable romantic angle. The bones of a story.

What remained was to put the elements together in a plot that had suspense, romance, danger and a happy ending…the balance of the anatomy. I decided on my hero and heroine, their back story (by asking myself a series of what if questions) and conflict. Taken together, each step produced a rough outline for what I wanted to have happen but I’m leaving room for inspiration and “seat of the pants” writing that may take the story in a direction not related to the outline. It’s a work in progress, but I’m getting closer to a finished novel. And there you have it—one author’s anatomy of an idea. Happy reading!

Phoenix Rising (300dpi 2700x1800)When undercover agent Anthony Emillani, aka Jack Herrell, discovers the body of his murdered wife on the bedroom floor of their New York home in the spring of 2001, little does he know that his soul is the focus of a wager between Satan and Michael the Archangel.

Robin Emillani’s murder by an unknown assassin challenges Jack’s faith in God. After ten years of finding his faith challenged by the events of that horrid day, Jack is sent to Phoenix to investigate illegal activities in the mafia-owned brokerage firm, Diamond Securities and, unbeknownst to him at the time, is placed directly in the path of his wife’s murderer.

Jack is surprised at his instant attraction to Alexandra West, the intriguing operations manager for Diamond. Since his wife’s murder, he hasn’t felt anything for anyone, yet Alex awakens the emotions he’d thought were dead, lost when he lost his beloved wife. Jack soon learns that Alex faces ongoing sexual harassment from the local branch managers, as well as a life-threatening illness. But what Jack doesn’t realize is that there is more involved to the harassment than it seems. Satan’s minion has fostered a psychotic obsession within one of the managers toward Alex.

While Satan’s minion deals challenge after challenge, Michael and his angelic friends work furiously to counter the evil machinations of the demon. A series of violent events put to the test the new-found love between Alex and Jack and force Jack to decide his eternal destination: heaven or hell.

Phoenix Rising is available here:

Raven's Nest (300dpi 2700x1800)Pirates, shape shifters and travel through time. How much more complicated can love get? Time traveler Eric Morgan finds out when alarming news arrives from his mentor, Nathaniel Beckett, that Blackheart the Pirate has kidnapped Nathaniel’s daughter Celeste. Eric lives in the present and Celeste lives in 1718 Camden, Maine. Complications arise upon his arrival in Maine, with Eric’s emotional discovery of a father and sister he never knew…a shape-shifting father and sister. Together, they travel to the past. They ask help of the local magistrate, unaware he is in cahoots with Blackheart and concealing a secret that makes him a terrifying nemesis. An attack by a Great White shark nearly costs Eric his life before he can rescue Celeste. Peril lurks in unexpected places and Eric’s actions trigger a cascade of events that will tear one family apart and force another to test the bonds of forgiveness and love.

Ann’s books are available on Amazon.
Phoenix Rising:

Raven’s Nest:

Thanks so much for spending this time with us today. Best of luck!

To learn more about Ann and her books, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter


Guest author: Ann Duran — 2 Comments