Author Annika Perry – Priorhouse Interview (1-8-22)

Good Morning Readers. Today I am featuring the Priorhouse Interview with blogger and author Annika Perry. 

ANNIKA:  

Hello Yvette and thank you so much for the invitation to take part in one of your interviews! It’s a joy to be here! The tagline to my website sums me up in a few words:

‘A writer influenced by her Swedish heritage and Yorkshire upbringing.’

 It is this dual background that is the foundation of not only my writing but also my life.

A LIITLE BACKGROUND ABOUT ANNIKA:  

At the age of six, I found myself transported from Gothenburg and the beauty of the islands off the West Coast of Sweden to a small English village nestled in the glorious and dramatic Yorkshire Dales! 

A teacher at primary school spotted my love of words and passion for writing and nurtured my interest for over a year. Since then my passion for writing has never faltered although my route to publication proved circuitous. 

After gaining my BA Honours Degree in German Language and Literature from the University of Leeds, I started working as a journalist. Later I changed my career and gained a position as Administration Manager for a busy timber import company.

A career break to raise my son ensured I finally had the time to concentrate fully on my writing and initially a writing course gave me encouragement and direction. Winning First Prize in a Writing Magazine’s Short Story Competition was a fantastic surprise and joy. Furthermore, I was short-listed for an Ink Tears Short Story Competition the same year. 

A Confidence boost….

Both of these gave me a huge confidence boost and with further encouragement from my tutor, I set out to write my first novel and started my blog to connect with like-minded people! A whole new community, a new world opened up to me and with the encouragement of friends on WordPress I set out to publish.

Publishing…

My first venture into publishing was “The Storyteller Speaks”; a collection of short stories, flash fiction, and poetry. Published in January 2018 “The Storyteller Speaks” has received over twenty-five glowing reviews on Amazon.

My second published book was “Oskar’s Quest”, a beautifully illustrated children’s book with a story of adventure and courage. 

I am overjoyed and proud to now call myself a full-time writer, blogger, and book reviewer.

PRIORHOUSE: Thanks for the background information, Annika. Now let’s talk about your first book, The Storyteller Speaks. I remember some of the buzz in the blogosphere when you released this book back in 2018. 

Link to “The Storyteller Speaks” https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37544434-the-storyteller-speaks/

Here are some blurbs about The Storyteller Speaks:

It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?

In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation.

The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.

One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

PRIORHOUSE: Can you tell us about your children’s book Oskar’s Quest? The process of creating it and any challenges?

ANNIKA: “Oskar’s Quest” is a picture book for children aged 3 – 6 years old and it tells the story of Oskar, a lonely blue bird, who is afraid of adventures. Yet one day he finds himself on a mysterious island called Roda which needs his help. Bella, the red bell-flower, is ailing and in tears explains to Oskar how the whole island is mourning the loss of Maya, a special golden songbird. Maya was swept up and away by the dark cloud Drang. To his own surprise, Oskar volunteers to find Maya and he sets out on a most unexpected and magnificent quest, along the way Oskar finds not only Maya but also courage, friendship and wisdom.

ANNIKA: Technically “Oskar’s Quest” was a work in progress (WIP) for over 15 years!

PRIORHOUSE: What? 15 years? That really says a lot and reminds us that some ideas might need to simmer on a back burner for a while. My step-daughter and I have a book idea (about a cloud) from the 1990s and it continues to simmer. So your timeline offers hope to authors who might be sitting on an idea for a while – we can take heart!

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ANNIKA: I was first inspired to create Oskar’s story for my son for bedtime when he was very young. A few years later I wrote a rough draft and kept it safe, always trusting “Oskar’s Quest” would find a wider audience one day. 

Once I came to prepare the book for publication editing was a challenge, albeit a rewarding one! The story was twice the final length at over 2000 words — far too long for a children’s book. Furthermore, it was rough around the edges. I thoroughly enjoyed editing and revising the story, making it a sharper and more engaging read. 

Another challenge with writing for children is that the author is actually writing for an audience of two (the adult reader and the child) and the writer needs to capture the interest of both unconditionally. Both need to LOVE the book. I speak from the experience of reading hundreds of books to my son when he was young — there has to be that spark and magic which make both eager to return to the book!

PRIORHOUSE: I know what you mean- my spouse and I read hundreds of books to our children too. We still know some of the lines by heart. The early books were Sandra Boynton board books and then picture books like Old Henry and Stone Soup. The children’s books we loved most tugged at our heart and our children also loved them (you are so right – the books must appeal to both parent and child) – and we especially enjoyed books with great images. That reminds me about Gabrielle Vickery’s wonderful art in Oskar’s Quest.

ANNIKA: It took some searching before a local children’s author recommended Gabrielle. This was Gabrielle’s first foray into children’s illustrations and a huge first for us both. Communication and patience were key! She did a remarkable job of tapping into my descriptions of Oskar to create the final beautiful bird  – full of character and emotion! It was time-consuming and at times a little frustrating for us both but following countless emails and sketches, Oskar appeared as if by magic and I cannot imagine him any other way! Once the first three pages were completed with Roda, Bella, and Maya the rest of the book and illustrations took flight!

Another challenge was publishing coloured pictures and incorporating the text. Although it would have been easier to have text boxes I was adamant that this was not right for “Oskar’s Quest”. I am forever grateful for David Cronin’s expertise in preparing the illustrations and text for publication!

My squeal of absolute joy as I saw the paperback book for the first time reverberated around the district, I’m sure! I hope all readers will find it a welcoming, vibrant, intriguing book!

One fun, and more unusual fact about “Oskar’s Quest,”  is that it is available in German! It was exciting to work with a translator and within a week the final copy “Oskar’s Abenteuer” was ready! It was a great help that I speak German and Marion and I savoured our lengthy linguistic conversations, focussing on what seem easy words in English but tricker to find just the right alternative in German for eg. ‘PLIP PLOP’, ‘Eeeek’ and ‘BOOM’!

PHOTO: This is an image of Minky, Annika’s favorite Teddy, showing us his German copy of “Oskar’s Abenteuer”. Minky is fluent in German having accompanied Annika while she studied at Karl-Marx University in Leipzig and at University of Tübingen.

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PRIORHOUSE: What other works do you have in progress?

ANNIKA: The current global pandemic has impacted people in very different ways. This is true of people within the creative arts as well and I have read many articles, essays, and posts about how writers have coped during this stressful and worrying time. Some flourished in their creativity during the enforced stay-at-home orders. Others, myself included, felt overwhelmed and creativity was smothered with fear from the situation, family and friends.

Therefore, my writing projects were put on hold and I am glad to now finally be working again on projects.  Current endeavors: 

  • In the process of editing another one of my children’s stories and look forward to finding an illustrator for this soon. 
  • My first full-length novel, “Island Girl”, is never far from my heart and mind — the editing is taking much longer than anticipated but I look forward to publishing this in due course.
  • Finally, my love of short stories has never left me and I continue to write these with abandon!

PRIORHOUSE: How often do you write and how would you describe your muse?

I wonder if all writers feel that they never write enough, never spend enough time on it?! At least I do! As I wrote the first draft of my novel, I spent 3-4 hours a morning writing in longhand! It worked perfectly. Then in the afternoon I would often type up the work. Most of my fiction work is written in this way.

My muse is all around me! I truly believe, it is a matter of me being open to the world, letting troubles slide away and letting in the power of creativity.  If an idea will not develop I find it best to step back, take time away — without a guilty conscience! For me, walking loosens the bands of restraint.

PRIORHOUSE: I am glad you mentioned walking and how it loosens any restraint and refreshes you. In your most recent blog post, Reflections (here), you noted that one of your top-ten posts was ‘Duality of Walks’ (#8), which featured both a real-life local walk as well as that of the virtual walk as part of a global challenge. You also shared a quote worth sharing again here:

PRIORHOUSE: How are your books doing right now? Any promos or recent reviews?

ANNIKA:  In recent months I’ve been overwhelmed with a plethora of wonderful and thoughtful reviews. These are always heartwarming and terrific boost for a book (and its author). I’m deeply touched that so many ‘get’ the book, have fallen for Oskar, a character very precious to me and people are thoroughly captivated by the story and illustrations. 

Here are some links, starting with the latest review from D L Finn.

ANNIKA: Note about the timing of Oskar’s Quest. – The launch coincided with the 2020 lockdown here in the UK. At the time,I was starting to begin promotions of the book within primary schools which unfortunately have been delayed. I look forward to the opportunity to read and share Oskar’s Quest with the intended audience very soon. There is nothing quite as rewarding as personal book readings, especially within a school setting.

PRIORHOUSE: Do you have any tips for writers? Or tips for “living life to the full”? 

ANNIKA: A couple of years ago I gave ‘an inspiring author’ talk to a group of creative writing students and I think my tips to them as writers and readers are as pertinent as ever … I doubt I will sum up the gift of writings, its trials, the importance of reading any better than I did then. I hope sharing this again now can shine a light and provide a little guidance for all writers.

Annika’s Advice for Writers: 

  • Throw yourself into writing and relish the experience! Find the magic within you and share it! Write from your heart! This may be easier said than done, if like me, your head tends to rule. Don’t disregard your mind but just don’t overthink. 
  • Once you’ve finished a piece, and this can be tough, put it aside for a while. Returning to it with fresh eyes will be key to the next stage; editing. Here engage that brain, tap into your creativity, look out for ways to improve your writing. Perhaps you’re ‘telling’ too much instead of ‘showing’? Not only is it more enjoyable for the writer to show through their writing, it will lift your story.
  • Never underestimate the effectiveness of dialogue to carry a story forward, to show emotions, even description. It’s striking when you can have a sequence of speech without the ‘he said’/‘she said’. Try to avoid always using adverbs with these; the anger etc should come out in the language where possible.
  • Never be afraid of feedback of your work; after all we learn through constructive criticism. Start to read your written work with a critical eye when necessary.
  • Play around with your writing. Writing outside one’s comfort zone is a great way to bring new life into your work. Try another unusual genre. Shift your words around — explore new vocabulary and if writing fantasy, maybe even make up a few new words of your own! Use different tenses, viewpoints. I felt a sense of liberation writing from a male viewpoint in some of my stories and enjoyed the welcome sense of rush and urgency to stories written in the present tense. 
  • When not writing, read lots! Not just in one genre but across the board. It’s a wonderful way to learn. See what works well, and also look out for writing that falters, flatlines … learn from other’s mistakes.
  • When you start a new piece of writing, remember that this is your first and rough draft. If you wait to write down the best version of your work you may never start at all as you will feel inhibited before even writing a word.
  • Write with your Ideal Reader in mind — recall your own emotions and feelings when you are swept away by a story. There is nothing quite like escaping into another world; when the present real-world fades to that of the fiction. My dream has been to recreate that experience for all my readers — and hopefully I have. Make your characters three-dimensional, so real that neither you nor the reader wants to leave them! 
  • Through the nitty-gritty of writing, the joy and power of creating worlds, characters, stories should never be underestimated. As Neil Gaiman says: ‘(they/short stories) are tiny windows into other worlds and other minds and other dreams. They are journeys you can make to the far side of the universe and still be back in time for dinner.’

Annika’s Advice for Living Life to the Full:

My one major lesson for living life to the full is to NOT let fear gain the upper hand! Fear is a powerful emotion that will want to invade your heart, your mind, and spirit. Fear wants to erode away your ability to live life with absolute joy and excitement. When my son was young, I always reminded him of Winnie the Pooh’s wisdom:

‘You are braver than you believe,

stronger than you seem,

And smarter than you think.’

I don’t think my son realised I was saying the words as much to myself as to reassure him! Even when we’ve battled fear, doubt and self-worth can rear their ugly heads. If this takes hold one’s life can again be held back. ‘If you argue for your limitations they are yours,’ wrote Richard Bach in his life-changing ‘Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah’; rather see, feel, experience the wonder of the world from the smallest detail to the vast fabric of existence. Along the way never lose sight of your dreams, the magic that lives within you can become a reality. Remember that ‘you’re never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true.’ Again, a quote by Richard Bach and one I try to follow through my life! I hope you  and your readers feel its inspiring energy as well

PRIORHOUSE: Annika, Pooh’s timeless wisdom always brings a smile.  One of my favorite quotes about fear, which was recently on an old episode of The Twilight Zone, is “Perfect love casts out fear.”  Also, I really like the Richard Bach quotes you shared. 

PRIORHOUSE: Can you give us an interesting fun fact about you? 

ANNIKA: Once I interviewed an alien!  

Daleks, created for the famous British science fiction series Dr. Who in 1963, are still frightening children nearly sixty years later. In the late 1970s, my friends and I would hide behind the sofa to watch the series, screaming in fun terror every time a Dalek appeared on the screen. Years later I happened upon a Dalek on the seafront in Hastings. As a reporter, I could not help but try, with some trepidation, to interview the alien. It did not go well! Alas, their vocabulary does not seem to have developed beyond their one-word catch-phrase of ‘EXTERMINATE!”

PRIORHOUSE: What’s something you are really good at that few people know about?

My LOVE of languages is not generally known by most people and I’m fluent in three languages (English, Swedish, German). I’ve also learnt three others to a high standard (French, Spanish, Russian) and I’m currently completing a Portuguese language course. Furthermore, I’ve had the pleasure and delight of travelling to twenty countries including the US, the Caribbean, The Gambia and within Europe. Some I’ve visited many times, and look forward to expanding this list! 

ANNIKA:  Many thanks again, Yvette, for the opportunity to appear on your blog! Your searching and in-depth questions have given me time to re-evaluate myself as a writer and more thought to the craft and life overall!

PRIORHOUSE: It was my pleasure and thanks for being so flexible and easy to work with. Here are some links if anyone wants to connect with Annika Perry. 

Thanks for joining us with this author interview. If you have any questions or comments, we would love your feedback.

Also, wishing everyone a Happy New Year.

Welcome to 2022!

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147 thoughts on “Author Annika Perry – Priorhouse Interview (1-8-22)

    1. Yvette has a true talent with these superb interviews and I was honoured to be asked to take part. Thank you for your lovely comment, Derrick! 😀 I’m glad you enjoyed my tips to authors and hope there can be some pointers to other writers of all levels! Wishing you a great weekend.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Yvette, it’s been an absolute joy and honour to take part in your excellent series of interviews! 😀 Thank you so much! 🙏

    How exciting that you and your step-daughter have a children’s book idea simmering, always there in the background and I’m sure one day the moment will be right for you both to create a magical book.

    Yeah! One can’t share books enough with children and it’s great you experienced the wonder of these times with yours. I haven’t heard of any of the books you mention and think they might just be available in America alas … they must be very special to have caught hold of your imagination so intensely!

    Thank you again for this lovely opportunity, your searching questions which had me reflecting on the craft of writing, my own way forward as a writer and blogger! Your presentation is superb and engaging!

    Lovely to chat away, take care. Hugs xx

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    1. Hi Annika, I just put about 40 children’s books in the attic because I did not want to get rid of them – and as I put them into the bin, some of the lines from the books came flooding back. I will try to share a few of the titles later because it might make a good post. But I really loved that you mentioned your goal was to connect with the parent and the child – and that is likely why the book has had such appeal.
      Thanks again for being so flexible with my posting of this and I plan to read Oskar’s Quest with my step-grandchildren this year and will keep you posted.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yvette, that’s a wonderful idea for a post and one I’m sure will be very popular with all! I’ll look out for it! I treasured those moments of reading with my son, and earlier for my niece and nephew … such stillness, harmony and togetherness. I’m excited that you hope to read Oskar’s Quest with your step-grandchildren … hope you all love the book!

        Thank you for sharing your quote of ‘Perfect love casts out fear’! So true and one I’m saving in my file!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Cindy, thank you for your lovely comment!😀 Yvette is a gifted interviewer and I thoroughly enjoyed the questions, the opportunities to reflect on the craft of writing, on life! So glad you found it inspiring and liked the quotes! It’s great to meet you here! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re most welcome Annika! She really is and it was really helpful hearing your journey as well. You have a lot of knowledge and clearly love the craft that blesses the heart of so many. It’s soooo nice to meet you as well. Let’s stay in touch. I’ll look forward to reading more of your work!
        💖🙏

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    1. Miriam, my Minky is quite a character – the first term of university I left him home and he wrote such long & wise letters to me and longed to join me! Then he came back up with me and enjoyed amongst other things pub nights out, cinema and flight to the States (sitting next to me in the seat!)

      Yvette’s questions were incisive and thought-provoking – a real honour to take part. Thank you for your lovely comment and for your wonderful review of ‘Oskar’s Quests’! hugs xx ❤️

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      1. Oh, wow, Annika. I’m glad Minky is such an amazing character and wonderful companion. When did you come to the States and where? I’m curious.
        Yvette and I have followed each other for many years. We had some interesting conversations over the years. 💖

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I first flew to America whilst a university student to visit my boyfriend at the time. Stayed with his family in Rhodes Island but visited Boston and New York, the latter amazing! In 2016 my mother and I stayed on the east coast of Florida, in a condo by the beach. It was heavenly and truly one of the most relaxing breaks in my life! I posted about it afterwards.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Miriam – I really enjoyed your review of Annika’s book (also Miriam – we really have had some fun convos over the years – and glad to be blog friends) – and Annika, can you 0lease share a link to your post about the 2016 Florida trip? Would love to read it….

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  2. It’s always interesting to read how a book comes about, Yvette, and Annika is a great subject and very generous with her time and comments. Thanks for providing the framework and showcasing her writing.

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    1. Jo, you are now responsible for me tearing up with such a warm and kind comment – thank you so much! ❤️ It’s a joy to partake in the community here. Yvette’s interviews are epic and I am in awe about the questions, beautiful presentation and as you say, framework – a real honour to be invited to her series!

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    2. Hi Restless Jo, thanks for your comment and I agree with you – it can be so interesting to learn how a book comes abut and I had no idea that Annika had her book brewing for 15 years – it really does offer hope to folks who have books sitting – or book ideas churning. And I think it was Erika/Erica’s daughter who said she had completed novels just sitting – hmmmm
      and thanks again Annika for some of the side notes in your replies that made your interview have its own flair
      🙂

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    1. Anita, thank you very much – Yvette’s insightful questions gave a lovely structure to the interview and ensured it was interesting and informative! It’s lovely to meet you here! 😀

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    1. Donna, it has been a fantastic experience to take part in one of Yvette’s epic interviews – I don’t know how she does it! 😀 So glad you liked the photos and the chance to learn a bit more about me! Hope you’re having a great weekend. xx

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    2. Hi Janis, thanks for reading and taking the time to leave a comment. Annika made this interview super easy and the photos she sent were the perfect amount – I thought I was going to have to snoop around her blog and grab some – but as the sections unfolded it was exactly what was needed – so Annika gets a gold star for that – hahahah
      wishing you both a great rest of your day

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    1. Aletta, it’s wonderful you enjoyed my interview with Yvette – she’s a natural at this and it was a delight to ‘chat’ away with her. I’ve always loved reading since a young age and it was precious to read so much to my son when he was younger. At school, storytime was one of my favourite times … the resulting discussions, lessons, would reach across the curriculum although as a pupil one never even just thought of this. It was just amazing to explore all avenues related to a book!

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        1. Thank you so much for your interest in ‘Oskar’s Quest’ and I hope you manage to get hold of a copy. A fellow blogging friend in South Africa did buy a copy on Amazon which was sent to her. Good luck and thanks again. x

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    2. Hi Aletta – I bet those classroom readings were wonderful – and thanks for taking the time to read this post and chime in 🙂 Also, Aletta, if you end up finding the book in South Africa please let us know – and I think you will love the colorful images – the effort she and Gabrielle put into those pages paid off with a polished piece.

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  3. A wonderful interview, Yvette and Annika, so thanks to both of you, a pairing of two wonderful warm women and two great minds. I learned so much more about Annika than I had known before. Oskar’s Quest is a gorgeous book. I thought I had owned long before 2020 so was surprised to read its launch date. The Storyteller Speaks is appealing. I must look for it too. Keep working on your novel, Annika. I’m sure it will also be a good read. I like that you chose quotes from Richard Bach. Although I have not read the book from which you quoted, Jonathan Livingston Seagull is one of my favourite books and guides my ‘yet’ philosophy.

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    1. Hi Norah, thanks for the uplifting words (really nice to read) and I agree with you about the publication date feeling longer ago than 2020 – hmmm
      and thanks to both you and Annika I am now going to explore more about Jonathan Livingston Seagull
      wishing you both a nice day
      🙂

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  4. Norah, thank you so much for your kind and heartwarming comment! ❤️ I loved ‘chatting’ away with Yvette on this interview and I love the epic nature of this series. Haha! I take it as a good sign that you felt Oskar’s Quest was published much earlier – it has been widely reviewed by others here on WP which is terrific. I hope you enjoy The Storyteller Speaks when you have a chance to read it and thank you for your interest. It’s lovely that you also find the guiding light within Richard Bach’s work – Jonathan Livingston Seagull is very special indeed. Precious moments within his books to treasure and lead us in our lives.

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  5. What a great interview. All kinds of new information about Annika that I didn’t know before, such as the alien interview. Lol. Something I hadn’t thought about before was how children’s books have to be written for an audience of two very different ages. Of course, they do, I just hadn’t thought about it. And I’m so excited to hear that some new books are in the works. Yay. And excellent advice for new writers; I couldn’t agree more. Wonderful job, ladies. ❤ ❤ Hugs.

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    1. Hi there author D – thanks for reading and commenting – the alien interview was new for most of us – hahahah = and is a great example of why we do some of these interviews – to discover tidbits that might not come out in other way.
      Hope your year is off to a nice start and be over soon amiga

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    2. Thank you, Diana and it’s been great fun to take part in Yvette’s amazing interview series. She’s a natural and if I ever come to post interviews I know where to head for ideas! Haha! It was an unusual challenge to get some copy down from the Dalek … my emotions were a turbulent mix of child me and ‘cool’ reporter me! 😀 Luckily the shop manager provided some workable quotes and information! I’m glad my reflection about writing for an audience of two as regards children’s books struck a chord with you. With all the books I read to/with my son, I found some trying to be too ‘clever’ and obviously aiming for the adult reader and alienating the child. Once I started to sketch down advice for new writers I even astonished myself by how much I’ve learnt over the years – hopefully these will inspire and aid others! Have a great start to the week … btw. I’ve nearly finished a short piece re. your challenge. Hope to post on Sunday! hugs xx ❤️

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  6. Yvette, I have so enjoyed reading this excellent interview with Annika Perry. The composition, the pictures and
    the flow of questions and answers makes it a very stimulating read.
    I have read both Annika’s books and they are both excellent. So deep and full of life; written with tight control and yet
    filled with life and animation.

    Annika, your writing is wonderful and along with so many I wait for the next publication. 🙂
    Your background fascinates me and as you obviousloy started writing at a very early age ( in English I presume) ,
    language came easy to you. What a blessing.

    I have a feeling that charming ‘Minky’ has been with you a long time and is now a learned professor and loved friend.
    I am quite taken with him, did he go flying with you. Did he ever inspire any of your writing?

    Let me also say that Richard Bach is on my special bookshelf – a go to when the going is tough.
    your quotes here are so wise and inspiring. Altogether your answers are filling me with joy. :))

    miriam

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    1. Hello Miriam, thanks for your comment and I like how you describe that Annika’s work is filled with life and animation – it really is part of her style and I felt that with her replies. Also, when Annika noted that after she moved at six years of age, her “teacher at primary school spotted my love of words and passion for writing and nurtured my interest for over a year” – that reminded me about how so many teachers will never see the fruits of their labor. Many teachers do see their fruits – but I think that teachers sometimes have no idea as to how they touched a life – for me it was sixth grade and Mr Calderelli who nurtured my writing – and I wonder what Annika might be doing had it not been for that teacher early on – (what do you think Annika – maybe working as a translator for politicians?? ha)
      Miriam – thanks again for the comment and I look forward to getting to know you more in 2022

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      1. Miriam, thank you so much for your incisive and thoughtful comment. How right you are about Yvette’s magnificent interview, her presentation – it has an epic flow to it! Awww … it’s wonderful that you’ve read both my books and enjoyed them so much. I am touched by your words about them and it means so much that you find them ‘filled with life and animation’! Wow! Yes, I started to write in English and it feels as I was waiting for the language until I began to write. This was my destiny and I honestly could not imagine growing up and living anywhere else!

        Haha! I’m smiling at the thought of Minky as a learned professor … after his jaunts out at the pubs, cinemas he now lives a much calmer life and yes, his wisdom surely earns him the honorary title of Professor! He joined me on several trips abroad, one of his most enjoyable was BA Business Class to America (I was going to be bumped off the flight and instead bumped up a class!) We were both thrilled with the fancy seats, legroom etc!

        It’s lovely to meet a fellow fan of Richard Bach and his books – I must say his later ones did not resonate so much with me as these earlier ones.

        Yvette, those early teachers are a blessing and it is wonderful that your Mr Calderelli nurtured your writing. As for me, without Mr Kewley I am not sure what I would have done. I did consider being a translator – for about a day! I researched the work of translators at the EEC and in the end think this would have been soul-destroying for me!

        Lovely to chat to you both here. hugs xx ❤️

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  7. Lovely interview Yvette and Annika. Your interviews always inspire me. I loved this quote, “One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.” Everyone does have an extraordinary life. One thing I love about blogging is that it brings us together to learn about other people’s lives, like Annika. Thanks, you both for sharing especially the advice to striving authors. I love that it took 15 years! Yay!

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    1. Hi Marsha – thanks for chiming in and I am glad you noted the part about how “Everyone has an extraordinary life” because to often folks miss the spectacular wonder and beauty of their life because so many messages in the world suggest “we do not measure up” – and so we need constant reminders to combat some of the negative messages that seem to permeate our culture. And these reminders can come from conversations, blog posts, and books….

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      1. You are so right. It is hard not to be moved by powerful negative messages. I’m going to be interviewing Sue Braithwaite, Jez’s wife soon. She’s an author, so I read your interview looking also at some of your starting questions. Like all of your interviews, good interviews take off from the conversations the interviewer and subject have with each other, but it’s wise to have a starting point.

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        1. Hi Marsha – best wishes with the interview with Sue – and I was just looking at your interview questions (got ideas too) when I checked out BB’s recent interview – and so I am glad my questions gave you an idea or two. I am curious as to how you connected with Jez’s wife – but I will email you for that so we don’t get too sidetracked here in Annika’s comments 🙂

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    2. Marsha, how true that Yvette’s interviews are always inspiring and I learn so much from them. Her questions ensure the interviewee reaches into the core of their being, their craft. Oh, it’s fantastic that you love the quote from The Storyteller Speaks. I was dreading my attempt to write my first ever blurb and set aside a whole day, my desk filled with blank pieces of paper and immersed my thoughts in my stories, what was the common thread? The extraordinary nature of everyone’s life of course! Yet it is so often overlooked! Haha! I know, 15 years for a story to be published but I hope this gives hope to other writers. Marsha, I agree it is a gift and precious to learn about each other here, this wonderful and sharing community of WP. Wishing you a fabulous start to 2022! 😀

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  8. Thank you Yvette for bringing out this interview with Annika. Have been following her blog since long and its always a pleasure reading her work. I am glad that your book, Oskar’s Quest came out of hibernation to enthrall the young hearts. It was interesting to know, how a writer has to keep in mind to connect and capture the interest of adult reader and the child at the same time. The illustrations look lovely too Annika. Congratulations and wishing you loads of success always 🙂

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    1. Thanks for dropping by the interview and your support of Annika’s work is beautiful – I also love how you referred to the simmering book process as “hibernation”
      🙂

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    2. Radhika, thank you so much for your wonderful comment! 😀 My morning is starting with light in my heart and lots of smiles! Like Yvette, I love your thoughts how Oskar’s Quest came out of hibernation, such poetry and truth in that statement! Gabrielle’s illustrations are stunning and she found the soul of Oskar and the story which was amazing! A few books I shared with my son as young didn’t succeed because they didn’t appreciate the audience of two with children’s books … the best ones are the ones you can read over and over and yet find something new to discuss/laugh with etc every time! A united adventure! ❤️

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    1. GP, thank you so much! 😀 I’ve followed you for many years too and always look forward to your posts! Incredibly educational and interesting. I’m always in awe of the strength and fortitude of so many.

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  9. Annika, I thoroughly enjoyed this interview and your advice for writers. And once again, I must tell you how much I enjoyed your book of short stories. You truly have a gift for that creative genre. 😊

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    1. Jennifer, thank you SO much! 😀❤️ I love taking part in the interview and it was interesting to gather together a set of advice for writers … I had no idea I had so much I wanted to share! Yeah! It’s great you enjoyed The Storyteller Speaks and your comment has me beaming away! I relish writing short stories, a genre that seems to flow naturally for me.

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  10. What an interesting interview. I didn’t know about your storied path to writing. And I loved that a story can ‘simmer’ for a long time before coming to a boil. I scanned it for updates on your writing room–nothing! That really caught my imagination, Annika. I hope you still love nestling into its walls.

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    1. Jacqui, thank you and it’s great you enjoyed the interview and learning more about me!😀 Haha! 15 years simmering is quite a while but it was amazing to finally release Oskar’s Quest! Oh yes, I still love my writing studio and am ensconced here most days. In winter the sound of the rainstorms is intense and dramatic – right in the middle of nature (and the building is watertight! Phew!)

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        1. Hi Jacqui – I can also imagine Annika in her writing studio and it is fun to learn more about authors – and Jacqui, not sure if you know this – but your September 2021 post featuring Oskar’s Quest was a bit of a catalyst for this interview with Annika – so thanks for that – and here is the link if anyone wants to check it out (‘taws so good)
          https://worddreams.wordpress.com/2021/09/10/oskars-quest-a-riot-of-imagery-and-words/

          Jacqui’s post on Oskar’s Quest

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  11. What a thorough and thoughtful interview Yvette. Annika, I really like your writing and life tips. It is fun to learn more about you, your love for language, words, and helping others. Kudos on the warm reception to your books.

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    1. Brad, thank you so much for your lovely comment. Yvette is a fantastic interviewer with terrific questions and I thoroughly enjoyed our ‘chat’ here. She’s a natural and I am in awe of how she has pulled together all the photos, responses, links etc!

      It means a lot that you enjoyed the interview and learning more about me. I loved writing advice for writers and at one school was afterwards asked to help groups write stories – their creativity and enthusiasm was heartwarming and inspired me! 😀 I’ve been blessed with the warm reception to my books – so much kindness and interest and I feel so lucky and thankful to so many for all the wonderful support and shares.

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    2. Hi Brad – thanks for joining us for the author interview – and I think you and Annika have that in common – the “love for language, words, and helping others” ((and maybe a lot of authors have that in their heart strings)
      peace

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      1. I appreciate our community even if I don’t consider myself a writer/ author. I write more as a way to express and connect while sharing my photos. And yes, lots of loving, supportive, and helpful people here on WP.

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  12. A fantasic interview, Yvette and Annkia!! ❤ It was wonderful learning even more about Annika. Thoroughy enjoyed and recommend both of her published books and look forward to the new ones in the queue!

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    1. Bette, thank you and Yvette is a gifted interviewer and I love being part of this superb series! 😀 I’m glad you enjoyed learning new things about me and bless you for all your wonderful friendship & support over the years here on WP! xx ❤️

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    2. Hi Bette – thanks for joining us with Annika’s interview – it is so fun to get a behind the scenes glimpse into what writers do and sometimes informal interviews like this allow us pull back the curtain a little bit
      wishing you a great day

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    1. Neil, thank you so much – I appreciate that! 😀 I’ve always enjoyed walking but ever since lockdowns they have become a vital and integral part of my life. Friendships have always been important to me and I’m blessed to still be in contact with friends I made on my first day in the UK and also from school as well as friends made later in my adult life, including of course those here on WP!

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    1. Liz, that’s the great nature of interviews like this, learning more about each other, our thoughts about the craft of writing and life itself! It was fun to throw in a bit about the Daleks! 😀 Yvette sets the bar high with her amazing series of epic interviews – I’m taking notes for any I might undertake in the future! 😀

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        1. Hello Liz – I customize the questions for every interview and also give the author permission to skip any question that doesn’t fit – so thanks for the feedback on that – and these informal interviews can be so much fun – thanks for taking the time to leave a comment 🙂

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    1. Darlene, it’s been a joy to be interviewed by Yvette, to ‘chat’ away and her questions had me thinking deeply about my life and writing particularly. Your lovely comment means so much to me – thank you! I love languages (as you can tell) so it never seems like hard work. I believe you’re bilingual if not more?

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  13. Hi Yvette, this is an excellent interview. I had no idea Annika was so proficient with languages. I am not good at learning new languages so it’s a good think I am good at maths and accounting. I have read both of Annika’s superb books and enjoyed them very much.

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    1. Hi Robbie, thank you so much for your lovely comment and for your amazing support and reviews of my books! It means so much to me! Everyone has their own area of natural expertise I believe. I was okay at maths at school but glad to drop it as soon as I could whilst my friend did accounting after uni with KPMG – blimey! The work and knowledge required were incredible – all whilst working full-time!

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    1. Hi Carol, thanks for joining us with this interview and having the talent for multiple languages is a niche thing (just like cooking might be for those who do it well – eh?)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Carol, thank you so much! 😀 Yvette is a wonderful interviewer and she has a real knack for creating a natural flow with these searching questions! Languages come easy to me but certain subjects literally put me to sleep (apologies to my physics teacher!) and seeing my friends craftwork with a knitting needle I’m in absolute awe. At school it got to the stage my mother refused to buy any more material for needlework as I never finished one project! 😀

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      1. Hi Annika, yes l’m good with sewing and knitting languages not so much although living here has made me learn conversational Thai however both my grandchildren are fluent in 3 languages and Aston is now learning Mandarin Chinese which will be 4 although when he was younger I heard him telling one of my friends that he also spoke, American lol..

        .

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  14. Ms Priorhouse, thank you for featuring Annika. She’s a real gem.
    Annika: What a delight to see you in your element, sharing yourself with all of us. There is much to savor in this post, I learned alot about you, my dear blogger bud.
    I have to say, though, that your creds went sky high once you revealed you had interviewed a real Darlek!
    😎

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    1. Hello Laura, nice to meet you and thank you for checking out Annika’s interview – and I like how she also gave me a nice photo to go with the info about the Darlek!

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      1. Laura, I’m laughing at how my street cred has risen following my interview with a Dalek – it was a fantastic moment and I was full of giggles at meeting one of my favourite childhood TV characters! I do think they should expand their knowledge of English though! 😀 Luckily the shop owner was not so taciturn! My dear friend, thank you so much for your wonderful and kind comment and I’m glad you enjoyed learning more about me! haha! Yes, I definitely felt very much in my element and at home ‘chatting’ away with Yvette here – a real privilege!

        Yvette, I’m glad you liked the Dalek photo – I had a lot of fun looking through numerous options from the original black & white ones to these more modern Daleks!

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  15. A truly fantastic interview. So glad to know more about Annika this way. Now I want to run out to purchase the books.
    Annika’s one of the most encouraging humans I’ve met. Thanks so much. Lovely interview.
    You guys rock!!

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    1. Selma, bless you for your wonderful comment! 😀 Yvette, is a gifted interviewer and led me seamlessly through the process, the questions digging deep into my life and writing! Selma, although we only met recently here on WP I feel we are kindred spirits and it’s a joy to share thoughts, learn more about each other. I’m glad you liked learning more about me and it’s great you are intrigued about my books; that means a lot to me. Enjoy when you have a chance to read them! xx

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  16. Yvette – you have done a wonderful job showcasing Annika’s work. I was interested to read that “Oskar’s Quest!” was percolating away for a while before it made its debut. I have been to Annika’s birth country and just this past Sunday began streaming season two of the PBS’ “All Creatures Great & Small” which you may know takes place in the Yorkshire Dales … that sure is pretty countryside.

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    1. Linda – as Annika noted – I also like the term “percolate” and I was surprised that it was 15 years too
      — the show you started streaming sounds VERY interesting –

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      1. “Percolating” in the brain … bubbling around the surface every so often. I have used that term, but not in a while; I would say I’d be walking home after taking pictures and a blog post was already percolating in my brain. Sometimes I think I should take a pocket tape recorder on my walks with me.
        I read some books in the “All Creatures” series by James Herriot (a British country vet) years ago and enjoyed them. In fact I think I still have one or two I bought and have tucked away somewhere. It is a wonderful series of books where a young Scottish vet begins to practice veterinary medicine in the early 1940s and the trials and tribulations. The scenery is amazing.

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  17. Linda, I’m smiling at your term ‘percolating’ for my children’s book and the time it took to complete and finish the book — that’s just the perfect expression!😀 It’s wonderful you’ve been to Sweden, I wonder which areas you visited and if you will be returning there? Oh, the Yorkshire Dales and its countryside is stunning, though I am biased! 😀 Beauty mixed with drama … both for the views and the series! Strangely enough, I’ve never seen ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ but heard many good things about it. Enjoy! Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Linda and lovely to connect via Yvette’s interview.

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    1. Annika – I just mentioned to Yvette in her comment that I used to use that term when I first began blogging as I’d be walking home from seeing or photographing something and the idea would be “percolating” for my blog post. In those days I wrote shorter posts and more in real time – now, I am often a month or so behind posting after the actual walk.

      I used to travel a lot in the late 70s/early 80s and I took this particular trip in 1983. It was a three-week Scandinavian and U.S.S.R tour offered by Maupintour and it was wonderful. We had the same guide throughout the three weeks, plus an English-speaking guide in each country. I actually have an itinerary that I scanned in when I digitized my photos, but it is hard to read but I’ll try to remember the names for you. We began in Norway where we spent three days, then took a long (383 miles) train trip through the countryside to Stockholm. The name of the train is difficult to read (Sverigopilen?). We stayed in Stockholm for a couple of days at the Hotel Anglois and visited the Skansen Open Air Museum to see folk dancing and also saw the Old Palace, Coronation Church, Carl Mille’s home and Lidingo Island. The last day in Sweden we took an overnight trip on a ferry across the Baltic Sea to Finland. Then one day in Finland, a week divided between Moscow and Leningrad, then the last stop was Denmark. It was quite an action-packed trip and I usually traveled alone, but this time there was another solo traveler, so we kind of palled around, but everyone was kind to us, asking us to sit with them for dinner, train trips, etc. I don’t know that I’d return there in the immediate future, though there was no language barrier if I were to ever travel alone as most people spoke English. I have a few more places I’d like to visit/tour once I am retired and the world returns to normal after this pandemic.

      I read the “All Creatures” series many years ago and really enjoyed the books. The second season just started for us here in the States, but I remember the first season was broadcast much earlier than we viewed it here. The countryside is so pretty and the series takes place in a fictional town of Darrowby (actually Grassington as I learned by Googling). I can easily see why you enjoy living in the Yorkshire Dales. It was nice getting to meet you as well too.

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      1. What a momentous adventure and trip, Linda! 😀 It’s wonderful you experienced so much of all the countries and meet friendly people along the way. You are right that many are also fluent in English so language is often not a barrier. Enjoy your future travels once these are possible with ease again.

        I hadn’t realised ‘All Creatures’ was filmed in Grassington – a place I’ve visited a couple of times. Alas, I don’t live in Yorkshire anymore but visit there often as family still live in the area.

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        1. Yes, it was my favorite trip of those I’ve taken Annika. So much to see in the course of three weeks and all excellent guides. It was a beautiful country and I actually won first prize for a photo and Maupintour used that photo in the brochures for this trip. It was a cow out in a pastural setting taken in Sweden.

          I think just the scenes for Darrowby, where the home/vet practice is located, were filmed in Grassington. A lot of the show features trips to farms, separated by stone fences, in those lovely rolling hills.

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    1. Sally, thank you so much and an honour to be interviewed by Yvette here!😀 Where many could flourish with their creative work these two years I felt at times overwhelmed, this year there is a real sense of hope again and I hope it won’t be too long until I can publish again! None of it would have been possible without your and David’s amazing support and help – thank you is not enough! hugs xx ❤️

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  18. Wow! I learned so much about Annika in this interview – and I thought I already knew a lot! I knew she was a great writer, and good with languages, and a spiritual, sweet woman. But this full and excellent interview filled out my knowledge in wonderful ways. THANKS – Annika, you teach us all so much about writing, the LOVE of writing, about pushing past fear and going with our heart. You always, always inspire me. I’m so looking forward to your next publications, as I’ve read everything you’ve published so far, and love it all. Thanks, Yvette!

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    1. Pam, bless you! ❤️ As always you have me smiling and in tears, touched deeply with your wonderful comment, kind thoughts. My friend, you likewise inspire me! 😀 I’m glad you learned a few new things about me and are eager to read my next book – your support over the years has been heartwarming and means so much to me. Thank you so much!

      Btw. I’ve just finished watching the moving and beautiful memorial service in honour of Mary Smith – filled with sadness and yet joy at her incredible life, fantastic family and friends, amazing character. The readings from her books were inspired and emotional – and I had no idea she was such a gifted and prolific poet.

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  19. Wow, Annika! You once interviewed an alien…I’m impressed! I’m also happy to hear you’ve got your writing groove back and are working on your creative projects. I’m patiently waiting for that Island Girl. 🙂 And thank you to both, this was a delight interview!

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    1. Khaya, I know, it was hysterical interviewing the Dalek – I kept laughing and giggling like a schoolgirl! Very unprofessional but luckily much more composed when chatting to the shop owner about it all! Who knew you could rent a Dalek for promotional events?!😀 Thank you for your amazing support of my writing and books, for your wonderful friendship! It’s been lovely to be here on Yvette’s blog and she had me digging deep within myself with these searching questions! Keep enjoying the quietude of the month, my friend! xx ❤️

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  20. Hi Annika and Yvette, I read this excellent, captivating interview when it arrived in the middle of the night in my inbox. 😊I wanted to devote dedicated time to reread and respond.

    As I mentioned recently to Yvette, “We all love Annika!” ❤️For many, many reasons!❤️

    Annika, your writing skills, talent, creativity are in a unique category where you always give me a fresh perspective on the human condition and the world around me. I have mentioned to you before how your stories stay with me, long after I have read them. You know I have read “Oskar’s Quest” over and over and over again.😊 I greatly enjoyed reading “The Storyteller Speaks” and gave you many of the reasons in my review. I look forward to reading all of your stories and I am extra intrigued about “Island Girl.”😀

    Yvette, your wonderful interview questions are comprehensive, informative and entertaining. I know you have given them a great deal of thought and preparation. I sense how you take this responsibility seriously and you are sharing the essence of someone you greatly admire.

    Interesting how the theme “friends” arises in this interview and on recent writing and blogging sites.

    Annika and Yvette, your genuine warmth, kindness, generosity and humanity are apparent from the moment I “met” the both of you. You both inspire me on many levels. I am grateful our paths have crossed and we share a priceless gift of our love of reading, writing and especially friendship.❤️

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  21. Erica, I had to take some time out to compose myself after reading your incredible and heartfelt comment. Bless you … thank you so much (all said whilst still dabbing at my tears of joy!) You’re a true gem, a precious friend and a stalwart champion of my books and writing! huge hugs winging their way to you, my kindred-spirited friend! ❤️🤗

    You write with equal warmth and tenderness of Yvette and how true her interview is carefully sculpted, the questions searching and demanding, all signs of a consummate professional. It’s been an honour and privilege to take part in one of her epic interview series and to get to know Yvette better.

    Here is a toast to, as you say with such love and eloquence, ‘the priceless gift of our love of reading, writing and especially friendship.’ Just so! with lots of love xx ❤️🎈

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  22. Wonderful, in-depth interview, Yvette! I loved learning so much about Annika, a very impressive person who doesn’t do enough to “toot her own horn.” 🙂

    Annika, wishing you continued success. I agree with you that books for young children must appeal to parents as well! ❤

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    1. Hi Cheryl = thanks for the comment and in my experience- I seem to prefer those who do “not” toot their own horn because that can be so tiring – hahah – but I know what you mean because Annika’s humility and relaxed approach is part of the reason I enjoy following her blog – 🙂

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