Today I’m launching a new feature on my blog – the Author Spotlight. I’ve asked a bunch of my author friends to answer a set of interview questions, and to share their latest work.
My first one, Anastasia (Ana) Vitsky, is an amazing FF writer who also heads up our monthly FF takeover on the Queer Sci Fi Facebook page.
Thanks so much, Ana, for kicking things off!
J. Scott Coatsworth: How would you describe your writing style/genre?
N: Funny question. What would they do if you wrote that your writing style is the best of them all? However as a reader I’d say writing style is elegant and lively. Genre is f/f mixed with fade to black.
S: Female on Female fiction. Romantic power play with deep and amazing stories, character, plot development.
Ana: I’d call my writing sweet romance with a kinky twist, with an undercurrent of literary fiction. If that seems an unlikely mix, that describes my writing perfectly. Common themes in my books include redemption and forgiveness, the courage to be authentically ourselves, power dynamics, and the complicated ways we love each other. And, of course, powerful women form the core of my stories. Strong women are sexy.
JSC: What was your first published work? Tell me a little about it.
N: I didn’t look it up, but wasn’t that The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus?
Ana: Oh, goodness. My first published work (published, as opposed to contracted) was an irreverent romp titled The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus. I’d contracted The Way Home earlier, but I was impatient to finally get published. In retrospect, I wish I would have waited so The Way Home could have been my debut book. It still is, in all the ways that matter. The Way Home tells the story of a fragile, broken girl named Kat Astra who goes off to college and falls under the spell of her charismatic and dominant roommate, Natalie Mestecom. Of course, as this is an Anastasia Vitsky book, some spanking fun occurs in their relationship—but it is a soulful tale of learning to accept love when we have been taught we do not deserve it.
JSC: What’s your writing process?
N: Haha, easy. A musical rhythm of concentrated work, procrastinating, being frustrated, walking to the diner, writing 15,000 words in a 36 hour period of time at the diner, removing cobwebs after such a long time without moving anything but the fingers, walking home, falling into bed. Sleeping, repeating process of writing.
S: Walking to the diner , avoiding a certain waiter who shall remain nameless , having hot tea , writing down outlines of stories , interacting with my readers group for support , typing furiously , avoiding waiter some more , fighting back the urge to sleep , staring into space because I’ve not slept in 36 hours , cruising Pinterest for pictures of beautiful spoons , more writing , wiping up drool from my table because I passed out from exhaustion , more writing magic…Voilà! New Ana spanking magic!
Ana: This is the danger of letting my readers answer for me! I do not drink hot tea, walk to the diner, or (I hope!) drool on the table. I do confess to some procrastination. My marathon sleepless writing nights produce my best writing and worst health. I’ve gone to the same wonderful diner for several years, where the servers are sweet and understanding. The ambient noise and chatter help me to feel less isolated while I focus on writing or editing.
In general, I would say my rhythm as a writer is to resist writing the scenes that are the most important, painful, and real. My stories are passionate and emotional, and so I as the writer must allow myself to feel passion and emotion. When my characters are happy, this is great. When my characters suffer, I’d rather do anything than sit down in front of my computer and cause them pain.
JSC: Tell me one thing hardly anyone knows about you.
N: I can only add well-known facts, sorry. You have a sexy voice. In a very SFA way.
L: I’m secretly building a time/space machine to travel to other galaxies.
S: (not touching this)
Ana: I’m laughing at these answers because my insistence on privacy and boundaries is well-known. I have recently been told by a professional audiobook narrator that I should consider getting into narration. I wish I were building a time and space machine!
My answer? I do not, in fact, like ginger. It’s too bitter.
JSC: What was the first speculative fiction book (sci fi, paranormal, fantasy, horror) that you ever read? How did it influence you?
N: No idea. Maybe Orwell’s 1984 or Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale? 1984 would have created more awareness about how human beings are manipulated and how inhumane that is. Handmaid’s Tale maybe because it shows a cruel society where women have no rights. Both books would tickle your sense of justice and fairness – a lot.
L: A Wrinkle in Time. How did it influence you? See answer to question number four.
Ana: My readers know me well! 1984 and A Handmaid’s Tale are my two favorite adult speculative fiction novels, and A Wrinkle in Time was the first to make an impression on me. I still carry Madeleine L’engle’s lessons of love, justice, and fighting to make this world a better place.
JSC: If you were stuck on a desert island all alone with only three things, what would they be?
N: Wooden spoon, Macbook, solar charger.
L: Spoons, three! One to cook/eat with. One to stroke and cuddle in bed. One with a sharpened handle to spear and gut fish.
S: Spoon (to cook with of course). Bible. Lighter for fires etc
Ana: While I love and adore my wooden spoons, on a desert island I’d want a teleporter, replicator, and Helen Mirren.
JSC: Which of your own characters would you Kill? Have sex with? Marry? And why?
N: Can we guess? Kill: Nobody, because it is violent. Marry: Ana (from Ana Adored) for her cuteness (inside and outside) or Miranda for her understanding way of being. Both have a big heart and are very lovable.
S: Graciela (from Mistress on Her Knees and Mistress, Please) would be fun to sleep with as long as she’s not too cranky. I don’t wish to kill anyone but… I’d love to take a hairbrush to Trinity. She’s just a walking attitude problem.
Ana: Kill? My characters? *hugs all my characters at the mere thought* Poor, misunderstood characters. If I had to choose one to suffer a terrible fate, it would be Mistress Susan from Desire in Any Language. Everyone else has at least one redeeming quality.
I think I’d marry Carene from Simple Gifts and Complicated Gifts. I’d love to listen to her piano playing, and her gentle understanding would make my life amazing. Or Vina from Taliasman and the upcoming Taliaschild. Being Queen Consort of the heavenly kingdom would be pretty great!
Sex? Now, now. A writer can’t give away all of her secrets, but Hyunkyung from Seoul Spankings would be a lot of fun. That’s all I’m saying!
JSC: Do you have any strange writing habits or superstitions?
N: Waiting till serious lack of sleep sets in?
L: Too many to list.
S: All of my spoons must be arranged by color. I must have fresh ramen with cheese available at all times.
Ana: My goodness! My readers couldn’t wait to make up colorful stories about me. I have found that writing a story sometimes precedes a similar event happening in my own life. I told first story in “Elegy of a Former Fiction Writer,” but thankfully the other occurrences have not been as devastating.
JSC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
L: A bit of both!
S: Plotter . Must find more spoons and new ways to utilize them.
Ana: I can’t say anything better than what’s already been said.
JSC: What are you working on now, and when can we expect it?
N: It’s a surprise?
L: As soon as I perfect the time machine, I can travel back in time, write at my leisure and return with the finished works.
S: More stories with more spankings and less fade to black sex scenes.
Ana: I see my readers are enjoying their wishful thinking. I’m doing final edits for Taliaschild, the sequel to Taliasman which is the story of a poverty-stricken girl whose parents sell her because she is not a boy. Vina, queen of the heavenly kingdom, rescues Talia and gets more than she bargained for. Taliasman is a fairy tale retelling of “Our Lady’s Child,” and Taliaschild is a loose retelling of The Snow Queen with a nod to Frozen. Publication date is scheduled for August 18.
I’m also working on several other projects, including the third and final installment of Mistress, which will be titled Mistress’s Release. I hope to have it ready by September. There’s also a sequel to Gemstone in the works, plus a special December project involving kink and faith.
Thank you so much for inviting me today!
And now for Ana’s latest release, Out for You: Gemstone:
Can lies build a foundation for love?
Gemma Parquin has a secret. By day, she’s the center of her church’s social life. By night, she’s Mistress Lorelei on Kinklife, online disciplinarian of babygirls and all who need spanking, whipping, and—her personal favorite—figging.
No one suspects, until neighbor Celine Daniels comes across Gemma’s Kinklife profile. Stunned and nursing a secret crush, she creates an account under the name starrygirl793 and “catfishes” the Mistress…and gets more than she bargained for. Before she knows it, Celine is also leading a double life.
Meanwhile, Gemma’s best friend sets her up with an online dating service. Enter Stella, who is everything Celine is not—sophisticated, successful, and straightforward. But she doesn’t understand the kink Gemma holds dear.
How can Gemma trust Celine, who has lied to her? Or give up Mistress Lorelei in order to be with Stella? Should Gemma give up on love altogether, or can she still find happiness?
Gemstone was released by All Romance eBooks as part of their Out for You series and has won an ARe silver star
“In Gemstone Ana gives us a fun story with emotional depth, and characters we care about. The kink is there, with Ana’s trademark understated spankings, but at its core this story is Gemma’s journey towards love, a journey which requires her to deal with betrayals, gain self-awareness, and learn to forgive. It’s a journey that is well worth following.” Julie
“Tipsy church ladies, a love triangle, spanking, and figging! We meet a huge variety of people, young and old, and different sorts of personalities. They’re bound together by their church group, which best I can figure is just an excuse to eat and drink with passing nods to church business. Religion is important here but it’s not overwhelming… easy to for you to ignore the short religious bits and carry on with reading the story.” Sparkles
“I think one of the highlights of this story for me has to be the painful awkwardness of Gemma discovering who Celine really is. Ms Vitsky is an expert in crafting these emotionally charged situations. You can taste the betrayal in your mouth and really sympathise with the characters and their motivations.” pao
When Gemma peers around the white-painted screen door, I duck behind the box hedge. She rubs the edges of the door as if expecting a note, and she reaches toward the yard. Can she see me?
Calm down, Peeping Tomasina.
I should have left the flowers and run, or I should have summoned the guts to knock on her door the way I did yesterday. I practiced the lines inside of my head, the ones I never dare to say.
Hi, Gemma. These flowers are for you. The cookies didn’t work, helping you with church projects for the past year didn’t work, and brushing a hand against yours didn’t work. Are flowers enough to make you see me as a potential suitor and not a work group buddy?
At last, she tilts her head toward the front step, stiffening and looking around in shock. She stares at the flowers once more, as if she expects them to disappear. Will she find the card? No, she isn’t touching the flowers. Why won’t she touch the flowers? Does she think they’re poisonous?
Yes! She picked up the card! Does she recognize the blue sky, the heaven? Celine, meaning “Heavenly.” I wait for recognition to wash over her face, but fear crosses her features instead. Does she fear me? Does she consider me crazy to drop flowers in front of her house like a lovesick, out-of-season, May basket girl? No, that’s not it. She looks spooked or unnerved. As foolish as I feel for watching her from afar, curiosity overcomes me. When she retreats but leaves her front door open, I take it as an invitation.
Heck, it’s not as if another year of waiting will make her notice me.
“Hi, Gemma!” Think fast. What would explain showing up at her house now? Knocking on her door, I clear my throat in an effort not to squeak. I can keep calm and confident at work or in my daily life, but Gemma’s starry eyes reduce my knees to jelly every time I see her. I dream about her at night, and I think about her all the time.
I’ve tried to give in to this silly crush, but I don’t know how. I tell myself that a good friend is better than a bad ex, but my heart thumps with delight and my arms ache to hold her.
Idiot. Grow up and act thirty-three instead of thirteen.
“Oh, Celine! You startled me!” Gemma glances up from her computer, and her slight frown relaxes into a smile. “Sorry, you wanted the lesson plans for Sunday. Thanks for taking the adult forum this week. Pastor Mark said to stick to the lectionary. Every time we try to bring up something topical, Nate gets on his soapbox.”
Indeed he does. Milly’s husband has an opinion about everything and wisdom about nothing. He is certain immigrants are ruining America, kids these days are spoiled brats, and everything would be solved by returning to good old-fashioned times when everyone knew the rules. “Poor Milly. She loves him so much and yet at every class she wants to stuff a sock into his mouth.” As long as I focus on Milly and Nate, I can keep calm. I try, but I can’t help fishing for a response. “Oh, you got flowers!” I don’t say how pretty they are.
“Yes!” Gemma’s eyes light up before she frowns once more. “I wish I knew who they’re from. I just sent a…” She blushes.
My heart leaps in my chest. “What did you send?” Did she know it was me? Did she send an email already? Had she guessed my intentions? I want to shake my head at my overeager, pathetic desperation. No wonder Gemma doesn’t notice me. If I ever earn her respect, I need to stand strong and confident. Gemma likes powerful women. She’s not as intimidating in real life as she is online, but she’s unapproachable in a different way.
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Anastasia Vitsky is a naughty girl with a wicked sense of humor. She writes F/F and lesfic spanking stories because she loves a story with a good female disciplinarian. She strives to write stories that speak to our everyday lives now versus the fantasies no one can hope to achieve. When she’s not writing about Kat and Natalie and their penchant for wooden spoons, she conducts research on narrative. She blogs at http://governingana.wordpress.com/ and can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon.
She is the author of Mira’s Miracle, Mira’s Desire, Becoming Clissine, Lighting the Way, Simple Gifts, The Way Home, Editorial Board, Desire in Any Language, and The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus. Her short stories also appear in Milestones and Love’s Reprise.