Monday, July 19, 2010

Author Interview: Anne Osterlund

Here's my interview with Anne Osterlund:
Anne with a cat.
Anne Osterlund grew up in the sunshine of Eastern Oregon and graduated from Whitworth College. She lives in a cute little yellow house with her best feline friend, Dance, and her own library of young adult books. She also teaches sixth grade and enjoys immersing her students in language, literature, and imagination. Anne has written two novels, Aurelia and Academy 7, both published by Penguin Books, and is ambitiously embarking on two more. 

Read my review of Aurelia by Anne Osterlund HERE.
Aurelia by Anne Osterlund
April 17, 2008

Summary:Aurelia, the crown princess of Tyralt, wants control over her own life Robert, her former classmate, wants Aurelia. And someone wants her...dead. There have been several narrowly escaped attempts to assassinate the princess, but the king has no desire to incite panic by making the information public. Instead, Robert, the son of the king's former royal spy, is allowed into the inner circle to secretly investigate and watch over Aurelia. Robert is determined to help, if only Aurelia would let him! But the princess will not heed the danger around her, and she does not need Robert to save her. Just as their friendship begins to grow into something more, the threat on Aurelia's life becomes paramount. With everything possible on the line -- her life, her kingdom, her heart -- Aurelia must take matters into her own hands, whatever the cost. 

And the interview:

1. When was it that you realized you had to be a writer and nothing else?
I teach sixth grade so I’m afraid the “nothing else” is a tad inaccurate, LOL. That said, I took a year off from writing in order to write full time while I was completing Aurelia. And the experience was amazing—far more wonderful than I had imagined. So I would say at that point that I knew I must write, that it really wasn’t a choice.

2. Where did you get the idea/inspiration for this book?

Aurelia first introduced herself to me several years ago on a yellow notepad and began complaining about being stuck at a boring party with an itching ankle. That scene, with the itching ankle, is where the story comes from. You see, she just can’t stand it. And she can’t stay there. It’s not the right attitude for a princess. So all the action in the story comes out of that one scene—or who she is. And I think that is reflective of all stories. The main character has to have some driving reason for change.

3. What was the hardest part of writing Aurelia? The easiest?
The hardest part: Oh, the villain. I’d written three drafts before I figured out who the real villain was. Villains are tricky, you see. They lie.

The easiest: Hearing Aurelia’s voice. She speaks up, loud and clear.

4. Are the characters in this book based off people you know?
Aurelia would be offended. She says she is very much herself. And Robert, well, he would patiently ask you where you would find him in our world.

5. Describe Aurelia in one word. Why?

Ha! Because she goes after what she wants, whenever she can figure out what that is.

6. While you’re writing a book, what do you do when you get writer’s block (if at all)?
I have far more ideas than I have time to write about them. That said, when I am working my way through a manuscript, it isn’t always fun or inspiring. I deal with the tougher sections in three main ways: 1. I have a scheduled time for writing, and I make myself stick with it. Generally, once I sit down, the section I have been worrying about works itself out. 2. I write down the questions I have been struggling with. I find that once I actually make myself write them down, I often know the answers. 3. I try researching about the topic with which I’m struggling. An hour or so on the internet or reading the encyclopedia can give me all kinds of ideas I did not know were available.

And if all those fail, I go for a walk.

7. I loved Aurelia and Robert in this book! I hear there’s going to be a sequel to this book, EXILE. Can you tell us anything about it?
Exiled. From the weight of others' expectations, the responsibilities of being crown princess, and the pressure to marry, Aurelia is finally free to travel the kingdom and meet the people of Tyralt. If only Robert, her expedition guide, would stop pestering her about her safety and just kiss her. But then their journey erupts in a fiery conflagration, and with both of their lives and the fate of the kingdom at stake, she and Robert must determine whether they have the strength, and the will, to complete their mission. And face the darker side of exile.

I admit to poaching this summary off the What’s Next page of my website, Come by and visit! Once my final revision is complete, I will post sample chapters. And hopefully, even before that, the cover!

8. What book are you reading right now?
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman. I’ve only just started it. I just complete Impossible by Nancy Werlin and Fire by Kristin Cashore. Both of which I enjoyed very much for their wonderful blends of character and fantasy.

9. Favorites time!
Author—Tamora Pierce (I am an especially huge fan of Alanna. And Tris.)

Movie—Tis a tie between Mary Poppins & The Sound of Music. More recently, I love the version of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly. And the movie, Penelope, was a blast.

Fictional Character (not your own)—Peter Pan

Food—Watermelon (with a special fondness for apricots, Top Ramen, grandma’s meatloaf, angel food cake with whipped cream and strawberries, and, of course, all things chocolate!)

10. Would you like to add anything?
My second book, Academy 7, was published last spring. It is the story of Aerin, a scarred fugitive in search of a better life and Dane, a self-destructive rebel driven by revenge. Despite her defensiveness and his pent-up anger, they quickly establish themselves as the top new students at the most prestigious school in the universe. But they must strip away their inner barriers and brave the scalding secrets of the past in order to meet the true challenge of Academy 7.
Thank you so much for letting me visit! And for sharing your passion for fabulous books!

*I just finished Sea Change and I've got Fire on my TBR Pile! 

You can visit Anne:


  1. Great interview! I haven't heard about Anne Osterland's books before. I'll have to check them out.

  2. Great review, Kaila!
    I read AURELIA awhile back and really enjoyed it. Can't wait for EXILE :)