Joining me today in The Loft is Rev. Anna Taylor Sweringen, who writes under the pen names Anna M. Taylor, Anna Taylor, and Michal Scott. She offers a diverse range of romance tales, from sweet, gothic, and inspirational to erotica and erotic romance. She uses her stories to provide insight into the African American experience, and as a bridge between the sacred and the secular. A retired United Church of Christ and Presbyterian USA minister, Anna recently relocated from New York to the southwest, where she resides with her husband of 30 years and her rescue cat, Scully.
S: Good morning, Anna. Thanks for joining me today!
You've had an illustrious career as a minister. Why did you become a writer?
A: I was a storyteller from a young age. I remember creating stores around my spelling words to help me prepare for spelling tests. Being an avid reader, I naturally began to pen stories of my own right through college. However, it took my mother-in-law to set me on the road to becoming a published author. When she learned I wrote X-Files fan fiction, she asked, "Why aren't you writing stories about characters of your own?"
S: Did you undergo any sort of education or other preparation/training to become a writer?
A: Yes, I have been taking craft and industry courses since I joined Romance Writers of America (RWA) in 2003.
S: Did you have a mentor when you became a romance writer?
A: Yes, Mary Buckham. I attended my first writing class with Mary early in my association with RWA. I never miss a chance to take classes with her or one-on-one opportunities. It was Mary who got me to think of myself seriously as an author. She asked me to be on a panel for a possible workshop at the RWA national conference. When I said, "But I'm not published," she answered, "You're a writer whether you're published or not." She meant that being published had nothing to do with whether or not I had something to say and share through my writing. I will be forever in her debt for that bit of counsel.
S: (Nods.) That's so true. While publishing provides validation, everyone who pens a story is a writer. That's important to remember.
Complete this sentence--"When I started writing books, I wish I had known..."
A: When I started writing books, I wish I had known to take classes that dealt with writing as a career and the business ins and outs of the industry. I started writing with an understanding of the industry colored by tales of Edmund Wilson at Scribner's and Sons.
S: I think the business end of the industry is the most difficult part of writing as a career. Learning the legal, marketing, and business implications is so important.
What is your favorite thing about writing romance?
A: In my day job as a minister, I was continually reminding people that they are loved, that they deserved to be loved and to share love in healthy ways. Once I started learning about writing romance, I became hooked by the concept of the emotional justice that every story, no matter its subgenre, seeks to deliver.
S: (Smiles.) It all comes down to love.
Why did you write, "A Little in Love With Death?" What was your inspiration?
A: "A Little in Love With Death" (Haunted Harlem, Book 2) was inspired by a line from Eugene O'Neill's, "A Long Day's Journey Into Night." In that play, Edmund, the younger son, describes how he belonged nowhere until he had a metaphysical experience that left him a little in love with death. I also wanted to try my hand at a dual time to slip time story, a story told using two parallel plots. The result is this tale of two women--one set in the present, the other in the past--dealing with issues of guilt, and the need for belonging and acceptance.
Here's the blurb--
Ten years ago, no one--not even the man who said he loved her--believed Sankofa Lawford's story of being attacked by a ghost. Ten years later, a new ghostly assault brings her back home to a mother going mad, a brother dangling at his wit's end, and a former love wanting a second chance. She's at a loss what to do because the pain created by memories of her own attack prove stronger than her desire to heal her family and find love again.
Mitchell Emerson believes science and reason can account for the ghostly happenings at Umoja House. He seeks a rational explanation to prove him right and regain Sankofa's trust and love. Instead, what he learns leaves his belief system shattered.
Now reluctant allies, Mitchell and Sankofa uncover years of lies that threaten to pull them apart until help comes from an unexpected ally: the ghost itself.
S: Wow, a spooky love story. Perfect for Halloween!
Where can readers buy your book?
A: It's available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Little-Love-Death-Haunted-Harlem-ebook/dp/B08JD5FD16.
S: Anna, thanks so much for joining me today. If you would like to learn more about Anna and her books, please visit--
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Anna-M.-Taylor/e/B0894LFCTV