Nothing I can put my finger on. It just sort of happened. Stories have always run around in my head. And I was the kind of psychotherapist who told stories to her patients. It’s easier to relate to a story than to more direct communication sometimes.
I came home from a mountaineering trip in the fall of 2008, sat down at the computer to give voice to a tale that had come to me during that trip and I’ve been writing ever since. I hope I never run out of stories. They’re imagination come to life.
Do you write in different genres?
Yes: contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction and, much more lately, paranormal romance, some of it with an erotic twist.
If yes which is your favorite genre to write?
I love urban/contemporary fantasy. There’s something about using the “normal” world for a setting and having the ghosties and ghoulies creep out of the gutters that I find intriguing. Having said that, I’m also really enamored with paranormal romance. I picked up Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series last summer and devoured all the books. Maybe they spurred something in my imagination because I’ve now written five paranormal romance novellas, all of which are quite different in terms of characters and settings. What they have in common is a Happily Ever After ending. And those are just as much fun to write as they are to read. I finally understand the appeal of the romance genre.
Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?
If I’m writing a series, I try to come up with all the titles at the front end of things, so probably somewhere during the first half of the first book. It’s important that the books sound as if they belong together. For example, all the Transformation books begin with “Psyche”. And the trilogy I’m working on is Earth’s Requiem, Earth’s Blood and Earth’s Hope.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Of course, but I want readers to find it for themselves. There are actually a few different take-home messages in the Transformation series. But they’ll resonate differently for different readers.
What book are you reading now?
I’m reading two mountain-climbing stories. One is about the women who’ve climbed K2. There have only been five and all of them are dead, some on K2, the others killed by different high mountains. The other book is about the most recent disaster on Mount Everest. When I’m not reading fantasy, science fiction or romance, I really enjoy true adventure stories set in the mountainous places of the world.
Who designed the cover of your latest book?
Kim McDougall from Blazing Trailers designed the cover for Psyche’s Promise. She also makes my book trailers. If you have a few seconds, you can check the latest one out on You Tube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wU1LfAbOavE&feature=plcp
Valerie Tibbs was the cover artist for A Time for Everything and Gabrielle’s Cauldron.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Get feedback from as many sources as you can. Take it to heart. Rewrite and revise until you think you’ll get sick if you have to read your manuscript one more time. The devil is in the details. Sometimes I polish until I find myself changing things back to a way I had them before. I probably read my published novels and stories over eight to ten times prior to publication. More than that if you count my “back and forth” writing style where I reread the previous chapter, revising and tweaking, every time I pick up one of my manuscripts to start a new chapter.
What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?
I’ve gotten into writing paranormal romance novellas. A Time for Everything, was just released by Liquid Silver Books. It’s a time-travelling tale set in Scotland. I got the idea for it when I was in the UK this summer and I think I managed to capture the flavor of the weather rather well!
Gabrielle’s Cauldron, also an LSB release, will be out on 12/31. That one is about a longstanding battle between hybrid and full blood magic wielders. When a hybrid witch falls in love with a full blood warg, sparks fly, but the two hold the key to far more than the passion flaring between them.
I always have short fiction coming out. Check my blog (http://anngimpel.blogspot.com) or my website (www.anngimpel.com) for up-to-the-minute release information.
A Time for Everything
Siobhan Macquire’s fortune has attracted a string of men who are out to drain her for everything they can get. Her last boyfriend was no exception. Furious at being used—again—she goes for a walk in the Highlands.
With the weather worsening, she wanders alone for hours. She’s soaking wet and starting to get scared when someone calls out to her. A striking-looking man emerges from the mist. Except there’s something wrong. His kilt is way too long and he talks with an archaic accent. Siobhan soon finds herself not only lost in the countryside but also in time.
Sam pulled the draw cords of her hood tighter, squinting against driving rain. She shivered, willing her legs to move faster. Even in the northern latitudes, it got dark eventually during what passed for summer, and the light was definitely fading. One foot sloughed into a hole. Cursing roundly, she yanked it out, noting the mud added what felt like ten pounds to her tired leg. Going on a ramble—as the locals called it—by herself had seemed like a good idea earlier in the afternoon. Now she wasn’t so sure. It had been hours since she’d seen another soul. The air felt heavy—and threatening, somehow.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” she scolded herself. “My imagination’s off the clock, working overtime.”
A flash off toward the river was followed almost immediately by a rumbling crash. It started raining harder. The sky lit again, casting the wet greenery and surrounding mountains in a macabre glow. Thunder sounded so loud it made her ears ring. The next lightning flare sparked off a rock not twenty feet away. Sam’s heart sped up. She stared at the mountains ringed about her. Why wasn’t the storm up there? Lightning was supposed to be drawn to high points, not meadows saturated with water.
As if determined to prove her wrong, another flash struck the ground off to her left. She threw her hands over her ears but the thunder reverberated in her brain as if someone had struck an anvil right next to her. Shaking her head to try to make her ears stop hurting, she started walking again. Lightning struck inches from her feet. Sam lurched to a stop, blinking to clear the afterimage. Even as wet as it was, the air felt electrified, thick with sharp edges. She could almost see marauding electrons reaching for her, hungry little mouths wide open.
Fear raced along her nerve endings, making her feel as if she’d downed half a dozen double espressos in a row. The breath whooshed out of her and her head spun crazily.
The storm’s trying to kill me.
Oh, please, she answered herself. Sam hated her tendency to engage in two-way inner dialogue, but she’d done it all her life.
An excruciating twenty minutes and half a dozen lightning strikes later, she thought it might be safe to move. It was raining like a son of a bitch, but after striking what looked like a circle around where she stood, the electrical part of the storm had left as quickly as it had come.
Guess the storm gods didn’t want me, after all.
Why should they? No one else does.
Sam sank into a funk. Shit, could I possibly be any wetter? Weather in the British Isles had been particularly wretched this summer. “Yeah, sort of like the rest of my life,” she muttered as she tried to assess if she’d be better off staying on the track or cutting cross-country toward where she thought a roadway was. Resolutely, she struck out for the road and promptly stepped into calf-deep water. It ran over the top of her boot and soaked her thick, woolen sock before she could jerk her foot back to solid ground.
So much for that idea. Obviously, there’d been so much rain the ground on both sides of the track had turned into a bog. She’d never seen one before this trip to Scotland. They were hideous. Miles of saturated ground with water deep enough to reach her knees in some places. Sam glanced at her watch and groaned. She’d been walking for close to five hours. No wonder it was getting dark. The village she was aiming for shouldn’t actually be all that far away. In fact, she should have been there long since. About to tuck her watch back under her sleeve, she took one last look at it and realized the second hand had stopped. She tapped the crystal with her finger but nothing happened.
Crap! Wonder when it quit? Must be the damp.
Yes, another less pleasant voice piped up, it also means I have no idea how long I’ve been walking. Peering through mist-shrouded countryside, she looked for some signs of Beauly Village but all she saw were sheep.
Sam told herself to keep walking. It wasn’t as if there was anywhere she could even sit to consider her options. Everything dripped water. Her jacket and pants, which had always provided adequate protection from the elements back in the States, were woefully inadequate here. She was afraid to pull out her cell phone. Electronics and water definitely weren’t compatible. Yeah, just look what happened to my watch. Dark thoughts crowded her mind. Why had she thought it would be romantic to spend a year in Scotland?
You know why, an inner voice—the nasty one—sneered. It was your infatuation with Clint. Sam gave her resident maven a point for accuracy. Clint, with his spiffy Scottish intonations, dreamy blue eyes, and red-blonde curls, had sweet-talked her into bankrolling a trip to his home. Between his ever-so-broad shoulders, washboard abs, and nice, tight ass, he’d barely let her out of bed for a month. By the time she’d figured out the reason he had so much time on his hands was because he didn’t have a job, it was too late. She was head over heels in love. And hoping desperately that this time it would lead her to the altar. After all, it wasn’t as if he had to work. All he needed to do was treat her like a queen. She had plenty of money for both of them.
Eager to grant her prince whatever he wanted, she’d readily agreed when he’d talked longingly of going back to Scotland for a while. Except he’d had a personality transplant practically the second they’d landed in Glasgow. In the month-and-a-half since they’d arrived, she’d scarcely seen him. He was always off with his mates, as he called them, drinking or climbing. There were weeks when he hadn’t returned to their rental flat in Inverness at all. Worse, she suspected some of those mates were gay. When she’d asked him if he swung both ways his eyes had turned to blue ice chips. He’d twisted away and slammed out of the house. That was the last time she’d seen him.
Water ran off the bill of her hood. Some of it dripped into one eye. “Oh to hell with it,” she snarled. “I’m catching the first plane out of here—without him.” She sighed, feeling sad and angry by turns. Clint was far from the first man who’d taken advantage of her. As soon as they found out she was an heiress to a whiskey fortune, they promised her the moon and then fleeced her for everything they could get. She’d gotten pretty cagy in the years between sixteen and her current twenty-five. She’d even rented a modest apartment in Seattle and pretended she lived there when she met someone new.
Eventually, though, when she thought a guy might be different, she took him to the Capitol Hill mansion she’d more-or-less inherited after her parents relocated to one of their many other homes. No matter how promising a relationship looked, the truth of that rambling mansion was always the beginning of the end.
About the Author
Ann Gimpel is a clinical psychologist, with a Jungian bent. Avocations include mountaineering, skiing, wilderness photography and, of course, writing. A lifelong aficionado of the unusual, she began writing speculative fiction a few years ago. Since then her short fiction has appeared in a number of webzines and anthologies. Two novels, Psyche’s Prophecy, and its sequel, Psyche’s Search, have been published by Gypsy Shadow Publishing, a small press. A husband, grown children, grandchildren and three wolf hybrids round out her family.
@AnnGimpel (for Twitter)