Kapiti Coast author Anna Kenna takes time away from her next Viola Vincent Reporting novel to answer three questions about her writing life.
Q. When did you start writing? When did you get serious about approaching publishers or indie publishing?
A. I have always been a writer. Writing stories was what I liked most at school and I have always loved words, how they sound and the rhythm you can create when you string them together. I became a journalist because I wanted to write for a living and because I strongly believe in the power of investigative journalism to expose nasty stuff going on in the world. It was a wonderful career but after a long time in the business, I wanted to explore other forms of writing and to bust out of the limits of reporting and recording factual events. I felt excited at the thought of creating my own worlds and the people who live in them. I took some time out of journalism to do a creative writing course and particularly enjoyed the module on writing for children. Whilst still studying, I was commissioned to write stories for the educational market and began producing stories and books that are still used in classrooms around the world. For a few years, I also wrote for established publishers that sold through book shops but then realised I could write and publish my own books for a better financial return. It has been a tough journey but a very satisfying one.
Q. What are you working on at present? Are you going to publish it and when?
A. I am working on another book in the Viola Vincent Reporting series about budding teen reporter Caitlin V Nove (spot the anagram?) I can’t tell you what Caitlin is investigating this time, because it is top secret, but you can be sure it’ll be another rip-roaring yarn that will leave no stone unturned in the search for the truth. More about the series can be found here www.annakenna.com
Q. What sort of things provide inspiration for your writing?
A. Most of the inspiration for my stories comes from real-life events. As a journalist, I’m a news junkie and read heaps of news sites and follow world media. I particularly like stories where young people have made a difference by standing up for something they believe in. On the global stage, Greta Thunberg is the obvious example of a kid on a mission to make leaders accountable over climate change. However, Greta is not the only one. Daily I read stories about young people in communities across the world who actively seek fairness and justice for their fellow human beings and for other living creatures. Whether it’s the planet being destroyed by profit-driven industries or animals being exploited through intensive farming, the voices of young people are becoming louder. It is these true stories of courage and tenacity on which I basis my books.