Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Meet the Author: Anne Louise Bannon

Today, Anne Louise Bannon releases Death of An Heiress, Book 4 in her Old Los Angeles historical mystery series. This fascinating story takes us back to 1895, a time when women doctors were not easily accepted, tensions between landowners and workers ran high, and dead bodies kept showing up in unexpected places. 

Anne kindly answered a few questions for your enjoyment:

--Can you tell us a little about yourself? Not much to tell. I've been writing most of my life, starting with my first novel at age 15. It wasn't necessarily a good novel, but I wrote it. I've worked as a journalist and TV critic. My husband and I write a wine blog, He makes wine and bread. I make soap, bread, and sew clothes. We like to joke that we make the things most sane people buy. We live in Southern California with our basset/beagle mix TobyWan, and cats Medusa, Xanax, and Benzedrine.

Anne's cat, Xanax

--When did you begin to write stories? Well, apart from the novel I mentioned above, I wrote my first story in fourth grade as part of a classroom assignment. It was about a jungle expedition and had knives falling out of trees and all sorts of ridiculous stuff. But then, the summer I turned 15, I realized that if I was going to get away with doing all the daydreaming I was doing, I should write it down. So, I did.

--How would you describe your writing process? Ever-evolving. Everything starts in my head, though. Usually, the characters start talking to me (it's very noisy inside my head). Or I'll see something weird and think, "That's interesting. Maybe useful . . . ." It's a lot harder for me to write if I haven't had significant time to think about it. That's one of the reasons I spend so much time walking. Once I've got a story, I'll find different ways to organize it, depending on my mood, and what toys I have to play with. 

Yes, I'm a geek. If there's some new bit of software, I'll play with it. Right now, my fave organizing tool is Aeon Timeline (love the new upgrade!!). I also love "handwriting" my notes on my iPad with GoodNotes. That has been an amazing experience - being able to take advantage of the neural benefits of handwriting while still being able to take my notes everywhere without having to haul around a file folder or worry about bits of paper getting lost.

Finally, I apply my fanny to the seat of my chair and start cranking. Once the characters are talking, things usually go smoothly. Sometimes, they're a little more reticent. But I keep going. That's how a book gets done.

--What brings you joy in writing? Dorothy L. Sayers in Gaudy Night has her character Harriet Vane talking to someone else about how it feels when she writes something. It's absolutely right, and she knows it to her core. I forget the exact quote, and Google didn't help me just now. But I remember reading that and thinking. Yes. Hell, yes! That is it! That is the moment. There is nothing better than writing a bit of narrative, a really good turn of phrase, and knowing that you have nailed it. And I generally have.

-- How do you connect with other writers? with readers? I connect with other writers through various writing groups, such as Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and the Historical Novel Society. It was actually a smaller group that connected me with two of my best friends, but it was for writers. As for connecting with readers, I do everything I can. I give talks at the drop of a hat. I hand out cards every so often. I sell books to my husband's home winemaking club. All sorts of things.

--How did your blog evolve into what it is today? It started with a novel I wrote in the late 1980s, a romance between a U.S. president and his aide, that never really ended. So, in 2007 or so, when blogging was just happening, I decided to turn that novel into a blog - hell, blogs don't end, right? That became White House Rhapsody, which is currently only available as an ebook on Smashwords. As time went on, I folded my TV blog, then decided that for my personal blog, I'd write about the stuff I was really interested in. But then, I had this series of novels that I'd written in the early 1980s that never went anywhere, and while they needed re-writing, they were still pretty good, and since I had one fiction serial. Next thing I know, I'm putting those on the blog. 

The wine blog,, happened as a joint project with my husband, and we featured the kinds of wines no one had ever heard of, such as negrette and blaufrankisch. But then we realized that winemakers who were women and/or people of color weren't getting any press, and that profiles and wine education got us more readers than tasting notes. So, that's the current focus of that blog.

--What is the best writing advice you’ve received? Best?? Hmm. I've gotten a lot of advice in my time, but not much that really sticks out as good advice, for some reason. I'm always willing to learn, don't get me wrong. I do remember this one incident. In my novel Fascinating Rhythm, there is a scene where author Freddie Little is telling his new friend and editor Kathy Briscow about how his book had been with several other editors, and no one could offer any suggestions that made sense to him until he got Kathy's letter, and it was as if Moses had come down from the mountain and said, "This is the way thou shalt go." 

Well, I'd polished and re-written Fascinating Rhythm. Re-written and polished. Then sent it around to the editors and agents, and got lots of good comments and lots of things that they thought needed fixing, but nothing consistent. Then this one editor said, "It needs more urgency." Bing! Bing! Bing!! It was exactly like the scene in the book. Moses had come down from the mountain. And that's what I fixed.

--What would you tell other writers on how to improve their writing life? Develop persistence. You'll need it at every phase of the process, from getting your novel together and written, to putting it out there, to selling it after it's published. 

Secondly, try everything. I was at a talk once where the speaker was proposing this very time-intensive, nit-picky, and formulaic process for editing. I remember watching her and thinking that there was no way in hell I would get anything done if I did that. And yet, when I got stuck on a scene a few days after that talk, I looked up her acronym, and it got me out of the scene. That's why my process is ever-evolving. There's always something new to learn and you can learn a lot even from what doesn't work for you.
Anne with TobyWan

Thank you, Anne, for sharing your story-telling background and giving us such excellent writing advice. Your passion for writing, your energy, humor, and curiosity come through clearly.

I first met Anne as part of Sisters in Crime. She is a prolific writer. In addition to the Old Los Angeles series, you can check out her Kathy and Freddy 1920s mystery series, the Operation Quickline (romance/espionage). All of Anne's books are available on Amazon.  I can promise you intriguing characters, realistic settings that immerse you in time and place, and a really good read. And, don't forget her blog!


  1. Thanks for introducing Anne and her adorable companions! She really started writing at a young age.

    1. Thank you! We love our fur babies, too.

  2. I enjoyed learning more about you, Anne. And I agree that we should never stop learning about and polishing our craft.