Annabelle McInnes has taken her difficult upbringing and used it to create a exciting debut series. She lives in Canberra, Australia, with her own happy ending, spending every free moment with her husband, son and her poodle named Serendipity. She drinks her Whisky neat and is known to scour the local markets in an attempt to find the best blue cheese available. Her debut novel promises a career that will take readers on an emotional journey.
Your new book, True Refuge (The Refuge Trilogy) comes out September 20th. What was the inspiration for the story?
From the age of sixteen, I lived in a youth refuge in Canberra. These experiences colour my writing and influence the environments I create. The inspiration for the first draft of True Refuge (The Refuge Trilogy) came from The Road by Cormac McCarthy. It was this book that truly made me appreciate dystopian and speculative fiction novels and how my experiences could shape these fictitious worlds. I adored the terror that McCarthy created with very little action, I also appreciated that he didn’t spend time explaining the before or the the after of his world. The Road is a moment in time, and his writing pulled you in to be a part of it. I am no Cormac McCathy, but I wanted to create a world that was as visceral as his, but with a little bit of hope. Speculative Fiction, specifically Speculative Romance fuels my imagination more than any other genre. When I can build stories that couple romance and a chance to build a new world, I find it to be a brilliant combination that I adore to read and write.
If you could be one of your characters – Who would you be? And why?
Every one my characters is a section of me. They are courageous and brave, flawed and scarred. They are ruthless and sometimes cruel. My antagonists are never fully evil, and my heroes are always imperfect. I am currently writing Eternal Refuge, book three in the Refuge Trilogy. Each character has undergone such an incredible journey. They are all powerhouses of strength, compassion, bravery and loyalty. I could never pick only one, they all own pieces of my heart and my soul.
This is your debut novel. What piece of advice would you give to anyone aspiring to be a writer?
Write. Everyone says it, but it’s true. Write. Write what you love. I’m time poor, so if I don’t love what I’m writing, I’ll procrastinate and it won’t get done. Like training to run a marathon, it’s about time on your feet (or in the chair, as writing may be). You’ll never succeed if all you ever do is talk about it. Write, get feedback, edit, edit, edit, edit. Then send it out. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF! Believe in your style, believe in your words, believe in your genre. Trust your instincts, and write, write, write! Read too, and equally, read what you love. I think its important to read your genre but its equally important to read what fuels your creativity and love of words.
Do you have a book from your childhood that really resonated with you? What was it about that book that was special?
I have always loved high fantasy novels. I grew up reading (and re-reading) all of J. R. R. Tolkien’s books, The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist, and the early books by George R. R. Martin. These books influenced my imagination and my dreams. But it was Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition that resonated with me. I know that The Lord of the Rings isn’t portrayed as a love story, however I found it one of the most profound love stories of our generation. It is a love story of home, of friendship, loyalty and fealty. This story taught me that love, true unconditional love, surpasses every other human need. That it can be multifaceted, beautiful, destructive, fanciful and terrible. These concepts influence my writing. I relish being able to write and portray all the complexities of love, the sacrifices needed to sustain it and the beauty when it is reciprocated.