Name: Ann McCallum Staats
What you Write: MG, non-fiction, and some PB
Agent: James McGowan
Why BookEnds? This is a well-established, reputable company. Mostly, though, it is an agency of fantastic, friendly, and all-around-awesome people. To me, working with smart, dedicated, fun people is a dream come true. I am thrilled to be a part of this incredible team!
What genres do you write? Read? The answer is the same for what I write and what I read. I get interested in a wide variety of topics, so you’ll often find me engrossed in non-fiction. Right now I’m reading Jill Heinerth’s “Into the Planet” along with a book on Alaska’s Iditarod race. Whenever I start a really good novel (The kid in me usually gravitates toward middle-grade), I really, really can’t stop. You will find me ignoring all sorts of things to dive back into the book (including sleep).
Plotter or pantster? I’m mostly a plotter, though sometimes while writing, I surprise myself and go off in another direction. I usually start with a rough outline. Sometimes it’s pretty bare-bones, though. There is often a kernel of an idea that I fiddle around with in an outline and then roll up my sleeves and start writing.
Synopses, love them or hate ‘em? Mmmmm… somewhere in between? I enjoy writing proposals (I know, crazy!) and usually query letters, too. But, when it comes to distilling my whole book into a one page synopsis, I can be less enthusiastic.
Do you have a writing playlist or a vision board? If so, what’s on them? A few years ago, I converted a tiny bedroom into my office. At first I had the desk facing the street outside, but I didn’t really like that. Now, it is facing my vision board, a combination of quotes, goal lists, pictures, tidbits from various events and happenings, and cards and comments from others. For example, looking at it now, I see my schedule for going to the gym, a heartfelt printed out email from an old student, a “life with purpose” list (what will I do with my “one wild and precious life”), and a couple of cards from past editors. As for a playlist, when I am writing, I like quiet. But, when I’m thinking, I’ll often go for a walk or workout and listen to whatever’s on the radio.
Drink of choice when writing? When not writing? I like club soda, and maybe once or twice a week I’ll give into my diet coke addiction (No coffee—Starbucks would go bankrupt if they had to rely on me). When not writing, I have an occasional glass of wine, but I prefer a five-million-calorie sweet or fruity drink.
Day or Night writer? Morning 100%. I get up at the crazy hour of 4:00 a.m. during the week. I love the quiet of the morning and the freshness of a new day. I have been known to get up even earlier…
Twitter or Instagram? Or Facebook? Where can we find you? My Twitter handle is @McCallumBooks and I’m also on Facebook. My website is www.annmccallumbooks.com
If you could meet any author, living or dead, who would you want to meet and why?
I’d go to the authors of some of my favorite books. I remember so many books really affecting me. When I’ve read something incredible, stupendous, amazing, I roll it around in my head for a long time afterwards. When I was younger (and had more time), I would finish a book and get lost in drawing or painting a (not very good) picture representing the book. Oh, wow, where to begin? But, okay, okay, if I had to pick just one, I would love to meet Markus Zusak. When I finished “The Book Thief,” I had to go for a long walk so I could sob away from the rest of my family.