Have I got a treat for you today! What can be more exciting than a fantastic martial arts adventure? The Collar and the Cavvarach is set in a world “alarmingly like our own.”

Says author Annie Douglass Lima: “I’m excited to announce that as of the last few days, The Collar and the Cavvarach is available as an audiobook! I love the way my talented narrator, Joseph Baltz, has brought the characters to life. Please do check it out! It’s available on Audible.”

I caught up with Annie to talk about creating the book and her overall writing process. First, buy The Collar and the Cavvarach! Then, get to know Annie through her answers below!

Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape.

Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?

An Interview with Author Annie Douglass Lima

When did you first know you wanted to become a writer?

I’ve been writing for as long as I can recall. When I was seven years old, I had a sudden inspiration for what I thought was an amazing story and decided then and there that I was going to write a book and be the world’s youngest published author. I ran to my room in great excitement, found an old notebook and a pencil, and started in. Well, that first little science fiction novel was never actually finished, let alone published, but it got me started. After that, I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t working on at least one book.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Maybe 6 or 8 from my childhood. None from my adult years.

What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I’m a part of several Facebook author groups, and I’ve met some wonderful fellow writers there! My personal life and career have both been enriched by the people I’ve met and the things I’ve learned from them.

If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

I actually do have another job. I’m a fifth-grade teacher.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I don’t usually research beforehand. My research normally comes after the rough draft, when I go back through to see where I need more details and information. All my books have needed research of some sort, even though I write fiction. For example, for Prince of Malorn, I researched wilderness survival and how to make a spear by hand. For Heartsong, I needed to know how a blue sun would affect the way people see different colors. And for The Collar and the Cavvarach, I did a ton of research on martial arts, fitness regimens, and athletes’ diets. Even though the martial art I made up for that book, cavvara shil, doesn’t actually exist, I needed the details to be believable.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

It varies, but I find that I can usually get them done in a little under a year. My usual pattern is to prewrite in September and October, write the rough draft in November for National Novel Writing Month, spend the next few months revising and editing, and then get the book published right before or during the summer.

Are any of the settings in The Collar and the Cavvarach inspired by real-world locations?

Yes, actually. Jarreon, the city where the main characters live, is inspired in some ways by Taiwan, where I live. Little pieces of the culture pop up here and there. For example, in certain parts of town, there are shops decorated with flashing lights where people sell betel nut, an addictive stimulant that is chewed (and the juice spat out) similarly to chewing tobacco.

Do you hide any secrets in The Collar and the Cavvarach that only a few people will find?

Yes, there are a few more bits and pieces of Taiwan culture in there that most people won’t recognize unless they’ve lived here. There is also a hint about my personal views toward a controversial social issue.

What was the hardest scene to write in The Collar and the Cavvarach?

All the fight scenes were challenging for me. I enjoy writing dialog much more! It took a lot of research to make sure my characters’ martial arts moves not only worked and were effective but flowed together to make exciting combat scenes. The process sometimes got tedious for me, but a number of readers have told me those were their favorite parts, so I guess it must have worked in the end!


Thanks, Annie, for visiting my blog today!

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