Behind the Book with Mariah Ankenman
This week on Behind the Book I bring you one of my favourite creators on Tiktok, resplendent author Mariah Ankenman!
Liz - Tell us about your part of the world.
Mariah - I live in Colorado in the USA. It’s a great state for anyone who loves the mountains, snow, outdoor activities, and city life too!
Liz - When did you first discover your love of writing?
Mariah - In second grade I wrote a story about a boy who was friends with the green goblin under his bed. Our school librarian laminated it and put a code number on it so kids could check it out of the library. It made me feel like a real author (though I’m sure the story was riddled with spelling errors and plot holes, lol).
Liz - How many books have you published to date?
Mariah - I have 14 books published with more on the way!
Liz - Can you tell us about your latest release?
Mariah - The Dating Dilemma is a red hot romcom with fake dating, only one bed, lots of steamy scenes, a ton of laughs, and a guaranteed happily ever after. It’s the second book in my Mile High Firefighter’s series but each book can be read as a stand-alone.
Liz - Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Mariah - Everywhere! A lot of my story ideas come from dreams I’ve had or a funny thing I saw on the internet.
Liz - As a fellow sufferer of chronic illness, how do you find this impacts your writing and how do you work around it?
Mariah - I have to be very organized with my writing. I am a heavy plotter and scheduler. The best trick I learned writing with chronic illness is fake deadlines. I take the deadline my editor gives me and then make a fake deadline for myself about two weeks earlier. That way if I have a bad pain day and I just can’t get out of bed, it’s okay. I’ve built in buffer days. Something you have to do if you live with chronic illness because you never know when it’s going to be a zero spoon day.
Liz - You're one of the best accounts on TikTok, (and a chameleon of hair colours) and recently had dyed your hair yellow - can you tell our readers about that?
Mariah - Thank you! I love making people smile so that’s what I try to do with my tiktoks. I also love changing up my hair color. Recently my spouse bet me I could get 200 people to add The Dating Dilemma to their Goodreads bookshelves. I’m not a huge name so I doubted his faith in me, but he bet me if he was right, I had to dye my hair banana yellow! Well, the readers came through and my hair went banana yellow that glowed in a black light (which was super cool)! And for anyone asking how my hair stays so healthy with all the dyeing I do…hair masks, lots and lots of hair masks.
Liz - Is there any hair colour you wouldn't go with?
Mariah - Nope. I’ve pretty much tried them all. Green is my least favorite and blue is really hard to get rid of, but I am up for any and all colors!
Liz - I love watching your clips with your aerial hoop! When did you first discover it? How often do you do it?
Mariah - My sister took me to her friend’s show one time and I fell in love! We decided to take a class together. My first hoop class I broke my toe and had to have surgery, but two months later I was back in the hoop! I do hoop and recently started sling too. It’s so much fun! Most of my classmates go 3 or more times a week, but I can only do 1-2 classes a week because of my fibromyalgia. My body has limits, but I refuse to give it up entirely because I love it so much and my doctor said as long as I listen to my body and don’t overextend myself (or break a bone again, lol) it’s fine to participate.
Liz - What is it about the romance genre that you love so much?
Mariah - The hope. Romance is all about hope, every subgenre, heat level, pairing/grouping, everything! It’s all about the hope that we can be better, the world can be better. The hope that we deserve love, and we can share it with others. That’s why I love the romance genre so much because it’s the most hopeful genre out there and I think the world could use more hope.
Liz - If you could feature anyone on one of your book covers, who would they be and why?
Mariah - That’s a tough one…honestly, I have about 50 tiktok character inspo crushes I would love to feature on some covers, lol.
Liz - What does your writing process look like?
Mariah - I’m a heavy plotter so before I even sit down to write I fill out character sheets, do a detailed outline of every scene, and then I write a chapter a day which is usually around 3,000 words or so. After I have the first draft done I do a self-edit, then send it off to my critique partner, then go over their edits, then it’s off to my agent for another round of edits, and finally off to my editor for even more….yup you guessed it, editing! Lol!
Liz - If you could collaborate with any other author, who would it be and why?
Mariah - Probably Avery Flynn because we have very similar writing styles and she’s awesome!
Liz - What projects do you have lined up for 2022?
Mariah - The Dating Dilemma comes out in January followed by The Firefighter’s Dilemma in May and a secret project later in the year.
Liz - Where can our readers follow you?