An author’s how-to
Most folks spend their 60s daydreaming about a nice place in the sun and a spot on the golf course. At 62, author Anne Hart spends her days tirelessly typing away at her computer. With 56 books under her belt already (see www.newswriting.net) and an average of three to five more arriving each year, Hart is Sacramento’s most-published yet least-read author of mystery novels and how-to books. Tackling topics as varied as DNA-driven genealogy and life as an interior decorator in Rome circa 150 B.C., Hart’s relentless passion for writing proves life has a lot to offer after 60.
How did you get your start in writing?
I started writing when I was 11 years old. My first published pieces were poems about people in different places around the globe. I loved to read about how people lived around the world, what they wore and what food they liked. I would write plays and poems about the people who lived in these places, imaginary people, based on my impression of them through magazines like National Geographic or from old anthropology books. As a child, I used to dress up in an ancient Egyptian costume that I designed and sewed, and I would decorate my Siamese cat with a beaded blue and orange collar, and I would write and paint.
What kind of books have you written?
I’ve written 56 books, of which 39 are currently in print. My work generally falls into three different genres: books for writers, such as Writing What People Buy and How to Make Money Organizing Information; self-help books, like How to Stop Elderly Abuse and How to Safely Tailor Your Food, Medicines, & Cosmetics to Your Genes; and various novels that fall into historical, adventure or suspense, such as Four Astronauts and a Kitten and New Afghanistan’s TV Anchorwoman.
How do you come up with the ideas for your books?
What I write comes from dreams, regular dreams and daydreams. My novel on Arab-Jewish intermarriage, One Day Some Schlemiel Will Marry Me, Pay the Bills, and Hug Me, is a collection of stories from dreams that are rolled into one book. I dream of past lives. That’s how I wrote Roman Justice: SPQR. It’s based on a dream of a past life in ancient Rome in 150 B.C. Usually, I do yoga and tai chi until a novel plot comes my way that is character-driven, and then I write it down in a diary.
Tell me a little bit about your latest book, Find Your Personal Adam and Eve.
My latest book is about how to use DNA test results to trace your own family history. In Find Your Personal Adam and Eve, I trace my own personal Eve, or original female founder of my family line that has the same DNA sequence as I do. By interpreting my DNA test results, I discover that, going back in time, my maternal line points to the town of Bar-sur-Aube in France for 10,000 years ago, an area covering both Spain and France for 20,000 years ago and India for 51,000 years ago. Nothing in the book is based on intuition or guesswork but rather interviews with leading scientists and current findings in genomics.
How about Sacramento Latina?
Sacramento Latina is about a fictional, Mexican-American detective
who lives across from the library on Marconi Avenue in Carmichael. She, the character Consuelo, travels around California and to Central America to solve cold cases on everything from hate crimes to the adoption of a teenage juvenile delinquent. In one part, Consuelo disguises herself as a middle-school student to solve hate crimes on junior-high campuses. In another, she infiltrates the Idiosyncratic Imaginatives, a horrible hate group that corrupts teenage boys. Sacramento Latina is one big suspense adventure in which Consuelo seeks the one universal we all have in common that divides us.
Imagination, maybe. But I think it goes beyond that to just being human.
How do you keep up such a prolific pace with your writing?
I keep up such a pace in writing because I have nothing else to do. It’s either write three books a year or take the bus to the senior center and watch TV there, listen to jokes, play bingo or work on oil painting. I have no day job, so I spend my 9 to 5 writing books and my evenings listening to music, checking my research and revising my writing. I write because it’s a whole new world. Research is half the fun.
What’s next for Anne Hart?
I will keep on writing books, mostly how-to books based on the information people want to know. I’m currently exploring what type of book needs to be written that will serve a public need. But, I’d trade all this creativity for a good government job with a pension and perks. I guess I’ll just keep writing how-to books, informational books and, if they sell, more historical or adventure time-travel novels.