Welcome to author ACF Bookens for today’s interview. We love that she took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.
Describe your favorite writing spot or space.
I write regularly in my office, which is the loft in our log house. My desk was my mother’s, that she got for $15 when my parents were first married, and I’m surrounded by books, photos of people I love, and objects that give me joy. Plus, I have a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I’m pretty boring. I write on schedule with a certain number of words a day to meet deadline.
Do you write under a pseudonym? If not, have you ever considered it?
I do. ACF Bookens is my pen name. My real name is Andi Cumbo-Floyd, and it’s, obviously, not a secret. I just use a pen name for marketing purposes. It’s also kind of fun – like I’m Batman or something.
What comes first for you, the plot or characters?
The plot, but I also usually know a bit about the characters, too, at least their occupations.
How do you select the names of your characters?
I often use places in my character names. Either naming them for places I’ve been or lived or using a phone directory to find common surnames in that area. Names are tied very closely with geography in most places, so I want the names to fit the places I’m writing about. I also have named a lot of characters after people I know, some of whom are the inspiration for the characters themselves.
Can you hear your characters talking?
What kind of research do you do for a book?
Because my books are often set in real-life places, I often use maps and local histories to help me flesh out the stories. For my St. Marin’s series, the location is based on St. Michael’s, MD, so I often consult maps, read about the local history, and look for people’s names in that area for my characters.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Buying Vellum formatting software.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Cross-Stitch, read, and play with my son, who is a toddler.
What is your favorite childhood book(s)?
The Chronicles of Narnia were my favorite books as a kid and still rank up there for me as an adult.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Have fun. You can enjoy writing and write fun books and still be a “real” writer.
Andi Cumbo-Floyd is a writer, editor, and historian who lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, toddler, three dogs, and three cats. Her books including Publishable By Death and Entitled To Kill. You can find more about her work at https://bookens.andilit.com.