‘Imagines’ Author Interview: Annelie Lange

Imagines in finally in stores and we’re bringing you our last interview with one of the writers in the book, Annelie Lange.

Her story Standby Superhero features Chris Evans. Here’s a quick summary of the Imagine: You are stranded in an airport because of weather… And so is Chris.

Wattpad and Gallery Books have teamed with International Bestselling Author Anna Todd for Imagines. Imagines is some of the greatest Fan Fic authors from Wattpad writing a unique anthology of “imagines.” Imagine your favorite day with celebrity. What you imagine isn’t half of what these authors imagine – well at least it isn’t half of what I imagined.

What was it about Wattpad that made you want to start writing on it?

I was intrigued by Wattpad the first time I ran across the site. At the time I was contemplating serializing one of my original works, and wondered if anyone had attempted something like that online! (I was a wee bit naive!)

I have loved interactive fiction since I was little (does anyone else remember Choose Your Own Adventure?!), and with Wattpad I immediately saw how encouraging it would be to have a fanbase cheering you on and enjoying your stories as they grew and evolved. I signed up for an account that first day, but it would take me a while before I started posting my own content.

What’s the biggest lesson that you have learned from writing on Wattpad?

Be open to engagement! I think by nature I’m a more shy, reserved personality, and interacting and engaging with all of these people–strangers– is still something I have to remind myself is “okay”. My first assumption is usually that they don’t really want to talk to me –but I’ve found that simply isn’t the case! Readers on Wattpad are a whole new breed of fiction consumer–they want and expect to engage with you. They’re a wild, funny, loving, and affectionate bunch and although I’m still learning to let go of my natural shyness with them, I can’t recommend engaging with your readers enough.

How do you write – do you outline the book or do you just write off the cuff?

There are times I start writing off the cuff, but then rabbit hole myself into a work that demands more cohesion–which means I then turn to an outline. My preferred method of detailed plotting, though, is more of a screenwriting trick, using a 3-act, 8-sequence structure. I use a big old sheet of butcher paper and sticky notes for initial planning of the acts and sequences. I’m pretty visual and hanging this on the wall so I can maneuver those stickies around is a great brain booster. I also notecard the finer bits and details, and always have a stack of notecards handy (they’re literally all over my house!) If I think of a snippet of dialogue, even if I don’t know what scene it will eventually call home, I jot it down. Shuffling those notecards if very therapeutic.

What conventionally published authors are your biggest influences?

Stephen King has probably had the biggest influence on me structurally. His book about the craft, On Writing, is hands down my favorite writing book. More than that though, he’s a master storyteller. The way he weaves you into the story — your thoughts, your feelings, your fears– is simply brilliant, and something I will always aspire to. It probably sounds silly, but after I finish writing something, I always think about Stephen King’s opinion–But, what would Mr. King say? And then I cringe and hope he doesn’t read fanfiction!

I’ve been a lover of romance since my first library card, and my all time favorite romance novelists are Nora Roberts and LaVyrle Spencer. I admire Nora Roberts’ longevity (and holy cow, her productivity! Is anyone more prolific?!) LaVyrle Spencer, now sadly retired, wrote the kinds of stories I find are closest to my heart: regular people going about their daily lives, navigating love and loss and all the intricacies of the heart.

My very favorite romance novel of all time, though, is by the queen of Regency romance, Georgette Heyer: Devil’s Cub. Read it.

What is the biggest misconception about authors on Wattpad? What do you want people to know?

When I introduce or recommend Wattpad to friends or acquaintances, I have found that the most common response is: “Isn’t that a site for teenagers/teen fiction?” Then they’re shocked I spend quite a lot of time on the site and that I’ve found success with my writing there. Wattpad has so much to offer every reader, no matter their age or interest, and I definitely think there’s a tremendous growth opportunity there, for both readers and writers on the other side of young adult fiction.

What was it like – finding out that you were getting published?

Oh gosh, it was a mind trip! Reading that first email from my friends at Wattpad, telling me my story proposal had been chosen, that was one of those moments where I sat quietly and just absorbed it for a little while. Then I texted my daughter and told her to COME TO THE KITCHEN RIGHT NOW! We jumped around a lot after that, and probably ate something carby in celebration. My sweet daughter has been almost more excited than me! She’s my biggest fan (although she doesn’t read my work, she doesn’t ship Dean and Cas–what?!) It’s been a dream of mine to be published since I was 10 years old, and while I’ve found success with nonfiction works, absolutely nothing has been as personally fulfilling or meant as much to me as this experience.

Tell us about Imagines. What can we expect?

Well first, if you’re unfamiliar with an Imagine, it’s a fanfiction told in the second person, putting the reading into the story, and they often feature a celebrity. On Wattpad alone there are over 20,000 Imagines you can read for free about a wide variety of celebs! The Imagine: Celebrity Encounters Starring YOU book is one of a kind. It features 34 stories written by 33 Wattpad writers. All of the stories are written by fans like me, so they are positive and flattering to the celebrities. It’s being published by Gallery Books this spring.

What made you want to be part of the Imagines book?

I adore fiction, and that includes fanfiction. I’m a lifer! It’s been wonderful to see the shift in popular opinion regarding fanfiction in recent years, with both consumers and publishers recognizing the literary merit of fan-authored content. While I believe there should always be content restrictions to protect original creations and creators, I was eager to be even a small part of this project as it treads new ground in published fiction.

What’s the hardest thing about writing fan fiction? Do you feel a pressure to live up to the expectations of the fandom?

Fanfiction is such a glorious subset of fandom. I’ve been a consumer of fanfiction for more years than I care to say aloud, and I wholeheartedly adore and extend my gratitude to every fanfiction writer who offered me an alternate ending, a forbidden kiss, or a stolen heart. For me, the toughest part of writing fanfiction is capturing the characters in a way that isn’t only my vision, but that embodies who the characters are in their original form. I have a stringent need for my work to feel and sound authentic, and I probably spend more time on those aspects of a story than any other. (I’m also my own worst critic).

Fandom has been unbearably generous and kind to me. I was not expecting the warm reception I received when I wrote my first piece, and truth be told, it still surprises me today when they’re there, reading and commenting and enjoying the stories I share. I never want to disappoint them, but I also haven’t felt the need to worry too much in that regard. They’re a very giving and loving community, and I’m thrilled to be a part of that.

Tell us what you can about your story in Imagines. What is the one piece of advice that you would give your fellow Wattpad writers?

My story in the Imagines book is called Standby Superhero, and stars Chris Evans (and you!) I’m a huge fan of Mr. Evans’ and it was extremely fun to slip on my rom-com hat on and play for a while in this particular fictional world.

My biggest piece of advice for Wattpad writers is one that I recently gave my daughter (who is also a budding writer on Wattpad): Don’t give up. Keep writing. It is never going to be magically “easy” …but the love you feel for your characters and stories will spill onto the page and one day a reader will fall in love with what you’ve written, and that connection ismagic. It’s worth every bad day.

Give us one author on Wattpad that everyone should be reading.

I recently read the most beautiful, heartbreaking Dean and Castiel story by dearcollectress, “999 Days from Now”. I can’t recommend it (or her) enough.


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