Sunday 20th January 2013
Anthea Carson is an award winning tournament chess player, chess author and chess coach. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Philosophy from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, with an emphasis in literature and mathematics. She is the co-author of How to Play Chess Like an Animal, a children’s chess book based on chess openings with animal names. She is the co-author of the best selling chess book Tactics Time, and Tactics Time for Kids. She is also a fiction writer, and had penned a trilogy, several novellas and short stories, some of which (not surprisingly) are about a chess playing female in the male dominated world of tournament chess. She currently resides in Colorado Springs with her husband and two children.
Important: Repressed memories are sometimes worse than the truth.
Now grab that cuppa and get snug and cosy on this snowy winter’s day as we get to know Anthea Carson…
Hi Anthea and welcome! It’s great to have you here and congratulations on the success of The Dark Lake.
Where did the inspiration behind The Dark Lake come from?
My car went through the ice in Lake Winnebago when I was a teenager. I used this as the inspiration for the story. My idea was to have a disturbed woman trying to remember what happened in a memory she had repressed. Her memory comes back in flashes to an event that has little logic to it, only a few random details. This traumatic incident, though she can’t remember it, obviously controls her life. The amazing thing was, when I wrote this book I realized I really did have an incident I couldn’t remember. Once I remembered what it was (through writing the next book in the series, Call me Jane) I realized the incident was not as bad as one would think, but obviously traumatic. It just shows what the brain is capable of. Basically if something is too difficult or painful to deal with, some will simply choose not to think about it. This is often followed by behaviors that aid in not thinking about it, like drugs and alcohol. This fact about the mind is what inspired this trilogy.
How would you compare writing this book with writing your previous books; The Girl with the Alligator Pants, How to Play chess like an animal and Ainsworth?
How to play chess Like an Animal was of course very different from writing a stream of consciousness novel about a crazy woman, but very fun and challenging. I worked with the five time state champion of Colorado, Brian Wall, and he’s quite a colorful character. I also had the privilege of working with Linn Trochim, the illustrator. She has worked for such shows as Scooby Doo and Fat Albert. Very interesting, creative, brilliant woman. I also co-wrote another chess book, which is a bestseller called Tactics Time with Tim Brennan, a longtime chess buddy of mine.
The other novels I wrote were fun to write, all writing is of course creative. I enjoyed writing Ainsworth, as it was such an innocent, childhood memory of being on the farm in Nebraska.
How did you start writing? Was there a particular book or moment in your life that spurred you on?
I always wanted to be a writer. There was no particular moment when this occurred to me, I just always thought that was what I was, from the time I was little. The same thing went for chess. I knew how the pieces moved from watching my brothers play and knew I would be good at it.
I see that you are an artist as well as an author – congratulations! You have some beautiful pieces. How do you organize your time between writing and drawing?
I have given up drawing and painting. The only time I do it now is when my daughter demands that I help her learn to draw and paint. So I show her how by doing it, but I don’t want to do that anymore. I never intended to become an artist. I feel like I sort of slipped into that because of an experience I had one time. At age 11 my father took me to Chagall’s studio in France (we were living there at the time) and I noticed a partial sketch of a face. I said “Ah ha, that’s how you do it,” and began imitating it. I went home and started drawing and kept doing it for a long time. Then I gave it up, although my husband predicts I will take it up again.
We lived in an apartment that faced the mountains, and I had a little cubby there with my computer. That’s where I wrote The Dark Lake and Ainsworth. I enjoy outdoor cafes and would love to write there, I think I write better in cafes.
And finally, tell us an interesting fact about yourself that not many people know
I am named after a character in a book by E. Nesbitt. My mom wanted to name me Priscilla, and my dad sided with my mom, but they allowed my brothers to vote, and there were three of them, so my parents were out-voted (thank Goodness).
Thank you for being here today Anthea
You can buy your copy of The Dark Lake here.
Follow Anthea on Twitter: @ChessAnimal
Like Anthea’s Facebook Author Page here.
View Anthea’s art work here.
Love Missuswolf xxx