Hello, I’m Anna, a UK-based writer of epic-y, gritty, grimdark-y fantasy. The first two books in my debut grimdark trilogy – Godblind and Darksoul – have now been published in English worldwide, with various translation deals secured, and the final book in the trilogy, Bloodchild, is being published on 5 September 2019.
I’m represented by Harry Illingworth of DHH Literary Agency in the UK, and sub-agented by Cameron McLure of Donald Maass Literary Agency in the US. I owe Harry, Cameron and everyone at HarperVoyager, but particularly my editor, publishing director Natasha Bardon, a huge debt of gratitude. I’ve learnt more about myself as a person and a writer since signing with them than I have in all the years before.
Anna Stephens is my maiden name and pen name, or as I like to think of it, my superhero disguise. Anna Stephens is to me what Black Widow is to Natasha Romanova.
As a child, the highlight of my week was the family trip to our local library, where I’d read anything I thought looked interesting. I was mooching through the adult section by the time I was about 10, but still read kids books as well. So yeah, save your local library – you never know who it’s going to benefit, not just future authors, but anyone who needs somewhere to go, to escape to, that doesn’t cost anything. It’s free escapism, free knowledge. That’s rare these days. Make the most of it.
I certainly didn’t grow up in an affluent household, so the library was the only avenue I had to get my hands on books. For all the other working-class writers like me out there who can’t/couldn’t afford hardbacks or kindles etc, libraries are even more important. In this ongoing, perhaps neverending, era of austerity, the more you use your local library, the greater the chance it has of being saved – and the more you can escape the real world into those imagined, where the rules are different, or nonexistent.
My writing desk is covered with minions, Doctor Who memorabilia, Wonder Woman and Star Wars figures. Also a dragon I bought for a pound. And the (empty) miniature bottle of champagne my husband bought me the day I got *the* phone call from my agent telling me he loved Godblind and offering to represent me and being the catalyst for the weirdest year of my life.
Heroes include David Bowie, Buster Keaton, Medea and Mary Shelley. Obviously.
I have a 2:1 in Literature from the Open University, a Diploma in Creative Writing from the Open University, am a second Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, am a qualified massage therapist, a qualified proofreader and a certified First Aider. I began training in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), particularly Italian longsword, in the spring of 2018. Hitting people with swords is in my top two new favourite things. The other is playing D&D.
I have recently set up a Patreon account. Posts will cover everything from current writing projects to deleted/discarded scenes of published works; worldbuilding to plotting and characterisation to research. Also Italian longsword and D&D. Content is unlocked from as little as a dollar a month, and should you so wish, you can sign up here.
It should also be noted that I once saw Bev Bevan from ELO in my local curry house.
We played inflatable guitars at our wedding. Deal with it.