Qn 1: Can you tell us more about your Serial? What is it about, and what are your plans for the future?
Beyond the Horizon is about the nonbinary 16-year-old Tomoki. He wants
to fit in but feels that his feminine preferences and disconnect with
being a “boy” is hindering him from being part of the group. The story
follows his journey from when he gives up what he considers the last
part of himself that he sees as “Tomoki” in hope that he’ll become part
of “everyone else”, to a person who can be who he truly, while he goes
to school, works part-time at a queer café, make new friends and meet
The plan for it, in terms of story, is to let Tomoki accept himself as
he realises things about himself, through his connections with others,
and by understanding what others go through and how he might not be the
only one who struggles with the same things. So while there is a focus
on Tomoki, there are also occasionally stories focusing on other
Other plans are to have the first part, which includes the first term in
Tomoki’s first year of high school, illustrated and published as a book
with two extra chapters and maybe something more.
Qn 2: Who do you think would be interested in your work, is it directed at any particular market?
I think, because of its LGBTQ theme, those who are questioning their
gender or sexuality could be interested, although the theme isn’t always
Generally speaking, it’s a coming-of-age story with both heart-warming
and heart-breaking moments, some are funny one and some will make one
wonder what I was even thinking (or maybe that’s just me), as Tomoki
grows up to be an adult. The idea was for it to deal with what may lower
one’s self-esteem and how to get out of that, and I think everyone may
need a story like that.
So while the target audience is older young adults, I think adults also
can enjoy and perhaps learn something from the story, falling into LGBTQ
Qn 3: Out of all the books in the world, and all the authors, which are your favourite and why?
This is such a difficult question! I can go on and on about this because
I’ve always been a reader, and read so many different kinds of books.
In general, I really love stories that emotionally hurt to read. If they
make me cry, even better! They can be really depressing with no happy
ending too. (But my stories have a common theme of overcoming
adversities, past or present, and I want to spread a hopeful message!)
That said, the Book Girl series by Mizuki Nomura is one of my favourites
with The Suicidal Mime (the first book) being my favourite. I also
really like No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai, which is the inspiration for
The Suicidal Mime. In both of these cases, I could identify with the
characters in that passage of my life.
A more fun and happy one I love is House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne
Jones. While I like Howl’s Moving Castle, this spiritual sequel just
makes me smile. I’m not one to re-read books, but I sometimes pick it
out of my shelf without reading it because the book itself makes me
happy. I truly enjoyed how well-written and ridiculous it is.
A really adorable series, that unfortunately hasn’t been translated to
English (yet, I hope) is Monstret i Natten (“The Monster in the Night”)
which is by Mats Strandberg. It’s horror for kids, and it has plenty of
horror title references but for a younger audience. It tells a message
of acceptance while being scary enough for children.
Qn 4: What guidance would you offer to someone new to the writing world, or who was trying to enhance their craft or business?
Write! Just write. They say practice makes perfect, and practice is
really important as a writer. I don’t just write fiction; I have a
thought journal where I write down my thoughts I have at that moment,
I’ve blogged for close to 15 years. I’ve written anything from silly
lyrics to dark poems, short stories to stories several hundred thousands
of words. Everything counts, be it that really boring essay for school
to the cover letter for a job, the two-line poems to several book long
epics. Whether you have a minute or 24 hours. Take every opportunity as
a chance to practice.
Also, don’t overthink it. There was something going around Twitter about
a child wanting to be something and the parent listed what the child
needed to become that. My memory is horrible with these things, but I
think it was an astronaut and four things. Just four things.
Well, writing’s easier! There’s just one thing! Two if you count
editing. Sure, it might take time, but it’s still just one or two
things. You can break it down further if you need to. Planning and
writing. Still just two things. We tend to overcomplicate things and
forget that life isn’t necessarily as difficult as we make it out to be.
Children are much simpler. They see the world in simpler terms and I
think all ought to learn from that. Or maybe “rediscover” is more
There are two more things I do: Keep a writing log and never delete. If
I rewrite a sentence, then sure, I might not save what it used to save,
unless it’s long. I keep these for two reasons: it acts as extra words
in my log, while it’s not cheating (I did write them after all!) and
something I can go back to. Sometimes I second guess myself, so I write
something else because I think it’ll be better, but then go back to what
I originally thought. Having all the scrapped scenes and sections allow
me to be able to change what I did write previously easily. I keep these
at the end of the document under SCRAPS. The log acts as a visual to see
I did well, but it also allows me to see when I did something. When did
write chapter 53? When did I change the end of chapter 12? I have a word
goal, but I winning every time I write a word. The log just reminds me
that’s the case.
As for business (and especially marketing), I suggest looking at how
others are catching your attention. Whenever you noticed a book caught
your attention, think about why it caught your attention. What is the
title? Subtitle? One-sentence pitch? Book cover? This doesn’t help if
you’re like me. I just gravitate at random in book stores, picking
things up at random, just weighing the book in my hand and flipping it
through before I even look at the title. I also seldom look for books
online, unless I know exactly what to get and when I look for something
I’m meticulously reading every word, comparing potential books, prices,
availability and whatnot. If you notice some trend in your own choices,
let me know! *laughs*
You can also ask fellow writers what they do and from where they get
more sales. What works for them and what doesn’t? Did they get more
sales when the price was lower or during a certain time of the year?
In the end, though, I can give all the advice in the world, the only
person who can say what work is the person itself. What works for one
person might not work for others. But I have one piece of advice that
applies to all: Never try all advice you at once! Try them one or two
and see if they work for you. If not, You gave it a fair chance.
Qn 5: Where can our readers find out more about you and Beyond Horizon?
The easiest way to get in touch with me or get updates is Twitter
@annyinacastle (which is a play on my name! “Borg” in Swedish is a
fortified castle). But I’m also found on…
My website: theannyblog.com