Sunday, March 20, 2011

Interview--AY STRATTON

BIO: A. Y. Stratton grew up in Illinois and Wisconsin and graduated from Vassar College with a degree in English. (She wrote her senior thesis on “Alice In Wonderland.”) A former newspaper columnist, she writes fast-paced adventures that sizzle with romance and mystery. She confesses she is a crazed and always optimistic baseball fan who writes a column, “Anne in the Stands,” for the Milwaukee Brewers’ Web site. Buried Heart is her debut book.

Thanks for being here, Anne. It’s a pleasure.

#1- Tell us a little about yourself outside of your writing career…
I love to swim in lakes, oceans, pools, you name it. Being buoyant and surrounded by water, no matter how warm it is, calms and clarifies my mind. Once I get into a steady breathing pattern, the world and its problems evaporate, leaving only a blue velvet sky, a wisp of clouds and a breath of sun on my skin.

#2- Your idea for BURIED HEART stemmed from standing at the foot of the famous Mayan staircase in Honduras. What was that trip like and how did it inspire the book?

On a trip to Mexico City, my husband and I visited Teotihuacan. I remember my euphoria when we stood at the top of the Temple of the Sun, gazing out on a once-triumphant city. After that I was hooked on ruins.

I began studying archaeology and pushing for trips to Italy, Greece and Turkey. Once I read about Mayan ruins abandoned and buried beneath the rain forest, I had to see them. I signed us up for a trip that included sites in Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Guatemala. Among the rain forest’s lush foliage and exotic wild life were toucans, parrots, monkeys and spiders that glowed in the dark. Every day of our trip was an adventure.

#3- How do you handle the negative reviews and critiques you receive?
I haven’t had a negative review, thank goodness, but a few acquaintances have been blunt about their aversion to “that sort of book.” I feel insulted for a moment, of course, and then shake it off. I choose to write the kind of story I enjoy, a mystery with humor, suspense and romance.

Now and then someone who has obviously never read a romance (usually it’s a man) says something like, “So, you write those formula kinds of books, right? Bodice rippers?” Rather than giving the guy a double knee drop, I just laugh and ask him to name what that formula might be, so I can copy it.

I intend to put this in the foreword of my next novel: “No bodices were ripped in the writing of this book.”

#4- Your college English thesis was on ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Do tell us about that!

Seniors at my college were required to write a thesis. Because I majored an English and minored in mathematics (an odd combo, I admit), my professor suggested
I do some research on the Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, a Church of England minister who taught mathematics at Oxford and wrote stories and poems under the pen name of Lewis Carroll.

Charles became my man. After reading most of his diaries and nearly all of his plays and stories, I examined his love of making puns, his wordplay and his enthusiasm for mocking the strict rules of etiquette in Victorian England. I called my thesis “Logical Nonsense.”

#5- What are the topics for the Brewers articles you write?
I enjoy making observations that traditional sportswriters wouldn’t think of. I mention who’s cute on the team (Ryan Braun), or who needs to spiff up his baggy uniform (Prince Fielder). I notice who has the most ridiculous facial hair (the pitchers). I describe the style of a base-stealer, or the rituals of a batter before he steps into the batter’s box. I write about the steady fans, the visiting teams’ fans and incidents that are amusing, embarrassing or surprising.

I can’t name all of the Hall of Famers and haven’t a clue what my all-time hero Henry Aaron’s life-time batting average is. Therefore, I don’t qualify as a baseball guru, but I grew up in a family that watched and listened to baseball nearly every summer day. Each summer I attend nearly thirty games. I can hold my own and maybe even impress a few guys here and there, which is great fun.

By the way, there’s a baseball scene in each book I write.

#6- Are there any upcoming releases we would like to know about, and could you give us your web site so readers can check it out?

My web site is You can find my Brewers columns at

My next romantic suspense story features a woman who falls in love with the family enemy. It’s somewhere on the desk of my editor. My fingers are crossed.

I am about a third of the way through another story which opens with a murder in a bedroom, while my protagonist and her about-to-be lover are hiding in the closet.

#7- This about concludes it. Thank you again for joining us. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Thank you very much for interviewing me. I enjoyed answering your questions.

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