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Enter the World of Yesterday

6/29/16

Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

Today, enter the world of yesterday, glance at the shadows of tomorrow, and discover the magic of fantasy in dreaming come true. Local author and bookseller Anna Questerly weaves tales of mystic journeys in suspense, adventure, and the unexpected. Anna writes medieval fiction and fairy tales for smart and curious kids and adventurous young adults.  For grown-ups, otherwise considered adults, she creates Utopian fantasy as A.J. Questerly.

Growing up in and around Maryland, Anna recalls her family moving frequently. As she remembers, “It seemed I was always the new kid in school, the libraries became a refuge for me. Even though each new school was different, their libraries were very familiar, quiet, comforting, and offered common elements I could count on; rows of books, card catalogues, the Dewey Decimal system and friendly librarians eager to help me find new worlds to discover.” But it was during her sixth grade year her teacher, Mr. Diprio, lent Anna his copy of The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. She was instantly transported to realms she had yet to experience. She read the tale several times and even insisted her mother read it before returning the book. For Anna, Tolkien became the first spark, igniting a torch that would light up worlds created by words. Anna knew she was destined to be a writer.

Anna considers herself self-taught, armed with a curious mind, and a determined attitude.  She has taken online writing courses, and according to her recollection, she has read almost every book on writing ever written! Over the years, Anna claims she can’t count the number of books she has started, but 2010 came along and a finished book was in hand.  The magic formula came from Anna’s daughter. Her advice to mom was, “Stop trying to write the great American novel, instead concentrate on finishing a few short stories.” Once Anna started taking the “baby steps,” finishing a story from beginning to end, the pages fell into place and her first novel was born.

Discipline and routine is every writer’s secret to success. In Anna’s case she does most of her writing between 5-7 a.m. either at the dining room table or, if the weather allows, on the patio. Anna does have a day job as co-owner of Dog Eared Pages Used Books in Phoenix, a perfect place for her to feed her passion for reading and writing while helping others in their quest for that perfect getaway where they nurture knowledge and imagination. The bookstore provides space for Anna to host workshops, book talks, fine art meetings, and an art gallery which changes exhibitions each month. As an author, she attends the Renaissance Festival, Phoenix Comicon, and the Tucson Festival of Books annually. She loves to connect with fans and meet new readers. To this end, Anna also speaks at writers’ groups and schools around the Valley.

Inspiration and ideas have never been a problem for Anna. She is blessed with an insatiable curiosity, ability to speed read, and a love of wordplay. She states, “I can be inspired by practically anything. I always have a journal packed with story ideas, so I never fear running out of material.” Anna also claims to be obsessed when learning something new and intriguing and wants to know EVERYTHING about the subject. She recently ventured into the realm of Essential Oils; their healing and quality of life producing properties have occupied her research for months. Anna finds the history and never-ending combinations of oils an endlessly fascinating subject. In fact, she thinks her next book will be called the Alchemist’s Daughter so she can incorporate her newly researched knowledge of essential oils through history, sharing both the mystery and science in their use.

To discover other worlds in Anna Questerly’s writings, review her speaking and workshop schedule, locate Dog Eared Pages Used Books and booksellers for your own copy of her titles, or to contact her, visit her Web sites: www.annaquesterly.com and www.dogearedpagesusedbooks.com.

Contact arts columnist Shea Stanfield on flowingquill@yahoo.com.