I’m so excited to be sharing an interview with author Anna Schaeffer with you all today!
Anna Schaeffer is the author of All of This and Just One Thing. I read and LOVED All of This and am so excited to read its newly-released sequel Just One Thing. I am so lucky to have been able to interview Anna, and I am confident that she will inspire and encourage you through this interview as she has inspired and encouraged me through this interview and her books. Keep on reading for my interview with Anna!
Tell us three random facts about yourself!
1. When I was seven, I wrote a country love song. My family still laughs about it, but I was convinced I would end up with a Grammy one day. That was the start of my writing career.
2. Road trips are my favorite kind of vacation.
3. I make playlists for everything. I have playlists for writing different kinds of scenes, getting ready for work in the morning, and even for driving in the car on a rainy afternoon.
Where did you get the inspiration for All of This and Just One Thing?
One summer in college, I took a walking/jogging class for a wellness credit (I’m not exactly ambitious when it comes to athletics…). One day I got to class early, so I decided to sit in my car and just listen to the radio for a minute. The song “Down” by Matt Kearney came on, and I heard these four lines in the second verse:
“It was Monday night under the street lights
She’s turning seventeen in seven nights
Out on the fairgrounds walking in monotone
She kicks a bottle as empty as her soul.”
The song goes on from there, but for some reason, that one image stuck with me. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. A disillusioned, sixteen-year-old narrator started to grow in my imagination. The final book has nothing at all to do with the song, but that one image sparked what became All of This.
I’d written a novel earlier, but the narrator hadn’t been all that different from me. So I decided to challenge myself. I was born and raised in the South, so I wrote Sadie as a girl from the Pacific Northwest who visits the South for the first time and experiences the culture shock of Southern culture.
And, obviously, I’m not a runner…so guess what Sadie does when she’s stressed? She runs. I used that walking/jogging class for inspiration and drafted the novel that summer.
That was supposed to be it. I wasn’t planning to write a sequel. But a year before All of This was even published, a friend and I took a weeklong trip to Seattle (where Sadie’s from). On the plane ride home, I knew Sadie’s story wasn’t over, and I wrote the synopsis of Just One Thing.
How does your faith impact your writing?
My faith is my reason for writing. I want to entertain readers with a good story, but I also want to gently invite them to think about the bigger picture and how they fit into it. Readers get to walk beside characters who experience life in all of its weird, messy, and sometimes painful moments. And as my characters begin to discover their purpose, it’s my hope that readers begin to think about theirs too.
There’s a line in All of This that says, “As long as your heart’s still beating, you’re not done. You still have a purpose. God still has big plans for you.” That’s why I write—to share with readers that there is more to their story than what they’re going through. No matter who we are or what we’ve done, we’re loved like crazy by the Author of our stories. And He still has big plans for us.
What has God taught you through writing and publishing your books?
So many things. But I’d say one of the biggest has definitely been this: True success as a writer isn’t defined by my sales, reviews, or followers. What matters is that I’m loving God with everything I’ve got. That includes my writing. My job is to do my best with what He’s given me and to trust Him to take care of the rest. I write in response to who God is and what He’s done for me. If He is glorified in it, I’m successful.
Through writing, I’m also reminded that we are made in the image of a creative God. That means we all have some kind of creativity inside of us. How awesome is it that we get to participate in creating things that contribute to the beauty of the world and point back to the ultimate Creator?
If you had to describe Sadie Franklin in three words, what would those three words be?
Independent, sincere, and scrappy.
If you could spend an afternoon at a coffee shop with one of your characters, who would it be and why? What drink would you order?
As much as I love her, I won’t say Sadie, since we’ve spent so much time together already over the years 😉 I’d love to have vanilla lattes with Melina Elliot, Sadie’s aunt. Mel is wise and compassionate, but she’s also super witty and has a stubborn streak like Sadie. Our conversation would range from talking about deep heart stuff to joking about random topics.
If I got to pick a second character, I’d say Fynnigan Larcy from Just One Thing. Honestly, Fyn could make a piece of wheat toast sound fascinating. I’d just want to sit and listen to her commentary on life.
What are three of your favorite books?
There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones, The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, and A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman.
What is your favorite quote?
I have several! But here’s a quote from one of my favorite books. I’ve had it written on my bedroom mirror for years:
“I don’t believe there is one great thing I was made to do in this world. I believe there is one great God I was made to glorify. And there will be many ways, even a million little ways, I will glorify him with my life.” – Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways
I love that quote for many reasons. But as a writer, it reminds me that my identity and worth are not found in my author title. Writing is a big part of my life, but ultimately, my identity is in my relationship with Jesus. My goal is to honor Him in my writing, but there are also so many other ways He wants my life to point to Him.
Lastly, what is your number one piece of advice for writers everywhere?
Know why you write. If you write for popularity or money or to impress others, you’ll ultimately end up disappointed. Those things never fill us up. But remembering your reason puts everything else into perspective. There will be days when you can’t seem to shake the writers block, or you’re overwhelmed by the publishing process, or you wonder if anyone will ever even like the project you poured your heart into. When that happens, remind yourself of why you’re doing this whole writing gig in the first place. Hold onto that, and you’ll experience more joy in the process. Why? Because you’ll know you’re doing what you’re made to do.
Anna Schaeffer writes about girls navigating their teen years and discovering their purpose along the way. Born and raised in the South, she lives near Raleigh, North Carolina, where she works as an administrative assistant and frequents all the best breakfast places in town. When she’s not lost in a story, she loves hosting movie nights, making playlists, and taking road trips with her family. Hang out with Anna at annaschaefferwrites.com and on social media @aschaewrites.