Best of Both Worlds: Interview with Anastasia McIntosh
Author Anastasia McIntosh is no stranger to duality. A corrections officer working with youths by day, McIntosh is also an up-and-coming writer of romantic thriller novels. Her first book Chase the Girl details one woman’s journey in struggling to understand the motive behind a violent attack, which takes her between the real world and her own world of hallucinations and visions. McIntosh melds themes of romance, action, and mystery with inspirational guidance to create an all-encompassing book, one aimed at guiding readers as they navigate through their own realities and beyond. You currently work as a corrections officer, in addition to being a successful writer. How did you get into your current fields? I originally went to school for police foundations, after which I went for a criminology degree. As I also wanted to work with youth, I ended up working in youth corrections. Additionally, I’ve always really enjoyed reading and writing; they were both passions of mine, but more so like a hobby. Eventually, I got deeper into writing; I met someone I’d always found to be very motivational and smart, with good ideas. He knew my strengths and recommended that I write a book. I thought that following his guidance would lead me to the area that I wanted to be in life. Your book Chase the Girl is described as a romantic thriller, reminiscent of the stories of Gone Girl or Mr. and Mrs. Smith. What drew you to thrillers, and what are some challenges about writing in this genre? I like thrillers because they truly make you think. When you're either watching a movie or reading a book, you have information in front of you where you're really focusing on what is going to happen in the story. Thrillers keep you on your toes; they keep you on the edge of your seat. Regarding romance, I just find that good books always tend to have a bit of romance in them, so I incorporated that as well. I guess the only challenge I had for the thriller was putting my thoughts onto paper, and really making sure that the story made sense for the reader. It is a mystery; you're trying to figure it out without giving away too much information right at the beginning. Trying to lay it out appropriately was a bit challenging. What was the process of writing it like for you? The process was very fast; I wrote the book over the course of one summer. The thoughts themselves came to the forefront pretty quickly; it actually took more time to edit than it did to write the entire book.
What do you want your readers to take away from Chase the Girl? While I always want my readers to be entertained, I also try to mix entertainment with some inspirational guidance. I try to exhibit this at the beginning of every chapter, which I introduce with a short uplifting quote. I want to incorporate this bit of self-help with the action, mystery, and romance, giving the readers a little bit of everything. What impact do you want your book to have on these issues on a broader scale?
I want people to understand that struggles with mental health are a real thing; these issues need to be talked about just as physical health issues are talked about. Rather than stigmatizing them, we need to be able to support people suffering from these issues so that they function adaptively in society; stigmatization inevitably just leads to further marginalization, and sometimes institutionalization. If we as a society were to be able to get a better grip on how to deal with mental illness, people struggling might be able to have a better chance in life. Who are some writers who serve as inspiration for you? I'm a big fan of Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie. They both write very inspirationally, motivational self-help books that touch on a lot of wonderful things. I like Jen Sincero; she tends to write about self-help but in a totally different way. I'm also a fan of Sylvia Day, who is a romance author. She is the author of the Gideon Cross series, which is a very interesting set of books to me; I think they have a great storyline. Do you have any other future projects on the horizon? I'd like to expand Chase the Girl into a series; each book’s title would begin with the phrase “chase the.” I'm working on a book that could potentially be titled “Chase the Boy,” as I do have unanswered questions in Chase the Girl that will need to be answered in the sequel. I'd like to expand the story into a three-part series, but so far I’m just working on the second book. I would also like to make Chase the Girl into a movie; I do have a couple of producers who have expressed interest in my book and a film adaptation. Not everyone can read, and not everyone likes to read; it would be cool if I could get my story out into a movie form. This book has a lot of great action in it, so it would be great to see that played out on the big screen. I am also trying to write a self-help book; I want it to have motivational content that can apply to people’s everyday life. I’d like for the book to help people get through their day when they're feeling a bit down, or need a bit of a kick to get back up. Regarding motivational content, do you have any final words for our readers? I want readers to know to never give up; success always occurs one step after defeat. Do not fear failure, and have the courage to pursue your dreams. True growth is found outside your comfort zone. For more information on Anastasia and Chase the Girl, please visit https://pegasuspublishers.com/books/anastasia-mcintosh/chase-the-girl