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Meet Ana Levley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ana Levley.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Ana. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
I was always a storyteller. Ever since I was little, I used to tell stories to my friends and family. My dad, I think inspired me as he used to tell us about two finger Sam before we went to sleep. It was a unique story he made up and added in real life people such as athletes and even famous actors. He captivated our attention with each twist and, and I knew that is what I wanted to do.

I wanted to make people think through stories and bring them on a wild ride. Finally, after years in corporate and after owning my own business, I have become a full-time author. I can now write freely and focus on my art, my words, and my passion to reach the world in different ways. I did not have a great childhood, and that actually made me a better storyteller.

As a child, I told stories to myself when I was outcasted in my school. I created wonderful villains, kickass female characters, and hope in each tale. I have a trauma that is a part of my past that I use as material now in each book I write, so sometimes dark, I always have hope because even as a child I was an idealist at heart. It is what kept me living – this hope that there was a different world I would live in when I was older.

I also include progressive themes because as an outcast, I learned what it was like to feel small. I knew I wanted to stand up for people regardless because it was rare that others stood up for me. So my books are not just stories they are like Greek Myths, teaching a lesson that I would the world can learn to become a better place.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There were definitely struggles as I hit writing blocks, or as I would try to control the story. I learned that the story controls you, you have to let it flow through you as if you were its vessel. I had to really wrap my mind around that and let go of control. Once I did, I wrote the majority of my first novel in two weeks. The challenges for being an author now are to just to get the word out there. I had to learn a lot about how to put myself out there which I have never been comfortable with doing.

I suffer from PTSD, and I can only do what I feel healthy to do. PTSD is a struggle in itself, and as an author, I thought I could hide away and sell books on Amazon. I am happy to say my book has gained popularity, but at the same time, I do struggle with book signings and not getting startled at them. I try to think of the people, and how much I love hearing what they got out of my novel. I also never know when an episode may be triggered, and I may have a hard few days in between, but I don’t let it stop me. I persevere knowing that this is what I want to do, what I need to do – to share stories with the world.

At the same time as it is a struggle to market myself and be at events in person, I was in marketing for a long time, so I know how to do it for others. However, when it comes to marketing one’s self, and you mix in PTSD, it can be a real challenge to overcome. I do it though, as much as I can. I get past these obstacles though tough at times, I know that the result will be extraordinary. Connecting with people, hearing their stories, that is what heals me.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
As an author, I write unique stories that are typically progressive. For example, my novel Beasts has strong female leads, and the main lead is queer. When I originally was working with a potential publisher, they wanted me to change my queer lead, saying it would not sell in the dystopian category. I refused and then self-published because I believe our world is ready for mainstream queer leads. I believe it is time we put the past of prejudice behind us and move forward, supporting consensual love in every form.

Just as some people wrote novels with their beliefs in mind, like CS Lewis wrote Narnia, I write with a strong belief I have in veganism. That is an undercurrent theme in all my writing, and environmentalism. As well as themes of love, hope, darkness, and everything that I feel makes a good story. What inspires me makes my work different from most, and very controversial. Most people did not want to write about me being not just a self-published author, but also about how controversial my work can get.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
When someone came up to me I did not know exclaiming “You’re the author!” and my PTSD did not like that haha, but I was like “Oh, hi.” They came over to me at an event and said they loved my book and connected so much with the characters. They loved talking about the story and never thought of animals in factory farming like that.

My first novel has a lot of parallels to the way we factory farm today with a futuristic twist. To have someone I don’t know come up to me excited about my work really warmed my heart. To hear their enthusiasm and love for the novel and to of course ask when the second novel will come out gave me such pride.


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