Interview: “Rock Harder” Author Anna Ghislena

Anna Ghislena bio photoWritten By Brigitte Nicolas –

Long time rock chic and music writer Anna Ghislena, from Hertfordshire, recently self-published her first novel Rock Harder. For Anna Rock Harder was a long process. It began “a conception in my head that I eventually wanted to get down on paper”, then became three years writing work, while she was contending with other things like moving house “twice in the course of 18 months!” To get the book published, Anna decided not to go through an agent as finding one is a long process and she had been put off by other writer’s experiences. She says: “Life is too short to hang about waiting and waiting – get out there and do it yourself! It is direct contact with small audiences that has proved most fulfilling so far.” And now she can enjoy the “really good feeling” of having her book out there. Rock Harder is a book about excess, secrets and adventure that stems the arrival of an anonymous postcard. According to Anna the main character Zoe is “timid, cautious and conscientious”, and leads the typical, fairly conservative lifestyle of her suburban town. That is until Anna throws a secretive clergyman, a porn agent, a rock band, an adrenalin seeking roadie, and vengeful drug dealer in her path. Anna says that within this mix of characters some keep Zoe grounded and some lead her astray. “I wanted her to have the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, although, angels are not always what they seem!” She defines the novel as “rock chic lit with horns” and says it is light-hearted but contains “balance perspectives of both sexes and some surprising plots and sub plots.” The book would be appreciated by readers who already love rock culture, those intrigued by it or anyone just seeking an entertaining read and a bit of a thrill. This debut novel has been heavily influenced by Anna’s love of music. She says: “Music is so thought provoking and for me. All the way through, each chapter was inspired by a different song and a different artist.” Anna once won the chance to take part in a video shoot for a famous rock and roll band, “although thankfully, my photographic entry was lost a long time ago!” She has taken some of these life experiences and embellished then for the book, made them that bit wilder. In real life, she says: “Zoe’s crazy experiences would be just a little too scary for me personally!” Although Anna has “dabbled” in music writing for years, she only became a regular contributor to in the past year. Her interest in music stems from childhood and it has always been a part of her life. “I can confirm that I have seen the dawn of the grebo and grunge eras and that Nirvana were awesome live!”  She is passionate about music, which she says: “connects people and brings meaning to life; it’s the quick fix that will brighten your day or wind you down.” When David Bowie reappeared on the music scene this year Anna went all nostalgic and restocked her playlist with his albums including “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”. Her new band recommendation is The Virginmarys. She says: “I recently gave their debut album a five star rating for Stereoboard. It was shockingly good! I am also a big fan of aussie rockers Airbourne and am eagerly anticipating the release of their third album!” Horse annaGood advice for anyone aspiring to venture into the world of music journalism writing is to get involved in the online music networks. Anna says: “It is a wonderful opportunity and a fantastic platform from which to display your work.  More often than not it is unpaid, but the experience is extremely valuable.”  She repeats the well worn words:  “The more you write the better you get.” When it comes to books, Anna’s tastes vary from the “wit and sarcastic irony” of Tom Sharpe to the “true pioneers of women’s fiction,” the Bronte sisters. She names the “vicious and passionate” Wuthering Heights as her favourite all time book. She says she is also intrigued by Iain Bank’s work, for which: “you either have to brace yourself you read each chapter or pre-book yourself into therapy before the books are finished. The Wasp Factory had me seeking out the sick bucket several times!” Rock Harder is available as an Amazon Kindle ebook, 77p, the printed version is available from, £7.99, or it is free to read on Anna is now writing a new book, short stories and continuing to review and interview music artists. She anticipates that her next book will be ready before the end of the year and promises that it will contain a lot of twists and turns and, unsurprisingly, it will be another adventure into the world of music.