A to Z Challenge

Interview about Reimaginings Books

R is for Reimaginings.

I know, I like to focus on my own writing adventures when I can. I’ve already told you all that two of my short stories were published in Cinderella Reimagined. And, of course, there are plenty more opportunities to come. To explain that, I did an interview with Anna Jailene Aguilar.

How did the Reimaginings Anthologies come to be?

Reimaginings Anthologies, or Reiminagings Books, started with Cinderella Reimagined, thus, I would share how Cinderella Reimagined was born, although I am not sure anymore if the idea came about before or after I wrote my short story but Theresa J. Barker and I started chatting about writing our own Cinderella stories. Then, I suggested inviting fellow writers/bloggers to share their own Cinderella stories.

So, why a Cinderella story? For me, it was probably because of my love of shoes, Jimmy Choo specifically. Of course, if my disposable income could afford Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, and Christian Louboutins, my preference might change. But I do like Jimmy Choo, and I go to the stand alone store in the mall I frequent. Work, even life, had been a little stressful. I was looking for an escape. A story brewed. By the time I completed it, it sounded like a Cinderella story.

How many volumes are there and where can they be found?

So far, we only have Cinderella Reimagined. It is available on Amazon, on print only, for now, but we are now working on the Kindle edition, which will release with the revised Amazon print edition. However, the Midsummer anthology will come out at the end of the year, also on Amazon.

The South African print edition is in the works. An additional 10,000-word story will be added. The cover will change, too. This will be published by my SA entity, AM Publishing.

How do you choose your themes?

I hear and read often that we, writers, should write what we want to read. I hope there are many others out there who has the same likes as me. 

What has the reception been to the first edition “Cinderella Reimagined”?

It has been slow, I believe, but we have not really marketed the anthology. The timing for me has not been good because I started a new job that is quite demanding. I am only getting back into my old writing routine three months later. I am sorry about it, and I will correct it soon. My partner says it has a lot of potential. I have not even considered the possibilities outside of my head. Perhaps, there is more to it.

Did you get more interest with the new anthology’s theme “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”?

It is hard to tell, as unlike Cinderella, submissions are not via blog posts. Writers have to email their entries to us. We will only know after the submission deadline. There are interests and commitments so I am positive that we will have a good collection for the anthology. I think A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a more challenging story but it think it also gives us more choices and we are free to go a little crazier.

How many authors have contributed to the anthologies? (From different countries and backgrounds, etc.)

With Cinderella Reimagined, we picked a good representation of all the submissions that we feel would make the best collection. Cinderella Reimagined has fifteen stories (one is actually a poem), but three authors contributed two each so there are twelve authors in total. This feels like golf’s President Cup with half of the entrant from the USA and the other half from the rest of the world, although I think Canada would have been with USA. J We have one author from Canada, two authors from India, three authors from South Africa (although one effectively lives in Dubai) and six authors are from the USA.

What do you wish authors writing for anthologies knew?

I’m going to speak for me as a contributor to the anthology. Writing for an anthology is a great way to get our work out there. Although it is not your work alone, it is a start, with not as much work and stress as publishing a novel. You still feel the accomplishment of having published, and being paid, even if negligible in the beginning. When we finally go out there, hoping to publish a novel, we at least have some track record of having published.

What did you learn during your first plunge into publishing?

Oh gosh! I realize every day that I know so little and I learn every time I push forward with one goal. Planning and preparing the South African edition of Cinderella Reimagined is teaching me a whole lot more than what I had to learn publishing on Amazon.

I have learned that it is really a lot of work to get a book published. We need to do so much, and sometimes, even after doing our best, a revised edition is necessary (even if it will not to erase the mistakes we somehow missed during the editing of the first edition). The same thing goes for the cover. There is a lot that goes into that, including use of images, especially if containing a brand.

I am now working with a professional editor and a bookstore owner and I am glad that we moved the launch of Cinderella Reimagined in South Africa from April to August. With a day job in Finance, being a publisher and writer is no mean feat. I have to give Theresa and me that tap on the back for a job well done. That is considering that we can still make Cinderella Reimagined significantly better.

Anything you’d do different?

I think I would like to give the contributing authors a word-count guideline not only for the maximum but also for the minimum. I will also probably give more thought about the stories. As I wait for feedback from people whom I know personally who are reading the book, it seems my idea of spreading the stories isn’t the best way.

What does the future hold for the Reimaginings anthologies?

I certainly hope that this is only the beginning and that we will have more anthologies. Because of the day job and other writing projects, one anthology a year is sufficient currently. I do see at least two anthologies a year. Another idea is maybe having a flash fiction edition and a collection of maybe five or six 10,000-word short story.


Anna Jailene Aguilar is a Filipino-South African writer and blogger. Having discovered a love for literature during her teen years in Zambia, she started writing short stories. She wrote her first romance, albeit only a first draft, in 1987. She discovered and began writing poetry in 1996. In 2003, a few years after her divorce, she wrote a non-fiction, which she is currently revisiting and editing.

Working with a fellow author, Reimaginings Books was born. Cinderella Reimagined: An Anthology of Cinderella Retellings, initially published on Amazon in December 2017, is their first collaboration.

She is also a financial controller in an internet company, mother, partner, and friend. She presently resides in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa, with her family, and her collection of shoes, where she inspires many. For more of her works, visit annajaileneaguilar.comand odysseyofawoman.com.

Check out her new book!

Crossroads and Conquests: Odyssey of a Woman

This is the first book in the series. It is an introduction to a woman’s journey – in poetry.

The book chronicles, in poems, the life of a woman: often interrupted, encountering obstacles, hitting bumps on the road, conquering her world, in small doses but significant combined.

Although not intended to record the life of a woman, the poems are the narrative of the loves she found and found her, her failed relationships, her joys and despairs, her trials and tribulations, her victories and triumphs. They are the register of a woman’s emotions and thoughts.

This is the odyssey of a woman, with crossroads and conquests.

What do you think about anthologies? Do you have any questions for Anne? If you need tips about writing retellings, check out this post by Thalia Merrill. If you’d like to know more about “Cinderella Reimagined”, check out the Pinterest storyboard created for it.

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