“Hey there, beautiful! If you need some good company, someone to talk with who will truly listen to you and entertain you with talk and make you laugh for hours on end, I’m your fella. Bonus points are that I look great, I have a good taste in restaurants and cafes and will offer you the best time ever. If you’re still not convinced… I can take you on a tour around my library.” – Ani Winter
Please take me on a virtual tour around your library?
“Why, that would be a pleasure. I revel in reading all kinds of genres, though I do admit that fantasy and horror are one of my favorites; I love seeing a writer lose all their limitations and create entire worlds from thin air. I have books from writers like Tolkien and Zelazny to newer works of young adult fiction by authors such as Terry Pratchett, Brandon Sanderson and Sebastien de Castell. There’s also classics, from Shakespeare to Herman Melville and Arthur Conan Doyle. I find books like A Man Called Ove fun too, fantasy aside. And there’s a couple of poetry books too.
Describe the smell of books on a rainy day.
The smell of fresh ink, or of old ink – both are quite lovely – and the specific scent of wet earth. They mix so well especially if you add the smell of tea and honey.
What’s in a cup of tea?
Green tea. Black tea. Herbal tea. Or coffee. Depends on the book I’m reading, often. Or whether I’ve gotten enough sleep. And of course, there are special days for hot cocoa and comic books.
Why do you fancy comic books?
They remind me of films, in a way. Stories told with images. I think I actually started to read books through comic books, so they just made me like reading even more. And they also motivate me to draw more.
Apart from drawing and writing what other things do you love?
Going out for walks in the forest/city. Dancing when nobody’s watching. Warm baths/showers. Candy. Cats. Plush toys. Amusement parks. Traveling. The list probably never ends.
What happens to dancing, when people are watching?
I can’t really dance. So then we all laugh. But that’s also fun, so either way we win.
So you take it easy when people laugh at you?
Yeah. I didn’t use to, but I’ve learned not to take everything too seriously.
What other rules do you abide by?
Be happy, and make everyone happy/be kind to the extent that you can, but don’t take crap from anyone.
What are the areas you are not so self-confident in?
I’d say those would be areas that I don’t have much experience in/knowledge about
Let’s say my friends and I are playing a new board game. Usually I’m confident in myself, but if I don’t know much about the game, I’d feel a lot less confident. And I’m sometimes also prejudiced against certain games, like strategy ones, as I don’t think I’m any good at strategy. That could get fixed by playing more of it, though.
Do you have a beautiful handwriting?
When I write slowly, yes.
Do you keep a bullet journal?
I can say so. It’s on my phone and not on paper, though.
How do you get rid of a person who’s flirting with you?
I often can’t, actually. I find it hard to say no and tell people to go away. However when I do find the courage, I just tell them that I’m taken, I’m not interested, and I’d not like to talk anymore but I wish them the best.
Tell me about your relationship. Ups and downs, perks?
It means a lot to me. We were friends at first, but then I realized I got attached as we spent time together. Of course not everything has been smooth sailing; sometimes you’re too stubborn, and sometimes your partner does too many things that make you angry. But on the bright side, their support and love are always there for you. I think you could also get the same from your friends. So, stay close to your friends.
Describe romance in your life.
I think it’s like with everyone else. Everyone experiences it in different ways, but it’s always present. For me, I feel much better when I’m dating someone. Makes me feel happier and more secure. It’s an indivisible part of my life, and it makes it a little better.
Why do you call yourself Ani Winter?
I’m Ani, and I was born in the winter. Haha. Also, my poetry pseudonym is Wintress (‘Зимна’), so I tried to hint at that.
Your winter to-do list?
Get days off for the holidays. Make cookies and pie and some warm food and tea, curl up in bed with a good book or a video game, go ice-skating maybe, watch a film (could be cheesy or serious sci-fi)…
How do you organize yourself?
I make to-do lists for the day. Things I’d like to do that day. And I have a rule to not get sad if I don’t manage everything. As long as I’ve had food been productive at work and had some rest, I feel accomplished. And thoughts-wise, it’s a bit hard, but I try to be logical.
What food do you like?
Pretty much any kind. And it depends on the mood. I love desserts, but most of the time I’m in the mood for crisps, or, say, a burger, or Chinese food, something salty. I love food in general.
What’s the place of music in your life?
Central. It’s one of the three things I really love, writing and drawing bring the other two. I wouldn’t be able to survive without music. Even if I stop playing the guitar I’ll still like to sing to myself. Music makes me feel great no matter what’s happening in life.
What then is the secret to happiness?
Liking what you do and where you are in life. Positivity also plays a role. You attract the kind of energy you expel. So if you find joy in the little things, like some good tea, talking with a friend, or seeing a cute cat pass you by, well, congrats, you’re happy.
What’s your advice to people, who don’t see the options to be happy?
Start with the little things. The smallest things you can imagine. You’re alive. The holidays are coming. You’ll have time to do things you love and be with people you like. I’m pretty sure you have favourite things in the world. You just have to let yourself remember them.
Are you a messy or an orderly person?
Messy. In everything. I’m trying to fix that though as it tends to be quite annoying sometimes.
Tell us about your creative chaos.
Well, it’s a chaos. But it’s creative. I start with a daydream, I take to outlining the plot of a story, and a few months down the line I’ve written a first draft. It’s random and feels like spurts of creativity, not like an everyday process. For reasons like that NaNoWriMo used to be quite hard for me. I manage to focus all that energy on things for a while though. And that’s how I’ve made everything I have.
Do you finish your projects?
Yep. I usually have a vague idea of how to end my projects and the closer I get to the end, the clearer the idea gets.
What are you most thankful for?
That I’m alive and that I’m getting to experience all the things that are happening to me.
How do you turn lemon into lemonade?
You ask it nicely. Haha, I’m joking. You make it into a juice and you add sugar. I guess?
So you distaste self-help literature?
I just prefer getting help from a person through talking is all. If I had to read a book like that, I’d get bored.
So do you love cooking?
Absolutely. Not only can you be creative once you understand how it works, but you get to eat what you’ve prepared in the end or treat a friend. It’s a win-win.
Tell me what do you think is what everybody wants?
To be happy. But happiness means a different thing for everyone.
Do you feel happiness as we speak?
What’s your advice to a very good and beautiful girl, who is unable at this moment to experience happiness?
Don’t worry. Being unhappy is a part of life. You’ll feel happy again soon. Do what you love, love what you do, and joy will find you.
How about inspiration? How does it find you?
In mysterious ways. Often I just start imagining things. Say, I get chewing gum, and it comes with a picture of something. I start imagining a story about that. If it’s the picture of a car, I imagine a person winning it in a lottery after he/she has never won anything, ever. But then, I decided to make that character donate their winning to a charity. Why? Maybe because they have a younger sibling, they want to help… And so on…
Many thanks to Ani Winter for a head-spinning interview!