Good morning Anna, and welcome to My Book Addiction and More!


MBA&M: Please tell our readers a little about Anna Caltabiano?


ANNA: Though I live in the US and see myself as a typical American teenager, I was born in Hong Kong and Japanese was my first language. I think that colors the way I see the world and use the English language. Maybe I struggle with words more than others, and  end up using words in a way that can be seen as “different,” or “fresh,” depending on your perspective.


MBA&M: What was the inspiration behind writing “All That Is Red”?


ANNA: I wanted to show teenagers around me that it’s okay to feel bad sometimes and that they are not alone in those feelings. Around one out of every ten teenagers self-harm, but we as a society still don’t feel it is acceptable to discuss this. I think it’s important to openly talk about self-harm in a way that promotes learning about and addressing the causes of it, rather than condemning it. Using a story where the main character is a cutter makes it easier to explore self-harm without boring readers by spewing facts and statistics.


Many people have asked me from where the red and white imagery came. When I’m sick, like every other normal teenager, I find that Disney movies always make me feel better. One lazy afternoon when I was watching Disney movies, I thought it was interesting that the “evil” or plain “bad” character was always seen wearing black. I thought it was odd that western cultures depict black as a scary color, often symbolizing death, while in eastern cultures white is typically used in funerals as a symbol for death. To me, the purity of white could mean the absence of feeling and humanity, while red is messy, but human.


MBA&M: What where some to the challenges in writing this engaging story?


ANNA: When beginning to write any story, I always have an ending in mind. From there I create a beginning and work my way through the middle to the end. Of course things didn’t go exactly as I planned for this book, but I’ve found that I can never really stick to a plot outline. It’s challenging to trudge through the middle of the book, but you have to have faith that the middle will write itself.


MBA&M: Who is your favorite character in “All That Is Red” and why?


ANNA: My favorite character would have to be General Gerrard. He was a fun character to write as his words and his personality came out as the story progressed. Gerrard is harsh when he needs to be and has experienced tragedy in his life, but through all this he never lost his humanity. His dialogue seemed to write itself. I still sometimes have Gerrard’s voice in my mind.


MBA&M: Do you have any regrets in your writing career, if so what are they?


ANNA: As a debut author, I am at a point in my life where I am looking forward and am excited by the possibilities of the future. Regrets are what we see when we look back and though I’m sure I will have regrets in the future, as of now, I am totally focused on my next book.


MBA&M: What are some of your writing rituals?


ANNA: Before I begin to start a new story, I love to collect visuals to give myself an idea of the feelings and emotions I want to portray. I find clipart online and stalk people’s Pinterests religiously. I also compile a playlist of songs that fit the mood of certain scenes I know I want to write. I’ll put one song on repeat for days while I write a section of a book.


MBA&M: What are some of your most interesting quirks?


ANNA: I like starting conversations with strangers, and I think they like talking to me, but that makes my dad really nervous.

Like any Italian (or part Italian in my case) I talk with my hands a lot, and frequently knock over things in the process. Stay clear of me at the dinner table if you don’t want your new shoes decorated!

I love watching Gossip Girl. When my parents complain that I shouldn’t be watching too much TV, I tell them that I’m doing research into the psychology of the adolescent mind for a future book.


MBA&M: Do you often get lost in a book when reading, if so which is your absolute favorite book?


ANNA: I frequently find myself getting lost in books, and when I do I am almost always emotionally attached to the characters. Once when I was reading a book on an airplane, I was particularly attached to one of the characters. When I finished the book, I broke down crying and received quite a few stares. I even had a flight attendant ask me what was wrong. Needless to say I recommended the book to her.


My favorite book is A Tale of Two Cities and some of my favorite authors are Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Mark Twain. I’m still waiting for them to come out with something new!


MBA&M: Please tell our readers where to find you and where “All That Is Red” is available?


ANNA: I live with my fingers permanently attached to my computer or some sort of technology, so you will find me lurking about my Twitter (@AnnaAuthor), Facebook page, and website ( I try to respond to all the messages I receive. You can buy my book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, as well as many other booksellers. I hope you enjoy it!


Anna, thank you for spending time with us and our readers. What a pleasure to have you with us and our readers today. Do you have anything you would like to add?


ANNA: I’m thrilled to be invited to appear in My Book Addiction and More. I had a lot of fun answering these questions and I hope you even more fun and enjoyment reading my book!



 List of 5 things readers may or may not know about you as an author?


  1. In airports I watch people and they frequently make appearances in my books.
  2. I can never quite stick to writing on one device. I will write parts of chapters on my iPad, iPod, computer, and when none of those things are available I am known to borrow a friend’s phone for a good hour.
  3. I have an odd love of pink heart-shaped post-its. I buy stacks of them at a time and write everything from character sketches to story ideas on them. Currently my desk has exactly forty-seven bright pink heart-shaped post-its stuck to it. I can’t even see the desk underneath!
  4. For my novels I like to outline the plot solely in cartoons that I draw on various pieces of scrap paper.
  5. When I sit down to write, I often dress as I think my character would. I think it allows me inside the head of my characters. Of course if I am writing in a public place, I imagine I must look quite strange dressed in mismatched red castoffs one day and a pure white dress the next.


Lessons learned as an author?


ANNA: Sit down and write! Don’t spend too much time planning. And above all, enjoy the process, because the joy of writing a novel is the actual writing part!

Some insight into the research required in writing and the authenticity into writing for your genre?

ANNA: I swarm instead of being methodical. One article online will lead to another, and before I know it, I will have thirty tabs open on my computer. I think I would be lost without the internet. Though I love libraries, I am thankful that I never had to use a card catalogue!

Visit Anna at:





Paperback:164 pages

Publisher:New Generation Publishing (May 20, 2012)



ISBN-13: 978-1908775856

Book Description(from Amazon)

Publication Date: May 20, 2012
If you could choose a world without loneliness, without shame, grief, misery, or feeling of any kind, would you, if it also meant that you lost the simple pleasure of a picnic on a sunny day or the joy of falling in love? Would the allure of a comfortable numbness prove too tempting to resist? Could you choose between feeling pain and not feeling anything, ever again? A girl is caught in a world where this choice is fiercely contested. In the cross-fire between the Red and White empires, the feeling and the unfeeling, each bent on the other’s destruction, the girl must choose between emotion and oblivion, joining the ranks with the Reds as they fight to resist the Whites, but all the while struggling with her own desperate ambivalence. All That Is Red is a story of survival and a journey through the human condition, revealing how the intimate euphoria of pain can sometimes be all we have to remind us that we are alive. Anna Caltabiano is fifteen years old. She was born in British colonial Hong Kong to a Japanese mother and an Italian-American father, before moving to Palo Alto, California; the mecca of futurism. Her writing explores and exposes an adolescent dystopia in which accepted traditions, religions, cultures and communities have been eroded, resulting in a lost generation consumed by social apathy and self-loathing which has found solace through electronic connections. Unsettling, engaging and surprisingly erudite, All That Is Red is a remarkably assured debut from an ascending literary star.
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