Anne Van has always heard stories in her head. It’s in her DNA. The storyteller gene was passed down from her grandfather, known in his small town as king of the whoppers. But for years her passion for tales was sidelined by her obsession with art. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Art and won a scholarship to attend the University of Waseda in Tokyo, Japan. Anne spent two head-spinning years living in Tokyo and learned a lot more than how to paint a koi fish. Stories began to flood her mind and she dreamed of putting pen to paper. Unfortunately, her visa ran out and she returned to California to complete her Masters degree.
Diploma in hand, she vowed to conquer the art world. Her artwork graced many a gallery wall. She even won competitions and one of her works was displayed in a museum in Picasso’s hometown of Malaga, Spain. All this did not bring the fame and fortune she dreamt of. Instead, she joined the legions of starving artists.
Faced with a zero bank account, she soon found herself teaching art to spoiled rich kids in Beverly Hills. To keep from being embarrassed by her meager wardrobe, she began making her own clothes. This led to a famous fashionista suggesting she head to the Fashion Institute. But instead of becoming the next Donna Karan, she wound up designing clothes for J C Penney’s and Sears.
After years of toiling to clothe the masses, the stories in her head began to haunt her. So she packed up her sketchpad and wrote her first tale, Japan & Me. She was hooked. Recently, one of her articles about a grand Queen Anne Victorian (another passion) was published in Victorian Homes Magazine. A short story she wrote set in Tokyo, Japan is included in, The Best Women’s Travel Writing of 2011. Going Underground won the gold Solas Award for best story in the cultural category. She also has completed a tale that has long haunted her— a YA novel,Tokyo Dare, that takes place at an elite academy in Tokyo. No longer chained to the fashion grind, the stories that fill Anne's head have finally found a home.