Anna Stevenson: Professional Writing Alumna Follows Passion as Romance Novelist

Professional Writing alumna Anna Stevenson has combined her professional skills with her unique passions in order to successfully carve out a distinctive career for herself.

black and white photo of a smiling woman wearing glasses
Anna Stevenson

After graduating from Michigan State University in 2009, Stevenson took a job as a production editor for the MSU Press. A year later, she became a freelance editor and has been working for herself ever since. She now works full-time as a romance novelist, writing under a pen name, and takes charge of both the content creation and publication of her own work.

What is a typical day at work like?

Since my job is not typical, there is not really a “typical” day. Most days include a mix of marketing, engaging with fans, writing, and working on book production elements with cover designers, PR people, and my marketing team.

How has your degree helped with your current success?

It helped me view my passion, which has always been writing, as a versatile tool in the pursuit of making a living. I create products for people to enjoy, so audience analysis (which was a big part of my PW studies) has been key.

Did you have any internships and/or study away or abroad programs that influenced your career and/or life?

I never studied abroad, but I had many jobs as an editor during my time at MSU that honed my skill in recognizing and following the conventions of whatever organization/project I was working on. In a way, that made it easier for me to start writing books.

Why did you choose to further your education at MSU?

I’m the third generation in my family to attend MSU, and I loved it there. Plus, they had a major for me. My senior year of high school, my mom and I came to a Green Carpet Days event, and at that event, we learned about different majors. A random guy was there, talking about how if you love English but don’t want to teach, there was an amazing new major called Professional Writing that was for you. I switched my tentative major from English to PW that day and never looked back.

Did you have any mentors at MSU, and how did they help you in your career?

I had absolutely wonderful professors at MSU, including Laura Julier, Maria Bruno, Leonora Smith, and Danielle Devoss. At the time, I thought I wanted to be an editor, and they more than equipped me to be one. But they also gave me a foundation to leap from when I wanted to leave editing behind for writing.

What should MSU students be prepared for following graduation?

To be courageous. The world is changing at a breakneck speed. There is more to do than I could have dreamed as a college student. But there is still room for following your dreams.

What should current students take advantage of on campus?

Never again will it be so easy to make friends and to access world-class knowledge in the form of mentors or professors. You’re right there. Don’t waste it.

What advice do you have for current students?

If something isn’t working for your life, change it.