Congratulations, Anna on the release of A Rake’s Midnight Kiss.
Where did the idea for A Rake’s Midnight Kiss come from?
Usually for my stories, I get a really vivid scene that sets me off on the rest of the book. With luck, it’s the opening scene (that’s what happened with Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed). In the case of A Rake’s Midnight Kiss , it was the scene of the first kiss. I had an image of a girl swimming naked in a forest pool by moonlight when a man who arouses both her mistrust and fascination stumbles upon her. That struck me as pretty sexy. What didn’t strike me as nearly so sexy was that I had no idea who these people were or what they were doing tempting scandal in such a way!
Ultimate hero material? Ultimate heroine material?
Oh, wow, how long have you got? Actually I don’t think there’s that much difference between them in essence (sixpack aside!). Ultimate heroes and heroines should either have or be capable of developing qualities like honesty, honour, humour, intelligence, courage, selflessness. You know, all those cardinal virtues!
You write historical romance, but are there any other styles or genres you’d be interested in exploring down the track?
What an interesting question. I adore writing historical romance, although perhaps one day it might be nice to venture outside the Regency period and UK settings. I’m currently on a mystery series craze and wondering whether maybe I could write something along the lines of a C.S. Harris or a Jacqueline Winspear. I like the way you can pack more historical detail into a mystery series and also that you can do a long romantic arc across several books. That’s definitely way into the future, though, if it ever happens.
You’ve won multiple awards in recent years, what’s it like to be the recipient of so many?
Lovely! Seriously, the thrill never goes away to know someone likes the books enough to give them a gong. I’m particularly proud of the Aussie awards – there’s something wonderful about having people in your own country appreciating your writing.
Of all things you have accomplished, is there one accomplishment you are most proud of?
Wow, another interesting question. Getting published in the first place after a 27-year apprenticeship was pretty special! Otherwise, I might pick two things. One was winning the final Emma Darcy award in 2006 before I was published. Emma Darcy is such a mainstay of Aussie romance, it was enormously encouraging when she chose my manuscript The Magnificent Marriage as her winner that year. And I might also choose seeing Captive of Sin, my fourth book, selected as one of Publishers Weekly’s five best mass market paperbacks published in 2009.
How do you know what to name your books or the characters?
Character names are strange beasts! I find that I have to come up with the right name for my characters very early in the piece or the story won’t fly. Sometimes the name comes straightaway. Sometimes I need to stew long and hard over it. With book titles, I always have a working name for the story. With the six books I published with Avon, only one of my titles was used, Untouched. The others were mostly variations on the working titles. For example, My Reckless Surrender was originally Reckless Games. With Grand Central Publishing, so far, they’ve used all my working titles for the published books which makes me very happy – I get very attached to my titles!
What was the first story you ever wrote?
I decided very young I was going to write novels – Enid Blyton was my model as a child! My first attempt at a full-length story was a rip-roaring EB clone about horse-napping called the Rochedale Mystery that I started in grade 3 and never finished.
Of all the individuals you’ve created, do you have a character that is especially close to your heart?
Oh, that’s like asking me to pick a favourite child! I have to say I loved writing Sir Richard Harmsworth from A Rake’s Midnight Kiss. I’ve always had a soft spot for charming men who conceal their wounded souls beneath a careless grin and a witty riposte.
What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve ever received?
I remember Robyn Donald saying at an Aussie conference years ago that the only people guaranteed to fail as writers were the people who gave up.
Tell us something about Anna Campbell that might surprise your readers.
I did a lot of research on alpha males using the Aussie Rugby team who went on to win the World Cup under John Eales. Sadly, not in person!
Can you please tell us about ‘A Rake’s Midnight Kiss’ and maybe give us a sneak peek?
A Rake’s Midnight Kiss is the story of a man who becomes a hero despite himself and a scholarly bluestocking who discovers there’s more to life than books. Here’s a short excerpt. Sir Richard Harmsworth has adopted the alias Christopher Evans in his quest to regain a family heirloom. Genevieve Barrett’s instincts tell her not to trust him. She’s just about to discover that he’s moving into her house as her father’s student:
Genevieve shut the door to keep the cat in the parlor. Mr. Evans stopped, blast him, in the flagstoned hall. The space had never felt so small. He turned to her, genuine puzzlement darkening his features. “Why don’t you like me, Miss Barrett?”
She couldn’t help herself. She laughed. “Hasn’t anyone ever disliked you?”
He had the grace to look slightly shamefaced. “If I say no, I’ll sound like a complete ass.”
“Although nobody ever has disliked you, have they?”
He shrugged. “Generally not young ladies.”
Her lips quirked with wry agreement. “I can imagine.”
He stepped closer. With difficulty she held her ground, although every feminine instinct screamed to run. “I’d like us to be friends.”
Anna is giving away two print copy of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS courtesy of HarperCollins Australia (for Australian addresses only), and one print copy for International entrants.
You can enter by answering Anna’s question: Sarah asked me about my ultimate hero. I’d love to know who your ultimate hero is and why!
The winner will be drawn on September 3, 2013, and will be notified by email.