Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Author Spotlight: Anna Campbell

It's always a pleasure to welcome a personal favourite author and even though I discovered her books only a year ago, Anna Campbell has become a "must buy" author for me! Her books have been described as Regency Noir and today I'm thrilled to welcome her on The Minxes blog to tell us a little more about yourself and her books.

Where were you in your writing career 5 years ago?

Actually I sold in 2006, so in 2005 I was still unpublished. However I’d made a couple of positive decisions that really helped me to become a published writer. One, back around the year 2000, was to join Romance Writers of Australia. Shortly after that, I started to write Regency-set romance instead of fluttering hither and yon with settings that weren’t going to sell (18th century Hungary, anyone?). I’d just won the Emma Darcy Award, our major contest for unpublished manuscripts. That came with a check for $2,000 so I guess you could say I’d started earning money with my writing ;-) I’d also got an agent. Looking back, a lot of stuff was happening that indicated I was closer to selling than I thought I was at the time!

Where did you get the idea from for this particular book?

The idea for MY RECKLESS SURRENDER was born back when I spent four months touring the United Kingdom in 2004. One very rainy afternoon, I visited Syon Park, the London house of the Duke of Northumberland. An old family retainer recognized my interest in the house and because it was quiet, he took me under his wing and gave me a special tour, including a lot of family gossip. I couldn’t help thinking that his sense of ownership must be strong as anything the Duke felt. I then wondered what would happen if someone offered such an old family retainer the opportunity to OWN the estate he’d served and loved all his life. A swap of gender to my heroine Diana Carrick and you have the seed of the plot of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER.

Where do you hope to be in 5 years time?

Tahiti? Maybe not! I’d still like to be doing what I’m doing now, writing full time and sharing the stories in my head with readers all over the world.

Which was the last book you read that you wish you'd written?

A WEDDING AT LEOPARD TREE LODGE by Liz Fielding. It’s a Harlequin Sweet Romance by one of the best in the business and I was in awe at the emotional punch Liz Fielding packed into that 180 pages.

Was there any particular author or book that made you want to be a writer?

When I was about 14, I picked up THE WOLF AND THE DOVE by Kathleen Woodiwiss. I’d never read anything like it – and the love scenes were really hot for that time! I said to myself, “When I grow up, I want to write books like that for Avon.” (Avon were the publishers) I can hardly believe that’s what actually happened.

Do you find writing love scenes giggle-worthy or cringe-worthy?

Actually neither! I really like writing love scenes – and not just for the reason you’re thinking! I adore how a good love scene leaves the characters not just naked physically but emotionally too.

What's the most romantic moment of your life so far?

Ha ha, that would be telling!

What do you wish you'd known about being an author before you were pubbed?

I wish I’d known that writing a book doesn’t get any easier.

What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?

You can fix a bad page, you can’t fix a blank one. I’m pretty sure that’s a Nora Roberts quote.

Tell us about your latest release.

MY RECKLESS SURRENDER is about a dangerous seduction in Regency London. I describe it as a ticking bomb story – there are so many secrets and lies and of course, the audience knows that eventually all those chickens are going to come home to roost and there will be trouble galore. In return for the chance to fulfill her every dream, widow Diana Carrick makes a devil’s bargain to seduce Tarquin Vale, the Earl of Ashcroft. But instead of the jaded, selfish rake she expects, she discovers a man who touches her emotions as no other ever has.

But what happens when Tarquin discovers the truth about Diana? You can read an excerpt on my website: http://www.annacampbell.info/recklesssurrender.html

What’s next for you?

My next book is out in May 2011 and it’s called MIDNIGHT’S WILD PLEASURE. It’s the closest I’ve yet come to classic Regency romance! Nicholas Challoner, Marquess of Ranelaw, vows revenge on his worst enemy, only to encounter opposition from spirited and mysterious chaperone Miss Antonia Smith.

Watch Anna's interview on My Reckless Surrender:



You can visit her at her Website: http://www.annacampbell.info/

Thanks so much for visiting The Minxes today, Anna. It's been wonderful getting to know you better!

PS - Anna is offering a signed copy of My Reckless Surrender to one lucky commenter, so get commenting and good luck!!

47 comments:

Vanessa Barneveld said...

Hi, Minxes and Miss Anna!

So hard to believe it's been five years since you sold. I must say youve settled into the role of romance writer very well. I think you were born to it! Fascinating about your private Syon House tour - what luck!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Anna, I love reading how writers get their ideas for their stories.

I can imagine you walking around Syon Park, listening to the "family retainer" (don't you just love that phrase!) and getting the idea for your character Diana and her motivations in MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. Did you have a similar "lightbulb moment" for MIDNIGHT'S WILD PLEASURE?

Anna Campbell said...

Vanessa, I felt SOOO lucky with this private tour. It's a house where they used a lot of the rooms for Gosford Park, the movie, and many of those aren't open to the public but he took me through all those as well. Laughed at me playing the romance author so well! Thank you - I think!

Anna Campbell said...

Ooh, Kandy, what an interesting question. Actually I was away at the coast (at Maroochydore which I'm sure sounds very exotic to anyone not from Queensland!) and walking along the beach when I got this really vivid picture of a rake prowling into a ballroom intent on his evil purposes when he's brought up short by a woman who shouldn't attract him but somehow does. That's basically the first scene of MWP right there. Love it when I get a vivid picture like that and such strong characters to work with. I knew Ranelaw and Antonia right from the start and I could see they were going to clash big time before their happy ending.

Vanessa Barneveld said...

It's a definitely a compliment, Anna! ;)

Anna Campbell said...

LOL, V! Thank you for clarifying!

Sharon Archer said...

Hi Anna and Minxes,
Great interview! I agree with Kandy that it's so interesting to know how the idea grew for this story. And it's so understandable, isn't it, that the family retainers must very often have loved and identified co9mpletely with the properties they cared for. I suspect in at least some cases, they probably spent more time there than the actual owners.

And your Border's interview is fab, Anna - I did laugh at your phrase - "I never met an adjective I didn't like!"

I love Diana and Tarquin's story! And I'm looking forward to meeting Antonia and Nicholas in May with MIDNIGHT'S WILD PLEASURE! Just the title sounds wicked!

:)
Sharon

Anna Campbell said...

Sharon, that's exactly it - these family retainers grew up and lived and worked on the properties probably more than the actual owners. In this case, the current duke and duchess have a particular fondness for Alnwick Castle in Northumberland and rarely use the London residence (nice to have the choice, huh?). Alnwick is Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, apparently. Very big and imposing but I must say I liked Syon Park much better. Hey, thanks for checking out the interview - it was fun doing it at RomCon in July. So glad you liked MRS - MWP is just around the corner!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Anna and Minxes,

I really like learning about authors and their processes for crafting a particular story. Thanks for the great interview.


Season's Greetings to All!
www.nas-dean.blogspot.com

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks for swinging by, Nas! I find authors' processes endlessly fascinating too - it's interesting how many different ways we all approach telling a story, isn't it? Hope you have a wonderful festive season too!

Liz Fielding said...

What a fabulous treat to get that behind scenes peek at Syon Park, Anna. And I can't believe it's only five years since you sold, either. You have become such a big name so quickly and I can't wait to read Reckless Surrender.

Happy Christmas. :)

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Liz, how amazing you swung by! And I see you're on next week here too. Did you see I had another rave about Leopard Tree Lodge? I LOVE that book! It was pure luck about the Syon Park thing - just in the right place at the right time. He'd had a stack of completely bored school groups through during the day and I think my breathless interest really appealed to him. Thanks for saying that about the five years thing. It was actually rather odd to look back and think how different life WAS back then. Happy Christmas to you and yours!

Romy said...

I couldn't agree more about Liz's Leopard Tree Lodge, but then I'm also a little biased since it's set in my neck of the woods (Southern Africa).

I also hadn't realised that you've been published less than 5 years. You are an inspiration to all us aspiring authors, Anna, since you've achieved so much in that time!

joanne pibworth said...

Thanks for turning minxy for the day Anna!
I love the sound of your latest release, and what a beautiful cover - that must be a special moment even now when you see your latest cover art for the first time?

Have a fabulous Christmas!

Jo

Maya said...

A hearty thank you for being here today, Anna. My Reckless Surrender is my reward to myself after I finish my current project, which spurs me on no end :)

Rachel Brimble said...

Hi Anna,

Great interview and Borders interview, Anna - really, really enjoyed it. I'm British and live in the UK and have yet to visit Syon Park so I have added it to my 'to do' list!

You are inspiration to me as a writer, huge luck with everything you do in the future.

Rachel x
www.rachelbrimble.com

Caroline said...

Hi Anna - great blog - thanks for sharing. I *love* the cover - the yellow theme is gorgeous. Caroline xx

Jeanne M said...

I love reading Anna's stories because it's always a thrilling experience getting to know and love her characters. Anna, I love the way you develope your characters so that I start thinking of them as someone I somehow know but have never met before.

Thanks you for all the hours I have enjoyed reading your books.

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Romy, thank you so much! What a lovely thing to say. I love Liz's books - she's an autobuy for me. But there was just something EXTRA special about Leopard Tree Lodge for me. I wrote a review of it here: http://www.theromancedish.com/search?q=liz+fielding

Annie West said...

Hi Anna, Hi Minxes,

What a terrific interview. It was great reading about where you were with your writing 5 years ago, Anna. You've come so far! I remember you winning the Emma Darcy prize and what a big night that was. Since then there have been so many major achievements, and deliciously tortured heroes... sigh. I'm already looking forward to the next Anna Campbell release. They're always such a treat.

Annie

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Jo! Thanks for swinging by! Seeing the new cover is an amazing moment. Yesterday, I got the coverflats for MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION and I'm madly in love. I think it's my nicest American cover yet. I've put it up on Facebook if anyone wants to check it out: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anna-Campbell-Fan-Page/464724380503#!/photo.php?fbid=10150330012475504&set=a.10150285519070504.562847.464724380503

Anna Campbell said...

Maya, thank you so much for inviting me to be your guest today on the Minxes! And wow, what a lovely intro. Good luck on finishing your current project. Tarquin is waiting with gathering impatience for your attention ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Rachel, what a lovely message. Thank you! Actually I heard about Syon Park from a very artistic friend of mine who is a Robert Adam fanatic. SP was RA's first commission in London and he was out to prove himself. It's quite psychedelic with the decor! Well worth checking out and a bit of a hidden gem, I thought. Good luck with your writing!

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks for swinging by, Caroline! I love that yellow cover too. Did you see I've just put the cover for Midnight up on my Facebook page. Check it out. I think it's even prettier than Reckless! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Anna-Campbell-Fan-Page/464724380503#!/photo.php?fbid=10150330012475504&set=a.10150285519070504.562847.464724380503

Anna Campbell said...

Wow, Jeanne, what a gorgeous thing to say. Thank you! I have to say they're completely real to me too - I have to go through a 'mourning' period when I finish a book because it's like my best friends have moved to a different city and I have to make friends with the people who have moved into their house instead. Of course, then the whole process repeats itself! Have a wonderful Holiday season!

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, how lovely to see you here! I remember how incredibly shocked I was when I won the Emma Darcy. Such a thrill! Yeah, the five year thing really make me pull up and consider everything that's happened in the last few years. So many dreams come true - I still pinch myself occasionally. You must too with all your wonderful achievements at Harlequin!

lgm52 said...

OH, how I'd love to win this book! I've not read Anna Campbell books yet, but definitely want to!

Amanda.Walker317 said...

I loved reading about you. I like finding out about my favorite authors, and you are definitally one! Just a little tidbit: My husband loves to surprise me with romance books. If he knows he'll be working for a few nights in a row or has to go on a business trip, he'll make sure I have a new book. He bought one of your books because it had a beautiful cover and I have been hooked ever since. I love them. Keep 'em coming!

Kiersten said...

It might have taken me all day, but I finally got here! WOLF AND THE DOVE is a desert keeper for me. I can still remember reading some of Aislinn's better speeches out loud to my friends when I was 12. They were less impressed than me, but then, they were boys. I love how you came about the premise for this one. Looking forward to it!

Kiersten said...

P.S. That should have been desert island keeper. It's been a long day.

Danielle Gorman said...

Hi there Anna. Thanks for the insight on how you came up with your story. It's always interesting to see how everyone gets their ideas. I absolutely love your books.

Daz said...

Hi Anna *waves*

I've recently read my first Liz Fielding and you are right - she packs one heck of an emotional punch!

Modokker said...

Hi Anna! I love when readers give us a inside look at how they got started writing and how they get their ideas. Awesome interview!

Anna Campbell said...

LGM, how lovely that you're a new vict...um, READER!!! LOL! Thanks for swinging by and good luck in the draw.

Anna Campbell said...

Amanda, your husband is clearly a man of exquisite taste. Look at his wife and look what authors he buys for his wife, LOL! What a lovely story. Thank you so much for sharing it.

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Kiersten! Hey, another Wolf and the Dove fan. I haven't read it for years - must drag it out and try it again. Although I have a horrible feeling I lent it to someone and they never gave it back - Grrrrrr! So glad you enjoyed hearing the background to the stories. Happy reading!

Anna Campbell said...

Thank you so much, Danielle! I always love hearing the behind the scenes story to how an author came up with an idea too. Sometimes I'm not sure where an idea has originated but when I track it back, there's usually an inciting incidents). Have a great day and thanks for swinging by.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Daz, how fantastic you've discovered Liz Fielding! Isn't she wonderful? She's got a Christmas story out right now and I'm dying to read it. Thanks for swinging by. Hey, your TBR pile will soon look like mine!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Modokker. I had great fun with this interview. Maya asked some really unusual questions that really got me thinking. So glad you enjoyed it!

Anna Campbell said...

Thank you so much, Minxes (and especially Maya), for having me as your guest today. I've had a ball. And thank you to everyone who swung by to leave a comment! Don't forget to check back to see who won the signed copy of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. Good luck! And I wish you all the very best of the Festive Season and a very hapy 2011.

Sally Clements said...

Very inspiring post, Anna, thanks so much for dropping in and telling us about everything!

rbooth43 said...

Great Post! Thanks for letting us know about the author Liz Fielding. I was older when I read THE WOLF AND THE DOVE by Kathleen Woodiwiss, and was hooked on reading her books. I haven't read any books by Anna Campbell, but looking forward to reading MY RECKLESS SURRENDER due to this interview.

Anna Campbell said...

Sally, thanks for checking out the interview! I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, everyone, the Minxes have drawn a winner and it's:

NAS!!!!

Nas, please email me on anna @ annacampbell.info (no spaces) with your snail mail details and I'll get your copy of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER off to you.

Thanks again to everyone who swung by!

Nas Dean said...

Hi Anna and Minxes,

Thanks so much for the win! I'm so looking forward to reading THE RECKLESS SURRENDER! Especially after reading the story behind it!

Anna Campbell said...

Congratulations, Nas! Happy reading!

Maya said...

Congrats, Nas! Enjoy Anna's book.

Thanks once again, Anna and a Happy Christmas to everyone!