Hi Anna, can you give us a little run down on what your books are about?
Hi Jo-Anne! Thanks for having me as your guest today. I have to laugh. What are my books about? How long have you got? Just something general – all my books are set in the 1820s in England or Scotland. They’re intense, dramatic Regency historicals. I tend to gravitate toward gutsy women and tortured heroes and the books are pretty sexy and emotionally complex. I’d say most of my stories are various takes on Beauty and the Beast – CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, UNTOUCHED, TEMPT THE DEVIL, CAPTIVE OF SIN and MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. My sixth book, MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION, comes out in May. It’s my first Cinderella story! They’re all stand-alone stories although there’s a very loose linking between CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, TEMPT THE DEVIL and MY RECKLESS SURRENDER.
You can read about the books on my website: http://annacampbell.info/books.html
Why did you choose to write historical romance?
I’ve always been in love with the drama and romance of the past. I love to be swept away into that larger-than-life world that a great historical romance offers. And hey, they wear great clothes!
If you ever have have more than one idea floating around in your head, how do you decide which idea is going to be an actual story?
Great question! Actually I tend to have one idea that will obsess me to the exclusion of all else. I’ll get the germ of a story and let it sit in the back of my brain (usually while I’m working on the current story). It’s strangely magnetic – all these elements coalesce around it while it’s stewing in the back there. Hmm, this is turning into quite a stew of mixed metaphors. Then once I’ve finished the current story, I’ve got the bones of the new one ready for a beginning.
Which out of your books do you feel was the hardest to write?
Actually I can tell you the easiest book to write – MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION seemed to come from somewhere else so that I felt I was just taking dictation for a lot of the story. That’s never happened to me before. The other books have all been really hard slog.
Do you ever think about actors when writing your characters?
I often start with a real-life model for my characters but as I write the story, the characters become individuals and the original model becomes less important. Some examples of jumping off points for characters include Daniel Day-Lewis (especially in his Last of the Mohican gear!) for CLAIMING THE COURTESAN and Bryan Ferry in the 80s for the Earl of Erith in TEMPT THE DEVIL. My heroine in MY RECKLESS SURRENDER was definitely an Ingrid Bergman type. In the story I’m currently writing, the heroine Sidonie is in the young Sophia Loren mold (lucky girl!).
Do you have to do much research for your books? If so, what is the most interesting or unusual thing you have discovered.
After writing six books set in the 1820s, I’ve got a fairly good general knowledge of the period. Often a book will cover an area where I have to delve more deeply into some particular aspect. With CAPTIVE OF SIN, my hero Gideon Trevithick works for the East India Company before he comes home to England. I had to read up a lot on Indian history to make sure I had him right although like most research, very little of it actually ends up in the story. I think the writer needs to know, though! Unusual and interesting stuff turns up all the time but something a bit uncanny happened when I was researching my first book, CLAIMING THE COURTESAN. After I’d written the first draft, I was reading a book called COURTESANS by Katie Hickman. It detailed the lives of a number of famous courtesans in the 18th and 19th centuries and one of the women, Elizabeth Armistead, was the mirror image of my Verity, even to the point of a love match marriage with her protector, a powerful man from an aristocratic family.
Are you working on any new ideas at the moment?
I’m in the middle of a gothic take on Beauty and the Beast. It’s great that it’s such a rich source of themes!
Would you consider writing another genre? If, which would it be and why?
Actually I ADORE writing historicals. I’d love to write them forever!
What do you think it is that we find so appealing about the tortured hero?
Oh, what an interesting question. I think it’s something to do with gold purified through fire. You know, he emerges at the end of the story a better, wiser and stronger person than he is at the start because he’s suffered trials and tribulations and he’s come out the other side having proven his character. I also think readers are automatically onside with a tortured hero. We all like to see someone win through against trouble.
I had never read a historical/regency romance until about a year ago when my Aunt told me about her favourite authors Rosemary Rodgers and Kathleen Woodiwiss. Do you have a favourite romance author?
Jo-Anne, you’ve got so many wonderful books ahead of you! Picking one favourite would be impossible. Try Liz Carlyle or Loretta Chase or Laura Kinsale or Madeline Hunter or Christine Wells. A couple of favourite books from last year are Emily May’s THE UNMASKING OF A LADY and Miranda Neville’s THE DANGEROUS VISCOUNT.
Do you get many requests from friends/fans for their own brooding, tortured hero? Because, you know, I'd like one......
Haha! Yeah, lots of people seem to want to take the heroes home. They all have their particular fans but I'd say the two who particularly hit the spot with readers were Gideon from CAPTIVE OF SIN and Matthew from UNTOUCHED.
Always a voracious reader, ANNA CAMPBELL decided when she was a child that she wanted to be a writer. Once she discovered the wonderful world of romance novels, she knew exactly what she wanted to write. Anna has won numerous awards for her Avon historical romances includingRomantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill, the Heart of Excellence, the Aspen Gold and the Australian Romance Readers Association's most popular historical romance (twice). Her books have twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA Award and twice for Australia's Romantic Book of the Year.
When she's not writing passionate, intense stories featuring gorgeous Regency heroes and the women who are their destiny, Anna loves to travel, especially in the United Kingdom, and listen to all kinds of music. She lives near the sea on the east coast of Australia, where she's losing her battle with an overgrown subtropical garden.
To win a signed copy of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER, just answer this question from Anna:
What is your favorite Regency historical?
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