Posted by Anna Campbell May 3 2012, 11:00 pm in Alison Ahearn, Amy Andrews, Anna Campbell, Australian, Bandita Booty, Contemporary Women's Fiction, Ros Baxter, Sister Pact
Thanks to everyone for giving Ali Ahearn and Ros Baxter a rousing welcome when they visited to talk about their wonderful book SISTER PACT! Ali and Ros have picked the winner of the signed copy of SISTER PACT, and it’s:
Congratulations, Mary! Please email Ali and Ros on sisterpact @ gmail.com (no spaces) with your snail mail detail and they’ll get your prize off to you. Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell May 2 2012, 12:02 am in Ali Ahearn, Alison Ahearn, Amy Andrews, Anna Campbell, Australian, Bandita Booty, Co-writers, Contemporary fiction, Contemporary romances, Great reads, Guests Authors, Medical Romance, Ros Baxter, Sister Pact, sisters, women's fiction
by Anna Campbell
I’ve been dying to bring Alison and Ros to the lair. They’re such fun in person!
Alison is well known to us through her Amy Andrews persona as Mills and Boon Medical Romance (and now Riva/Presents) author extraordinaire . Their joint project SISTER PACT is Ros’s publishing debut. Not only that, but SISTER PACT is fantastic. I read it in one gulp last month. Seriously, I laughed, I cried, I hissed, I cheered. It’s a wonderfully rich reading experience and in between the riotous humor, it packs a big emotional punch. Definitely one for the TBR pile, guys!
Here’s their fun bio:
Ali and Ros are sisters who are as close as they are different. Ali married the first boy she ever loved. Ros tried to remember the name of hers the other day and gave up and had a chocolate bar instead. Ali thinks everything will work out. Ros thinks everything will get found out. But for all their differences, they are fiercely close and desperately proud of each other. Nothing feels real until it has been spoken aloud to the other. They both love to talk, laugh and write preferably over a bottle of bubbly and something coated in chocolate. They live in Brisbane.
SISTER PACT has its own website: www.sisterlit.com
Ali/Amy’s website is: www.amyandrews.com.au
You can buy SISTER PACT from Booktopia: http://www.booktopia.com.au/sister-pact/prod9780732293130.html and at all good Aussie book stockists.
Anna: Ros and Ali, welcome to the lair! Congratulations on the release of SISTER PACT. Can you tell us about this story?
Ali: Thanks so much, Anna. It’s fab to be here with the Banditas – we love your blog!
So what’s the story about ……
Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles… oh, hang on, that’s PRINCESS BRIDE.
Ros: But there is fighting and torture and revenge and chases and true love and miracles and a quest for money and honour, but something a lot more precious than that, for sisterhood. No Inigo Montoya.
Anna: LOVE Inigo Montoya!
Ali: There is Nick, though. Hunky gorgeous hard man who can shear a sheep, build a shelter, light a fire and slay dragons all before breakfast.
Ros: And Lex who can quote Shakespeare and smuggles pink doughnuts ….
But the real blurb is here:
Two very different sisters. Once inseparable, they have long been estranged after an unimaginable betrayal.
Organised and uptight Frances married the only man she’d ever slept with. But no-one ever told her that seven years later she’d be having sexual fantasies about everyone from the pizza delivery guy to Denis Thatcher.
Scatterbrained animal-lover Joni never knew she was so attached to her kneecaps until she thought she might have to say goodbye to them forever.
After their beloved grandmother - a game show addict – dies, they discover that they have each been left one million pounds in her will. The kicker is they can only inherit if they participate as a team in a gruelling reality TV program, Endurance Island.
They can survive the jungle. They can survive the humiliating challenges. But can they survive each other?
Anna: What were the inspirations behind this book?
Ali: Several bottles of fantastic New Zealand Sauv Blanc.
Ros: And a terrible addiction to bad reality television…
Ali: The crazy idea we could do it despite our mother’s presentiments of doom.
Ros: And lots of experience at sister stuff – love, laughter, and the usual catastrophes. Most of all, we really wanted to write a book that nailed sisters – in all their glory, love and ferociousness.
Anna: We love call stories in the lair. Can you give us yours?
Ros: Well, we got the chance to pitch to HarperCollins at the 2010 Bundaberg Writers Festival but Ali (the far more experienced of the two of us in such matters) couldn’t make it. I had zero experience with such things and was convinced I was going to blow it completely. Of course, I made sure I was lookin’ good and feeling sparkly by being up entire night before with multiple vomiting children (was still sponging puke off my shirt when they called me to go in for the pitch – nice!). I then broke all the rules of playing it cool and just about crawled into the lap of Jo Butler from HarperCollins the minute she started saying nice things about the book. Also displayed huge amounts of self-belief by continually shaking my head and saying “really?” at each compliment. She then started harassing Anna Valdinger to read the manuscript and we started to get tingles…
Ali: And then, I was at the Coogee Romance Writers of Australia conference a couple of months later and I spied Bandita Anna talking to HarperCollins Anna and I hadn’t met her yet just knew she was the gatekeeper. So I sidled up to Bandita Anna who introduced me, being the polite, well-mannered Bandita she is and then HC Anna started raving about the book, compared it to Marian Keyes – yes, Marian freaking Keyes!!! – and poor Bandita Anna was very confused for a minute but she caught on like wildfire and even though it was another couple of months before we got an official offer through our agent, the tingles multiplied!
Anna: Great call story, gals! I remember thinking I’d stepped into an alternative universe for a moment there. Nice to know I can keep my wits about me when the next dimension takes over! I think most people will be utterly fascinated by how you managed to write a book between you and what impact that process had on your relationship as sisters. Can you give us a glimpse of your working method?
Ali: Step 1. Open a bottle of wine.
Ros: Step 2. Drink the bottle of wine between the two of you then come up with a plot.
Ali: Step 3. Laugh a lot as plot gets wilder and you start thinking everything is hilarious.
Ros: Step 4. Read it in the cold light of day and cull the bits that are less lucid.
Seriously, though, we did some good plotting initially, but tried to balance it with letting the muse have her head as the story took shape. Ali would write one chapter from her character’s point of view, and I’d write the next. It was exciting seeing the next instalment drop into your in-box and wild (and sometimes terrifying) to see where the plot would go.
The process was very much like a conversation between sisters – wild tangents and plot turns, somehow getting back to the point, having lots of laughs along the way and realising at the end of it all that you’ve learned a lot about each other.
Anna: Sounds like great fun! I only get to raise a glass with the characters in my head. Much better in the flesh. What’s next for you both?
Ali: We’ve just finished the second Joni and Frances instalment – Frankie gets kidnapped by a cult and Joni has to come to the rescue. Fingers crossed it will be in the stores this time next year.
Ros: Baby number four.
Ali: I have a feeling some Aunty babysitting might also be in my future.
Ros: Booking my husband’s vasectomy.
Ali: Not saying I told you so when four children really do drive my sister over the edge….
Ros: Using the respite offered by some maternity leave to do some revisions to a single title manuscript that I’ve had some interest in.
Ali: More books for the Medical and Presents line for Harlequin. Hoping to finally sell a much loved single title of mine. And please, please get a chance to read something from my enormous TBR pile!
Anna: Do you girls have anything to ask the Banditas and Bandita Buddies to get the conversation rolling?
Ali: Ros and I love the way women converse with each other and tell stories. It’s never linear, always meanders and diverts into little side alleys along the way but is always enthralling and hours can pass before you know it. When you get together with girlfriends or female relatives what are some of the weirder tangential conversations you’ve had?
Ali and Ros have very generously offered a signed copy of SISTER PACT (international) today to one of our commenters. Believe me, you will LOVE this book, so get commenting, people!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jan 10 2009, 5:10 am in Amy Andrews, Anna Campbell, Kelly Hunter, Liz Carlyle, Madeline Hunter, Rachel Gibson, reading, tbr
by Anna Campbell
As many of you know, my third book TEMPT THE DEVIL was released about ten days ago and I’m on a major blog tour to talk about it (if you ever want to know where I’ll be, please check out latest news on my website). So I thought today it might be nice to talk about some books that are NOT by Anna Campbell!
For months I’ve been promising myself a few days of sloth between Christmas and New Year. It’s an Australian tradition. The Boxing Day Cricket Test Match is on (as I write this, things aren’t going too well for the Aussies with the South Africans really tanning our hides. If we lose this match, it means we’ve lost the series and it’s the first series the Aussies have lost on home ground in 15 years. Ouch!). People are busy playing with Christmas presents and eating Christmas leftovers and it’s hot and perfect pool or beach weather. Well, as long as you have your sunscreen with you!
It’s also a perfect time of year for reading!
I’ve been attacking the huge To Be Read Pile. And while I’m far from conquering it, I have made some inroads. Books I’ve enjoyed in the last few weeks include PLAYING FOR THE ASHES by Elizabeth George (an Inspector Lynley book), THE LACE READER by Brunonia Barry, THE KISS by Sophia Nash, THE FLAME AND THE SHADOW by Denise Rossetti and QUEEN OF DRAGONS by Shana Abe.
I’ve picked out five books to talk about in a bit more detail. All were an absolute pleasure to read. So if you’re looking for some recommendations to fill a few hours’ reading time, look no further!
The book whose cover features at the head of this blog, NEVER ROMANCE A RAKE by Liz Carlyle, is a fantastic, intense historical romance with a ton of emotional punch. It’s also got Liz’s trademark wit and passion – seriously the love scenes in this are HAWT! One of the most compelling heroes I’ve read for a long time too. I picked this up yesterday and didn’t put it down until I finished it. Highly recommended!
Amy Andrews who’s a Bandita regular (when she’s not breaking her arm to avoid us!) writes really emotional, heartfelt Medical romance for Harlequin. I’ve had her THE ITALIAN COUNT’S BABY on my TBR pile for a long time. Sorry, Amy! It’s been one of those years and I knew once I started this book, I wouldn’t want to stop. What an absolutely lovely story about an unlikely love between two damaged people. And as a bonus, there’s a stack of wonderful, drool-making descriptions of scenery on the Amalfi Coast, courtesy of Amy’s recent visit. The great news for American readers is that this book was chosen as a special Presents Extra release in the United States and you can order it from Amazon (just click on the cover). Generally, Harlequin Medicals aren’t available in the U.S. but this one is! Huzzah!
A book that’s been in the TBR pile since I went to the RWA conference in San Francisco in July is Rachel Gibson‘s TRUE CONFESSIONS. This won the RITA for best contemporary romance back in 2001 and it’s now been reissued in the Avon A line. What a charming, funny, gorgeous romance! It’s a fish out of water story (love that theme!) where a big city girl who writes tabloid stories about aliens kidnapping tourists and Elvis living in the Bermuda Triangle heads off to the wilds of Idaho for six months when her life in L.A. heads for the rocks. The hero, sexy local sheriff Dylan, is absolutely to die for and the story will have you laughing out loud as our heroine Hope runs into stranger creatures in the small town than she ever created out of her fevered imagination.
The next book is a delicious treat by Kelly Hunter who I recently hosted as my guest here on the Bandits. You all loved her and absolutely reveled in her dry as dust sense of humor. Her PLAYBOY BOSS, LIVE-IN MISTRESS is on the surface as light and luscious as chocolate mousse. There’s her trademark snappy dialogue and quirky characters. But underneath that sparkling veneer, this story packs a lot of emotional punch. It’s about taking a chance on love and letting go of old tragedy. I’m sure this book will come out in America before too long but as yet, there’s no confirmed date. However, the Book Depository in the UK will post books anywhere in the world without charging postage. It’s a great deal and even with the exchange rate, it makes it worthwhile checking for things that aren’t readily available in the North American market. You can order Kelly’s book here: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/WEBSITE/WWW/WEBPAGES/showbook.php?id=0263863913
As a lot of you know, I’m a huge fan of Madeline Hunter. I’ve loved her work ever since Isolde Martyn from my Sydney crit group brought home an ARC of Madeline’s debut BY ARRANGEMENT from the Washington conference back in 2000. I think Madeline’s such a smart, elegant writer and I love the way she creates unusual, compelling characters. Her first books are medievals but over recent years she’s moved to the Regency. SECRETS OF SURRENDER is the third in her series based around the aristocratic Rothwell Brothers and their associates. The second book LESSONS OF DESIRE was a very deserving RITA winner this year in the Long Historical category. SECRETS OF SURRENDER has all the hallmarks of Madeline’s style – smart, offbeat characters (I particularly enjoyed the self-made hero), a plot grounded in real life elements of the Regency, an intelligent, rebellious, headstrong heroine, sizzling sexual tension. Can’t wait now for the last in the series, THE SINS OF LORD EASTERBROOK which is out in February!
So let’s talk books! What have you read over the Holidays? Have you discovered any great authors in 2008? What were your favorite books of the year?
Posted by Anna Campbell Feb 11 2008, 9:50 pm in Amy Andrews, Bandita Booty, Medical Romances
Thanks again to everyone who made Amy’s visit such fun when she popped by last week to talk about her wonderful Medical Romances and her romantic comedy. She’s taken everyone’s pulse and selected the remarkably healthy Eva S as the winner of her latest Harlequin release FOUND: A FATHER FOR HER CHILD. Congratulations, Eva. Please email Amy on firstname.lastname@example.org with your snail mail details and she’ll send your book to you!
Posted by Anna Campbell Feb 1 2008, 5:30 am in Amy Andrews, Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Medical Romances
by Anna Campbell
Amy, welcome to the Banditas, although you’re hardly a stranger to the lair. We came to romances through a similar path – a relative that absolutely devoured Mills & Boons. What do you think appealed to your teenage self about those books? Has that changed over the years?
Thanks, Anna, for the welcome and having me along. I love the Bandita blog – such a great group of writers. What do they call a gathering of writers BTW? A gaggle? A clutch? A throng? Anyway…I digress. I guess I’m a bit nervous being on the other side of the blog *g*
So where was I? Right, yes, my mother. I started reading my mum’s romance novels at about the age of 11 or 12. She loved Charlotte Lamb and Penny Jordan. She thought I was a little too young to be reading them and thinking back now, I don’t blame her – man, those ladies wrote hawt! But I guess I was just preparing her for when I picked up PUBERTY BLUES at 13 *g* Of course my mother instilled in me the joy of reading full stop. Like many romance readers she was/is a voracious reader and reads across genres.
I think what appealed to me then was the whole teenage romantic notion of falling in love, of finding that one special person and all is right with the world. And, if I’m to be perfectly honest, reading the sex was quite titillating….er, educational. I think now I’m older and have lived a bit, the HEA isn’t the be all and end all for me and because it’s a romance novel I know the H and H are going to get that. Now what appeals to me is reading about the beginning. The rush of attraction, of two people having that insane can’t-get-enough-of-you chemistry that we all have at the start of a relationship before life and kids and work and leaving the toilet seat up drives us all mad. The zing. The sizzle. The dance. It’s not the sex – it’s the anticipation, the I-must-be-with-this-person imperative. I love it when an author nails this.
Can you tell us about your journey to publication?
AKA the long and winding road? *g* Three things inspired me to first put pen to paper. Temporary unemployment, minus zero temperatures, needing to keep occupied without getting off my electric blanket. My first ms was written in 10 days – a chapter a day. Yes, yes, I know – talk about ignorance being bliss! Naturally, it was rejected. But it’s amazing what rejection does for the soul. From that point on I became a writer. My goal – publication. To be perfectly honest I never thought I’d make it but I became determined to find out everything I could about the craft. I joined RWA. I joined a crit group. I attended workshops and conferences. I read How To books and even entered a comp. And gradually I honed my craft. I really do think that the majority of writers serve an apprenticeship. Yes, you hear about the lucky ones who get an acceptance on their first ever ms but, by and large, most serve time in the unpubbed wilderness. It took me 12 years. Of course, I wasn’t very prolific in that time – kids, work (that actually paid me) and life got in the way and I mainly just dabbled. When I think back on it, I get really cranky with myself. I think if I’d shown a little more dedication I could have been published earlier. But then, I’m a huge believer that things in life happen for a reason. So, 12 years it was.
You write wonderful Medical Romances published through London by Mills & Boon. I noticed their first romances were hospital stories so it’s a perennial genre and doctor and nurse stories are still terrifically popular. What is the appeal of this genre?
Maybe back when they were first published it was every girl’s dream (and her mother’s) to marry a doctor. At the very core of the doctor hero is a strongly Alpha personality – successful, single-minded and a little arrogant – and all the appeal that has for generations of romance readers. But in their hearts they are also deeply compassionate men. As for nurses, we have been romanticized since Flo Nightingale was coined the Lady of the Lamp, despite the very unromantic nature of our work. A series of wars has helped to nurture this image of us as ministering angels. Of course today the hero is just as likely to be a nurse and the heroine the doctor. Medical romance covers a broad range of health professionals from surgeons to social workers, physios to physicians, paramedics to police medical officers, vets to zoologists.
Television had helped to keep this sub-genre alive particularly well. Who can resist House’s blue, blue eyes or McDreamy’s unshaven sexiness or, my all time favourite, intense, brooding Dr. Doug? And then there’s the sassy smart-mouthed nurses who are more than their equals and aren’t afraid to put the patient first above all else. When you have two such compassionate, committed professionals and have the emotional roller coaster of their work as a backdrop, the relationship is going to be intense and very, very emotional.
You work as a nurse. Does that help or hinder when you write your books?*g*
Well, if I’ve just come off three nights, it definitely hinders *g* No, seriously, as far as research goes, it’s fabulous. I’m a bit of a lazy researcher (yes, Anna, just like punctuation) so I try to stick with situations, illnesses, emergency scenarios I know really well or can at least access a person at work who’ll know. I’ve just written a conjoined twins separation story as part one of a trilogy about 3 sisters and there was a lot of research involved in that trying to portray the separation correctly (thank God for the www). It was even more of a challenge to do it without bogging the chapter down with too much medical detail which can be a tricky balance confronting all the medical authors. I also think, hope, being a nurse lends a certain authenticity to my writing. I have this dream, this goal I’ve been working towards, where I get to give up nursing and write full time but really, deep down, I know I would miss nursing terribly. I think I got really lucky in life. I found not one, but two jobs that I absolutely love.
I’ve just been lucky enough to read your wonderful February release FOUND: A FATHER FOR HER CHILD. And by the way, if visitors click on the cover, they can order it from Amazon. What a wonderful emotional read. I loved that it’s so firmly grounded in reality but still manages to be so passionate and romantic. Could you tell the Banditas about your new story?
I actually got the idea for Carrie and Charlie’s story from the relationship between Cuddy and House on HOUSE. The fiery female administrator there as the brake on the arrogant doctor. Keeping him in line. Ruling the roost. Not that Charlie’s arrogant, in fact Charlie is yummy! A good guy who just wants to be left alone to keep doing the good work he’s doing. Carrie is more like the Cuddy character – uptight and very fond of pin-stripes. I just love that dynamic – where the heroine is calling the shots.
Carrie has a daughter, a black mark against her name and an ex who deserted her at the worst possible moment in her life. Charlie has an ex, a med royalty bloodline his father won’t let him forget and a terminal disease hanging over his head. They’re so not what either of them need. Which made it half the fun! One of the things I love most about the book is the setting. I tend to write about issues, (which makes my ed a bit nuts from time to time) and this one’s no different. It’s set in a neighbourhood drop-in clinic and tackles a lot of issues around community medicine in inner city areas. I like the grittiness of the setting. In fact, gritty settings is one of the best parts about writing for the line.
What are you working on now?
I’m about to start my 16th medical. It involves a heroine who used to be a model but was stung by a box jelly fish while on location leaving her torso terribly disfigured. So she retrains as a lab assistant working in marine stinger research and hides behind her white coat and her microscope. Her boss, who she’s only ever talked to by phone, and who has this amazingly, incredibly sexy voice insists she join him at a symposium on a tropical island to present a paper she’d been working on. She discovers he’s been the victim of an accident too, damaging his larynx, but instead of hiding his scars, he flaunts them.
He’s going to teach her that beauty is more than skin deep and she’s going to teach him that being a one-woman man is infinitely more rewarding than a jack-the-lad with a chip on his shoulder. At least I think that’s what’s gonna happen…. Its still stewing.
Amy, do you have any plans to write outside the Medical line?
I have a project in the wind that’s out at a few places at the moment. It’s a romantic comedy and in a lot of ways, the book of my heart. It’s certainly the one closest to my real “voice” and I’ve had some very good feedback. I’m forever being asked to tone down the humour in my medicals – I guess a nurse’s sense of humour can be a little off – and I find this a little frustrating. So hopefully I can expand into this genre and have the best of both worlds.
Amy has just the medicine for visitors to the lair! One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of her new release FOUND: A FATHER FOR HER CHILD which believe me is a wonderful read. She has two questions for us to ponder today – what’s your favorite medical TV show and why and/or what term WOULD you use for a group of romance writers? You can find out more about Amy and read excerpts of her books at her website and she’s a regular blogger on Harlequin Medical Romance Authors.