Posted by Anna Campbell Oct 2 2013, 12:02 am in An Enticing Debt to Pay, Anna Campbell, Annie West, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, Captive in the Spotlight, contemporary romance, Harlequin Modern, Harlequin Presents, Harlequin Sexy, Imprisoned by a Vow
What fun it always is to host USA Today bestselling author Annie West in the lair.
She’s had a busy year! Today, she’s here to talk about her latest release, AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY. This is her third new book in 2013, following the sublime IMPRISONED BY A VOW and the dramatic and passionate CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT.
Whew! I get tired even thinking about writing that many new books!
AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY is already creating a very nice buzz. RT Book Reviews said, “This is a terrific hate-into-love story, set in a dilapidated old manor that’s a character itself.”
You can find out more about Annie West and her marvelous books on her website: www.annie-west.com
Annie, huge congratulations on your new release from Harlequin, AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY. Can you tell us about your story?
Hi, Anna, and a huge wave to all the Banditas and hangers on! I feel I’m sneaking in under the radar to visit again so soon and am so chuffed to be here.
ENTICING is an emotionally intense revenge and redemption story that also uses the housekeeper/boss theme.
Ravenna grew up as the daughter of a professional housekeeper and vowed never to follow in her mother’s footsteps for all sorts of deeply emotional reasons. Jonas is determined to put Ravenna in her place, partly because he believes she stole from him, but deep down because he feels let down by the woman he believes she’s become.
The power struggle in this one really is pivotal, though of course, as with any of my books, there’s a whole lot more to it.
Here’s the back cover copy:
Dial R for Revenge…
Forgiveness is a foreign concept to wealthy investment trader Jonas Deveson. Someone has been stealing from him. He’s got a good idea who it is and she’s going to pay….
Seeing the harsh lines that bitterness has carved into Jonas’s handsome features, Ravenna Ruggiero knows he’ll never see the shades of gray in her actions.
Jonas blackmails Ravenna into working as his housekeeper to pay off her debt, but living under the same roof leads to unexpected yet forbidden temptation, and Jonas is no longer sure who is being punished!
Sounds delicious. I do love an enemies into lovers story. What were the inspirations behind this book?
Ooh, I had such fun with this one and there were so many things that inspired it: those gothic romances I read in my teens featuring a dark, brooding boss in a rambling old mansion, renovations (I’ve been watching lots of home renovation TV shows!), ‘Country House Rescue’ – another TV program about saving stately British homes, Paris (in particular a wonderful day visiting the gorgeous Place des Vosges and surrounds inspired the opening setting) and food (Ravenna is a pastry chef by profession and that provided a lot of inspiration and excuses for hands on research). Sigh: food, old houses, someone else working hard to renovate as well as brooding, charismatic heroes – I had a ball!
What’s coming up next for Annie West?
I’m just wrapping up a story and crossing fingers my editor enjoys it as much as I do. My working title is “His Reckless Princess” (which will undoubtedly change). It’s about a high-profile royal with a party-girl reputation who isn’t all she seems and a self-made man who’s dragged himself up from the gutter and refuses to look back. He believes he has no interest in emotion, sentiment or family, until he discovers he’s going to be a father and has to conquer all sorts of demons to win the woman he’s fallen in love with. I think it will be out in July.
Later next year comes “Rebel’s Bargain”, a book I’ve already finished, which will be released as part of a continuity. It’s my first reunion story and it was such a treat to write!
Wow, you’ve been busy! Readers love housekeeper/governess/nanny stories, reaching right back to PAMELA and JANE EYRE, and probably to when Mrs. Shakespeare was a pup. What do you think is the perennial appeal of this theme in romance novels?
Hm, Anna, they’ve got so much going for them. First there’s proximity. I love romances where hero and heroine are under the same roof. So many reasons for their paths to cross at all times of the day or night!
Plus I’m sure a big part of it is the unequal power and status between them. The heroine is always (in my experience) the underdog, up against someone who has power and usually wealth on their side. I think that feeds into our desire to barrack for the underdog and, in romance, to see the heroine who’s initially vulnerable and possibly downtrodden, fight back and gain equality and power. So satisfying!
Quite a few of these stories have a touch of mystery thrown in, a hint that not everything is as it seems and that’s a delicious aspect I thoroughly enjoy. Finally, there’s a good dollop of the Cinderella in this sort of story. She might start out in rags sweeping up the cinders but Prince Charming sees her true worth despite her circumstances and gives her a lovely happy ending, and one where she’s no longer a domestic drudge. That fantasy works for me, every time.
You’re recently back from the Romance Writers of Australia conference in Perth. Sadly, this year, I couldn’t make it. I’m sure our Banditas and Bandita Buddies would love to hear your impressions of the conference. I know I would!
Anna, it’s such a shame you couldn’t attend this year. It has to have been one of the friendliest, most relaxed conferences I’ve been to. A really great vibe, lots of new members who were just soaking everything up and smiling a lot, old friends to catch up with and some great workshops and stimulating panel discussions. I ran a workshop myself for beginners on how to edit your first chapter. I have to say the participants took to the task of editing my work for me with vigor! It’s always so much easier than improving your own words, isn’t it?
This was our first RWAustralia Conference in Western Australia and we had a range of US and UK authors attending as well as editors from the US and Australia. I’ve included a photo of gorgeous Hamelin Bay, further down the coast from Fremantle. One of the joys of travelling across the country for the conference was the chance to see some of the countryside before and after. It’s a gorgeous part of the world.
I know, like most writers, that you’re a voracious reader. I wonder if you could share some of your recent reads with us. We all like to extend our TBR piles, even if they’re as high as the Empire State Building.
I’ve just begun the Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris and am reading with a grin on my face. Another recent discovery is the wonderful mystery series by Julia Spencer Fleming featuring the inimitable priest Clare Fergusson and long suffering (in such an appealing way) local sheriff, Russ Van Alstyne. I can’t wait for the next one to be released. On the romance front in the last few weeks I’ve read some brilliant Harlequin romances by Sarah Morgan, Michelle Douglas and Trish Morey in particular. Christina Brooke’s latest left me hanging out for more and I coincidentally (batting lashes at you, Anna) just read Anna Campbell’s latest foray into short romance. My TBR pile is definitely in danger of toppling.
Oh, what excellent taste you have (bats eyelashes back!). Annie, do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita Buddies to get the conversation rolling along?
Since Deveson Hall in this book is undergoing renovations, maybe you could share a renovation experience of your own.
What’s the biggest/best/worst/most memorable makeover you’ve ever attempted? Maybe it was a room in a house, or a garden, a personal makeover or for a friend. If you haven’t tried one yet, what sort of makeover would you love to try (especially if you could snap your fingers and have it all magically done!)?
Get commenting, people! Annie has very generously offered two people who leave comments today a signed copy of her latest AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY! Good luck!
Posted by Susan Sey Oct 1 2013, 12:01 am in Amy Andrews, Anna Campbell, Annie West, Caren Crane, Christie Kelley, coming attractions, contests, Debra Webb, gerry russell, reading, Regan Black, sarah jane stone, tamara hogan, Trish Milburn
I love fall. There’s so much to look forward to–chunky sweaters, soft scarves, fresh-picked apples. Then there’s the first frost, first pumpkin pie, first crockpot chili… Some among us might say football season (I’m looking at you, Suz & Jeanne) but some of us married Nebraskans without full disclosure about much of every weekend would be sacrificed to televised Husker coverage. (It’s extensive. I should’ve been warned.)
But here in the Lair, there’s something for everybody! And October is looking awesome. Check out what’s in store for you!
Love a good historical? Check out Christie Kelly’s new release ENTICING THE EARL!
More into the witty contemporary? Caren Crane’s KICK START is now available as a trade paperback!
Looking for something a little darker? How about Trish Milburn’s OUT OF THE NIGHT?
Click on the covers for more details!
On Wednesday, October 2nd, Anna Campbell hosts lair favorite Annie West (www.annie-west.com), who’ll tell us about her latest passionate tale, AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY. Annie’s always great fun and we look forward to hearing about what’s going on in her life! Plus she’s giving away two copies of her new book!
On Thursday, October 3rd, our own Caren Crane will host Regan Black and Debra Webb as they discuss the Magic of Mentors. Regan and Debra will share what makes their professional friendship so beneficial – and so productive. They’ll be giving away an autographed BULLETPROOF totebag & a $10 Amazon gift card, so swing on by!
On Friday, October 4th, Sara Jane Stone will be celebrating her debut release, COMMAND PERFORMANCE, with us! Tawny says that this is one hot, hot debut, so you might want to wear oven mitts. One lucky commenter will receive her own e-copy of COMMAND PERFORMANCE!
On Monday, October 7th, Susan Sey invites Tamara Hogan to talk about all the things authors should never say on Twitter (but maybe want to.) Come hear all about it, & maybe win a copy of Tamara’s latest release TEMPT ME!
On Friday, October 11, Christine Brooks bring us another lair favorite–the fabulous Amy Andrews with her brand new release from Momentum, HOLDING OUT FOR A HERO.
On Monday, October 21, Nancy welcomes Gerri Russell back to the Lair. Gerri will talk to us about her new release, A LAIRD FOR CHRISTMAS, and dating customs in the 1700s.
Anna Campbell is holding a Halloween contest to celebrate a month-long price cut on her very romantic ghost story, THESE HAUNTED HEARTS, which is now only 99 cents. She’s giving away two copies of the novella (international). All you need to do is email her on email@example.com and tell her the name of her 2012 Christmas novella featuring Alicia and Sebastian. You might just find the answer on Anna’s book page: http://annacampbell.info/books.html For more information, please visit Anna’s contest page: http://annacampbell.info/contest.html
And that’s just what I can round up in advance! Stuff is always cropping up last minute, so make sure to stay tuned!
Turning over that calendar page always brings surprises–some welcome, some not so much. Any surprises on your agenda this week?
Posted by Anna Campbell Aug 10 2013, 12:07 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, books, Dick Francis, Jennifer Crusie, Martin Walker, mysteries, Rachel Bailey, romances, Sharon Archer;, Vicky Bliss, writer's life
Recently, I was away staying with a friend and as you do (well, as I do!), I was checking out her bookcases. As a result I ended up with a pile of new authors to try. How lucky am I?
I think as readers, we’re hardwired to lend the books we like to people we also like. It’s part of the friendship bargain – as long as the books come back. I have some friends who NEVER returned the books I lent them and it certainly cast a pall over the friendship.
I remember an exchange in OUT OF AFRICA where the Robert Redford character is talking to the Meryl Streep character about lending a book to someone who never returned it. It went something like this. MS says “What a pity you lost a book,” and RR goes “What a pity he lost a friend.” Ouch!
One of the things I love about people lending me books is that I get to discover authors who otherwise would never have crossed my path. I get a lot of recommendations from friends and people on the net. Did you know I do a review on the 24th of every month on The Romance Dish? I’ve got some great recommendations there. But still, there’s something about that rifling through someone else’s bookcases and finding things that look interesting that makes for wonderful discoveries!
Or if a friend sends you a book they’ve loved. Great too!
It’s also great if you can get your friends interested in books you’ve loved. One of the sad things about people NOT returning the book you lend them is that you never give someone a book you didn’t like. It’s always a book you’ve loved – and you want it back!
What fun when you can discuss a beloved series with someone as crazy about the characters as you are!
I’m sure some of you are saying now, “But don’t you want people to BUY all your books?” Not necessarily. Partly because when I’m hooked on an author, I’ll tend to buy them all anyway. Also because I think lending a book is part of the pleasure of buying it in the first place. We all love to chat books – that’s one of the fun things about being part of a wonderful community like the Banditas.
Although having said that, I haven’t seen Paolo with anything beyond THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD. Sigh. That boy!
So I thought today, I’d share with you a few books that people have recently lent me that I’ve really enjoyed.
My lovely critique partner Annie West has lent me many a book over the years. Mind you, I’ve lent her many a book too. Just to give you an example or two, she’s hooked on the wonderful Daisy Dalrymple books by Carola Dunn (really fun light 1920s mysteries set in Britain) and the much darker Elly Griffiths mysteries featuring forensic archeologist Dr. Ruth Galloway. And now she’s devouring the brilliant Julia Spencer-Fleming series featuring vicar Clare Fergusson and police chief Russ Van Alstyne like I devour Toblerone.
Do I need to paint you a picture? Anyway, I love that she’s getting the same kick out of these wonderful books that I do.
Two recent discoveries for my TBR pile thanks to Annie are the delicious Bruno, Chief of Police, series by Martin Walker and an older release, the Vicky Bliss books by Elizabeth Peters.
So far, I’ve read four of the Bruno books and they’re like soaking in a lovely deep bath drinking fine French wine. Bruno, the hero, is an ex-soldier who takes the job as chief of police in a small town deep in the French countryside. While the mysteries in these stories are intriguing, the best bit is the wonderful texture of French life that invests the stories. I’m ALWAYS hungry when I read a Bruno book! I’ve been a huge Elizabeth Peters fan for a little while now (I’ve got a feeling that Bandita Christina Brooke put me onto the Amelia Peabody stories), but Annie recently lent me the first two Vicky Bliss books. Contemporaries rather than historicals, but still with that wonderful madcap sense of humor.
Another great read recently thanks to a fortuitous bit of borrowing was thanks to Desire author Rachel Bailey who lives not far from me. I went up to stay with Rachel and her dogs (and her long-suffering husband who has learned more about romance fiction than a man should!) earlier this year and brought back so many books, I needed two boxes to carry them! In amongst the booty was a Jennifer Crusie book that I hadn’t read before. MAYBE THIS TIME is a great romantic ghost story – as anyone who has read my THESE HAUNTED HEARTS knows, I’m partial to a great romance on the other side!
Finally, out of this whirlwind tour giving you just a tiny glimpse of my recent borrowings, I’d like to thank the wonderful Harlequin Medical author Sharon Archer who has got me well and truly hooked on Dick Francis’s racing thrillers.
Last October, Sharon lent me a couple to try and I’ve been devouring them like DOUBLE Toblerone ever since. I think I’ve now read about 20.
The joys of getting addicted to Dick Francis’s books is that there’s a huge backlist. They’re fantastic – I always learn something when I read his books and he writes the most wonderful heroes, calm, resourceful, brave, kind, honorable. Sigh. I want to marry a Dick Francis hero. I would suggest a more illicit relationship, but did you see I mentioned honorable? What fantastic books! I even wrote a My Favorite Things piece on them for my website, I love them so much: http://annacampbell.info/favethings13.html#march%2013
So I have to say I disagree with Shakespeare’s Polonius, who says “Neither a borrower nor a lender be.” If I was neither, my life would be MUCH poorer.
So are you a book lender? A book borrower? Have you discovered any treasures in your friends’ bookshelves? If you had to lend someone new to romance a book to get them hooked on the genre, what book would you pick?
I’ve got an ARC of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS for one commenter today (international!) – and you don’t even need to return it to me once you’ve finished it! Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Aug 3 2013, 10:21 pm in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, Imprisoned by a Vow
Thanks to Annie West and all our visitors yesterday. Wasn’t it a fun day in the lair talking about the books that got us started as romance fans? Julie Garwood, Kathleen Woodiwiss and Barbara Cartland clearly have a lot to answer for!
Annie’s picked her winners and they are:
MELODY MAY (signed copy of IMPRISONED BY A VOW)
MAUREEN (your choice of any book from Annie’s backlist apart from IBAV)
Congratulations, girls. Please email Annie on Annie @ Annie-West.com (no spaces) with your snail mail details and she’ll get your books off you. Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell Aug 2 2013, 12:03 am in Anna Campbell, Anne Mather, Annie West, anthologies, Australian Authors, Baby out of the Blue, Bandita Booty, Forgotten Mistress Secret Love-Child, Harlequin Presents, Imprisoned by a Vow, interviews, Mills and Boon Modern, Mills and Boon Sexy, Undone by His Touch
It’s always fun to have the wonderful Annie West in the lair. Today, Annie’s visiting us to talk about her great new release IMPRISONED BY A VOW (check out those covers! Aren’t they gorgeous?).
This book is already garnering rave reviews. RT Book Reviews called it “an emotionally charged drama.” This one really tugs at the heartstrings and you’ll be cheering for Joss and Leila’s happy ending!
Here’s the blurb:
Being sold into marriage by her stepfather is Leila’s one chance to escape. But instead of freedom, Leila finds herself bound by deep passions ignited by her inscrutable new husband.
Australian billionaire Joss Carmody knows the rules of this game-he’ll shower his new wife with diamonds and in return he’ll use her land to expand his business. That’s all he ever wanted from this exchange, but he hadn’t banked on the attraction Leila awakens.
Then the one night that was supposed to slake their desire binds them beyond the signatures on their marriage contract.…
You can find out more about Annie’s books and read an excerpt of IMPRISONED BY A VOW
on her website: www.annie-west.com
Annie, welcome back to the lair. Congratulations on your new release for Harlequin Presents, IMPRISONED BY A VOW. Can you tell us about this book?
Anna, thank you for inviting me over. The lair feels like a second home and I’m so glad you’re all still willing to have me visit! I’m waving hi and looking out for a celebratory glass of something.
I’ll let you in on a secret. IMPRISONED is a book I thought I wouldn’t get to write. I imagined this story a couple of years ago and started writing in a rush of enthusiasm that had me well through the manuscript before my then editor told me she had problems with it. Eventually I set the book aside (how painful that was) and wrote something else instead. But Leila’s story kept niggling at me and I had to write it. I revisited the story, decided Leila needed a different hero (the original one, too good to be ignored, is currently getting his own story) and went from there. Once I started again I couldn’t stop.
IMPRISONED is a marriage of convenience story. Marriage will get both Joss and Leila what they want – which definitely doesn’t include any emotional entanglement with their spouse. Joss wants the land Leila will inherit so he can exploit its riches. Leila wants marriage to escape the domineering control of her extremely unpleasant guardian. Previous escape attempts have resulted in her living under a form of house arrest for years.
The catch comes after the wedding and they discover life as married strangers isn’t so easy. For a start there is the sizzle of attraction that bubbles up despite their best intentions. Worse, Leila discovers that after so long locked away, just stepping out the door of her new home is a challenge she can barely face. Joss is intrigued by his new wife who hides her problems behind a haughty façade. When he inadvertently discovers the truth he finds that, despite his determination not to get involved, he can’t walk away. In the process of helping Leila, he finds his own salvation.
If that sounds too heavy, I’ll just add that the story is very intense, sexy and glamorous!
It sure is! Tssssss! What were the inspirations behind this book?
Inspiration came from Leila, one of the most feisty, determined yet vulnerable heroines I’ve ever written. This is a story about strength that doesn’t shout itself from the rooftops but is the sort of strength so many people (especially women) exhibit daily, just by getting on with their lives in difficult circumstances. I think it was inspired by stories I’ve heard over the years of people who’ve endured and triumphed in their own quiet way. I loved the chance to give Leila her own happy ending.
Other inspirations include the down to earth men for all seasons we Aussie women seem to appreciate so much – you know the ones who can tackle the outback but still brush up well in company? That’s Joss – Capable with a capital C.
There’s the touch of Beauty and the Beast in there too, for though Joss is gorgeous to look at, he’s rather like a wounded beast who wants to stay undisturbed in his lair, cut off from everyone else. Leila unwittingly, and unwillingly, wakes him…
What’s coming up next for you?
Squee! I’ve got another book coming out in October. So soon! AN ENTICING DEBT TO PAY is a real change of pace. Well, it’s sexy and intense, but the characters and story are very different. It’s about revenge but it’s a boss/housekeeper story too.
Jonas hates the woman who seduced his father. When his father dies and he discovers she’s stolen a huge amount from the estate, he vows she’ll pay with a prison sentence. Ravenna steps in to save her mother by taking the blame but finds herself paying off the debt, and dealing with Joss’s fury, as his servant. Strangely though, things don’t go the way Jonas planned. I love it when that happens! Here’s a link if you want to read the back cover copy. http://www.amazon.com/Enticing-Debt-Pay-Service-ebook/dp/B00CFX3C46/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1375303836&sr=1-1&keywords=annie+west+an+enticing+debt+to+pay
Sounds delicious! There’s a hint of Rapunzel in IMPRISONED, the princess locked in a tower rescued by a man daring enough to brave the thorns surrounding her. You often include fairytale elements in your romances – what do you think is the enduring attraction of fairytale themes?
Anna, you make it sound as if I deliberately set out to use these themes. It’s true I did once decide to write a Beauty and the Beast book (UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH) but really, the fairytale elements find me. I think it’s that there are ideas within those old tales that resonate strongly with all of us and keep cropping up for that reason. IMPRISONED definitely has a touch of Rapunzel, because Leila’s imprisoned. On the other hand, she works to free herself rather than waits for someone else to do it. Just as well for her, Jonas is there to lend a hand. I think most writers can look back at particular stories and find hints of the fairytale within them.
IMPRISONED BY A VOW is a classic marriage of convenience story. Why do marriage of convenience stories appeal to you? You’ve written a few in your time! What particular twist did you put on this popular trope?
Anna, I wish I knew. MoC stories for some reason speak to me. In fact they yell at me from the bookshelves to be picked up. Something in my hard wiring responds to the idea of them. If I have to analyse it I suppose at heart it’s because I LOVE stories where hero and heroine are confronted by love, even when they don’t want it, especially when they don’t want it, but they can’t get away.
You know those stories where hero and heroine are stuck together with the tension building as they’re forced to confront the things they’ve tried to hide from, and worse, the person who makes them feel far more than they want? Well, that’s what I love about MoC stories. You put the pair together, lock them up, don’t let them out and then apply heat and watch them squirm. (Romance authors can be mean to their characters – it’s allowed, it’s in our job description).
As for a twist on this theme – this time it’s not just the marriage locking them together, it’s what’s inside them, holding them back, forcing them to face the future together.
I noticed that your wonderful FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD was recently included in an anthology with a story by romance goddess Anne Mather. When I was a teenager, Anne Mather’s books were better than chocolate to me so I’m thrilled on your behalf. Can you share some of the books that inspired you to become a lifelong romance fan?
Anna, I love you calling it ‘wonderful’. Can you see my grin from here? I read Anne Mather too, and never, ever imagined having a story of mine published with hers. Wow! In my teens I read so many Mills and Boon books that most of them blurred into a delicious romantic haze.
There were plenty of titles by Anne Hampson and Violet Winspear (who to me sounded like a romance writer). At the same time I was snaffling old copies of Georgette Heyer, Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt from the library, which opened up all sorts of new worlds. I love the sense that you can open a romance and dive into a new world that might be in contemporary Venice, Montana or Botswana, or Regency England or even Tsarist Russia. Or maybe it will be in a very familiar world but with a whole new perspective because of the characters coming to life before your eyes.
Do you have question for the Bandits and Bandita buddies?
Sure do. Which authors set you on the road to reading romance and what was it about their writing that hooked you?
Oh, look forward to your answers to this, although I suspect my TBR pile will be groaning by the end of it.
Annie has very generously offered two prizes today – 1 signed copy of IMPRISONED BY A VOW and 1 signed copy of a book from her backlist (bascially any of her titles except IMPRISONED!). Giveaway is international! Good luck, people. Get commenting!
Posted by Anna Campbell Mar 4 2013, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Australian Author, Bandita Booty, Blackmailed Bride Innocent Wife, Captive in the Spotlight, Category Romance, Harlequin Presents, Imprisoned by a Vow
It’s always a treat to welcome my fabulously talented critique partner Annie West to the lair with a new release.
Today Annie’s going to talk to us about her spectacular new Harlequin Presents CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT that is being released concurrently this month in North America, Australia and the United Kingdom. So pretty much all our Bandita Buddies can rush out and buy this passionate story of enemies into lovers with a touch of forbidden love thrown in as well. Yum!
I’m not the only person to love CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT. RT Book Reviews said, “Readers will enjoy West’s passionate star-crossed romance, set in picturesque Italian splendor, with a couple facing almost insurmountable obstacles – except in the bedroom.”
Here’s the blurb:
Out of the limelight…
Domenico Volpe has been a paparazzi target for years with his rugged Roman looks, glamorous lifestyle and, most recently, a family tragedy. Now that the woman at the center of it all is released from prison, he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her quiet.
And into the fire!
Domenico ensures that Lucy Knight “accepts” his offer of refuge on his well-guarded offshore estate. While the media furor abates on the mainland, things are heating up on the island! Domenico is beginning to doubt Lucy’s guilt as he uncovers the innocent, sensual woman behind the tough facade….
You can find out more about Annie and her books at her website: www.annie-west.com
By the way, don’t be misled by the photos. Annie and I don’t spend ALL our lives sitting in restaurants, whatever the pictorial evidence indicates!
Welcome back, Annie! And huge congratulations on your latest book CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT. Can you tell us about this story?
Hi, Anna, and thanks so much for the invitation. It’s always a treat to be here in the realm of the Bandit girls and their minions. I have a secret fear that one day the Banditas won’t have me back to visit and I’d miss the drinks (make mine bubbly), the company and the chat.
CAPTIVE is about two people who shouldn’t fall in love. Their pasts should prevent it, his family loyalties scream out against having anything to do with her, and the world’s press is waiting, salivating for the opportunity to make scandal out of the pair of them.
Domenico is the sort of alpha hero I’ve got a huge weakness for: he’s sexy and strong and he gets things done his way but he’s driven by a sense of honor and the need to protect. Right now he aims to protect his brother’s widow and young son from the renewed media hype when the woman who killed his brother is released from prison. He’s determined to keep her from the press till he can persuade her to sign an agreement accepting payment (though he hates to do it) for her permanent silence about her affair with his brother.
Guess which lucky woman he falls for? You guessed it! Lucy, the once young and innocent au pair who found herself embroiled in manslaughter and a legal nightmare where no-one believed her innocent. Imagine how she feels when she comes out of prison to find Domenico, waiting for her.
This is my ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’ book, when for various reasons Lucy and Domenico hide away on his private island off the Amalfi Coast of Italy and things begin to steam…
What were the inspirations behind this story?
Inspiration came from my lovely editor. We were chatting about ideas for my next book and she suggested a story about a public scandal, something attracting media attention. Her idea resonated and I found my self thinking through and ejecting a lot of potential scandals. They’d have made a juicy story but for some reason didn’t seem quite right. As soon as I thought of a high profile (and deliciously charismatic) Italian aristocrat falling for the woman who’d been in prison for killing his brother, I knew I had to write it. Imagine the divided loyalties and conflicting emotions for both of them. Imagine the media frenzy. As anyone who’s read my books knows, I love making things difficult for my characters. I wasn’t sure how I’d rescue them from the tricky situation I’d put them in, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try.
American readers who pick up CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT will get a great bonus with the volume including your marvelous BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INNOCENT WIFE. Can you tell us about this story?
BLACKMAILED BRIDE was a bestseller when it was first released several years ago. This is a chance for people who missed it then to get it free with CAPTIVE. It features another dark, sexy Italian hero and a marriage of inconvenience. Yes, I know it’s supposed to be ‘convenience’ but in this wedding is the last thing either Dario and Alissa want. One of my favorite reviews called it ‘a luscious read that should not be missed’ (CataRomance).
What’s coming up next for you?
August brings IMPRISONED BY A VOW, a marriage of convenience story with a twist and a half. Leila marries Joss to escape an untenable situation but finds both marriage, and walking away from her convenient husband, far more difficult than she’d expected, and not just for the reasons most romance readers will suspect.
Hm, I’m wondering if I detect a theme here – a CAPTIVE followed by IMPRISONMENT. No, don’t tell me what you think that says about the way my mind works, Anna. Perhaps that I’ve been hanging around with you?
Hey, don’t blame me! I think you’re doing fine on your own! What other exciting things have been happening in Annie West world?
Excitement? Well, there’s the fact that CAPTIVE is out in all English-speaking markets in the same month (March). Yay! That’s a first and makes it so much easier for readers. Then there was the recent Australian Romance Readers’ Convention just days ago in Brisbane which was enormous fun. Plus I’m counting down to the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in August. It will be in Fremantle, Western Australia, a place I’ve never visited. One of the things about writing romance – it gives lots of excuses for travel!
This current edition contains two Italian-set books. Do you have a special fascination for Italy?
There are just some stories that cry out for an Italian hero, especially ones involving questions of family loyalty and honor or maybe revenge. Sometimes too, I just lock in on the idea of a volatile, flashing-eyed Italian hero – and who am I to ignore temptation? Plus of course the settings in Italy can be fabulous. This book is set in Rome and on island off the Amalfi Coast. Every time I worked on the book I could feel myself soaking up that lovely Mediterranean warmth.
One of my favorite scenes in CAPTIVE is when Lucy and Domenico watch the sun set from his speedboat, just off the Italian coast. It’s a balmy summer’s evening and a romantic scene. To be in the draw to win one of my two prizes, how about sharing what you’d like to be drinking if you were in Lucy’s shoes? What would be the perfect drink for a romantic Mediterranean assignation?
Get commenting people! Annie has very kindly offered us TWO giveaways today. One lucky person will win a signed copy of the marvelous CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT with its bonus book BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INNOCENT WIFE. Another lucky person will win a signed copy of their choice from Annie’s backlist (excluding CAPTIVE IN THE SPOTLIGHT). You can check out her other books here: http://www.annie-west.com/books.html
Posted by Anna Campbell Jun 7 2012, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Annie West, Australian Authors, Bandita Booty, Beauty and the Beast, Blue Mountains, Category Romance, Defying her Desert Duty, Guests, Harlequin Presents Extra, Protected by the Prince, RT Reviewers Choice Award, Sydney, travel, Undone by His Touch, Write Touch Readers' Awards, writing life
by Anna Campbell
I’m delighted to welcome back lair favorite and fabulous writer Annie West who is here to tell us about her latest North American release UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH. UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH recently received a glowing review from RT Book Reviews magazine where they called it “an emotionally compelling read.”
Annie’s books are receiving accolades all over the place. At the recent RT Reviewers Choice Awards, her wonderful PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE was chosen as best Harlequin Presents Extra of 2011 and RAFE’S REDEMPTION recently placed in the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Write Touch Readers Awards.
Congratulations, Annie! I’m not surprised. Your books are fantastic.
You can find out more about Annie and her books on her website: www.annie-west.com
You can also find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/annie.west.9619
To buy a print copy of UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH, just click on the cover below.
Kindle edition: http://www.amazon.com/Undone-Touch-Harlequin-Presents-ebook/dp/B007BBVEJC/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1338847220&sr=1-5
Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Undone-by-His-Touch-Annie-West/9780373528691
Welcome back, Annie. Congratulations on the North American release of UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH, your latest Harlequin Presents Extra. Can you tell us about this story?
Hi, Anna, and thanks so much for having me back to visit the Bandits. I’m so pleased I haven’t worn out my welcome. I’m waving to Banditas and friends, and putting in my order for a long glass of bubbly if there’s one in the house.
UNDONE is about a scarred, reclusive hero whose main interest is in finding the woman he blames for his brother’s death. Declan is determined to wallow in regret and guilt until Chloe, his new housekeeper, drags him, protesting, to the realisation he’s not ready yet to give up on the world. In fact she makes him feel emotions he’d never expected to experience. She brings him hope. But Chloe’s no plaster saint. She’s got problems of her own and dealing with an anti-social boss is one of them. Until she sees beneath the surface to the man of integrity and honour who’s struggling to find a foothold in a world that’s changed around him.
Of course I had to make it interesting by ensuring each was the worst possible person for the other to fall in love with! That’s where the fun began – and the intensity and passion.
I had a ball writing this dark hero who eventually finds the light. I’ve been having fun lately, thinking of who I’d cast in the role of sexy but prickly recluse and I’m torn between Clive Owen and Hugh Jackman. I think either would be perfect as Declan.
Here’s the back cover copy:
Cast into a world of black, Declan Carstairs is a man in torment. Consumed by guilt, he sees no way out of the darkness his world has become. Only one thing drives him – finding the woman who caused his brother’s death, and the accident that took his sight.
Housekeeper Chloe Daniels refuses to pity her devastatingly gorgeous boss, but treating him as the strong, capable man he is soon proves dangerous. As Chloe falls deeper under Declan’s spell, awakened by his touch, she forgets all about the secret she keeps that may destroy them both…
I loved this book. I think it’s one of your best. What inspired you to write this story?
Maybe it’s your influence rubbing off on me, Anna – the fact that when I read your books I’m so often reading a Beauty and the Beast style story. Who knows? But I can tell you I had two ideas in my head for a long time. One was of a dark haired man with intense eyes and a bad attitude, who’d turned into a recluse after his brother’s death in a climbing accident. The other was of a love triangle between the brothers and a woman. The woman was rather shadowy but fortunately she came to life when I started to write. It just took me a couple of years to pull the various ideas together.
I should add that the settings were part of my inspiration for this book. I had vivid images in my head of both the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, and of inner city Sydney too. I’ve sent through a couple of photos to share with this piece so you can see why the mountains in particular are one of my favorite places to visit. It’s a world heritage site – perfect for bushwalking, climbing and canyoning. But as well as that it’s a plateau studded with quaint villages and gorgeous gardens. It’s just perfect for visitors. I love to go there and pretend I’m fit by tackling one of the walks and then relaxing in a coffee shop or bookstore and feeling I’ve earned a treat.
By the way, thank you for sharing these beautiful photos. You need to add photography to your list of talents! Can you tell us about your next release?
I’d love to. Next cab off the rank is called DEFYING HER DESERT DUTY. It’s out in the U.K. in October but I’m waiting for news on the North American release. The title is a little misleading. Yes, the hero is from the Middle East, but most of the book is set in western Europe – principally France. And boy, did I have a wonderful time with that setting!
It’s a story that owes a lot to the Tristan and Iseult legend. The hero is sent to Paris to bring back the woman who’s been betrothed to the king, ready for a royal wedding. What he doesn’t expect is to fall for the king’s fiancée or to discover she’s falling for him too. Now that spells trouble! Add to that the fact that my hero is absolutely loyal (the king is like a father to him) and my heroine has strong reasons of her own for needing to go through with the royal wedding and the scene is set for drama and high emotion.
I’ve had a sneak peek at this book and it’s a classic Annie West. Romantic, dramatic, emotional, a real page turner. Readers will love it! Can you give us a sneak peek at what you’re currently working on?
I’ve just handed a book in to my editor. Superstitiously perhaps, I don’t want to say too much about it until I’ve had some editorial feedback, but I can tell you it’s a story with quite a twist. It features a very suave and self-assured Italian hero and a heroine who’s just starting her life again after the most horrendous ordeal. Lucy refuses to let anyone, especially a bossy businessman, dictate to her. Lots and lots of sparks in this one, but I hope, plenty of tenderness too.
We’ve had you as a guest so often on the Banditas and I don’t think I’ve ever asked you what you do when you aren’t writing. What sort of things do you like to do to refill the well?
I’m wary about admitting that I do anything other than write, since I don’t want that to get back to my editor. I’m trying to persuade her I’m glued to the computer, slaving over a hot story! Actually I am, most of the time. But as you say, it’s important to fill the well occasionally.
I count my visits to you, Anna, as one of my well-filling activities. Good company, good food, good wine and far too much chat, make for a wonderful time. They always leave me energised to tackle almost anything.
Actually that picture of us together is from a lunch out near when I live when you were up. Always lovely to see you. What else do you like to do?
Other than that, in my down time I like to do some of these:
Reading! Actually, I think you could put this down for my top 5 pastimes.
Walking, preferably in the bush (wilderness if you’re not in Australia) or by water.
Visiting new places (I’m dreaming about another Europe trip). If I can’t travel, then hearing about someone else’s trip or poring over maps and pictures of far away places is fantastic.
Cooking – not the just home and must get dinner organised cooking – that’s no treat. I mean cooking when you’re actually in the mood for pottering and trying something new, or tackling an old favorite. I love it when people ooh and ah over home made baklava for instance, and even better, when the family gets involved in the cooking with me.
Cross stitch. True to my recent resolution I’m trying to find time to get back into the sewing I haven’t touched for years.
Movies. Love them, particularly (yes, I know I’m predictable) if they leave me feeling good. Theatre fits in here too – a real treat.
Long bubble baths with a good book, especially if someone else is cooking dinner while I relax and soak in the tub.
Ooh, lots there to inspire new stories which is what we dedicated fans like to hear. Annie, is there anything you’d like to ask the Banditas and Bandita Buddies?
Since we’re talking about refilling the well, can you share your favorite activities that leave you relaxed and rejuvenated ready to tackle the daily grind? Is there one perfect experience that still makes you smile and feel better every time you think of it? Right now, my favorite perk me up experience is remembering a marvellous high tea at Claridges Hotel in London. So refined, so luxurious and so yum!
Thanks, Annie. Get commenting, people. There are two separate prizes today – a signed copy of UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH and a signed copy of Annie’s RT Reviewers Choice Award winner PROTECTED BY THE PRINCE. Great reading! Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Mar 3 2012, 11:00 pm in Annie West, Bandita Booty, Girl in the Bedouin Tent
Thank you to everyone for a splendiferous day of blogging yesterday when Annie West visited. And thank you to Annie for being such a great guest. And North American readers, don’t forget to check out Annie’s latest GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT. You won’t be sorry!
Annie very generously offered us two prizes. The winner of the signed copy of GIRL IN THE BEDOUIN TENT is:
And the winner of their choice from Annie backlist (go to www.annie-west.com/books.html - offer doesn’t include anthologies – to choose which book you’d like) is:
Congratulations, girls. Please email Annie on annie @ annie-west.com (no spaces) with your snail mail details and Annie will give your book off to you ASAP! Happy reading!