Thursday, November 5, 2009

Get Captivated By Anna Campbell

Hi-Dee-Ho, Good Neighbor!

Ready or not, it's November! A heapin' helpin' of you out there have joined ranks and plunged into this year's NaNo contest. Wah-Hoo for you, mates!

Speaking of being inspired. . .give a lusty round of applause for ANNA CAMPBELL!

Her latest on dit, CAPTIVE OF SIN, released last week to those of us here in the States and has been officially added to my TBR list. Ain't that a hunky-dunkie piece of man meat kickin' it on her cover?!

Anna has earned oodles of awards and accolades for giving readers a love story with flesh and blood characters full of real life flaws. Her 'dark romance' Regencies are definitely worth a sneek-peek (psst, and so are her articles on writing!)

Bust open that package of Tim-Tams you've been hiding and get ready to fall in love with Anna Campbell!

1) If you were a book, what would your blurb be?

Hi Sarah, thanks for having me as your guest today! What a great question. Let me think…

Swept from her sheltered upbringing on the upper reaches of the Amazon to the whirling glamour of Regency London, beautiful heiress Anna Campbell’s only trusted companion is her marmoset Harold. When the rakishly wicked and wildly attractive Duke of Hotsex (it’s next to Essex – seriously, check it on the map!) pulls her into a broom cupboard at his annual Venetian breakfast and seduces her, marriage to the tormented, one-armed nobleman is her only chance to restore her reputation. But rumors abound that Hotsex has already murdered three wives and keeps their moldering remains in the tower where he sequesters himself every midnight. Even as Anna finds herself lost to passion in Hotsex’s single arm, she wonders can she trust him? Did he murder his three previous duchesses? Or will her dashing husband turn out to be ‘armless? And just why is Harold eyeing the duke in that lascivious way?

2) Using three words describe your voice?

Loud? Oh, you mean my writing voice! Emotional, intense, passionate.

3) What's the best advice you've ever received?

Ooh, where should I start? The wonderful Harlequin author Robyn Donald gave a talk at one of the Romance Writers of Australia conferences I went to where she said, “The people who fail are the people who give up.” At the time, it seemed obvious. But the fact is there’s a point where you’re close but you’re still not selling that book and yet you’re doing everything right. It’s like banging your head against a locked door. The give up comment made huge sense to me then! I remember going to a Donald Maass workshop where he kept saying “Make it worse”. Great advice for writing compelling fiction.

4) I love your concept of a 'dark romance'. What's your inspiration behind creating such out of the box characters?

Sarah, I LOVE flawed characters. Love, love, love them which I think you’ve probably already gathered. I think our flaws are what make us interesting, both in real life and in fiction. Flawed characters also offer the opportunity of a journey, a real character arc. You know, if there’s room for improvement, you’ve automatically got a story. I’m not quite sure where the darkness comes from although I was a devotee of gothic fiction when I was a teenager and I love dark and wildly romantic music and movies and books. In person, I’m not that dark at all! ;-)

5) What has been the biggest obstacle you've had to overcome in your writing?

I finished my first historical romance in between high school and university and it was twenty-seven years between then and when Avon bought CLAIMING THE COURTESAN in 2006. Yes, I am that old ;-) In all that time, discouragement and self-doubt were obviously obstacles I had to overcome. In fact, at one stage, I gave up because I decided being a writer was a childish dream and I ought to get a ‘real’ job instead of the jobs I’d taken because they left me time to write. But I couldn’t bear not writing so I came back to it with a renewed sense of purpose and a few changes in the way I did things that eventually led to publication. Phew! I always did pretty well in writing contests and that was one of the things that kept me going. You know, someone other than my mother and my best friend liked my work!

6) Time to dish it up! You've been a RITA Nominee, a Romance Writer's of Australia Romance Book of The Year nominee, a best first historical in the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Awards, and the list goes on! What does being an award winning author feel like? Is there anything you'd do differently if you had to start all over again?

Oh, I LOVE awards. Yeah, I know – you’re meant to say they don’t mean much but seriously it always gives me such a kick when I final in something. The RITA thing was a dream come true. In all those years of being unpublished, it seemed an impossible dream that I’d ever be up for a RITA. And then both first books were up for the RITA in 2008. A huge squee moment for this little Aussie! If I had it to do all over again, I’d join Romance Writers of Australia the moment I thought of becoming a writer. Or whatever is your national equivalent, RWAmerica, RWNew Zealand, Romance Novelists’ Association (UK). I spent most of those 27 unpublished years on my own without anyone around me who was interested in writing and hardly anyone who read romance. When I found a bunch of people who knew what I love about romance and what I wanted to achieve, it was like coming home. Joining RWA was one of those things I did after I gave up and came back that made a huge difference to where my writing was going.

7) What's up next for Anna Campbell?

CAPTIVE OF SIN, which was just chosen as one of Publishers Weekly’s top 100 books for 2009 (yeah, had to get that in!), has just been released from Avon. You can find out about the book here: My next release is in June 2010. It’s called MY RECKLESS SURRENDER (I love that title!) and it’s about a dangerous seduction in Regency London. Keep an eye on the website for an excerpt and a blurb.

Sarah, here’s a bit from the beginning of COS.

Winchester, early February, 1821

“Good God, what have we here?”

The man’s deep voice pierced Charis’s pain-ridden doze. She flinched, stirring from her cramped position. For one dazed moment, she wondered why she was shivering in fetid straw, instead of snuggled in her bed at Holcombe Hall.

Blazing agony struck and she stifled an involuntary moan. And a curse for her rank stupidity.

How could she forget the danger long enough to fall asleep?

But she’d been blind with exhaustion when she’d stumbled into the stable behind the sprawling inn. Unable to manage another step even though she hadn’t come far enough to be safe.

Now she wasn’t safe at all.

The light from the man’s lantern dazzled her bleary eyes. She discerned little more than a tall shape looming outside the stall. Choking with panic, she clawed upright until she huddled against the rough planking. Blood pulsed like thunder in her ears.

Muffling a whimper as she moved her injured left arm, Charis crossed shaking hands over her torn bodice. Scenting her terror, the big chestnut horse that filled most of the space shifted restively.

As the man lifted the lantern to illuminate Charis’s corner, she shied away. Beyond the ring of yellow light that surrounded him, menacing shadows thickened and multiplied up to the high pitched ceiling.

“Please don’t be frightened.” The stranger made a curiously truncated gesture with one black-gloved hand. “I mean you no harm.”

The rich baritone was sheathed in warm concern. He made no overt movement toward her. Charis’s crippling fear didn’t subside. Men, she’d learned from cruel experience, lied. Even men with velvet voices, smooth and cultured.

A sharp twinge in her chest reminded her she hadn’t drawn breath since he’d found her. The air she sucked into her starved lungs reeked of horse manure, hay dust and the sour stink of her own fear.

She turned her head and really looked at the man. Her throat jammed with shock.

He was utterly beautiful.

Beautiful. A word she’d never before associated with a male. In this case, no other description sprang to her churning mind.

Beauty as stark and perfect as this only stoked her alarm. He embodied the elegant world she must relinquish to survive.

Beautiful excerpt and brilliant writing! LOL I'm such a word geek! I can't wait to dig into one of Anna's romances. Hey, it's all about studying craft, right?!(That's what I tell the hubby-man anyway. *winkwink*)

I'd like to thank Anna for being here with us today! And THANK YOU, TLN'ers, for swinging by! You're all top shelf to me!

To send you off into the post-Halloween weekend, here's another awesome Aussie, Olivia Newton-John and her hit-
PHYSICAL. Believe me, workin' out would be much easier if I had a hottie in a speedo to oogle! Talk about a Wow-wow-work out! LOL


Cari Quinn said...

Hi Anna and Sarah...great interview! I've been wanting to read Anna's work forever...Captive of Sin sounds wonderful!

And you can't ever go wrong with Physical...who can ever forget Olivia's sweatband in the video? LOL

Sharon Archer said...

Hi Anna and Sarah

Well deserved blog award, Sarah - you have got a lovely blog! And terrific interview with Anna.

Now, Anna... I'm completely agog with your personal blurb and I simply have to know where I can lay my hands on more of the story. What happens to you after that one-armed bandit seduces you and is the marmoset house-trained!??

Ahem, on a more serious note... Captive of Sin is one for my keeper shelf and I'm sure your other readers will think so too!


Tawny said...

OMG ROFL - Duke of Hotsex, the one-armed nobleman? You slay me :-) Is it any wonder I adore your books?!?!?

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Sarah, thank you for that fabulous introduction. Me with Olivia NJ? I'm doing a Wayne's World I am not worthy dance! ;-)

By the way, I had huge fun writing that blurb! What a cute question! Now I really DO want to write about the Duke of Hotsex!

Anna Campbell said...

Cari, I'm a child of the 80s so I get a lovely reminiscent glow when I see those awful fashions. I even worked in fashion then - I still cringe to think I sold people acid wash jeans that fell to pieces in the first wash! What were they thinking? And bubble skirts. Even skinny girls look like, well, big bubbles in bubbles skirts.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Sharon! So glad you love Captive of Sin. Harold the Marmoset is actually being set up as the hero of the sequel to this particular romance. He's going to fall in love with a courtesan and have hot (wait for it!) monkey sex with her!

Anna Campbell said...

Snort, Tawny! What's really tragic is I giggled my head off when I thought of the Duke of Hotsex. It really is completely uncool to laugh at your own jokes! ;-)

Sarah Morgan said...

I have one question, Anna - does the Duke of Hotsex have a brother????
Your blogs do make me laugh, what a great way to start the day - like ending it with Captive of Sin, except that kept me up most of the night and I was horrible to everyone the next day.
I looooooooove your heroes.

Sarah Simas said...

LOL Anna! But it's a hilarious joke! The Duke of Hotsex, oh behave, you naughty minx. Too darn funny!!

I loved the 80's. Movies, music, and super chic clothes. LOL Except the ripped shirts and bubble skirts. Yeah, not so cool. I rocked my fair share of crimped hair and jean jackets.

Anna, you're a blast! :o) (ps- I love Wayne's World. If you're going to spew, spew into this. lol)

suzilove said...

Only fair that if you have the Duke of Hotsex in your bed, you send his twin brother, Lord Lots-of-sex-and-can't-stop, down under for me to play with.
Pretty please?

Nicola Marsh said...

Great blog, Sarah.

Anna's books are fabulous! I tend to devour them in one day, if the kids let me!

Caren Crane said...

Anna and Sarah, what a great interview! Anna, please don't tell people you are not dark in person. I think it's obvious from your 'armless blurb about you just how deadly serious you are. Ha! The more I learn about you, Anna, the more I adore both you and your books. Can't wait to get a Captive Of Sin on my bedside table! know what I mean.

Caren Crane said...

Sarah, the 80s were my time! Big bangs and asymmetrical hair kept standing straight up on top with loads of gel and White Rain hairspray. Good grief! It's a wonder I have any hair left at all! And all those huge shoulderpads were great for those of us who were not blessed with shoulders. *g*

Eleni Konstantine said...

Anna, just love your blurb!! You have the most wicked sense of humour.

Paris said...

Great interview! I can't wait to read Captive of Sin;-)

Carol North said...

Hi Anna:
Great story concept and love the title, Captive of Sin. It's sure to be a bestseller.

Hi Sarah:
YOur blog keeps getting better and better.

Sarah Simas said...

LOL On the shoulder pads. I remember getting so mad because the washing machine srunched them all up and they were hopelessly twisted into lumpy masses. Maybe one day I'll post that unfortunate school pic of me in that shirt. Oh, my! It will be worth a laugh or two!

Now, does anoyone remember wearing two or three pairs of colored socks and stacking them? Or two shirts different color and rolling the shelves up? LOL Horrible fashion and really hot sweaty feet!

Sarah Simas said...

OMG! Mama needs her caffeine!

That's supposed to sleeves- not shelves. I must have books on the brain!

With all this 80's talk, I'm gonna have to bust out my VHS of Sixteen Candles and watch it this weekend. Sheesh! Hubs is gonna love that! *wink wink*

Kaye Manro said...

Hi Anna and Sarah! I really do want to read this book and soon!Love the premise here. And the Duke of Hotsex? Well I know I can't wait for that one!

Oh and I have to say this about those fall-a-part jeans -- teens are so into that again. And if you don't have a pair I suggest you go out and get yours, lol. The part you'll love-- you probably can't even touch a pair for less than $100. And that's cheap for them. No kidding!

Good luck with the book, Anna.

Nancy said...

Hi, Anna and Sarah--What a fun interview! I have CoS and am looking forward to reading it.

susan said...

What a great interview and I have to say working out with Physical playing in the background could be helpful. I think your books are so good and I am looking forward to adding some to my shelf. Thanks for such a great time here and I found some wonderful things..the questions were really good ones too. susan L.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Sarah! As I live so far away, I really don't mind that you were horrible to everyone ;-) What a lovely compliment to my book! Actually his youngest brother is Lord Tristram I'm-Really-Sexy-Too. Don't you love those hyphenated English surnames? There was another brother - he was Lord Middlesex!

Anna Campbell said...

Wayne's World, Wayne's World, Wayne's World! Snort!

Hey, Sarah, thanks for having me to play. As you can tell, I had great fun with the interview. And now I'm contemplating eloping with a monkey which has to be a good thing!

Anna Campbell said...

Suzi, I can see we were thinking along the same lines for the Duke's brother! I think I can get a whole series out of these guys - especially if I throw in a novella for Harold!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Nic, lovely to see you. Isn't it terrible when your offspring disrupt your reading habit! There's a design fault in them somewhere that should be addressed ;-) Thanks for those lovely words!

Anna Campbell said...

On the bedside table, huh, Caren? Now that's an interesting thought! Snicker! Yeah, I know, I'm channelling Benny Hill. It's all Sarah's fault - she made me write that blurb! And how Caren that blurb definitely belonged to a dark person. A tortured hero. Murders in the tower. Monkeys... Well, maybe not the monkeys! Thanks for those lovely words - wish you lived closer!

Anna Campbell said...

Ah, Caren, the fashion sins of the 80s. You're tall enough to get away with shoulderpads. I start to look like a box. But I think the worst was the fashion for dropped waist dresses. EEEEEEEK! I look at photos of me wearing those and wonder just what was I thinking!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Eleni, I snickered away like a snickering machine when I wrote that blurb. It's really bad form to laugh at your own jokes ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Paris! Glad you enjoyed the interview.

Anna Campbell said...

Carol, Sarah's blog is great, isn't it? Thanks so much for swinging by and for the good wishes!

Anna Campbell said...

Sarah, didn't do the sock thing - although definitely the scrunchy thing with the hair. And also did the multicolored Tshirt thing. And I had more pairs of court shoes than you could poke a court shoe at.

Anna Campbell said...

Sarah, my favorite 80s movie, in fact one of my favorite movies, is Dirty Dancing. I know it's set in the 60s but to me it's an 80s movie. Nobody puts Baby in the corner!

Anna Campbell said...

Kaye, that was the stupid thing about these acid wash jeans. Even back when I sold them, they were ridiculously expensive. I didn't know they were back in fashion. WHY????!!! Thanks for saying those nice things about COS - I'm sure there's a sequel with the Duke of Hotsex featuring! Snort!

Anna Campbell said...

Nancy, thanks for swinging by out of the lair! Hope you enjoy COS!

Anna Campbell said...

Susan, they are great questions, aren't they? And writing that blurb kept me entertained for hours. Snort! Thanks for saying such nice things about the books!

Emma Lai said...

Great interview, ladies! I'm with you flawed characters. Love your books as well. I'll have to add this one to my next Amazon purchase!

jo robertson said...

Hi, Anna and Sarah, what a great interview! I love your description of yourself as a book blurb, Anna, so clever.

This was a super excerpt from Captive of Sin. I can't wait for my copy to arrive -- Hello, Amazon, can you hear me now??

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Emma! So glad you love the books! Actually something I love about flawed characters is that often the flaw is a reflection of one of their qualities. So you know, Gideon's stubborn courage can turn into inflexibility when he's sure he's right. Love playing with that mirror image stuff.

Anna Campbell said...

Jo, the Amazon pigeon has just been to England to deliver Vrai Anna's. He cooed in my ear that you're next on the list ;-) Hey, glad you enjoyed the blurb. I bet you didn't know that about me!

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Nice interview Anna and Sarah. Your books sound interesting. Thank for sharing. :)

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Karen Michelle! Thanks for swinging by. Glad you enjoyed the interview!

Kandy Shepherd said...

HI Sarah - what a gorgeous blog, this is my first visit!
Hi Anna - The Duke of Hotsex. What can I say? Fortunately others have said it for me!
I have just finished reading CAPTIVE OF SIN. Loved it. I knew I would as I am a great fan of your books.
Gideon is both tortured (literally!) and beautiful - what an achingly wonderful hero. I love Charis, maybe the most of all your heroines.
Now what about Ashak (I don't know if I've spelled him right as I have a cat on my lap and can't reach my copy of the book)? I thought he was swoon-worthy too.
You have continuing characters in some of your books. Will we see Ashak again?

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Kandy! Isn't this a great blog? Ha ha! You like the Duke of Hotsex? Thanks so much for saying such lovely things about Captive. I love that you enjoyed it somuch. Oh, I love Akash. He's kind of James Bondish, isn't he? I'd love to bring him back - watch this space.

Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Anna and Sarah,
Loved the Duke of Hotsex. Sarah does ask great questions doesn't she??? Can't wait to get my copy of COS and love your work. Can't wait to read Sarah's first release either.
Thanks for the fun,

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Rebecca. I think I want to write the Duke of Hotsex's story now. He sounds like such a fascinating character ;-) Thanks for swinging by!