Today it is my very great pleasure to welcome acclaimed author Anna Campbell to the Passion for History blog. Anna is the multi award winning author of rivetingly passionate and emotional historical romance and an author whose books I have loved ever since the first one hit the shelves. She’s also a great friend and a lot of fun to have around! Anna, welcome to the blog!
A Rake’s Midnight Kiss is the eagerly awaited second book in your Sons of Sin Series, following the brilliant Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed, which I adored. Please tell us about the story.
AC: Ooh, aren’t you lovely? Thank you! As you know, I devoured THE LADY AND THE LAIRD like a braw Scotsman devours a haggis! So this is clearly a mutual admiration society!
When I got the idea for A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, I wanted to write about a man who becomes a hero in spite of himself. Sir Richard Harmsworth is one of those witty, elegant, detached men who have learned to distrust emotion. Against his better judgement, he falls head over heels in love with virginal vicar’s daughter Genevieve Barrett who is the only woman who has ever seen through his charm to the real man underneath. He has to step up to the plate and put his heart on the line (and all the other clichés!) when he realizes Genevieve is in danger and only he can save her. You can read an excerpt on my website here:
NC: I love it when a hero who thinks he is immune to emotion falls hard and I loved the way that Richard met his downfall! Which was your favourite scene in the book?
AC: Actually this one was great fun to write pretty much all the way. I got to tell a few jokes and I loved the way Richard and Genevieve keep snarking in the dialogue while it’s perfectly clear that they’re crazy about each other. If I had to pick a scene, I’d probably go for the rake’s actual midnight kiss – the title refers to a specific scene in the book. Richard discovers that Genevieve likes to swim naked in the moonlight and things spiral out of control from there. Or perhaps I’d choose the ending which always makes me cry – not a good thing when you’re trying to do a cold, hard edit! I love how that circles back to the opening of the story and we see how love has enriched Richard’s life and made him a better man.
NC: Do you have a particular type of story you are drawn to tell?
AC: Oh, what an interesting question. Up until my last few releases, I would have said that all my stories are Beauty and the Beast in one way or another. But neither my e-novella DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES nor A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS falls into that category. Both Simon and Richard are charmers hiding their emotional turmoil behind a careless smile, rather than beastly loners like Jonas from SEVEN NIGHTS. Something I have noticed in all my stories is that questions of identity seem to proliferate. I was surprised to realise quite how many Anna Campbells involve someone using an alias! Through the adoption of a false identity, the characters end up working out who they really are.
NC: What’s coming up next for you?
AC: I’m currently madly writing book three in the series, which is Cam’s story. Again, I’m having great fun with it. The alpha Duke of Sedgemoor who has had everything so together in the other books comes unstuck when he falls in love with a very unsuitable woman indeed. I love to watch Mr. Cool lose the plot – and in the process find his happy ever after!
NC: I can’t wait to read Cam’s story!
I know you are a big fan of British stately homes (and cream teas!) Do you have any particular favourites?
AC: Nicola, I still smile when I remember the Regency Writers Go Wild tour that we did around the Cotswolds in 2007. Didn’t we have fun? Stately homes and cream teas are a wonderful mix – throw in a decent giftshop and I’m in Nirvana. The National Trust does a wonderful job of preserving historical properties for people to enjoy, but I think my favourite houses are the ones where the original family still lives there. A couple of particular favourites are Penshurst Place in Kent and Haddon Hall in Derbyshire. Haddon Hall in particular is such a romantic place, it’s not surprising it turns up in every second costume drama including the recent BBC Jane Eyre.
NC: We must do the Regency Writers Go Wild tour again sometime. It was awesome! There are some great choices there. I love Haddon too and always recommend it to people when they are visiting.
Who is your favourite fictional hero/heroine?
AC: I think my favourite heroine is Jane Eyre. I love that book and I admire her strength. She sticks to her idea of herself even when the going gets incredibly tough. My favourite hero is Dorothy Dunnett’s Francis Crawford who is the central character in her Lymond series set in 16th century Europe and the Middle East. Those stories are amazing. I’m due for a re-read but I know I’ll feel so inadequate as a writer once I do!
NC: Hmm, yes, there are some books that always leave me feeling wishful that I possessed the skill of that particular author! What are you currently reading?
AC: I’m catching up on a couple of contemporary romances that have been waiting patiently for my attention. I tend to hoard favourite authors until I can spare a few hours to concentrate on the books. On the top of the TBR pile at the moment, I have books by Sarah Mayberry, Liz Fielding and Annie West.
NC: What do you keep beside your computer when you’re writing?
AC: My cup of tea. I mainline the stuff while I’m working. Financial advice of the day – buy shares in Lipton!
NC: I can’t believe how many authors mainline tea! I’m another one who does; totally addicted! So if you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
AC: Very difficult to live with?
NC: That’s the best answer yet I’ve heard to that question! What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever been given and what advice would you give to other aspiring authors?
AC: The best writing advice I was ever given sounds banal until you realise quite how profound it really is. At one of the first Romance Writers of Australia conferences I went to, I met romance writing legend Robyn Donald from New Zealand. She said, “The people who fail are the people who give up.” At that stage in my writing career that seemed obvious – of course I wasn’t going to give up. But then I spent a long time hovering on the verge of publication. It’s actually a much harder place to be than starting out. You’re doing the things you need to do to write a saleable book, including winning lots of contests and getting requests for material, but nobody’s taking that next step and buying your book. That’s the stage when you can get so frustrated that you’re tempted to stop. I’ve since seen many writers in exactly the same position and the wisdom of Robyn’s words strikes me anew every time.
My advice to new writers is to sit down and write a whole book, then put it aside for a while while you write something else before you come back to edit it. Writing a whole book will teach you things that nothing else can, including how to persist through the doldrums in the middle. Putting it aside will give you distance when it comes to picking out the flaws in your manuscript.
I’m going to steal a question from Nicola’s great list. Who is your favourite fictional hero or heroine? Why? I’ve got an international giveaway of a signed copy of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS for someone who comments today. Good luck!
A huge thank you to Anna for patiently answering all my questions and dropping in to the blog today! Here is the blurb for A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS:
It Takes a Lady…
Brilliant scholar Genevieve Barrett knows how to keep a secret. Her identity as the author of her father’s academic articles has always been her greatest deception-until a charming housebreaker tries to steal the mysterious Harmsworth Jewel from her. She doesn’t reveal that she recognizes her father’s devastatingly handsome new student as the thief himself. For Genevieve, this will be the most seductive secret of all…
..To Catch a Thief!
Sir Richard Harmsworth has been living a lie, maintaining a rakish facade to show society that he doesn’t care about his status as a bastard. Yet long haunted by his unknown father’s identity, Richard believes the Harmsworth Jewel will confirm his claim as the rightful heir. But when Richard sets out to seduce the bookworm who possesses the stone, he instead falls for its beautiful owner. But even as she steals Richard’s heart, Genevieve will be in greater danger than her coveted treasure…
To find out more about Anna and her fabulous books: