Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thursday Thirteen - 161 - 13 Questions for Anna Campbell, Author of My Reckless Surrender

A big Maritime welcome to Australian historical romance writer Anna Campbell! Through the magic of the world wide web, oceans and continents fall away and here I am chatting away with one of my favorite writers.

Hi Julia! Thanks for inviting me to be your guest today!

1 - Living in Australia, which has its own vibrant romance writers' community, have you found the new global age has made physical distance an afterthought? Or does it hold challenges for you as a writer?

What an interesting question. You know, like most things, there’s pluses and minuses to being so far away. And of course, the Internet has removed a lot of the tyranny of distance.

I think it would be lovely to be able to meet my U.S. readers at signings on a more regular basis, but I do try to make the Romance Writers of America conference every year and this year, I’m also doing RomCon in Colorado in July.

2 - Is this the first time you've had a North American release and an Australian release coincide? What sparked the decision to bring them out together?

This is my first simultaneous release. I think the Aussies are trying to catch the locals who are so keen to read the book that they order the American edition before the local one is out.

I love having a simultaneous release and the Aussie trade paperback edition is just gorgeous!

3 - Have you had any stories come to you that are set in your native Australia? Or have you only scratched the surface of your London-based Regency Noir settings?

Oh, Regency Noir could continue forever – so many stories in Regency London. I risk being pilloried in my home country but I just don’t find Australian history romantic.

A lot of it is fairly grim (hello, convicts, anyone?) and I love working with the strict social boundaries of an aristocratic society which Australia never really was.

None of which means I don’t love my homeland, I do!

4 - Your debut novel, Claiming The Courtesan, was a publishing world sensation. You burst out of the starting gates and haven't looked back. How long did it take you to write the book that launched your career?

I started Claiming The Courtesan in 2001 and finished polishing it to publication standard in 2006 when it sold. At the same time, I was writing Untouched so I figure about four years on each book, piggybacking on one another if that makes sense.

Of course, I wasn’t working on the books every hour of every day in that time!

5 - I know from observation that you make your presence felt on the net.

I hope so! LOL!

And you definitely travel to conferences to make in person connections. How has your own promo efforts affected your career?

Promo is one of those weird things – nobody knows what works although people know at least some of it does work. Who knows whether my internet presence has affected my career? It’s certainly enriched my life!

I didn’t grow up surrounded by romance readers, although my mum and grandmother both loved a good romance novel. So it’s always a joy talking to other enthusiastic romance readers both in person and online!

6 - What would you say is the percentage of people getting in touch with you to make appearances, as opposed to you approaching them? Do you find that part easy, approaching people?

Luckily, people mostly approach me – probably as a result of the internet presence you mentioned. And even more luckily, people seem to be happy to have me back again once I’ve blogged. It’s always nice to have a return invitation!

7 - Were you ever tempted to surrender your dream of being published? What were your own Dark Moments as a writer?

I finished my first romance – a very Kathleen Woodiwissy medieval – when I left high school and before I started university. It was twenty-seven years then before I sold a book!

In all that time, dark moments abounded, as you can imagine! At one stage, about seventeen years in, I decided being a published author was a childish dream and I should stop pursuing this whim and get a proper job.

I had a really rotten 18 months where life was dull and without flavour. That convinced me as nothing else could that I really WANTED to write but I needed to approach my career differently if I hoped to succeed.

That’s when I joined a few romance writing organizations, joined a crit group, started watching the market, etc. Things started happening in leaps and bounds then.

What would you have told that beginner Anna if you could have Dr. Who's Tardis for a few moments?

I’d tell that Anna to stop being such a wimp and start interacting in the romance community and submitting her work. Books under the bed are never going to sell!

8 - Publisher's Weekly named your previous book Captive of Sin one of the Top 100 Books of 2009 - one of only a handful of massmarket paperbacks so honored. How did it feel to get that news?

Oh, that was fantastic! It took a while to sink in that it wasn’t just Top 100 ROMANCES of 2009, but Top 100 Books!

I’ve been really bowled over at the reception Captive of Sin has received. It recently won most popular historical romance in the Australian Romance Readers Awards and it won the Golden Quill Award. It’s also finaled in a stack of other contests.

I’ve had a lot of fanmail about that book – people just love their tortured heroes.

9 - Your fifth and latest book is called My Reckless Surrender - do you have that aspect in yourself? Do you throw yourself into things?

What an interesting question. First of all, I was going to say I was Miss Caution. But you know, I’m not sure if that’s true!

I think there IS a reckless side to me so it was fun to draw on that when I wrote My Reckless Surrender

10 - You've mentioned that Tarquin Vale, Earl of Ashcroft is the first non-tortured hero you've written. I'm exceedingly fond of tortured heroes - can't get enough of them. Why do you suppose these characters come to you?

You’re another tortured hero fan! How cool!

And Tarquin is well and truly tortured by the end of the book – he just doesn’t start out that way.

I find complex, flawed characters intensely interesting, as I think is clear from my books! And if I torture the hero, it usually puts the readers on his side and gives me high stakes emotion to work with. Not only that, I love the idea of a man purified by fire which I think is true of all my tortured heroes.

11 - Was it easier to write a hero without such dark emotional baggage?

Writing Tarquin was different, I’m not sure it was easier. And as I said, he’s definitely been through the wringer by the time he gets his happy ending!

12 - Your heroine, Diana Carrick, is shockingly forthright about what she does and doesn't want. Is she also a departure from your previous characters?

I tend to write strong women – one of the things I find interesting about Regency England is that women were legally so powerless and yet clearly strong women could exercise power in their own spheres and find happiness.

Diana was interesting to write because I wanted to look at someone who did the wrong thing and learned the error of her ways. She convinces herself that by committing a victimless crime, she’ll get everything she ever wanted but of course she’s deceiving herself!

13 - Do you think all lovers ultimately surrender at some point? Or does the act of surrender imply conflict that no longer exists, once the lovers accept their new status?

Ooh, what a profound question! Actually I think strong personalities will always need a certain amount of give and take in a loving relationship. I hope by the end of my books, the reader feels that the love between the characters is enduring enough to help them weather any storm, as it’s helped them weather whatever storms feature in the story.

In terms of surrender, I think both the hero and heroine surrender to each other so there’s no triumph of one over the other. Of course, the mutual surrender is terrifying and my characters tend to resist that moment as long as they can, LOL!

Anna, thank you so much for dropping by A Piece of My Mind today. I know you're blogging over at Vauxhall Vixens as well. Places to go, places to be...

Wonder if Sven will show up...? Sven is a rather distracting fellow who makes appearances at Anna's group blog, Romance Bandits. ...hmm...maybe that's him, now...

Scotialassie says In reading the responses I felt like she could have been sitting across from me...she was that personable. Glad to hear of Anna's dark periods and that she got out of them. Thanks for the encouragement.

Melanie says Anna you have just been all over the place and I just want to say thanks. Not only do I get to learn more about you and the books that you write, but I have found so many new blogs to follow and in turn am finding a whole bunch of new authors to start reading.

Laurie says Anna, I've started MY RECKLESS SURRENDER tonight and had to force myself to put it down to take care of business. It's fabulous, that carriage ride is hot! I'm forcing myself to leave the book downstairs so I'll get a little sleep - I have to work tomorrow.

UPDATE: The winner of a copy of My Reckless Surrender is...drumroll please...


Come on down!

Actually, please drop Anna a line at and give her your snail mail address. Congratulations!


scotialassie said...

that blog made me want to run right out and buy Anna's books. In reading the responses I felt like she could have been sitting across from me...she was that personable.

Glad to hear of Anna's dark periods and that she got out of them. I am going through one right now and am desperately trying to jar myself out of it. Thanks for the encouragement.

Thanks for your great questions once again, Julia.

Anna Campbell said...

Scotialassie, first of all I LOVE your internet name! Wow, thanks for those lovely responses. I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview. Julia asked some really unusual and interesting questions. I think one of the things about writing for so long is that you come to realize dark periods are par for the course. In fact, I wonder if that's when the creativity really goes mad, even if we can't see or feel it. I always come out of a dark period raring to go. Good luck with coming out of the night and into the light!

Melanie said...

Anna you have just been all over the place and I just want to say thanks. Not only do I get to learn more about you and the books that you write, but I have found so many new blogs to follow and in turn am finding a whole bunch of new authors to start reading.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Melanie, that sounds like a win-win for everything EXCEPT your Visa Card, LOL! I've had a wonderful time flitting here and there and talking about MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. Thanks so much for popping up so often. Nothing worse than turning up for a chat and nobody answers! Didn't Julia ask some great questions?

mariska said...

Great interview Anna, and interesting answers :D I enjoyed so much !

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Mariska! And thanks for swinging by!

Scorpio M. said...

Really love this interview, many new insights!

Laurie said...

Anna, I'm started MY RECKLESS SURRENDER tonight and had to force myself to put it down to take care of business. It's fabulous, that carriage ride is hot! I'm forcing myself to leave the book downstairs so I'll get a little sleep - I have to work tomorrow.

I think you're successful at Promo because you are genuinely interested in people, and it shows. And we ask you back on our blogs because you're the perfect guest - responsive and fun. You make every visit a party.

Great interview! I loved the questions and what a clever way of doing "Thursday Thirteen"!

Jennie Marsland said...

Hello Anna and Julia, great interview! You're both gems of the blog world.

I have to differ with Anna on one point - I do find Australian history romantic, or at least some of it. Convicts, not so much. Visiting Down Under is on my bucket list.

Tarquin sounds possibly as yummy as Gideon. Looking forward to picking up the book, and congrats again on the recent awards, Anna!

Melanie said...

Yeah the Visa has been suffering lately, this month mostly to the Brenda Novak auction - got a little carried away, all for a good cause though. I do have to admit out of all the blogs I have been to lately these questions were unique and interesting, way to go.

Janet said...

Another wonderful interview, Julia - you are brilliant at asking unusual questions that make for interesting answers!

Love your books, Anna! And was very interested in hearing how you wrote a medieval in Ms. Woodiwiss' style (my all time favorite author). Thank you for sharing your dark moment story.

Like Jennie, I love Australia and think the history is incredibly unique (and romantic).

Jennifer Leeland said...

Awesome interview!!! I'm so glad to see Anna Campbell getting the spotlight she deserves.
And what an inspiration!

Bev Pettersen said...

Wonderful interview. Thanks Anna for sharing your experiences and life. Really good questions Julia. Great blog.

Julia Smith said...

Anna - Hope you're enjoying your book release! I know I'm enjoying it. I agree with Melanie about discovering new blogs when people guest blog or do interviews. I've come across real gems that way.

Scotialassie - I'm taking Anna's advice to heart. My manuscripts need to live!

Melanie - Anna IS all over the web! It's official. She has, in fact, taken over.

Mariska - I had my suspicions that Anna would turn out to be fascinating.

Scorpio M - I'm lucky that I got to ask things that I was dying to know. Maybe there's someone you'd secretly love to interview? Why not approach him or her?

Laurie - I agree 100% about the building-relationships thing. Anna is Queen of shrinking the world via the internet.

Jennie - Gems of blog world? Can I be a ruby?

Janet - I've spent a lifetime being curiouser and curiouser. I've got a million questions just busting to come out!

Jennifer - She's very inspirational to me. Her success at basically creating her own subgenre - Regency Noir - is truly admirable.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this! I love the sound of Tarquin! I want to read this. Great interview.

Here's my T13 - I'd love it if you dropped by!


Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Scorpio! At this rate, you'll be able to fill out a job application for me! Thanks for sticking with the blog tour! Two tomorrow and then I rest on my laurels for a few days. What, you didn't know about the laurels? Snort!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Laurie, aren't you lovely? Thanks for saying how much you're enjoying MRS! Yeah, that carriage ride had me blushing! It's odd just how many love scenes feature in each book - COS was fairly low in terms of number (although I hope the intensity made up for it!) whereas this one, they needed to be doing it like rabbits for the story to make sense.

And what a lovely thing to say about promo. I DO enjoy it and I've made such wonderful friends over the internet including the pirates and the vixens and the Roundtablers and... Yeah, you know! I think the romance community - readers and writers - has the smartest and most interesting people I've ever met. Which always makes me mad when people who don't read romance dismiss us a lot of brain-dead frustrated women!

Hey, really looking forward to my visit to the Roundtable tomorrow! You guys have always been so supportive of me, I appreciate it to my socks!

Anna Campbell said...

Jennie, thanks so much for swinging by! And hey, good on you for loving Aussie history. My mother did too! I think it's what floats your boat. Or your brig full of dirty, ragged convicts... Um! And definitely we're worth visiting - the natives are pretty friendly, the scenery is amazing and it's actually a really easy, pleasant place to be. Nice food. Comfy beds. Pretty things to look at. Fuzzy animals! Civilized plumbing!

Oh, I had quite a crush on Tarquin! And when he falls, he falls hard which I always love in a hero! Happy reading!

Anna Campbell said...

Melanie, thanks so much for supporting the BN auction. I think it's such a good cause, not even the Visa minds a workout! Didn't they have some fabulous prizes? And I'm so touched and impressed by the way the romance community gets behind Brenda every May for this auction! Happy reading. You know, I don't really mind buying books. I love them so much!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Janet, another vote for Aussie history! There have been some really romantic books set here - I remember Catherine Gaskin's Sarah Dane when I was a young un. It was one of my mum's faves. And that was a convict story (based on a real-life convict called Mary Reiby who was transported for a prank of riding on her neighbor's horse. She was charged with horse-stealing and sent to Australia at the age of 16. She ended up being one of the richest people in the colony, a major merchant and power in the growing nation. Go, Mary!). And Candice Proctor, who writes the marvelous C.S. Harris Regency mysteries now, wrote a few great romances set here. I'm not AGAINST the idea. I just don't particularly want to write a book set here myself! Happy to read them!

Hey, a KW fan! I think I've got a job now because those books sold like hot cakes (actually there were exceptionally hot for the time!). This was way back in the late 70s and bodice ripping medievals were the big thing in romance then. I still remember the exhilaration of writing that book - nothing like ripping through a story like that!

Anna Campbell said...

Jennifer, aren't you a darling and we aren't even related? Snork! What a lovely thing to say. THANK YOU!!!!!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks for swinging by, Bev, and thanks for saying you enjoyed the interview! I had great fun with it!

Julia Smith said...

Anna - (to Jennie)'And hey, good on you for loving Aussie history. I think it's what floats your boat. Or your brig full of dirty, ragged convicts...'


My entire chapter of Romance Writers of Atlantic Canada are heading over to our fellow writer Pamela Callow's book launch in about an hour. And I'll be joining them! It's her debut book, a bio-medical thriller, and it's REALLY big. It's the biggest breakout debut from our group - so far ;-)

Just wanted to let you know I scooped up a copy of My Reckless Surrender when I grabbed a bite after work. I opened it up to the first page:

(jaw-dropper opening line)

You rock.

Anna Campbell said...

Julia, I'm having a ball here. And again, those were fabulous questions!

Actually one of the things all this blogging and promo has taught me is what I like and don't like - and I suspect I'm thinking as a reader rather than a writer. I love a blog/site where there's a sense of community. I love a blog/site where it's not all hard sell. I love sites where there's something extra because I took the trouble to look up the author. Some authors do pieces about what they're reading or where they travel or their pets or their favorite films. I love those enriching elements. I'm so glad you guys have enjoyed the internet presence - honestly, I do it because I enjoy it! Hey, and thanks for saying I'm fascinating - should frame that, snort! Or perhaps save it for the family! LOL!

And you're definitely a ruby! TWO rubies after all those lovely comments!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Angelika! Checked out your blog - books sound fascinating! Thanks for swinging by today! Happy reading!

Anna Campbell said...

Julia, isn't it the BEST fun to celebrate our writer friends' good times and to have them celebrate ours? I'm so grateful for the friends I've made in this business. They're shoulders to cry on and they're always ready to kick their heels up for a good news party! Have fun at the launch and please congratulate Pamela for me! That's fantastic news about her book!

Hey, cool about finding MRS! Yeah, I have a giggle every time I read that opening line. That naughty Diana!

Alice Audrey said...

Hi Anna!!! I loved meeting you at RWA national last year at Tessa D's party. It's great to see more books from you.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Alice, wasn't that a wonderful party? Tessa, you're a great hostess! And it was so exciting launching your wonderful Goddess of the Hunt in such style. Are you coming to Orlando?

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I'll be adding this book to my list.

I took Australia off my bucket list in the past because of the poisonous wildlife (snakes, spiders, octopus) but I'm reconsidering it. :)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Cories, great to see you! Thanks for saying you enjoyed the interview. Hope you enjoy My Reckless Surrender! Actually I'm living proof that one can live to a VERY advanced age in Australia without dying of poisonous beasties! Seriously, it's not like crocs wander down the main street of Sydney or spiders take up residence on the clothes line. Actually that a lie - they DO!

Tatiana Caldwell said...

Wow, what a great interview that was, with some unique questions. I think I have another author to add to my TBR list.

misskallie2000 said...

Thanks for the great interview Anna. I really enjoyed all the info you gave and Reckless Surrender sounds like a book I would love to read.
Have added to my wish list.
Thanks for stopping by to chat.

misskalllie2000 at yahoo dot com

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Tatiana, that's good news about the TBR pile! I shall occupy my space with pleasure, LOL! Thanks for swinging by, glad you enjoyed the interview.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Miss Kallie! Lovely to see you as ever! And thanks so much for checking out the interview - it was a bit different and I think that worked a treat!

Anna Campbell said...

Thank you so much for a fabulous day of blogging! And Julia, thank you for a wonderful interview! And don't forget - read recklessly, LOL!

Oh, and also don't forget to come back to see who won the signed copy of MY RECKLESS SURRENDER up for grabs!

Julia Smith said...

...who could it be...?

...who could it be...?

Melanie said...

Hopefully me

Janet said...

I'm so excited - *stands up from chair, waves hands in air, squeezes past other contests - high fiving as I go, rushes down toward stage, screaming "I won, I won"*

Oops, your reference to The Price is Right carried me away. But I am very, very excited and thrilled to have won Anna's book.

(And thanks for the heads up Julia, over on my blog - I was waiting for the announcement to come through my 'follow comments' e-mail.)

Julia Smith said...

LOL, Janet!

Divaa Divine said...

a great interview with great answers
Mush 13

Annette Gallant said...

Anna and Julia, thanks for sharing this great interview. I'm a fan of Anna's books, so it was wonderful getting a chance to read more about the person behind the stories.

Anna, your road to publication story is inspiring, and it makes me believe that if I keep pushing forward, I too can do this.