I have “met” Annie on Facebook a few years ago when I was a newby, and blithely entered a competition not meant for me all the way in Europe. But Annie was nice enough to send me one of her books anyway, all the way from Australia, and so I read Girl in the Bedouin Tent (you can read my review here). I don’t usually read Harlequins any more, although I devoured them as a teen, and to my surprise, I really liked this one. Sadly, I have not read one of her books since, but I certainly plan to.
So, time to ask Annie some questions.
Annie writes contemporary romance for Harlequin and Mills and Boon.
Aurian: Hi Annie, welcome to my blog, have some hot chocolate and Dutch cookies. Are you looking forward to visiting the convention in Berlin already?
Annie: Hi Aurian. Thank you, it’s lovely to be here. The weather is turning cool here in Australia through autumn so Dutch cookies and hot chocolate sound perfect. Yes, absolutely, I’m thrilled to be attending the Berlin convention.
Aurian: Are you going for some sightseeing while in Germany this time? Or perhaps just some shopping for chocolate? Have you been to Berlin before?
Annie: Aurian, you already know my weakness for Ritter Sport chocolate! If I have time I may visit the big Ritter store in Berlin. The only time I visited the city before I went there and loved it. Sigh. This time I won’t be sightseeing in Germany, sadly, but after the convention I’m meeting up with my husband for a short holiday in the Austrian Salzkammergut then in the very north of Italy. Very exciting! Obviously I’ll need a store of chocolate for the driving…
Aurian: Yes you've already told me about this superstore, and yes, everyone needs chocolate, so I hope you will have time for a visit.
Aurian: Can you tell a little about the books you have written so far, and what is next on your schedule, some completely different genre perhaps, a secret project?
Annie: I’m currently working on my 23rd book for Harlequin. It’s a sheikh story, a type of romance I’ve discovered I enjoy enormously as I can put my own spin on the idea of the powerful yet protective hero who is emotionally challenged by a heroine. One of the things I love about writing romance is the deep emotion and the satisfaction of bringing about a happy ever after. My ‘completely different’ project is my very first novella, which I published at the beginning of May. ‘Back in the Italian’s Bed’ was a joy to write – all the emotion of a longer story, all the ups and downs and what ifs, but in a different, shorter format. Then later in the year I’ve got two new Harlequin titles: a very passionate full romance about two lovers from opposite ends of the social spectrum (Damaso Claims His Heir) and a scorching reunion story (Rebel’s Bargain).
Aurian: If someone unfamiliar with your books wanted to read one, which one do you think is the best one to hook someone to your writing? Which one do you like the most yourself?
Annie: Truly, Aurian, I can’t claim to have a favourite. Each one has meant falling in love with a brand new hero - that’s one of the perks of being a romance author! My best advice is to visit my website (www.annie-west.com) and browse the excerpts to see what appeals. The stories range from reunions to Cinderella stories, to marriages of convenience, Beauty and the Beast and all sorts of themes in between. For pure Cinderella fantasy you could try ‘Protected by the Prince’ look here, for a heroine battling the odds there’s ‘Imprisoned by a Vow’ look here or for a quick taste there’s ‘Back in the Italian’s Bed’ look here.
Aurian: Who are some of your favourite authors, and what book are you reading for fun, not research, at the moment?
Annie: I love reading Sarah Morgan, Jane Porter and Liz Fielding (in fact too many Harlequin authors to mention). Historical authors Anna Cambell, Christina Brooke and Loretta Chase. Then there are mystery writers like Julia Spencer-Fleming and Carola Dunn. I’ve just started reading Fiona Harper’s ‘Invitation to the Boss’s Ball’ which is making me smile.
Aurian: Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions Annie, I look forward to seeing you in Berlin in a few weeks.
Growing up on the east coast of Australia, I didn't get to ride a kangaroo to school but I did acquire some valuable survival skills like what to do when faced with a venomous snake or when caught in a dangerous rip while surfing. As the dangers of ocean swimming involved close observation of tall, burnished surf life savers, you could say I began researching early to become a romance writer.
I've been a reader almost as long as I can remember and the idea of being without a book sends a chill down my spine. In my teens I got hooked on romance and never looked back. The boys at school just didn't make the grade when compared with all those charismatic romance heroes.
Fortunately I found my own tall, dark romantic hero while at university, where despite the distraction I completed an honours degree in Classics. After a surprisingly interesting career in public administration I found myself with young children and a burning desire to do what I'd always secretly dreamed - to write romance rather than government reports. I've been writing fiction ever since and loving it.
Along the way my books have hit bestseller lists, including USA Today, as well as finalling in or winning a range of awards including the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award.
Now I live with my family at Lake Macquarie, north of Sydney. We're close to marvellous wine country, superb beaches and the beautiful lake. My favourite things are books, travel, long walks, good company and great food. I get to spend my days fantasising about gorgeous men and their love lives, which can be hard work, but I have no regrets. There's nothing better than that sigh-worthy moment when your hero and heroine finally get their happy ending, or when a reader contacts you to say they loved your story too.
I adore hearing from readers, so feel free to contact me. You can also subscribe to my occasional online newsletters via email.
If you want to know more about Annie and her books, you can find her here:
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian