Monday, December 7, 2009

Go West, Young Man!

by Anna Campbell

I'm delighted to welcome back to the lair my good friend and critique partner Annie West, who has become a regular on the Waldenbooks bestseller lists!

A lot has been happening in her world lately, including the inclusion of the wonderful THE DESERT KING'S PREGNANT BRIDE in Michelle Buonfiglio's list of Barnes and Noble's Best Books of 2009. You can see the complete list here - some more for the TBR pile!

For more information about Annie and her books, please visit her website.

You can order her U.K. releases from the Book Depository. This wonderful bookstore ships books all around the world and they charge NO POSTAGE AT ALL! Great deal!

Annie, December’s a really exciting month for you with not one, but TWO releases! Firstly, can you tell us about your latest American release BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE. I’d love to know something about the inspiration behind this story too!

Hi Anna. Thanks so much for inviting me over and helloooo to all the Banditas and their buddies. Hope you’re all thriving! I’m thrilled with the feedback I’ve been getting on BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE. I didn’t deliberately set out to write this book. It hi-jacked me along the way. I was writing an article and looking for examples to illustrate my point about how a character’s perception of scents can tell us a lot not only about a setting but also their emotions. I picked on a wedding (hey, I write romance) and gave an example of a bride walking up to the aisle. Instead of floating on air as the scent of orange blossom filled the church, she was sick to the stomach. The scent of flowers cloyed and she wanted to be anywhere else but there. Instantly my writer’s brain kicked up a notch. WHY didn’t she want to be there?

I let myself get distracted pondering her story and found Alissa had to marry, despite her ingrained fear of marriage. Bad situation. Then, of course, I made it worse. She felt safe with the man she’d arranged to marry. So when she gets there, he’s nowhere to be found. Even worse situation – she must marry within a short time frame. Could things get worse? When she arrives she finds the one man in the world she absolutely, categorically doesn’t want to see. Alissa’s having a monumentally bad day by this stage, so of course I just had to increase the stakes yet again.

If you want to find out what happens you can read an excerpt here (yes, aren’t I blatant?). Dario and Alissa both decide the person they’re marrying is the one person in the world who epitomises everything they dislike. It takes them a long time to realise they’ve actually married the one person in the world just perfect for them.

This book is just delicious! And you made me cry, you rotten so and so! Also in December, you have a new release in the U.K., FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE CHILD. Can you tell us about that story?

“He’s forgotten their past, but not her body…” Like the tag line? I do! Take one very controlled, successful, sexy Italian who’s lost a snippet of his life and won’t be satisfied till he fills in the blank spaces. Add a woman who’s loved and lost and had her dreams shattered in the process. She’s determined to move forward and forget the past. When Alessandro discovers Carys, he realises she’s the key to those missing months. He’s determined to regain his memory of that time. In the process he discovers there’s unfinished business between them. But given their past, Carys isn’t prepared to bow to Alessandro’s wishes. Trouble is the more she resists the more ruthless he becomes.

Yum! Readers have a treat in store there. What’s coming up next for you?

I’m trying desperately to finish a story inspired by all those fairy tales I read as a child, and a more recent visit to Europe in winter. Think handsome princes in cavalry uniforms, castles and balls and sleigh rides. But that’s still a way off. Before that FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE CHILD will make it to North America in April and in July my debonair hero Tahir wanders out of the desert in his tuxedo (I was channelling 007 as I wrote him) and onto the pages of SCANDAL: HIS MAJESTY’S LOVE CHILD.

I love how you use classic romance themes and give them an individual twist. In the case of BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE, it’s a marriage of convenience. In the case of FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE CHILD, it’s amnesia AND a secret baby (double whammy, that one, no wonder it’s such a doozy of a tale!). Do you start out with the theme in mind or does the theme develop with the story? Do you have favorite examples of either of these themes that perhaps inspired you when you were writing both books?

Oh dear, it sounds like I tried to make Carys and Alessandro’s story as difficult as possible! For years I’d read secret baby stories. When they work I adore them. When the reason for the hero not knowing about the baby is too flimsy, I sit there wishing the heroine would assert herself and make him believe, or have the gumption to break the news to him though she doesn’t want to. I wanted to write one but when I tried to think of a reason he didn’t know about the bub I came up with an idea so thin you could see right through it, or one straight out of someone else’s story, which I couldn’t steal. Finally (to much rejoicing) an idea hit me of why he wouldn’t know, and better yet, why she wouldn’t be hammering on his door daily, making him take responsibility for his child. The fact that the two reasons were linked, and played on Carys and Alessandro’s deepest insecurities, made it more fun.

No, I didn’t look to other stories for inspiration. I steered clear of anything that might influence me. They say copying is the sincerest form of flattery but I wanted this to be my take on these ideas. As for the amnesia plot, I’ve written one before (an unpublished ms) and it was great to give it a whole new twist. This book is one of the few cases where I set out with a theme in mind. Often I just come up with a pair of characters in a difficult situation and enjoy applying heat to see what happens (Like Dario and Alissa above)!

You haven’t been in the lair as an official guest since April, although you often pop in to say hello as a Bandita Buddy. Well, either that or check out the gladiators, I haven’t quite worked out which is more important! What exciting things have been happening in your world since then?

Me, check out gladiators? Surely you jest. What would the men in my life say? My husband and whichever male is demanding all my time at the computer would have their noses put out if I came across here just to drool. But then, what they don’t know…

As for exciting things – Having my 10th and 11th books accepted by Harlequin. (yay! I still find it hard to believe I’m into double digits). Writing my first continuity story too. What a fascinating process that was – four of us writing independent but linked stories. I loved it but then I was lucky to work with marvellous writers (Carol Marinelli, Trish Morey and Jennie Lucas). I can’t wait to see our four sheikh stories out next year. In August I made my way not only to the RWAustralia Conference in Brisbane but for the first time to the RWNew Zealand Conference in Auckland. I had an absolute ball! I wanted to stay and keep enjoying the wonderful discussions. Getting together with other writers is the best. More recently, I just heard that the Barnes and Noble blog, Heart to Heart, picked THE DESERT KING’S PREGNANT BRIDE as one of their two best category romances of 2009. Squee!

Congratulations on the Barnes and Noble list! Wow, that's huge! And well deserved. Now, onto some seasonal stuff - how do you and your loved ones celebrate Christmas?

Oh, the usual – too much food and talking but lots of smiles and hugs and laughter. This year we’ll have a special dinner on Christmas Eve with my family, then lunch on Christmas Day with my husband’s and just to top it off, dinner at a friends. I’m looking forward to getting out the wonderful Christmas decorations I got in Germany and Austria last year. We were in Europe for Christmas which was just marvellous. We visited Christmas markets which were fun and picturesque and attended concerts in baroque buildings and even in a private castle. We tasted all sorts of wonderful treats and of course came home with some lovely festive decorations.

Sounds lovely! What were your best reads of 2009?

Now that’s a really difficult question, Anna. There have been a lot. Here are a few romance reads that spring to mind, in no particular order:

LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD (a fun feel good debut) by Kandy Shepherd

CAPTIVE OF SIN by Anna Campbell (maybe I’m biased, Anna, but this is one of your best to date) (Anna responds: Perfectly fine with me, hon!)

WICKED LITTLE GAME by Christine Wells (the title says it all)

THE ARISTOCRAT AND THE SINGLE MUM by Michelle Douglas (a sweetly compelling read)

HELL WEEK by Rosemary Clement-Moore (a YA story I couldn’t put down).

SINGLE FATHER: WIFE AND MOTHER WANTED by Sharon Archer (a fantastic debut medical romance)


MY LORD AND SPYMASTER by Joanna Bourne (a cracking good read)

SPANISH ARISTOCRAT, FORCED BRIDE by India Grey (another cracking good read)

Fiona Brand’s suspense trilogy: DOUBLE VISION, KILLER FOCUS and BLIND INSTINCT

Ooh, great list, Annie! Thanks for a fantastic interview and best of luck with your new releases. They sound like more bestsellers in the making!

Anna, it’s been a real pleasure being interviewed for the Banditas. You make Q and A painless! Or was it the promise of tasty drinks served by skimpily-dressed male waiters? No, I’m not so shallow, surely. It’s great fun dropping by the Lair so I’m absolutely thrilled to share news of my new releases. So, of course, being thrilled and being among friends I’d like to give away a prize or two. How about a copy of BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE to one contributor and a copy of a backlist book to another? I’d love to offer FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD but I’m waiting for more books to arrive.

Here’s a question to get you thinking. Did any of you see LOST IN AUSTEN where the modern day heroine Amanda Price walks through a door in her bathroom and discovers herself in the world of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE? She lives with the Bennets and falls for Mr. Darcy. Imagine you’ve accidentally stepped out of your real world into a new fictional one where you are the heroine of a love story. What sort of story would it be and why? Would you be a heroine in an existing novel like JANE EYRE or would you prefer a story you don’t know? Would you be in a romantic suspense, chased by villains and protected by a hard-eyed agent from a shadowy organisation? Would you be swept off your feet in an arranged marriage by a hot blooded Mediterranean lover, or pitted toe to toe against a sexy foe in an office romance? Or would you prefer something with corsets, buckskin breeches and boots? Which would suit your temperament, skills and fantasies? Remember, you’d be living it, not just reading about it!


Virginia said...

Is he coming to my house!

Virginia said...

Great post Annie, your books sound fabulous. I guess I would perfer to be in a story I don't know and I would be in something with corsets, buckskin breeches and boots. Yep this is how I see myself. I am not so sure about those corsets though. I be more in the buckskin breeches and boots I think.

Annie West said...

Virginia, congratulations on snaffling the golden chook! Is that the sound of contented cackling I hear?

Thanks so much - I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Anna always makes interviews fun, but if I'd know she was going to drag out all those pics of me...! Actually, though, they brought back memories of some great celebrations.

So you're a historical girl? A cross-dressing historical girl by the sound of it, wearing breeches and boots. No doubt your hero will have a fun time sorting that one out! I'm with you though on the wearing of corsets - eek!

Annie West said...

While I remember, Banditas, Anna sends her apologies. She's away from home living the high life with friends in Brisbane. Internet access may be severely limited by the fact that she's out having a marvellous time. She'll drop by but possibly not as often as usual - no doubt to remind me of what a lovely time she's having...typical!

Virginia said...

I can't say I am all historical because I read a little of everything. I switch around a lot. I am reading anything Christmas right now trying to get in the mood for Christmas.

Annie West said...


Aren't there some lovely looking Christmas books around at the moment? Despite the sweltering heat here, those covers make me want to cuddle up by a fire with a good man. At least the book I'm working on is set somewhere snowy!

Michelle Douglas said...

Annie and Anna, what a great interview! And Annie, what a fab question. I will admit that when I'm writing my own stories I do travel quite a distance in my heroine's shoes. But if I was to choose someone else's story to fall into...

A Georgette Heyer novel would be fun. Preferably The Grand Sophy, Faro's Daughter, or Cotillion.

Lord of the Rings could be quite an adventure too. Aragon is one of my all-time favourite heroes. Of course, I'd magically know how to wield a sword :-)

Ooh, this is going to entertain me all night now!

P.S. Wonderful pics, Anna!

Lynz Pickles said...

Ooooh, a continuity featuring two of my favourite Presents authors! A M.o.C.! Amnesia and a secret baby! So many goodies in one little post today! Life is wonderful, isn't it?

I did see Lost in Austen. It was pretty funny, though parts of it drove me nuts, like the fact that I hated the lead actress' voice. (Such a silly complaint, but it makes a difference.) But I love the idea! I'd love, love, love to be in a Regency romance, but at the same time, I wouldn't. I adore reading about the past, and the clothing? Gorgeous. But the lack of equality between men and women? Not so much. If I had to actually live in a novel, I'd want it to be some sort of fantasy/urban fantasy/paranormal romance set either in our day or in the future, a story in which my legal rights are protected and in which I get to kick butt when I'm mad. Some super-cool powers would be nice, too. But I'd really miss the historical clothing. *sob*

Actually, you know what? Stick me in a Jennifer Crusie novel. Just like real life, but better! (Also, semi-on the topic of clothes, I want Min's shoes. I'd have to compromise on the butt-kicking of the fantasy, and the clothes wouldn't be as awesome as in a historical, but a contemporary romantic comedy with fantastic shoes thrown in sounds perfect right about now.)

Minna said...

As I like fantasy and magic, my choise would be one of the stories by David and Leigh Eddings.

slade - merry christmas everybody

Dean Martin - Let it Snow!

Monty Python - "Christmas Time"

PinkPeony said...

Hola Anna! Welcome, Annie!

I'd want to be in a suspense romance with a hard as nails hero who packs heat. I'd be a chef and help him bring down the bad guys...a brick of of C-4 hidden in the baked ziti, some horse tranquilizer in pomegranate martini, or a time bomb ticking inside the baba rum cake. There's something very sexy about a guy who packs heat and is a law unto himself. Maybe I'm this way because of all the James Bond films I watched when I was a kid.

Though I do love historicals, I think I'm too much of a realist to be swept off my feet...unless it was Gerard Butler in a kilt holding a sword with one hand and a vacuum cleaner in the other.

Congrats on the GR Virginia.

Annie West said...

Hi Michelle,

You know, I could see you in Lord of the Rings, wielding a slim but deadly sword, and wearing Doc Martens under your long skirt. Go, Michelle!

Hm, I must say I do like the idea of a Georgette Heyer. Sounds great. But...when did they invent toothpaste? And I seem to remember various secondary characters suffering terribly from toothache rather than having the offending tooth drawn. On the other hand - men in buckskins and boots...

Annie West said...

Hi Lynz,

Great to see you here! Interesting about Lost in Austen. Yes, her voice grated a little, but for me the really annoying thing was that she didn't attempt to put up her hair to look vaguely as if she belonged in the period.

You're daring, opting for an urban fantasy. Or no, I see it's a Jennifer Crusie book. Now wouldn't that be fun? A modern romantic comedy with great shoes! I suspect there may be others joining you there.

Authorness said...

Hi, Annie and Anna!

Annie, I get such a kick out of seeing your books top the charts. Your stories have an incredible blend of warmth, passion and intelligence. (Sounds like my kind of hero, actually!)

Wasn't 'Lost in Austen' fun? I would love to step into a Sherlock Holmes novel but I'm not sure I can pull off smoking a pipe and posing as a guy. So perhaps I'll be Nancy Drew instead.

~ Vanessa

Annie West said...

Hi Minna,

Oh a magic and fantasy story sounds fantastic. Maybe that way you could make up your own world too!

Thanks for the links. I love Dean Martin's voice so I particularly enjoyed that one.!

Anna Campbell said...

Hey,, congratulations, Virginia! I hope you're putting him through his paces!

Hi guys! Away from home and on sporadic email access so my apologies ahead of time for not being around as much as usual when I have a guest. Annie, however, is always an amazing guest, so I'm sure she'll keep you entertained and amazed!

Annie, realy enjoyed your interview!

Annie West said...

Pink Peony, the images your comments conjure up! Love the idea of a hard as nails hero (yep, I'm a sucker for them - I watched all the 007 movies too) and a talented chef (presumably good with knives). But, maybe it's the heat here tonight, the sound of the pomegranite martini sounds particularly appealing. Perhaps served by said h-a-n hero? No, he'd be too busy, I suppose, bringing down the bad guys.

But, sigh, Gerard Butler in a kilt with a sword and a vacuum. Can that be beaten? If Anna were here she'd probably say Richard Armitage in leather and boots with a bbq and a broom, but there's something about a kilt! LOVE your imagination. When you find this guy, please let me know!

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, dear, Annie has outed me. I wanted you all to think I was out with James Bond saving the free world or something. Yes, you're right. I'm visiting friends and living the high life. Just had yet another glass of French champagne - hic! And actually I'm not joking - I'm seriously thinking of moving in! This place gives the lair a run for its money.

Anna Campbell said...

Lynz, Annie is amazing, isn't she? I'm not at all surprised that she was selected in the Barnes and Noble list.

Annie West said...

Hi Vanessa! What a lovely thing to say about my books. You can say it any time you like. As loudly as you like! As for yum heroes, you write gorgeous ones. They're so warm and grounded, even if they are just a tad young for me...

Oh, oh, wouldn't it be fun to be in a Sherlock Holmes story, but (sorry to any Conan Doyle fans), maybe in a slightly updated version. Sherlock was a bit of a misogynist for my taste. But, yes, I can definitely see you as Nancy Drew! What a terrific match. Why did I never think of that before?

Annie West said...

Anna, you're here! How lovely. But please don't go around telling people I'll keep them entertained and amazed. Sheesh! I feel like I should be balancing a rubber ball on my nose or juggling or, better yet, pulling gorgeous heroes out of a hat.

How is Briz Vegas? Having a ball?

Annie West said...

Ah, Anna, I should have known. Enjoying a glass of bubbly, are you? I'm sure James Bond would let you do that while you helped save the free world. Is your 007 also known by the name Richard, I wonder?

Hey, those bubbles obviously agree with you. I love being called amazing (as long as it's in a good way).

Have a wonderful time on your visit. You deserve the break after all your work. And, by the way, congratulations again on CAPTIVE OF SIN coming out. Woo hoo! Now, that's some story.

Minna said...

Aikakone - Hiljaisuus

Hassisen Kone - On jouluyö, nyt laulaa saa

Rajaton - En Etsi Valtaa Loistoa

Pave Maijanen:Kuokkavieras

Authorness said...

Come to think of it, Annie, you are right about Sherlock Holmes being a misogynist! Watson strikes me as the more sensitive chap out of the pair. I'm looking forward to seeing how Robert Downey Jr interprets Holmes in the upcoming movie.

Helen said...

Congrats Virginia have fun with him

Annie and Anna two of my favourite people what a great interview Ladies. Love the pictures and I was there when one of them was taken at Guilford Library what a great evening that was.

Congrats on the the Desert King's Pregnant Bride being in the best books of 2009 list I agree it is an awesome book. And for everyone in the States you really need to get Blackmailed Bride Inexperienced Wife it is a fantastic read I loved Dario and Alissa.

As for a story I would love to be in I think one I didn't know but whether it would be corsets and buckskins or a Mediterainian Lover or a suspense I don't know I love them all these days to hard to choose LOL.

I have to agree on your choice of great reads for this years Wiked Little Game and Captive Of Sin truly awesome books.

Have Fun

Annie West said...

Oh, Vanessa, I'm looking forward to the Robert Downey Jnr Sherlock Holmes too! Should be fun.

I always thought Dr Watson was a bit of a softie. I remember seeing Nigel Bruce in the old version and he was just so comfortable!

Cheryl said...

Wonderful blog, Anna and Annie. Congrats on the B&N best seller list, Annie. So well deserved!

I love the way "Blackmailed Bride, Inexperienced Wife" came to you and how you developed the story. It sounds a fabulous book. They all do!

As a historical fan, I'd be willing to disregard the trials of living in the eighteenth century as long as Jamie Fraser was with me. :)

Annie West said...

Minna, more great clips! I love the first one and I'm listening to another as I type this one. Thank you!

Annie West said...

Hi Helen, it's great to see you here. That library session at Guildford with Anna was lots of fun, wasn't it?

Thanks for the kind words about The Desert King's Pregnant Bride. It turned out to be a difficult book to get right, but I think it was worth the effort. As for Blackmailed Bride - it was a fave to write! I'm glad you enjoyed it too.

Hard to choose just one romance to slip into, isn't it? So far no one's picked a pirate story or a medical romance. I know capable doctors are popular as romance heroes, at least in Australia.

Anna's and Christine's latest releases are great, aren't they? When Anna asked me my faves this year it was hard - so many to pick from! Hope the choice is even harder in 2010!

Annie West said...

Hi Cheryl. I'm pleased to hear you liked the interview. Obviously it's Anna's deft questioning. Thanks too for the good wishes on the B&N listing.

Yes, it was fun, getting the idea for Blackmailed Bride, Inexperienced Wife. I remember my excitement as I kept playing that 'why?' and 'what if?' game. People get story ideas from the tiniest seeds sometimes.

Ah, Cheryl, the 18th century clothes were so flattering. I wouldn't mind trying them. Though I'm not quite so sure about being laced in! Sounds like you've got it all worked out though and there are definite compensations.

Helen said...

I love the medical romances and have read a lot of them I love Amy Andrews and Fiona Lowe and Carol Marinelli and I have Sharon Archer's on the TBR pile and you know I love a good pirate story as well LOl

Have Fun

Annie West said...


You know, I haven't read many pirate stories in the last couple of years. I have a lot of reading to catch up with!

I've only discovered medicals in the last year or so. Yes, Fiona Lowe and Sharon Archer and Amy Andrews are terrific. I haven't read Carol Marinelli's medicals. Just her Presents - which are fabulously intense. Maybe I should try her medicals too. More books to buy!

Kandy Shepherd said...

Hi Annie, how nice of you to mention LOVE IS A FOUR-LEGGED WORD as a favorite read! Thank you! Your list has given me a few good ideas for holiday reading. I second you with CAPTIVE OF SIN. I loved UNTOUCHED but Anna's new one truly is wonderful.
I enjoyed Lost in Austen, very clever.
Funny when you mention what book I'd like to wake up in - I have to say an Annie West Mills & Boon! Honestly, the fantasy of your enormously rich hero living a billionaire's life in a wonderful European country really is appealing! Actually I want the European setting but your Sheik hero, is that okay? I love your Sheiks.

Deb said...

Hi, Annie and Anna! Thanks for a fun interview.
I wouldn't mind being in a story with Sven as the hero...
I like reading Regency and Medieval romances, but since I'm a teacher, how about plopping me in a prairie town as the local schoolmarm and a sexy local hero sweeps me off my feet? Hey, wait, that already happenend to me. I was a teacher, a single and sexy dad came for a conference about his son who was in my class, and for the rest of the story....We've been married for 11 years. :)

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Such an incredible post from two great friends. Annie congrats on being on the Barnes and Noble list.

I always love a back story and Forgotten Mistress, Secret Love Child sounds wonderful.

Beth said...

Welcome back to the lair, Annie! Loved your post and your books sound fabulous *g*

One of the reasons I love to write is that I get to walk in my characters' shoes for a little while. Right now I'm working on a young adult book and it's fun to remember life as a long as I don't really have to relive it ;-)

Annie West said...

Kandy, I have very fond memories or reading LOVE IS A FOUR LEGGED WORD. I was ill and feeling very sorry for myself and your story perked me up enormously. It was such fun and very romantic. I'm eagerly awaiting your next book.

Well, some people are picky, aren't they? A billionaire hero sweeping you off the Europe, but he's actually a sheikh in disguise? Hm. Actually, that works for me!

As for Anna's latest. I think anyone who enjoyed UNTOUCHED would love CAPTIVE OF SIN.

Annie West said...

Hi Deb,

What a brilliant idea - Sven as your hero! Where is he by the way? I've seen no sign of him around.

Wow, it sounds like you're living your fantasy! What a great story. OK, you can definitely by the prairie town school marm. Sounds like a role just made for you. And I bet your sexy hero looks rather like your husband.

Annie West said...

Marilyn, it's good to see you and hear you enjoyed the interview. Thanks for the congratulations on the B&N listing. That really made my week/month!

Glad too that you're looking forward to FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE CHILD. It's my first ever reunion story but of course I had to do it with a twist. It was a beauty to write even though I took a month off in the middle to go travelling. This time last year... sigh.

Annie West said...

Hi Beth,

Thanks for the welcome. It's always great to visit the Lair. I was very happy when Anna invited me.

I know what you mean about enjoying being in the stories you write. It's almost like being on vacation, visiting somewhere new. Well, OK, maybe a difficult vacation fraught with emotional difficulties, but it is something away from our normal life. Laughing here at the idea of you enjoying the teenage years, so long as you don't have to relive them. Absolutely. I'm with you on that!

Deb said...

You're right, Annie, the hero of my story does look exactly like my husband. ;) When I first met him, his hair was a little longer than now and he wore Levis, a blue denim shirt, cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat. (He was a transplant from Texas and had a cute Texan drawl then.)
Yeah, where has that Nordic hunk Sven been?

PJ said...

Hi Annie! Great to have you back in the lair. Congrats on being named to Michelle's "best of" list. I'm not a bit surprised. You write wonderful stories!

That's a pretty impressive "best of" list that you posted as well. I think Anna's "Captive of Sin" is her best yet. Same with Christine's "Wicked Little Game." Kandy's "Love is a Four-Legged Word" is absolutely delightful. (She's our guest today at The Romance Dish and is giving away a copy of it.)

If I were to step into a romance it would be a contemporary. I do love my creature comforts. ;-) I'd probably go for a category with a small-town family feel, cooking, pets and a rugged, sexy hero with a great sense of humor and a kind heart...and a love of football!

PJ said...

Anna, sounds like you're having a wonderful time with your friends! Is there chocolate to go along with that champagne?

Annie West said...

Wow, Deb, no wonder you were bowled over. Texan drawl, Levis, cowboy hat and boots...I'm not surprised he's appearing in your writing! Hm, this one could be a best seller.

And, yes, I'm a little sorry Sven hasn't been around. I won't say Anna promised he'd be here but a girl has certain expectations...!

Annie West said...

Hi PJ, big waves to you. You must have snuck in here while I was over commenting on Kandy's post at the Romance Dish! What a coincidence.

Glad you liked my list of books. The trouble was, when to stop? I was lucky finding so many good books this year and a lot of them stood out.

Hm, so you're a girl who enjoys creature comforts? In that case definitely a contemporary setting. The small town feel with cooking and a rugged hero sounds particularly appealing right now with Christmas approaching.

Anna Sugden said...

Hey Annie - great to see you! Anna - have fun on your Bond-like outing.

Great interview as always, ladies - your new book sounds faboo, Annie.

Hmmm - Let's see - I could be the one who Roarke falls in love with in the JD Robb series ... or Sammys's girl in Terri Garey's upcoming series about the sexy Satan (he appeared, deliciously, in the Nicki Styx series) ... then, there's Beth's Dillon (from A Not-So-Perfect Past) and Tawny's Dante (from Does She Dare?) ... or Christine's Jardine ... and ... and ... *sigh* so many yummy heroes, so little time.

Annie West said...

Hi Anna, how lovely to see you again.

Hm, I'm not sure Anna's is really a Bond-style outing. More like a giggly house party I think.

I'm finding it fascinating reading your choices of which story you'd go to as heroine. It doesn't matter what the setting, either time or location so long as you get the hero right. Hm, here's something in that! You wouldn't want to time or planet travel and then find it wasn't worth the effort.

Eva S said...

Hi Annie,
thanks for the great interview!! I love your books and I'd like to be in one of your books with a gorgeous, rich Mediterranean hero (from Santorini....)! I do love historicals too, especially those about Highlanders, but I don't think I'd like to live in one of those old, cold castles...

Annie West said...

Hi Eva! Thanks for the compliment on my books. Glad you found the interview fun.

I think I could stand one of those old cold castles for a little while (if the hero was right) but I'm with you - I don't think I'd stick it long term. On the other hand - being on the Med with a gorgeous rich hero from Santorini - I think I could just about manage that. Actually, that idea could inspire a story one of these days!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Annie! That ball really suits the tip of your nose! Now bounce it up and down ;-) I'm having a lovely time, thank you. Being treated like a queen! Off for a bookshop crawl and an art exhibition today. Oh, life's tough!

Anna Campbell said...

Actually, Annie, today I'm making a video for the Aussie release of COS. That should be exciting. I think I might need a glass of champagne for that too. Went around the bookshops in town yesterday hoping to see the lovely big trade paperback but it's not out yet. Thanks for the congrats!

Anna Campbell said...

I haven't been through all the comments yet, but I wondered if you modelled your wonderful latest heroes on anyone? My current guy has a young Anthony Andrews vibe going on - my first blond. I wasn't expecting him to be blond but he came out that way! Do your characters have minds of their own?

limecello said...

Hi Annie! Loved the post - thanks for visiting us in the lair today!
As for your questions... if living it... well I do love historicals, but no. I love my creature comforts more. I'd love to be in a Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel... or Lisa Kleypas. Breathing Room, Heaven Texas, Lady Be Good, Smooth Talking Stranger... Or any number of Emilie Rose/Leanne Banks/Anne McAllister books. (Yes, I've totally thought out the modern comforts + marrying a billionaire part ;) - too bad that isn't real :P)

Congratulations on the GR, Virginia!

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Helen! Thanks for the love for Captive of Sin! And Wicked Little Game is fantastic! Wasn't that a great night at Guildford Library. I hope we can do it again. It was wonderful meeting everyone - and eating Tim Tams!

Anna Campbell said...

Cheryl, interesting about you wanting to go back to the 18th century. Actually I'm kinda happy to live in the early 21st century! Although it would be fun to visit the Regency and flirt with Lord Byron and tease Mr. Darcy!

Maureen said...

I am going to want to be in one of Harlequin's Presents novels where an ordinary woman meets a tycoon or a prince and gets thrown into a life of private jets and mansions.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, thanks, Kandy! I hoped you'd take to the lovely Gideon! Actually all that was missing for you was a dog - I still think Wolfram is the secret of Matthew's appeal in Untouched! ;-)

I love Carol Marinelli's Presents. Should check out her medicals. But I can definitely second Sharon Archer and Amy Andrews as fantastic local writers. Such emotion!

Anna Campbell said...

Deb, what a lovely romantic story! And I like fish out of water stories, which is what those prairie stories often are. I remember a really fun one from years ago where the school mistress was from a really rich family back east and she had hilarious adventures before she fell into our gorgeous hero's arms for the final time in the story.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Marilyn. Great to see you here!

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, I think we need to check Deb's ENORMOUS purse before she leaves the lair. Suspect Sven might be tight up and gagged in there. Sheesh! Some of the Bandita Buddies are SOOOOOO sneaky!

Annie West said...

Ha! Anna Campbell - enough with the seal jokes please or you'll be getting raw fish when you next come to visit. And I don't mean sushi.

Hm, a bookshop crawl, and art exhibition and champagne. Sounds like you're enjoying yourself.

I know you'll have fun making your video about COS, Anna. Beware too much of the bubbly or you'll be giggling all through it. Wish I could be there to see you in action, but I'm looking forward to seeing the footage when it's done.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi PJ! That's a great blog Kandy has over at the Romance Dish today. I love it when she talks about the animal characters in her books. Thanks for those lovely words about COS. I remember how happy I was when you emailed about how much you enjoyed it. Walked around in a glow all day - and no, Ms. West, I wasn't drinking at the time. Hic!

Anna Campbell said...

We had mint slices the other day - another fabulous Arnotts treat along the line of Tim Tams. We had prawns and oysters for dinner last night. I'm really suffering down here! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Oy, giggly house party, West? Some respect if you please!

Anna Campbell said...

Eva, if I had a big warm Highlander to cuddle up to, I think I'd rather like a cold castle! ;-)

Anna Campbell said...

Lime, what great idea about being in an SEP book! Can I come too?

Anna Campbell said...

Maureen, another luxury lover? Works for me!

Annie West said...

Hi Limecello, it's fantastic to be here! Actually I've got so used to seeing you with the rooster, it was a surprise to find Virginia had snaffled it.

Oh, fancy being in a Susan Elizabeht Phillips story! Wouldn't that be fun, though, on the other hand I'd be wary as she does know how to give her heroines a hard time. Some great writers in there. I wouldn't mind being in an Anne McAllister novel either. Her families are so warm and lovely I think it'd be great to join them.

I hear you on the comforts of marrying a billionaire. But think of the down side - paparazzi and boring A list functions. Unless you spent your time on a private island in the arms of your hunky billionaire. Sigh. Can you tell I'm drifting off here? Didn't get enought sleep last night, obviously.

Christine Wells said...

Hi Annie! Anna, thanks so much for having Annie on Bandits today. Great interview, as always, and best of luck with all those fabulous releases. You are a busy lady, Annie! Congratulations on making double digits. That is a major achievement.

Annie, the answer to your question is 'all of the above', I think! Although, having said that, I'm reading Liz Carlyle's wonderful Wicked All Day at the moment and I wouldn't mind walking into that book as Lord Mercer's heroine. Phew! He is one hot hero.

I also wouldn't mind being a cool, mouthy heroine in one of SEP or Jenny Crusie's books. They always have such a great time falling in love. Would you be terribly upset if I wouldn't want to exchange places with one of your heroines? You put them through SO much grief before they get their HEA! Although the payoff at the end might well be worth the angst.

Thanks so much for the mention of WICKED LITTLE GAME in your top list, Annie. You're a sweetheart!

Annie West said...

Hah, Anna, do my characters have minds of their own? Absolutely. Sometimes I feel like I'm not writing a story so much as wrangling a hero into submission. Hm, doesn't that sound interesting? Actually, it's not 'submission' so much as gently nudging them in the right direction. They can be so stubborn, don't you find? Dario was a case in point. He was such a strong character right from the start it was if he was telling me there was his way or the highway. Little did he know I love giving my heroes a hard time so I got my own back in spades.

Most of the time I don't model my hero on anyone in particular. But this time I did have flashes of a young and much taller Andy Garcia. The dark hair, the swept back hair. Add some cool hauteur, rigid control and underneath it all, passion about to burst, and you've got a fair approximation of Dario.

For my continuity story (out next year) my hero has dark hair and piercing blue eyes. He crashes his chopper in the desert but eventually wanders out, half dead, to fall at the heroine's feet. I had a wonderful time writing him as I was definitely channelling Daniel Craig as 007 when I wrote that. OK, OK, so my hero isn't English and he isn't blond and he's long and lean, but the way he wears a tux, with such panache, even though he's injured and barely conscious - definitely owes a bit to Mr Craig as James Bond. And his attitude - been there, done that, no ties - again, DC inspired.

Annie West said...

Anna, why am I not surprised Helen and I talk of the fun we had at Guildford, thinking in terms of the people we met, and you think of the Tim Tams! Typical! Though I must say they were tasty.

BTW, I just stocked up on some - a sale at the local shop. Visit me and you can have Tim Tams with every meal!

Annie West said...

Anna, I can see you teasing Mr Darcy and flirtin with Byron. Gee, they wouldn't know what hit them! However I'm not surprised you're opting to stay firmly in the 21st century. It has so much to offer, especially a certain RA.

Annie West said...

Hi Maureen. I'm with you - definitely a romance about an ordinary woman (otherwise I'd feel out of place). Love your idea of being swept off your feet to mansions and private jets. I'm assuming there'd be room in those mansions (love the plural) for guests?

Annie West said...

Anna, I'm sure Deb would never be so selfish as to try kidnapping Sven! Would she? I'm wondering if he's gone off, fossicking for exotic new ingredients for some killer cocktails, or working on that body...

Annie West said...

Hi Christine. It's funny being almost in my teens with the books. I think I should feel like a 'real' writer but it still seems like I'm just very lucky!

No need to thank me for putting WLG on my list of great 2009 reads. I just called it as I saw it, though I'm sure I've left off too many books. That story of yours was a corker.

OK, now I'm going to look for that Liz Carlyle book. I haven't read it yet. Yes, wouldn't it be great to be a mouthy, confident heroine, like in SEP or Jennifer Crusie's stories? I never think of the perfect come back till it's way too late.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Annie, welcome back to the Lair. You're a regular now and we so enjoy having you and hearing all about your new releases.

I'd love to be in late Victorian times, just when things are beginning to change. Wouldn't even mind being in Whitechapel and dealing with the mystery of Jack the Ripper.

Becke Davis said...

Hi Anna and Annie! I was excited to see Annie on Michelle's list -- Anna, you know you're always at the top of mine. I've read a couple (not all -- more are in my TBR pile) of Annie's books and I've been recommending her to my friends. I love discovering new authors (or should I say, new to me).

Much as I now love historicals, I think I'd still prefer to set my own personal story in modern times. The hero can be like those in historical romances, though!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hullo, Annie and buona sera, Banditas and Anna! Congrats on your successes, Annie. Looking forward to these novels. Annie, may I say you had me at: Take one very controlled, successful, sexy Italian ... Yes. Please.

And, oh, it probably goes w/out saying, but my novel fantasy would include a couple of strapping, young footmen who really are Italian dukes. And a carriage.

Annie West said...

Hi Jo, thanks for the warm welcome. I must say it always feels great coming here to visit. So many friendly and fascination people and posts.

Oh, you're game, tackling the Jack the Ripper mystery. Definitely you'd need a strong stomach for that. I see some theories recently suggesting it might have been a visiting sailor. Actually, Victorian times would be pretty good, I think. Close enough to our own time to be understandable but still, amazingly different. Hm, now I'm starting a day dream about entering a Victorian romance where the hero is a dashing archaeologist. Sigh.

Annie West said...

Hi Becke. It's lovely to see you too. Glad to hear you've been enjoying my stories. I find I'm the same. When I find an author I like I want to read more by that person and I tell my friends about them. Thanks, being on Michelle's list was a real treat.

Ah, I see you're a girl who likes to have her cake and eat it too! A modern setting but a historical style hero. Should be lots of fun and sparks flying I think!

Annie West said...

Hi Michelle. It's beaut to see you here. I'm smiling that I snaffled your interest with my hero's description. Maybe we share some similar tastes in heroes?

And did I tell you how thrilled I was to be on your best of 2009 list? Of course I did, but it's nice to say it again. What a good feeling.

Oh, my! Your fantasy novel sounds really very interesting. Strapping young footmen who are Italian aristocrats in disguise. A closed carriage (I'm assuming it's closed). Wouldn't mind getting a report back on that one.

Anna Campbell said...

Yum! Love your inspirations, Annie. I can see just what you mean. Actually, everybody, keep an eye out for the continuity book. It's a doozy!

I'm just off to save the free world,aka drink coffee somewhere cool and watch the passing parade.

Annie, thank you so much for being my guest today. You've been fantastic, as ever. We'll see you again in the lair! Thanks everyone for you wonderful welcome to Annie.

And make sure you pick up a copy of BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE. It's a fantastic story!

Anna Campbell said...

Michelle and Becke, I got such a thrill when I saw Annie's great THE DESERT KING'S PREGNANT BRIDE on your list. Whooooohoooooo!

Annie West said...

Anna, thanks so much for hosting me here at the Lair. I've looked forward to it for a while and it's been great. Enjoy that coffee. Thanks too for encouraging people to buy Dario and Alissa's story. I'll second that!

Kate Carlisle said...

Lovely to have you back in the Lair, Annie! I really enjoy hearing about your story lines! They're so classic but with a special twist all your own. And I love the idea of channeling 007. I do it daily, myself. ;-)

Hmm, now as to what I would like to step into? Er, maybe I didn't phrase that quite as pleasantly as I should've. Let's just say, I would have Daniel Craig as my co-star. I'm not sure of the plot but I can assure you it won't be a historical as I require indoor plumbing. ;-)

Congrats, Virginia! Hope you had a fine day with our feathered lad.

Annie West said...

Hi Kate,

A romance with Daniel Craig and indoor plumbing! What more could a girl want? I can see we have a few things in common. Channelling 007 was so satisfying!

Thanks for the welcome.

Annie West said...

Well, ladies, it's getting late so I should announce some winners. As usual it's hard to choose, since you've all been so enthusiastic. But here goes:

CONGRATULATIONS, PINK PEONY! How could I possibly go past a romance featuring Gerard Butler in a kilt, brandishing a sword and a vacuum cleaner? If you email me at with your postal address I'll send you a copy of BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INEXPERIENCED WIFE.

And CONGRATULATIONS, DEB! Your prairie romance that owes so much to your real life romance sounds intriguing. Or was it the cowboy boots and hat that did it? If you email me too with your address and tell me which of my previous books you'd like, I'll get that in the post to you.

Again, thanks everyone! It's been enormous fun.

Sharon Archer said...

Annie and Anna, great blog! Congratulations on your Barnes and Noble listing, Annie! And for getting into double-digit book production! And woohoo for me being able to collect more Annie West's for my keeper shelf!

Mmm, a time period... as long as I was super healthy, I'd love to dip back into a Wild West setting. Something about the long lean cowboy that Clint Eastwood used to play so well. Of course, the reality is I'd probably hate the dust and dirt. And a few other things as well. Still can't let practicality get in the way of a good fantasy, can I!

Must get down to the shops and see if I can get a copy of that movie, Lost in Austen. It sounds like fun!

BTW I love the pics of you and Anna together!

PS It's such an honour to be on your list for 2009 reads!

Annie West said...

Sharon, it's great to see you here. Sven hasn't been off visiting there has he?

Hm, the wild west with a long lean cowboy sounds a treat, even with the dust. Definitely a good fantasy.

I loved your debut book and I've only just read your second and it was great too. Obviously you're on a roll. I'm wondering what you'll produce for no 3. I'm sure I won't be disappointed.

Hope you have dreams tonight about tumbleweed and gorgeous cowboys!

Deb said...

Thank you, Annie!