Guest Author: Annie West

Think contemporary, sexy romance packed with “emotion, excitement and passion” and you’d be spot on in a description of my guest today—USA Today Best Selling Harlequin Mills & Boon author, Annie West.
I first met Annie in 2003 at my first RWAus conference. From memory, we chatted in a lobby bar until quite late that evening and I was very interested to hear about her writing. Neither of us was published at that stage and we talked about the pitches we were preparing to the Harlequin editor at that conference. I had one pitch prepared, Annie had three!!

I’m not quite sure how long it was after that conference, Annie got ‘the call’, but I know I’ve been thoroughly enjoying her stories ever since, and if I see one of her books on the shelf at the store, you can guarantee it makes it to the checkout with me!

Her story Damaso Claims His Heir won the 2015 RWAus Romantic Book of the Year Award for short, sexy category romance, and she’s also been listed on the RWAmerica Honor Roll. As I mentioned last week on my interview with Brenda Novak, Annie offered critiques for authors as part of Brenda Novak’s fundraising auction for diabetes research and I was fortunate enough to have her critique the first chapter or two of my novel, Roses for Sophie, through Brenda’s auction.

Annie, welcome to the blog. It’s fabulous to have you here, and it’s been really great to read your published novels, follow your writing career and hear about all your successes along the way.

Hi Alyssa! It's lovely to be invited. I spend so much time inhabiting the world of my stories that it's great to get 'out' for a visit. As you know, I love talking about romance. So much has happened since we first met, hasn't it?

It certainly has!
I always like to ask my guest authors about their latest releases. Can you tell us about that title and whether writing it posed any particular challenges for you?

I'm midway between releases. My most recent book, 'Her Forgotten Lover's Heir' is an amnesia story. Using a light hand to keep the tension tight as Molly gradually discovers more about her relationship with Pietro was, I thought, going to be a big challenge but in the end it seemed to flow naturally. One of the best pieces of feedback I've had is from someone who emerged from a coma with temporary memory loss, who said I'd got the emotions just right!

My Jan/Feb book, "The Greek's Forbidden Innocent, definitely had challenges. Why is it we don't always realise what they are till we start writing? The heroine is masquerading as someone else so there were all sorts of issues to do with when the truth should be revealed and how deep that deceit goes (even if  it's for the best reason). On the other hand, this book has high emotional stakes and a real lightning strike of attraction that made it a joy to write.

I haven't caught up on that title yet but it is on my TBR pile!

You have a very close friendship with the wonderful Anna Campbell, and have been critique partners for many years. I know the two of you have recently had a writing retreat together. Apart from feasting on Anna’s fabulous cooking (and I’ve suggested to her that she should write a cookbook!), how does the critique partnership work (ie brainstorming, proof reading, general feedback?)

Anna and I are close friends who bonded over a love of romance books and other things. Fortunately we also genuinely enjoy each other's work! I think that's the reason the critique side of the relationship works - we both love the stories the other one writes. Even though mine are contemporary and hers historical, we both enjoy fascinating alpha heroes and strong heroines. We share drafts for critical feedback and sometimes brainstorm initial story ideas. We're very lucky to have a deep friendship that's also handy for our careers.

I love hearing about authors who can work so well together and hope to catch up with Anna here on the blog in 2019 as she is another of my favourite authors.

You’ve had some sensational covers with Mills & Boon and also your independently published romances. Do you have a favourite?

I'm never good at picking favourites and in this case I've been lucky with so many covers! The two that come to mind are the UK cover of "Girl in the Bedouin Tent" which won a best cover award and "Burning for the Italian" where the cover photo inspired part of the story. ☺

(In case that doesn't make sense, because I usually don't see covers till well after the story is written, this book was independently published and I was looking for a suitable photo at the same time I was working on the book). 

Ooh, and can I also include the cover of a recent French edition of "The Greek Tycoon's Unexpected Wife"? Every time I see that cover I grin from ear to ear! I want to be where she is!


Looking at the cover I can see why!!

It’s getting close to Christmas. Do you have a favourite Christmas tradition or memory you’d like to share with us?

One of my earliest memories is of finding a silver coin in my grandmother's Christmas pudding. She had a stash of them that she'd sterilize and put in the pudding mix. Not only was her pudding fantastic, but it was a sign of good luck if you got a coin. It was only later that my mother told me Grandma used to look at the children's portions when serving it up and shove an extra coin in to make sure we got one!

Part of the joy of Christmas for me is sharing wonderful food with friends and relatives, whether as edible gifts or part of celebratory meals. My children insist that we back shortbread every year but, as we started doing that when they were very little, and used their choice of biscuit cutters, I suspect e're the only family around who has Christmas shortbread pigs with silver cachou eyes!


My girls and I also bake shortbread every year, but I have to admit we haven't made shortbread pigs. Those pigs sound very cute! I also remember my grandmother baking plum puddings and hoping to be the one to find the sixpence! I suspect she may also have slipped a sixpence into every child's serving. I'll have to ask my mum about that!

You’ve mentioned to me that you have several projects bubbling away. What’s next for you as an author?

There's always another story on the boil, isn't there? I'm working on a sheikh story which will be the follow up to a book I sent my editor last month. The first book was supposed to be a stand alone story. However, as I learned more about my hero, I also became fascinated with his brother. Soon I was wondering ho the brother coped with a life-changing event and whether he eventually found happiness. Being a romance writer I was determined he should have one! In the end I found myself plotting his story (which I have to say is a corker). Now all I have to do is turn that idea into a book as good as the story idea! We'll find out soon whether I succeeded!

I've got ideas for a couple more novels that I can't wait to get into plus some more novellas, possibly in my Hot Italian Nights series and also in a new series. All I need is time to write them...

Ah...I can so relate to that, Annie! So many ideas...So many fascinating heroes and heroines to write!

Thank you so much for joining me today as my guest.

Thanks so much for having me to visit, Alyssa! Can I just add that if anyone has questions either about my stories, or about writing romance more generally, I'm happy to answer either here or via annie@annie-west.com


Sounds great!

You can find out more about Annie by visiting her website at http://www.annie-west.com/

Thank you for visiting the blog today. I hope you'll join me next week for my special guest, Elizabeth Hoyt, and enter the Elizabeth Hoyt competition. Until then, Happy Reading!

Best wishes,
Alyssa


L'épouse de Stavros Denakis (E-LIT) (French Edition) by [West, Annie]     PS. As I had the wrong cover, here's the cover Annie loves!!!
______________________________________________________________________________
About the Blogger:
Alyssa J. Montgomery is an Australian contemporary romance author who is published by Escape Publishing (Harlequin Enterprises, Australia). She also 
writes medieval romance as Alyssa James.



 


Comments

  1. Thanks for inviting me to visit, Alyssa, it's a pleasure to be here. It was fun talking about Christmas traditions as well as books. I'm really getting into the festive season now, having just sent out my Christmas newsletter earlier today. It features a free short Christmas read. Though I wrote it specifically for my newsletter readers, if any visitors here would like it, I'll share the newsletter with them without them subscribing. Anyone interested, just write to me at annie@annie-west.com and ask to read the latest newsletter.

    Here's to lots more romances for us all in 2019!

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    1. Oh, I should explain too, that the other cover I love - the French edition is actually this one https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lépouse-Stavros-Denakis-LIT-French-ebook/dp/B07GJS8R2H a new ebook edition with the heroine not in the hero's arms but with her arms lifted as she takes in the spectacular view.

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    2. Ooh, sorry I got the wrong French cover, Annie! I'll go back and try to edit it in!
      Thanks for being my guest today. It was lovely to chat with you.

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    3. It's confusing when there's more than one cover, Alyssa! My fault for not being more specific! Thanks for adding the other one.

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  2. Hi Alyssa! Hi Annie! What a fun interview! I didn't know that about the pigs or the sixpence! Just goes to show you can talk to someone for years and still have new things to find out. We had a few threepences we used to put in. Mum's Christmas pudding was a work of art! Annie, I've so enjoyed working with you over the years - it's always lovely to celebrate your great successes like the USA Today listing and the Honor Roll inclusion. Go, you!

    By the way, I've the new books Annie mentioned (aren't I lucky?) and they're fabuloso, as our best Italian heroes would say!

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    Replies
    1. Waving hi, Anna! Yes, you still manage to surprise me too! :) Actually, now I think of it there were threepences and one sixpence in those puds. Christmas used to smell so good in those days. It still does, now I think about it.

      Thanks for the congratulations on the Honor Roll. It still makes me smile!

      Here's to lots more years of friendship and working together. :)

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Anna. And...readers! Come back and visit on the first Saturday in January when Anna will be my guest author here on the blog! Looking forward to that.

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    3. I'm looking forward to my visit too, Alyssa! Thank you for the invite!

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  3. Hello Annie and Alyssa

    Fabulous interview Ladies and I can highly recommend everyone of Annie's stories they fabulous stories always so much sensuality and awesome heroes and heroines, once you pick them up you will not want to put them down.

    Love how many ideas you have going on that means lots more Annie books and the newsletter is really good I am going to read the short story a bit later on :)

    Have Fun

    Helen

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    Replies
    1. Hope you enjoy the short story, Helen. I've been enjoying the feedback on it so far! Thank you so much for the kind words on my books. I fall in love with my characters too so it's wonderful to hear that you do too. Yes, plenty to work on. It's just finding time with so much going on right now.

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    2. Thanks for stopping by, Helen. Yes, Annie's books are always fabulous!

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  4. Howdy Annie and Alyssa, what a fab interview. :-) I adore that Girl in a Bedouin Tent cover too...and loved the story. My family doesn't really have Christmas traditions, so I'm very jealous of you're shortbread pigs. Be warned, I might have to pop around sometime to sample them. ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting, Michelle. I hope you'll join me in 2019 as a guest author here on the blog!

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    2. I'd be delighted to, Alyssa. :-)

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