Guest Author: Anna Campbell
My guest today obtained a degree in English Literature from the University of Queensland, which is where I did my undergraduate degree in speech pathology. However, we didn’t meet until 2005.
We were both seated at the same table because we were among the four finalists in the Romance Writer’s of Australia Emma Darcy Award for best unpublished manuscript. I’d heard from someone who’d been a judge that this author’s was the one tipped to win. She’d described it as a superlative manuscript, so, it was no surprise when Anna Campbell placed first in the competition!
I looked forward to Anna’s manuscript going into print so I could buy it and read it myself. From first place in the Emma Darcy Award, Anna was a finalist in the RWA (America) Golden Heart Award with the same story, then Anna experienced something most of us can only dream about—a bidding war between three major publishing houses. The rights were sold to Avon HarperCollins and Anna Campbell’s CLAIMING THE COURTESAN launched her brilliant career which has seen her books sold globally and translated into 20 languages.
I did buy and read the book and loved it. Then I went on to buying Anna’s
subsequent books and am definitely still a dedicated fan today! I’m not alone.
Anna has won more prestigious awards than I have room to include in this blog
(visit her website for all the accolades!), but I will mention she’s won an RT
Reviewer’s Choice Award, 3 Golden Quill Awards and here at home in Australia,
she’s been voted by the membership of the Australian Romance Readers
Association, their favourite author of the year four times!
you haven’t read Anna’s CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, do yourselves a favour and buy
the book! Then, read on and enjoy her other early titles UNTOUCHED and CAPTIVE
OF SIN (possibly my two favourite stories), and SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED
and MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION (possibly my two favourite of Anna’s covers). There
have been many other titles along the way published by Avon HarperCollins and
Grand Central Publishing (try the entire SONS OF SINS SERIES).
These days Anna finds self-publishing works best for her as traditional publishing doesn’t cope with the number of titles she releases, plus she enjoys being able to control the dates of release and pricing. (Anna also has 20 bestselling independently published romances)
I’d actually settled into the long flight from Sydney to London once and
emailed Anna to tell her I’d packed one of her books to read on the flight (I think it was My Reckless Surrender). She
told me she hoped I enjoyed it and that all the other passengers said to the
flight attendant, “I’ll have one of what she’s having, please!”
Without any further fanfare, welcome Anna! Thank you for being a guest on my blog today.
Hi Alyssa. Thanks for having me as
your guest today. And what a lovely wrap-up of my career to date. How wonderful
you’ve been reading the books since my debut!
I have your Lairds Most Likely books, but still have to get to those! There’s just not enough time in the day.
Would you please tell us all about your latest release and whether it posed any particular challenges for you?
My latest release was out last October and it’s a Christmas story, The Laird’s Christmas Kiss, the second in my Lairds Most Likely series which started with The Laird’s Willful Lass in July 2018. This one was so enjoyable to write as I did most of the first draft while I was travelling in the Highlands of Scotland. There was something magical about looking out the window whenever I wanted a quick description of the landscape!
The story takes place at Achrasheen Castle which is based on the famous Eilean Dorian Castle on the west coast of Scotland (pictured). The fictional version is a little further north, so when you look across the sea, you can see the Cuillins on Skye.
For five years, shy wallflower Elspeth Douglas has had a crush on her brother’s dashing friend, Brody Girvan. Brody, however, is a bit of a wild boy and has paid her no attention at all. She decides that this Christmas she won’t be in love with him anymore, so there. Of course, this is the Christmas where Brody suddenly notices that his friend Hamish has a very pretty sister with a generous heart and a witty tongue, and he wonders if perhaps it’s time to start thinking about settling down. Many crossed wires ensue before these two get a blissfully happy ending.You can find out more and read an excerpt on my website here:
So what was the challenge with this one? Well, precisely what I outlined. The story was so much fun and the characters were so intriguing that my projected 25000 word novella blew out to the length of a category romance at nearly 50 000 words. This didn’t suit my projected timetable at all, but I’m not sorry. This was a romance that needed that extra space to breathe.
That’s one of the attractions of self-publishing , I guess. It allows you to give each story what it needs rather than being bound to a word count.At one point prior to publication you were writing contemporary romances. Obviously you’ve been highly successful as a historical romance author. Do you think you’ll ever write outside the historical genre of romance, perhaps under a different pen name?
When I started writing seriously in search of publication, I thought writing for Harlequin Mills & Boon might be the best way to break into the romance market. I’d read Mills and Boon all my life – my mother was a huge fan too so it was handed down with the DNA, I think! However my heart was always with historical romance. I have a long-standing plan to write a historical crime series, but the problem (although perhaps problem isn’t the right word!) is that the historical romances are doing so well that I don’t have time to venture into a new genre. I’d probably use a pen name for the mystery series, should it ever see the light of day.
Speaking of names, Anna Campbell is a very famous name outside your authorship. Appropriately there is an Anna Campbell dress designer who manufactures very romantic wedding dresses. There was also a famous British feminist and prison abolition activist by the name. Now, some believe you can’t be a feminist and enjoy romance novels, however I wrote a blog last year on how romance novels empower women. I note that you agree on your website that romance novels are empowering to women. Would you like to comment further?
I think the people who imagine that romance novels are instruments of the patriarchy have never actually read one. Even as a little girl, one of the things I loved about a romance is that the woman’s story is centre stage. In so many books written by men, the woman is the prize for the bloke doing something heroic. In a romance novel, the woman takes a much more proactive role and it’s her journey that matters. In a good romance novel, the heroine wins in so many ways...she finds a lifelong love (and great sex), and she’s been through experiences that make her a much more fulfilled person aside from the relationship with her lover. What’s not to like?
Exactly!You’ve travelled extensively. What are you planning for your next trip abroad/is there anywhere you particularly want to revisit?
Funny you should ask. I’m actually off on my travels again at the end of this month. Most of it is revisiting places I’ve already been: Paris, Venice, the Isle of Eigg in Scotland, and catching up with some friends in England. The previously unvisited destinations are two new Scottish islands, Canna and Bute, and I’m doing a month’s residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland. This looks wonderful. It’s a manor house on an estate in the middle of nowhere which a famous director gifted to the nation as an artists’ retreat. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of interesting people there as well as working on my fourth Lairds Most Likely book, The Highlander’s English Bride.
Sounds fabulous! It’ll be a couple of years before I get to Europe again as my youngest is about to start her senior years at high school. Have fun for me!You’ve won so many prestigious awards both within Australia and internationally. Is there any one moment in your writing career that you hold closest to your heart?
Oh, there have been so many. Obviously selling Claiming the Courtesan in the auction was a major moment, especially as I’d been writing so long by then. I’d pretty much decided my dream of being a published author was never going to happen. Both my first books were finalists in the RITA award in the same year. That was pretty special. Publishers Weekly listed Captive of Sin, one of your favourites, among the best mass market paperbacks in ay genre of 2009. Then there are the wonderful ARRA awards which mean so much to me. Seeing two of my Dashing Widows novellas get to number 2 on the overall Amazon.com list was a wonderful moment, too.
As I said in my
introduction...a brilliant career! I'm sure there'll be plenty more highlights to come.What’s next for you as
I’m just finishing up the first draft of my third Lairds Most Likely book, The Highlander’s Lost Lady, which should be out March/April this year. This is Diarmid’s story and it’s very dramatic. The next release after that will be The Highlander’s English Bride which should be out August/September. I’ll finish the series with a Christmas story for the end of the year. So lots of Scotsmen in my future!
Will look forward to them.Thank you for joining me today, Anna. I wish you all the very best for your future publishing career and a Happy 2019!P.S Anna, I know from your posts on Facebook that you are a wonderful cook and I’m still hoping you’ll publish a cook book one day!
For more information on Anna, visit her website at http://annacampbell.com/
is giving away a download of The Laird’s Christmas Kiss to one lucky reader.
All you need to do is leave a comment below to the following question by end of
January 12th AEST. The winner will be drawn randomly and announced
on this blog on Monday 14th January, so check back then. The winner
will then need to contact me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
by Wednesday January 16th with contact details or there’ll be a
redraw. (Please check back! I’ve had a number of times with other contests when
I’ve had to redraw!)
I’ve also had a number of people tell me they’ve found it difficult to leave a comment on the site. If this is you, email me your answer by January 12th and I’ll post it on your behalf and still enter you in the draw.
The question: 2019 has just started. What are your hopes for the coming year?
Thanks for joining me today. I hope you’ll visit again next week for my interview with New Zealand author, Yvonne Lindsay. Until then, Happy Reading!
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.