Saturday, April 12, 2014

Short Interview with New South Wales Writers Centre

I did a short interview with the NSW Writers Centre in Sydney, in preparation for the Romancing the Page workshop I'm doing there, and thought I'd post it here as well. Please note that the workshop date has changed — it's now on May 4th 2014

How did you get into romance writing?
Initially I thought writing romance would be a quick and easy way to fund a more "literary career" -- I knew nothing about romance then, only the urban myths that abound about the genre. But once I started reading widely within the genre and saw the huge range of stories published, I realised I could write the stories that I wanted to write, that I didn't have to write "to formula" as I'd assumed.  I found that writing romance isn't easy, but it is a lot of fun. I've never looked back.

Sixteen books published! How do you stay inspired and find fresh stories?
It's easy. New story ideas come all the time, and the genre itself is constantly reinventing itself and expanding. But at the heart of every romance novel there are people, and people are endlessly fascinating and surprising. The difficulty isn't about staying inspired, it's finding the time to write all the things I want to write.

Do you consider yourself a hopeless romantic? 
I am in lots of ways. I do believe in the power of love to change people and inspire them  to change their lives. Its one of the most transforming things in our lives. I'm a "Love Actually" kind of romantic, though -- the sort that sees all kinds of love in all kinds of people. I've spent my life working in underprivileged areas and with people whose lives are often in crisis, so I'm not blind to the problems in society. But I still believe in love and I see it all around me.

Who is your favourite literary lover?
That's a hard one-- there are so many to choose from. I'm going to avoid all the literary lovers who ended up dead -- I like a happy ending, thank you. I'll go for Damerel, in Georgette Heyer's Venetia. He's a wicked funny, poetry-spouting, flirtatious bad boy, a nineteenth century rake who, when he falls for the lovely Venetia, tries to stay away from her for her own good. Of course she's a spirited heroine who gives as good as she gets, and she won't stand for such foolishness.

Anne Gracie's next book, The Winter Bride (Berkley USA and Penguin Australia) is on sale from March 26th.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Getting the RITA news

Last Thursday I got the news that my book, The Autumn Bride was a finalist in the Romance Writers of America's RITA Award. Usually RITA finalists get a phone call telling them they made the final cut.

But I was away from home, in Queensland, on my annual writers retreat with eight other writers, and not near my phone. This is where we go. (Yes, it's a tough life, but someone's got to do it.)

We each have our own rooms so we can work undisturbed. Mornings are for quiet writing time, then we meet for lunch, and a writing-related discussion. After lunch, we continue writing — we're all multi-published writers and we all have deadlines. In the evening, we either buy our dinner and bring it back for a working dinner, or we go out to a restaurant.

On the Wednesday night we'd gone out for a night of pure socialization — one of the group had to leave early next morning, so after an evening workshop we went to the local surf club for a meal and some live jazz. Followed by a few more drinks back at the hotel. Late night.

So Thursday morning at 7.30 am (crack of dawn!) I was still in a really deep sleep. Persistent banging on my door. I stumbled to open it and stared blearily out. Three of my friends stood there in wet swimsuits and towels. I blinked, still half asleep. They started leaping up and down, grinning and babbling about something.

I fixated on the leaping. My friends are not normally leapers. Frogs, I remember thinking. It's something to do with frogs. It's a charade or something maybe. Did we talk about frogs last night?

So busy was I trying to work out the significance of the frog theme that it took me a few moments to hear that they were telling me I'd finalled in the RITA.

It hadn't been on my radar at all. I had no idea of the date.
They'd been so kind as to let me sleep while they'd gone for their 6.30 am swim.

Later I checked my email and there was a lovely email from RWA President Terry McLaughlin.

So I didn't get a call, but I had frogs and an email instead.
 And a wet patch on the front of my nightie, from all the hugging.

Pretty special, I think.
I had a lovely day — almost the whole day I was answering emails and messages on FB and twitter about the RITA. It was like a party. And of course, that night we went out again and celebrated.

So thank you to everyone for the warm wishes. And the frogs.

The full list of the RITA finalists is here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Freddy & Marriage ~ part 1


Freddy has been quizzing Damaris on her aversion to marriage:


She rounded on him suddenly. "Why don't you want to get married?"

"What? None of your b—"

She smiled. "Exactly. And yet marriage offers you so much; a wife to run your home and do your bidding—"

Freddy snorted. "Do my bidding? You don't know much about wives if that's what you think."

"A companion, children—isn't it your duty to produce an heir to continue the family name? What do they say, 'an heir and a spare'?"

Freddy loathed the expression. 

"Or is it women you have an aversion for? I know some men—"

"I do not have an aversion for women!"

"Well then, why don't you want to marry?"

Nettled, Freddy stared at her in frustrated silence. 

She gave a little grin. "See? Not so much fun when you get a taste of your own medicine, is it?"

Saturday, March 15, 2014

THE WINTER BRIDE - Snippet #3


Mrs Jenkins (Damaris's employer) on  our hero, Freddy:

“Tomcat in gen’leman’s clothing, that’s what ’e is—a rake through and through.”

“Rake? You thought—”

Mrs. Jenkins snorted. “I knew what he was the instant I clapped eyes on him! Dressed like that in his fancy duds at this hour of the mornin’. The cheek of ’im, thinking he could seduce away one o’ my girls in broad daylight.”

“But he wasn’t—”

“Bless you, my dove, you’re too young to recognize a Wicked Seducer when you see one, and I grant you that one is an ’andsome devil, and charmin’ as an oiled snake, I have no doubt!” She fixed Damaris with a gimlet eye. “But it don’t do for a girl like you to catch the eye of a gentleman, take it from me. He’ll soften you up with sweet words and little gifts and . . . and poetry, and you’ll think ’e’s ever such a nice fellow, then in the twinklin’ of an eye, he’ll ’ave your skirts over your ’ead, and there you’ll be, rooned forever!”

“But Mrs. Jenkins—”

“Rooned forever!” Mrs. Jenkins repeated firmly. “And we don’t want that, do we? Now, I’ve given him a piece of me mind—blistered ’is ear’oles good and proper, I did—and if ’e knows what’s good for ’im, he won’t be back to bother you again, so let’s get to work.”

"A romantic winner, with Gracie's typical witty charm and sweeping emotion." Kirkus reviews
More at:  bitly.com/1c6gAY7

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I have books!

Hooray! The advance copies of my new book, THE WINTER BRIDE (an RT Top Pick!) have just arrived.

Normally they don't get here until just after the book comes out, so I'm thrilled to have them a little bit early. Of course I ripped open the box and tossed them onto the rug to take a photograph.

They look pretty, don't they?


I have a couple of friends who've been waiting impatiently to read this, so they'll be pleased.

The rest of you will have to either wait until the book is out (April 1st) or visit me on the various blogs I'm touring and leave a comment. I'll be giving away a book at each blog.

You'll be notified about the blog tour here, and also on Facebook and Twitter, where I'll also be posting snippets of the story (there's one below this post —scroll down) and the occasional review.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Australian cover

Two advance copies of my Australian edition of THE WINTER BRIDE arrived in the mail today. So pretty.

Mary Jo Putney will be interviewing me about the book on the Word Wenches Blog, and I'll give one of these away to a North American commenter. Stay tuned for the interview date. I'll put it on FB and twitter -- and here too.