Monday, December 15, 2014

Please Welcome My Guest

Please welcome my guest, contemporary romance author, Anne Ashby. Anne grew up in a very small coastal town in Southland, New Zealand. An eagerness to travel, fostered by her mother, led her to join the Royal NZ Navy where she enjoyed a very satisfying career. She has traveled extensively and lived in Singapore and Maryland USA. Anne likes to bring something of her beautiful country to romance readers everywhere by using New Zealand as the setting for most of her clean/sweet contemporary stories.  If not set in NZ, Anne has kiwi characters filling her books. Anne has a keen interest in genealogy, an obsession for rugby and a definite dislike of housework. When not reading or writing, Anne finds plenty to occupy her time with her family commitments and her role as the National President of the Royal NZ Navalwomen's Association. She currently lives in Auckland with her husband and one of their four children. She's blessed to have her four grandchildren living close by.

Kia Ora Katherine, thanks so much for inviting me to visit with you today.

Good morning, Anne. Tell us something about yourself both writing and not writing related.

I guess I can say that writing is the third career I’ve undertaken. At eighteen I left my very quiet seaside home of less than 50 residents and moved to New Zealand’s “big city” Auckland to join the Royal NZ Navy. Intending to stay for only the initial engagement period of three years, instead I retired 21 years later. Within a couple of years of that retirement, I became conscious of not bringing any income into our family, which now numbered four kids, so I purchased some vending machines. I then spent about ten years whizzing around factories and businesses topping up the supplies initially with my two youngest strapped into their car seats. Then I found the courage to try something new, something I’d dreamed of doing but never really considered would ever be anything but a dream. I began my writing journey.

I’d like to add that while these might have been the careers I have undertaken, my calling to be a mother will always be the highlight of my life. I don’t include this role as a “career” as rewards are not financial but come in hugs and kisses.

Do you have a writing routine? Where do you usually do your writing?

 I can be very self-disciplined when I choose and developed a routine early in my writing career. I went into my office when my children left for school each day and stayed there until they were due home again.  This was my routine and I stuck to it rigidly. I never worked (writing) in the evenings, weekends or school holidays. I found this allowed me ample time for writing but did not disrupt our family life.  It is only over the last couple of years (my youngest is now 20) that I’m becoming less rigid with my time. I do sometimes sneak away to my computer in the evenings or at weekends if the mood strikes me.

I try not to write on the weekend for the same reason. Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do? Any plans in the future to write in a different one?

My writing career began as I attended a “romance writing” course run by Harlequin writer Loree Lough. On the introductory night, in a class of about 20 women, she soon told us all, there was only one person there who already knew what sub genre she would write in. Me! I’d never realised how dominant your reading preference could be to your writing. I write contemporary sweet/clean romance because it’s the only genre I read.

The only sub-genre change I would consider is a shift to more humorous writing. I begin each new story with the idea of making it light hearted and funny. But somehow my characters take over and to date I’ve ended up with some reasonably heavy duty problems facing them. Maybe one day I’ll manage that comedy.

How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate?

Ahh, this is a major problem of mine and I don’t cope with it that well. I sometimes use these moments (or days or even weeks at the worst) for research, but with writing contemporary stories research is not that extensive.  I’ve been known to start a completely new story. Or I edit what I’ve already written of the story. Or I re-edit stories I’ve completed (I like to put aside a story for at least a couple of months. Then I feel I can look at it with clearer vision before final editing). Failing this, I shut my office door, try to forget all about my blockage, and do something unrelated to writing. While I find this frustrating, especially if it takes days, my muse has always jumped back onto my shoulder eventually.

I agree that setting aside a story for a few months does allow you to see it with new eyes. What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?

Research for a contemporary is minimal, particularly if you set the stories in your own “back yard” as I like to do. So I’m sorry, but I don’t believe I can recall any research that I could term “strange”. I could suggest I’ve attempted some weird and exotic intimate research in the name of producing authentic prose, but I’d be lying. Clean romance doesn’t do that level of intimacy. Regardless, I refuse to admit or deny whether such research has ever been carried out.

What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?

“ Don’t give up” – I was very fortunate my mentor (Loree Lough) gave me this advice. Many times during submissions (and rejections) of my first story I would recall her words. “Don’t give up. This book will be published.” It took about four years of snail mailing proposals, partials and full manuscripts of “Worlds Apart” around and around the world, but she was right. Without those words, I would have given up on the story, and quite possibly given up on writing for publication as well.

That's great advice that everyone should take to heart no matter what they're trying to accomplish. What do you like to do in your leisure time?

I can’t include reading as a leisure pursuit, as reading has to be a large part of a writer’s life. Family is very important to me, while occasionally calls to help with grandchildren might arrive at inconvenient times I love spending time with my family. I’m also a family history buff, one day I’ll get all my family research collated into something readable for those who follow me. I’m heavily involved as the National President of the Royal NZ Navalwomen’s Association, a social and welfare group of serving and ex-serving Commonwealth Navy women. Beyond that I enjoy watching sport, particularly rugby and can’t wait until my two 3 year old grandsons are old enough to play.

My nephew plays rugby on his college team. It definitely isn't a sport for the faint of heart. Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences.

“Leath’s Legacy” has a genealogy bent. A mystery woman leaves Leath and her younger brother a substantial property near a beautiful cove in New Zealand’s Northland. After years of financial hardship they see security on the horizon. But a neighbour rejects their refusal to part with the land. Kirk needs the property to assuage his guilt. He’ll do anything necessary to acquire it.

Sounds great. Can you tell us a little about your next project?
 
I’m very excited about my next story, “Worlds Collide” due out early next year. It is about a secondary character from my very first story, “Worlds Apart”. It’s neither a sequel nor a prequel as it happens in the same time frame as “Worlds Apart”. I’ve returned to East Coast USA  to set this story about a New Zealander tradesman and his very rich nemesis.  I’ve included a smattering of New Zealand Maori culture which confuses and bewilders the American heroine.

The first chapter appears at the end of “Leath’s Legacy” – I hope my readers will be intrigued enough after reading this to be on the lookout for the release date of “Worlds Collide” (early half of 2015).

I'm intrigued and will be on the lookout for it. Anything else you’d like to share?

I enjoyed writing “Worlds Collide” so much, incorporating events from “Worlds Apart” into Justin’s story, that I’m doing similar with my current work in progress. I’m returning to Riversleigh where a large portion of “The CEO Gets Her Man” is set. Because this fictional area is where I grew up, I’m enjoying setting another story there. I can’t say I’m into the idea of writing a series, but I do like the idea of having previous characters pop into another story.  Debra and Jase have already played a little role in this next, as yet unnamed, adventure of mine. 

I look forward to responding to any comments, but please be aware of the time zone differences between wherever you might be and New Zealand. Be assured, I will respond, but those responses may come at what appears to be odd hours to readers.

Blurb:

After years of financial struggle Leath Robson and her brother are ecstatic when they’re willed a property in northern New Zealand. It gives them some much needed/highly sought after security. But who was this old lady who’d left them so much? Leath struggles with guilt when discovering their benefactor had spent her last years in a nursing home.

Kirk Buchanan had left the family farm years ago to make his fortune. Summoned home he’s devastated to find his father suffering from Alzheimers. Hearing his dad likes to visit his childhood home, Kirk resolves to buy the place to ensure his safety. It’s not much but he has to do something.

Unfortunately the property has new owners who keep refusing his generous offers. He must have his father’s birthplace. Obviously a more personal approach is called for. 

Excerpt:

“What do you want?” he demanded. “Name your price and I’ll match it.”
Her eyes boggled and her eyebrows rose. Was he serious? Yes, it appeared he was, from the way he waved an agitated arm around.
“Come on. Name it,” he snapped. “Everyone has their price. What’s yours?” His Machiavellian smirk conveyed his certainty.
Frowning, Leath stared up at him. “You mean if we asked for, what, ten million dollars, you’d give it to us?” She shook her head. “You’re crazy.”
She didn’t believe for a moment he’d seriously consider that sort of amount and gasped when he replied almost immediately.
“That’s your price, ten million?”
“No, Mr. Buchanan, that’s not our price!” Leath feared he might reach for his cheque book. “That was just a stupid figure plucked out of the air. We’ve already given you our answer, twice.”
Seeing a very slight slump in his shoulders and something odd in his expression, Leath softened the blow. “I’m sorry if you’re disappointed.” She even smiled up at him, “but it’s not going to change. We like the place.”
“But you have to sell it to me!”
Stepping back at the ferociousness in his voice, Leath bit her lip.
“I have to have it.”
His apparent desperation caused a sympathetic response from her. “I’m sorry.” She felt compelled to soften her voice. “We’re not selling.”
“But you must.” He stretched out and would have grabbed her arms if she hadn’t stepped back once more. “It’s ours and I mean to have it back.”

 Buy Links:

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

Anne is giving away a PDF copy of Leath's Legacy to one random person who leaves a comment so be sure to do so.

Thank you, Anne, for being my guest today.



19 comments:

  1. Enjoyed the post, Anne. And the excerpt--and "His Machiavellian smirk" :) Best of luck.

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    1. Hi Barbara,
      It is a great excerpt, isn't it? Thank you for stopping by. :)

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  2. Fascinating interview, Anne - and lovely to learn more about you. I do admire your writing routine, as I've never been self-disciplined like that!

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    1. Hi Paula,
      I admire Anne's writing routine too. If I had her self-discipline, maybe I'd be further along on my revisions than I am. Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Good morning everyone, I apologise for arriving a little later than I'd hoped. It's great to be here, thank you Katherine. and thank you Barbara and Paula for stopping by and for your encouraging comments

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  4. I enjoyed the excerpt. Great advice about setting aside a story to distance yourself and get a fresh, new look at it. Good luck with your release.

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    1. Hey Judy, thank you. Even after distancing myself, and then thinking I have a no-error ms, my editor still manages to find silly mistakes, lol. But generally it does seem to work for me

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  5. Your sweet/clean romances are the only kind of romance I have enjoyed. You add a sense of adventure too.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, great to hear you've found enjoyment in my stories

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  6. Loved the interview! Just the thought of New Zealand jump starts my imagination. Would love to see some photos of your home. Best of success with your writing.

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    1. Hi Lynda, I have a few photos of NZ on my website, not as many as I should, but they might whet your appetite a little more and make you decide to come visit us one day. Thank you for stopping by and saying hi

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  7. Hi Anne, Excellent interview and great advice for all writers! Putting Leath's Legacy on my TBR list.

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  8. I enjoyed your interview and excerpt. Best wishes for a successful book release!

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    1. Hi, thank you. It was great you could stop by. What a beautiful name, being a genealogy buff, may I ask its origin?

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  9. What a lovely interview and even better excerpt. Wishing you all the best. Enjoy the thrill.

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  10. Thanks Brenda, I'm definitely enjoying myself, its great having something to promote again. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi

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  11. Wonderful excerpt, Anne! I know what you mean by writing what you enjoy reading. Only I happen to read and write historical, but I do read contempory as well.

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    1. I am so in awe of historical writers, Ilona. The depth of knowledge and research you need to weave your stories would overwhelm me, I think. I reckon all historical writers are amazing.

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