Interview & Contest: Anne Gracie

anneGracie4Jen:  I’ve been reading Anne Gracie books for years.  When she contacted me about visiting Romancing the Book, I jumped at the chance.  And so, today we welcome Anne to the blog.  Anne, will you share a short bio with us?
Anne:  Anne Gracie spent her childhood on the move when her father’s job took them around the world. The gypsy life taught her that humor & love are universal languages and that favorite books can take you home, wherever you are.

Anne writes regency historical romances published by Berkley. She’s a nationally bestselling author, and has won a number of awards, and three RITA finals. Find her at  www.annegracie.com , on facebook http://www.facebook.com/1annegracie or on twitter @AnneGracie

Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Anne:  The Autumn Bride was released in February 2013. It’s a story about four young women, all orphans, who come together and form a kind of family. When their situation goes from bad to worse, Abby, my heroine, climbs through the window of a nearby mansion hoping to find something to steal. Instead she finds a bedridden aristocratic old lady at the mercy of her neglectful, rapacious servants. The four girls move in with Lady Beatrice, pretending to be her nieces and sacking the servants. All goes well until Lady Beatrice’s nephew Max returns after nine years in the Far East. He’s not impressed to find his aunt under the sway of these impostors.

It’s a rags-to-riches, feel-good, fun story with a dark undertow. But mostly it’s about the joy of friendship, second chances, sisterhood — and love.

The scene where Abby climbs through the window and finds Lady Beatrice came to me in a sort of dream, rolling in my head like a movie.Whenever this happens to me, the scene usually becomes a pivotal scene in a book.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing?  Tell us your call story.
Anne:  When I was a student I used to write, though not with any serious idea of getting published, and when I started work it was all so full-on I never had the time or energy to write afterward. But then I had a year off work and went backpacking solo around the world, and when I was in countries where I didn’t speak the language, I found stories spinning in my head. I bought an exercise book and started writing. . . and I never looked back. It took me a few years to get published, sometimes waiting 6 or 7 months for an editor to respond. Eventually I got The Call only it wasn’t a call but a fax. I didn’t have a fax machine, so it went to my friends around the corner, and because it came from overseas, it came in the middle of the night. It woke my friends up and Doug rang me to say there was a fax from “some publisher,” but he was really grumpy at being woken up, so he wouldn’t tell me what it said. I had to wait for the next day to read the message. I hardly got any sleep that night.

Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Anne:  I’m a pantser who plots and re-plots obsessively. I usually have one or two major scenes in my head, and I start with characters and a situation and I follow them. I often find myself stuck, and that’s when i plot and replot, building on what I know.

I have tried plotting it all out in advance, but the story choices I tend to make then are often a bit obvious, whereas when I start with characters and follow them, they surprise me. I like surprises, and I think readers do too. My method is a bit like archeology, I think — the story is there, but I have to uncover it bit by bit.

Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Anne:  I carry a notebook with me at all times, because I do find ideas and snatches of dialogue come to me in unexpected moments. I also— and this is tragic to admit, I know — sleep with a notebook by the bed because scenes often come to me just as I’m drifting off to sleep or just waking up. I can tell myself I’ll remember, but if I don’t write it down at the time, all I recall the next day is that it was an utterly brilliant scene. . . if only I could remember what it was.

Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?
Anne:  Probably every writer I’ve ever read. I’ve always been a huge reader, and I still am, and I love discovering new-to-me writers. I read all kinds of fiction, but in my own genre my strongest influence is probably Georgette Heyer, who I’ve been reading  and rereading since I was eleven and Mary Balogh, whose wonderfully intense writing I admire so much.

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors?  What are you reading now?
Anne:  Researching a talk I was giving on romance heroes got me rereading a lot of my early romance loves — Elizabeth Lowell, Johanna Lindsey, Amanda Quick, Mary Balogh, Lisa Kleypas,  Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and more. Currently I’m reading a lot of Juliet Marillier (fabulous fantasy writer) and I have books on my TBR by Elly Griffiths (crime),  Kristan Higgins (contemporary rom-com) Nalini Singh (paranormal romance),  Kate Forsyth’s fab new book about the Grimm sister and category romances by Kelly Hunter and Sarah Mayberry.

Jen: What’s next for you?
Anne:  The Autumn Bride is the first in a series, so now I’m working on The Winter Bride.

 

 

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52 thoughts on “Interview & Contest: Anne Gracie

  1. I think animals can make romance stories more relatable—we can all sympathize with pets we know and love—and definitely are a cute addition too! A favorite of mine is Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis. The animals in that story make it a fun read!

    ♥ Karielle Stephanie @ Books à la Mode

  2. Kelly Carmona says:

    I love this book. I can’t wait to hear the other girls’ stories. Anne Gracie can do no wrong! love her

  3. Ivana Mitrovic says:

    Anne, I enjoyed your “The Merridew Sisters” series and I’m happy to start reading the new “Chance Sisters”. The Autumn Bride is already on my TBR list and this contest is a very nice opportunity for the pleasant start. Thank you for that!

    P.S. I like animals in romances because they can create a funny situations 🙂

    • Thanks, Ivana — the Merridews were my first series and I’m still very fond of them — and one character from that series — two actually– reappear very briefly in The Autumn Bride. I so agree with you about animals creating funny situations.

    • That’s very true, May. My first memory of animals in a romance book was in Georgette Heyer’s Arabella — the dog she rescued and bestowed on the hero.

  4. Jeanne Miro says:

    Hi Anne!

    I love both you US and Australian covers and wondered got to choose which one to have published in the two different countries? I’ve always been curious if an author gets the last say on how their books are presented in the marketplace.

    I’ve loved reading your books for years and hope that not only Abby but also the rest of the girls give Max his “come-upans” (and that Lady Beatrice will show her mettle to that “young rascal” as well! Why do you think it is that men have to notion that they know better than us very wise women do? Ah, the trouble they put us through until we are able to tame them!

    I can’t wait to read The Autumn Bride and see who ends up getting the upper hand in the end!

    • Hi Jeanne – I love both covers, too. I don’t get much say in the Nth American ones — I can make suggestions and ask for small changes, but the final decision is out of my hands — marketing, you know. In Australia, I sent them a suggestion for the cover image and lo! it was done, which was lovely. So I have the best of both worlds.

      Thanks for those lovely comments. I think, having read my other books you’ll know how they’ll end up — it’s the journey that’s fun though. Thanks to for dropping by.

  5. Anne says:

    Animals in a romance add emotion and provide entertainment. Your memorable novels have brought me many hours of enjoyment and escape. best wishes and much happiness.

  6. Linda Mc says:

    I love animals in romantic stories. I am a huge animal lover and when they show up in romance novels (or any novel in fact) it makes me happy. Congrats on your new series!

    • Thank you, Linda. I enjoy them too. It’s just a pity that not all stories lend themselves to having animals in them. I only include them when the plot allows it. Thanks for dropping by.

  7. Maria D. says:

    Fun interview! I do like animals in books – I think it shows the humanity of the characters when they have pets or treat animals well in the stories:) plus who can resist a cute doggie or kitten getting a part of the action:) Thanks for the giveaway!

    • Hi Maria, I think interactions with an animal shows a side of a character that he might not otherwise show to another person.
      Thanks for dropping by.

  8. Nancy Goldberg Levine says:

    I love stories with animals in them. I usually put cats in mine, but my first e-book,

    “Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny” has two bulldogs in it. This book sounds great! Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. gamistress66 says:

    I think animals can make a book a little more fun (just as in real life). I’ve read different books were there was a pet of some sort that was like a secondary char in the book rather than just “stage dressing” and it added to the overall story. sometimes it helps give added insight into the h/h ,& sometimes it adds some nice comic relief or accents to the story (let’s face it, animals tend to do funny things).

    • That’s so true — I think animals always give us some insight into the people they’re interacting with. And they’re definitely secondary characters.

      Animals sure do funny things. I used to love taking my dog down to the creek to dog-park — no matter what mood I was in before I went, watching the dogs interact always gave me a few chuckles and my dog and I always came home in a wonderful, happy mood.

  10. Soft Fuzzy Sweater says:

    I like animals in stories mainly because I like animals. Otherwise animals are a good plot device wherein the hero or heroine can speak her or his mind allowed without the words moving the plot along, rather like Shakespeare did with his soliloquies. It would be just plain dull if there was too much constant internal exposition.

    Please enter me in the giveaway…like I don’t have a big enough TBR pile as it is.

    (a little sarcasm, but it’s not enough to READ the book, one must POSSESS the book!)

    Thank you for the giveaway.

    annfesATyahooDOTcom

    • I so agree with you about needing to own the book. I have been putting off getting an e-reader forever, because if I love a book I know i’ll want to reread it, and I know that at some point e-books will go the way of all old technology — like my old LPs and audio cassettes, etc. But a real book will last almost forever. I have books my grandfather gave to my grandmother.

      Then again… my TBR piles — yes with an s — are slowly overtaking my house. . .

  11. Leanna H says:

    I love animals in romance novels. I have a dog and he plays such a big role in my life. I started reading Kristen Higgins because they was a dog on the cover.

    • Leanna, aren’t Kristan’s books wonderful? I only started reading her recently because she was coming to Australia to a romance readers conference I was also attending, so I got one of her books and loved it, and ever since I’ve been glomming the rest.
      And BTW, she’s just as fun and lovely in person.

  12. Virginia H says:

    Great interview! I have been hearing so many good things about this book and I can’t wait to read it. I love the rags to riches stories and this one sounds like a real winner to me. Please enter me.

  13. Barbara Elness says:

    I do love animals in romance stories, especially when they are a character in their own right and add interest to the story. Even if they’re just window dressing, they’re still fun. I like to see how the characters treat animal too, it shows what kind of person they are.

    • Barbara, I think all minor characters, animals, too, need to be a character in their own right, even if their part is so minor. I hope you enjoy mine.

  14. Linda says:

    I do like it when the story includes animals/pets because it means that the hero/heroine is/are animal lovers which I think is a most commendable trait as well as lending an additional dimension to the story.

    Love Anne Gracie’s books but I’ve not been able to find some of the older ones available online for purchase.

    • Thanks, Linda, it’s lovely to know you enjoy my books. My old Harlequins are out of print, but can be found in used book stores. And I’m trying writing faster. 😉

  15. Rita Wray says:

    I like animals in stories, sometimes they can be funny but it’s not a big concern for me whether there are animals or not.

    I love your list of some of your favorite authors. Great choices.

  16. Filia Oktarina says:

    yes, i like them. sometimes animal in stories make storyline funny, so i do love them. Like Lisa Kleypas’s Hathaways series. I really love this series and almost all books have animal on stories 🙂

    • My animals are only a very small bit part and in this book only one kitten plays a role, really. But I remember when I was a kid, reading the Incredible Journey which was based on a true story about animals who made an amazing cross-country journey to return home. It was wonderful, so animals can be a main character, just not in my books.

  17. Carol L says:

    I don’t mind animals in stories because they just add another element of emotion.I’ve heard so many good things about this book already and look forward to reading it. So glad to hear it’s a series.
    Carol L

  18. Crystal says:

    I do enjoy animals in stories I read. I love animals and I love to read about other’s that love animals too!

  19. JoAnne says:

    I like animals in the storyline if they are an integral part of the story and not just thrown in that there is a pet.
    Thanks for sharing. Look forward to reading your latest book.

    jbcweiss AT sbcglobal DOT net

  20. Diane Sallans says:

    Definitely! Animals can give the people someone to talk to so we know how they are feeling, and also a great source of humor.

  21. Maureen says:

    I like animals in stories since I enjoy animals but I don’t really remember them when I think of stories I read. I focus more on the main characters.

    • Maureen, that’s right — the main characters are the most important. But sometimes an animal will pop up and become memorable — like Ulysses in Georgette Heyer’s Arabella.

  22. Janie McGaugh says:

    I think animals can be enjoyable when they add to the plot or to our understanding of a character.

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