Annie lives with her husband, and ‘Bob’ the dog and two white cats in a house next to the beach on the east coast of Australia. She sits in her writing chair, gazing at the ocean and writing stories. Their two children are grown and married and she loves spending time gardening, walking on the beach and spoiling her two grandchildren. She has always been fascinated by all things romantic and has found her niche in life writing romance novels, ranging from contemporary to paranormal with a foray into steampunk!
Her debut full length novel, Holiday Affair, a contemporary romance set in the South Pacific was released as part of Entangled Publishing’s Indulgence line in March 2012 and has been a best seller on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The sequel Italian Affair was released in early June and will be followed shortly after by Outback Affair. Annie has more books being released in 2013 with Entangled Publishing in the Bliss, Entangled Suspense and Covet imprints.
As a romance reader for many years, I loved revisiting characters in connected novels. Essie Summers, one of my very early favourites, was particularly delightful to read as she slipped in characters from her earlier books and you could see the satisfying lives the characters lived after the final kiss in their own story. Contemporary romances are so short, writing a series allows you to develop layered stories and deeper characterization of secondary characters as well.
However there are challenges when writing a series. I don’t work with visuals at all. I have no Pinterest and there are no time lines or plot lines on my desk or noticeboard. Everything is in my head. So I have to be extremely careful to get names, relationships and dates right and ensure the continuity is there.
Holiday Affair, the first book in my Affair series, started its life as a standalone book. It was picked up by the Indulgence imprint of Entangled Publishing and set me on my career path as a full time writer. My lifelong dream of writing contemporary romance came to fruition with this book, and I hadn’t really given any thought to the other characters at that early stage. I am a panster through and through (although my editor is slowly beating that out of me!) so my characters lead me along.
How did it turn into a series?
Now, for those of you who have read Holiday Affair, you will remember Tom as a bit of stuffy, stitched-up, list-making man, as one reviewer of Italian Affair described him! Tom needed someone who was free-spirited, who could tease him, but who would also fall in love with the wonderful man he is.
Brianna Ballantine, the sexy, vulnerable heroine in Italian Affair came to me in the beauty salon! My secret weakness for pampering myself is having a facial—it does wonders for the stiff neck from sitting at a keyboard all day and when you have had a few birthdays…it is an essential! As I lay back with gunk on my face and cucumber on my eyes, my beautician told me how she had discovered her birth grandfather on Lipari Island.
My eyes flew open, the cucumber went flying and Brianna Ballantine was born in that moment. Free spirited and with an urgent need to find a husband in four days, she meets Tom on the plane on the way to Italy. And that is where their story begins.
I loved writing their story and I have been delighted with the wonderful reviews and the reader response. I would love to give away a copy of the first book in the series –Holiday Affair.
I can’t give away much information for the third book in the series, Outback Affair, as it will be a spoiler for Italian Affair but needless to say, there was someone else who needed a happy ever after as well. And he’s sexy and meets a very sassy heroine! You will need to read Italian Affair to see why he needs a strong heroine.
Outback Affair will be out early in 2014.
I have also commenced another series set in Half Moon Bay in California and the first book will be out in the Bliss imprint of Entangled Publishing in November.
Do you like to read books in a series or do you prefer standalones?
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A teaser from Italian Affair for you:
Snatches of their conversation rose and fell in the general noise of the café, and Tom tried to concentrate on his newspaper, until the sound of coins hitting the floor interrupted his reading. He lifted his head. Those long tanned legs filled his vision again, and he appreciated the view of a shapely derriere molded by close-fitting cargo shorts when the girl bent to retrieve the scattered coins. As she twisted around, a sapphire blue stone hanging from a ring in her belly button glinted in the light. Her face was level with Tom’s and a pair of chocolate-brown eyes stared at him from beneath raised brows. He grinned at her. Okay, so he’d been caught out checking out her ass. As he returned her bemused look, he realized she was not as young as he’d first thought, so she should doubly appreciate him checking her out.
Closer to his age. She should know better than to leave her bags lying around the whole airport. But a nice ass.
He shrugged and turned back to the newspaper as they crossed to the table behind him and their conversation could be heard over the hiss of the coffee machine.
“Well, I sort of left it in the taxi,” she said.
“Sort of?” Her boyfriend sounded exasperated and Tom marveled at his patience. “Brianna, what aren’t you telling me?”
“Well, it was in my rucksack and that’s still in the taxi, too. But look, it’s all good. Now that you’re here, you can contact the company and chase it up for me. Much easier than me trying to do it from Italy. Besides, I’m going to be busy. I’ve got four days to find a husband.”
Bloody hell, talk about a soap opera. He’d heard enough. Tom folded his newspaper and tucked it under his arm, picked up his laptop, and headed for the boarding gate where he might find more peace and quiet.
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