Jen: Today we welcome Anne Barton to Romancing the Book. Anne, will you share a short bio with us?
Anne: Anne Barton started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided historicals (with their balls, dukes, and gowns) were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.
Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anne found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® for Regency Historical Romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen. Her weaknesses include reality TV, cute-but-impractical shoes, and coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Anne: SCANDALOUS SUMMER NIGHTS is a story about the passion—and perils!—of falling in love with your brother’s best friend. I think the “falling for the brother’s best friend” trope is so much fun, and it’s one many of us can relate to. Also, I’ve always wanted to write a heroine like Olivia who’s daring enough to say and do all the things I never would.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
HOW FAR WILL TEMPTATION TAKE HIM…
Lady Olivia Sherbourne isn’t shy about speaking her mind, except when it comes to James Averill. For ten long years he has been her brother’s best friend and her heart’s only desire. But when Olivia hears James will soon set sail for an expedition to Egypt, she knows the time has come to make her move. It’s now or never…
James has always found Olivia bewitchingly attractive, but what kind of gentleman takes up with his best friend’s sister? Not that he’s thinking particularly gentlemanly thoughts when she appears on his exploratory trip—three hundred miles from home!—and incites a tavern fight. No matter what the devil she’s doing there, it’s his duty to see her safely back to her family. But how safe will she be when every starlit night brings wicked temptation…
Rose’s eyes shone with compassion. “It concerns Mr. Averill.”
“James?” Olivia’s knees wobbled, and she grasped the edge of a pot for support. “Is he”— dear God, she could barely bring herself to utter the word—“ engaged?” Her voice cracked.
Rose shook her head emphatically. “No.”
Olivia took a gulp of air and nodded. “That’s good.” If James was neither engaged nor dead, the news could not be that devastating. Could it?
“He just made an announcement. It seems that he’s preparing to travel to Egypt.”
The ballroom tilted. “Egypt?”
“Yes, where he’ll participate in an archaeological dig— for two years.”
Olivia blinked. “Did you say two years?”
“I’m afraid so.”
Olivia swallowed the painful lump in her throat. “When? That is, when will he leave?”
“At the end of the summer. I’m so sorry, Olivia.”
“It’s all right,” she lied. “I knew he was fond of antiquities, of course. I just never imagined . . .” A future without James in it.
“Would you like to leave the ball? I could tell Owen that you have a headache and we could return home.”
“No. No need to spoil your night.”
“I don’t mind—”
“I know.” Olivia smoothed a few stray locks behind her ears as though composing herself were just that easy.
“Summer’s end. That’s only, what, eight weeks away?”
“Yes.” Rose looked as distraught as Olivia felt.
“Then that’s all the time I have.”
“To make him fall in love with me.”
Jen: Tell us your call story.
Anne: I got the call during the Romance Writers of America conference in New York City. Actually, I missed it while I was in the hotel lobby meeting up with friends. So my agent followed up with a text telling me the happy news. The bar area was too noisy for a phone conversation, so I ran into the ladies’ room and called her back from there. Always keeping it classy. 🙂
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Anne: If I have an idea while I’m in bed, I type it onto my phone. But my typing’s not so hot on a little screen without my glasses in the middle of the night, so if it’s something I really, really don’t want to forget, I force myself out of bed and run downstairs to my computer.
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
Anne: I’d like to write a young adult novel one day. There are so many that I love, from Catcher in the Rye to Hunger Games, to The Fault in Our Stars. I really enjoy reading and writing about characters’ inner transformations, and young adult stories leave lots of room to explore those kinds of emotional journeys.
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Anne: Oh, I love this question! I’d cast Chris Pine as James because he could pull off both sides of James’s personality—the buttoned-down solicitor and the adventurous archaeologist. I’d choose Mila Kunis to play Olivia because she’s fun and feisty but also good at showing all the real emotion bubbling beneath the surface.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Anne: The next book in the Honeycote series, ONE WILD WINTER’S EVE, is Rose’s story, and it will be out next year. Rose is a demure, obedient miss who’s never quite gotten over her first love—a man who’s completely wrong for her. But now the good girl is discovering she has a wild side…
Thanks so much for having me here today!