Jen: Today we welcome Anna James to Romancing the Book. Anna, will you share a short bio with us?
Anna: Anna James writes contemporary romance novels with strong, confident heroes and heroines who conquer life’s trials and find their happily ever after. She is a member of RWA (Romance Writers of America), CTRWA (Connecticut Romance Writers of America), and CORW (Charter Oak Romance Writers).
Anna is married to a wonderful husband who spends countless hours picking up the slack around the house so she can pursue her dream of writing, is the proud mother of five fabulous children, and a big, loveable rescue dog the entire family adores.
Although she’s lived in several locations throughout her life she now calls Connecticut home. When not writing, reading, or plotting, she can be found spending time with family and friends.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Anna: CHASING SECRETS is part of my FOREVERMORE series featuring the Leones – Dante, India and Wyatt and the tenacious lovers who capture their hearts.
Each book in the Forevermore series is a standalone story that can be enjoyed in any order.
CHASING SECRETS is a Beauty and The Beast, Reunion Romance story and features Wyatt Leone and Maddie Scott-Smith. The story takes place in the picturesque Sonoma Valley at Leone Estates and Scott Hill Wineries.
It’s a heartfelt romance that’s equal parts sexy and suspenseful with characters I hope you’ll fall in love with!
Some scars run deeper than others. Wyatt Leone knows that better than almost anyone. Injured in an explosion when he was a child, he lives with his physical and emotional wounds every day. Now the only thing he feels adequate for, running his family’s California winery, is in jeopardy: the grapevines he needs for a successful harvest have been destroyed, whether by animal or human predator he doesn’t know. The same day he learns of the destruction, he runs into the last person he ever wanted to see again, and she’s got another man’s baby in tow.
Maddie Scott-Smith is back in town to be there for her grandfather as he battles lung cancer. The old man needs help keeping the family winery afloat, even if he doesn’t want her moral support. A year ago, Wyatt Leone broke her heart when he refused to acknowledge their baby as his. Now Wyatt’s back in her life, and she’s not sure how she feels about that.
Wyatt is amazed and thrilled when he learns the truth about Maddie’s baby. He plans to take this father thing seriously. It doesn’t take long before he and Maddie rekindle their relationship—and the sheets start sizzling.
Will Wyatt and Maddie overcome past hurts, or will secrets from the past destroy not only their newfound happiness, but their lives?
Maddie’s baby had heterochromatic eyes? Wyatt’s head spun with the implications. Could the child be his? No. It had to be a coincidence. His different-colored irises resulted from extra cells within him—yet another anomaly that made him appear abnormal—and the odds of him impregnating any woman were slim to none. The doctors had told him as much. Still, what were the chances blue-eyed Maddie and Bryce would produce a son with one brown iris and one green, the same as Wyatt?
He caught a glimpse of Maddie heading for the exit. No way. He needed to speak with her. Get up close and personal with the infant and see the truth with his own eyes.
Wyatt grabbed his computer bag, and then strode to the door. Outside, he pulled the sunglasses from atop his head. Peering around the busy street, he caught Maddie as she slid into the driver’s seat of her car. “Hold on a minute.” He jogged over.
Maddie glared at him. “You. Want to speak with me?” Her brows furrowed. “Did hell freeze over and I missed it?”
His hands clenched into tight fists. Okay, maybe he deserved her derision. He recalled saying something along those lines when she’d come to him last year and told him she was pregnant. “You were engaged to another man.” Bryce Beaumont. Bile roiled in Wyatt’s gut. Talk about a kick in the teeth. The son-of-a-bitch had been causing trouble for Wyatt since they were kids.
Her eyes narrowed into thin slits. “You already know why.”
He drew in a breath and prayed for patience. He’d been okay with keeping their affair a secret in the beginning, but he drew the line at letting her get engaged to someone else, farce or not. “Can I see the baby? Please?” He tried to peek into the back seat, but a shade blocked his view.
She stayed quiet, as if considering his request, then finally answered. “Fine, but not here.”
Good point. They needed somewhere more private than the middle of downtown at noon. “Where?”
They reached Scott Hill Winery fifteen minutes later. He parked his pickup on the gravel drive behind Maddie and waited for her to get out of her car. Peering around, he admired the lush green plains and rolling hills. The vineyard appeared identical to Leone Estates, right down to the location of the house on the property, although he preferred his modern stucco ranch to this custom Cape Cod overlooking the Sonoma Valley.
A knock on the truck’s window drew him from his musings. Maddie stood outside, her luxurious brown hair blowing in the slight breeze. Beautiful. No. He wasn’t interested in her anymore. Their affair had run its course and he’d moved on. Liar.
He sucked in a much needed lungful of air, and hopped out of the truck.
“This is Jacob.”
She’d named him after her father. He regarded the infant. One brown eye and one green stared back. His heart slammed into his ribcage, beating faster than a Porsche 911 racing down the freeway. Holy hell, not only did the child have the same eyes as Wyatt, he looked like every picture he’d ever seen of himself as a baby. From the crop of tiny dark curls on the top of his head right down to his chubby little toes. Dear Lord, Jacob was his. He had a son. Wyatt threw back his head and laughed.
Jen: Are you a plotter or pantser?
Anna: I have to admit that I’m more of a pantser than a plotter, but I do try to plot out the major scenes of the book before I start writing. This allows me to have a framework for my story and allows the creativity to flow.
Jen: Are there any other writers, published or not, in your family?
Anna: Yes. My sister writes historical fiction, and my mother used to write short humor articles for the local paper.
Jen: Is there a genre you’d like to write? Is there one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
Anna: Maybe Urban Fantasy or Futuristic romance. I love reading stories in these genres, especially Futuristic romance. I will probably stay away from writing Historical Romance. Not because I don’t enjoy reading these stories, but because I am not as familiar with the correct society rules for the time periods involved.
Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
Anna: Nora Roberts, J.K. Rowling, Jayne Ann Krentz, Johanna Lindsey, Jennifer Crusie. The next book in my queue is Jamie Beck’s Worth The Risk (St. James series). I’m hoping to indulge while I’m on vacation at the beach in the not too distant furture.
Jen: How do you remember ideas that come to you at odd times?
Anna: If I don’t have my computer handy, or a pen and paper, then I’ll make some notes on my cell phone. I have the Word app so I just open a new document and try to summarize my ideas. It’s not ideal because I hate having to type on my phone’s keyboard for anything that’s more than a few words, but it will do in a pinch. Then I transfer my idea to my computer. I have a folder where I keep them.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Anna: I working on a new series for Entangled Publishing featuring triplets as the heroes in the small New England town of Phillipsport, Maine. The first book, featuring Dr. Trent McConnell and advertising executive, Emmerson Ross, is a Christmas story and is due out later this year.