With massive thanks to another wonderful author who has agreed to share her experience as a novelist, I welcome multi-award-winning writer Annie West. A USA Today best-selling author, Annie writes contemporary romance including the Royal Brides for Desert Brothers series, with two books out this month!
Annie, thank you so much for talking to me. Behold the five questions!
How did you get started?
Hm, in brief, I’ve been a romance reader since my teens and had daydreamed for years about writing one day. It was always a hazy dream, a ‘one day…’. Then, when my children were young and I took some time away from the day job, I thought this was my opportunity to try my hand at writing. I didn’t think anything would come of it but I didn’t want to reach old age without ever trying. I picked up a library book about writing romance and in the back were contact details for Romance Writers of Australia. I joined and began to learn about the craft of writing via the RWA newsletters and the local group of RWA members that met in my city each month.
I made great friends who gave me the impetus to keep writing and gave feedback too. I think things turned around for me when I sold some short stories to major magazines while I was trying to find a home for my first book. Those sales convinced me I could write a story that others might want to read. It also taught me how tough short stories are to craft! It was a journey of adventure, constant learning, patience from my family and support from writing friends and it was worth it!
Tricky question: who is your favourite hero and why?
This really is impossible. I fall for each of my heroes as I write their story, even while I’m enjoying make life as tough as possible for them. A writer friend says her favourite is always the last one she wrote. There’s something in that, as that hero is shiny and just polished and looking pretty darned attractive, far more attractive than the half-formed guy just emerging from the mists of imagination for the next book to be written. Since I can’t choose one, here are the first two that pop into my head:
Jake from ‘Revelations of a Secret Princess’ (the book I just finished – out next February). He’s strong, determined and out of his depth emotionally, dealing with his just-orphaned niece and a new nanny who ties him in knots. I loved his depth of emotion and the way he proves himself when his world turns upside down.
Rafiq from ‘The Sheikh’s Ransomed Bride’. He was my first ever sheikh and so fascinating – honourable, courageous, ready to do whatever it takes, no matter how outrageous, to win the woman he loves. Oh, and he’s a bit of a pirate too :)!
The temptation to keep adding to the list is so strong!
I love the sneak preview you have just given! Do you have a proudest moment in your writing career?
This one’s tough. I’ve had several equally proud moments. Winning awards is a thrill but I think the proudest are: seeing my books on sale and also getting feedback from readers who love my writing. It’s such a special feeling to connect with someone else who gets the story you created in the same way you did, who can relate to those characters and their situation and enter wholeheartedly into that world! It creates quite a bond. Some of the readers I’ve met or corresponded with have moved me incredibly.
I did see your interview in Paris last year, showing your international appeal. However, before you reached those heights, were there depths? What was the worst thing I ever wrote and why?
This definitely has to be the first manuscript I wrote. It was a long, rambling, rather self-indulgent story that I like to think improved with each chapter. It was the start of my learning process. I loved writing it and it was the most wonderful feeling to be writing, and then to have finished a whole book. I learned so much doing that. But it was in essence a book solely for me, though I didn’t know that till later. As I wrote I imagined seeing it in print. Luckily it’s not! :) But it taught me some valuable lessons.
From "rambling, rather self-indulgent" start to international best-selling author - what a journey! Thank you, Annie, and it sounds like you have many more books to give!