Interview with Guest Author
Thank you for stopping over to visit, Anne. In case my lovely readers don’t know who are, I thought I’d do a little sit-down visit with you and help us all get to know you.
Anne: Thanks for the opportunity to visit today, Tempe.
You write so many genres and flavors of love, heat, and growth. What makes your stories different from other authors out there?
Anne: Being from New Zealand, I try to put a Kiwi reference in there if I can. It’s not always possible, but if it is… In The Sleepless City, one of the MCs, Ben, is from Wellington. I’ll be crossing over my spin off series Opus with a new series I want to write, Outliers, when Ben and his vampire partner, Simon, visit New Zealand.
Slow Dreaming is set in Wellington, and Leo, a downed RAF pilot in Winter Duet, is a Kiwi.
The other motif that sneaks into my writing is music. I’m a musician, was a music teacher for years, and now play violin for a local orchestra. Many of my characters are musicians, and the stories I wrote last year Winter Duet and On Wings of Song have music as part of the story.
I’m also a big fan of Easter eggs—a blink and you miss it reference to another book—and have snuck a few of those into my books. There’s a huge one in On Wings of Song but so far only one reader has noticed and/or mentioned it. I figure that as all my books kind of take place in the same ‘universe’ why invent new characters when existing ones work just as well.
Love your Easter eggs and all the Kiwi references. Ben is one of my favorite characters of yours, and I love reading all the little things you slip in for him. When did you first consider yourself an author?
Anne: I’ve written stories for as long as I can remember, but when I got my first computer in 2000 I found online fanfic. I started writing in a couple of fandoms, and haven’t looked back. Getting feedback for my first story published online was great. There is some wonderful fanfic out there—I wish I had time to keep up with it.
Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do to get past it?
Anne: Not writer’s block, per se, although some days it’s more of an effort to start writing if I’m tired or feeling under the weather. Once I start though, I then have issues with the guys not wanting to stop which can be frustrating when I have to stop what I’m writing mid scene and head out to the day job.
The only time I’ve had writer’s block was when I was writing Shadowboxing, and argued with Kit, one of the MCs. He wanted the scene to go one way; I wanted it to go another. Writing stopped dead in the water until I backed down and then the rest of the story flowed very quickly. I’ve learnt my lesson!
Yeah, the characters always win in the end. (And knock down, drag out fights with characters leads to nothing good, lol.) I was asked a great question recently, and thought I’d share the love… If your writing was translated, which would be your preference: TV, movie, play, or Broadway?
Anne: TV. There’s more room for character and plot development with a TV show, which are some of the reasons I tend to write in series. With movies there isn’t always time to get into all the background stuff etc without it being an info dump, and I like revisiting characters in a weekly TV show and watching them grow. It’s more organic that way too and you can show consequences of decisions they’ve made, and/or injuries they’ve sustained.
Does your family know what you write, and if so, how did they react when you first told them what and how explicit your writing would be?
Anne: My family knows what I write, and is very supportive. My mum has her own copies of everything I’ve had published, and is a huge fan. With each new release she checks to make sure I’ve ordered a hardcopy for her. She told me she didn’t read ‘the romantic bits’ but then asked a question about one of the sex scenes that showed that yes she does!
Have you ever met someone in real life, or a stranger, that you turned into a MC?
Anne: Not an MC, but there are a few people I’ve met who might have been inspiration for side characters.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Anne: I don’t have one favourite, but there are a few I that when a new book comes out, I drop whatever else I’m reading and read it. At present I’m holding out for the latest in Jim C Hines’ Libriomancer series, and am working through Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. Other favourites are Lynn Flewelling, Tanya Huff and Fiona McIntosh. I read a lot of graphic novels, and love Big Finish audios too.
Boxers, briefs, commando? What’s your favorite way to “dress” your man?
Anne: Boxers. In all the years I’ve been writing my guys have always worn boxers, although the fabric of said boxers eg silk, cotton etc, says something of their personality. Occasionally they go commando, depending on the situation.
We already know you love to write in different genres, but why do you feel you share your voice best when writing amongst the different genres?
Anne: I write what I enjoy reading and I read across a wide range of genres. If a story looks interesting, I’ll read it, although I tend to lean more towards SF/Fantasy and Historicals.
Some stories lend themselves towards specific genres, and I like varying my ‘diet’ by writing different things. I love reading about other time periods, and there is still so much I want to explore so once Echoes—my WWII series—is finished, I’ll be keeping another historical in the mix although Finding Home is a detective series set in the 1920s. On Wings of Song is kind of a prequel to it, although the MCs are new characters. Mostly.
One of the things I love about SF and fantasy is the potential to create their own ‘mythology’ and to world build. I’ve always enjoyed stories that use psi powers and time travel, love stories about shapeshifters and dragons, and the vampires and werewolves etc of urban fantasy. I love putting characters into challenging situations out of their comfort zone and seeing what they do. SF and Fantasy is a great backdrop for that as it gives me the opportunity to write stories which a mix of the ingredients I love, and to build something different with it.
And just because I love to tease 😉 what are you working on now, and what is coming up from you next?
Anne: My next release is Family and Reflection, which is the 3rd book in The Sleepless City series I’m writing with Elizabeth Noble. Dreamspinner Press will be publishing it in July/August. Here’s the blurb:
Just FYI, Anne is an EVIL tease (she knows how much I want the 3rd book in this series!)
As long as Lucas Coate can remember, werewolves have been taught to mistrust vampires. Lucas is an exception—he has close friends who are vampires, friends whom he trusts with his life, just as they trust him with theirs. The werewolf pack in Flint—and their leader, Jacob Coate—have made it clear that Lucas’s friendship with vampires is something that is barely tolerated, and another transgression will be his last.
When Lucas finds out about the plague of werewolf deaths in the area, he wants to help. Can he discover a cure before it’s too late and his pack’s future is ripped away? Or is his own life already in danger?
Declan has been away from Flint for ten years, but isn’t surprised upon his return to learn that the internal politics of the Supernatural Council haven’t changed for the better. When a series of burglaries hit close to home soon after he arrives, Declan—a professional thief—is their prime suspect, although for once, he isn’t responsible.
With the Council keeping secrets, no one is safe. Time is running out and for both Lucas and Declan everything is about to change.
My current WIP is One Word, which is a side novel to Cat’s Quill. I’m enjoying revisiting that universe from a completely different perspective. Here’s the blurb for One Word:
When Ethan Leavitt comes to the village of Oakwood to search for a missing friend, he isn’t sure what he’ll find. He’s always prided himself on his ability to find rational explanations in situations where often there doesn’t appear to be one. Evidence, after all, is something that is usually backed up by logic. Right?
Donovan Campbell has worked hard to put his past behind him. His happy, sometimes flippant, persona hides memories he’d rather forget. The last thing he needs is for some guy he’s only just met to start getting under his skin.
A dangerous situation escalates, and Donovan must embrace a part of himself he can no longer ignore in order to save a future that might never have the chance to exist. Often the person you think you’re looking for is not the one you find—but have he and Ethan both realized that too late?
I’m sharing the blurb and an excerpt from Winter Duet which is book 2 of my WWII series, Echoes, as it incorporates some of what I’ve talked about above.
Echoes book 2 – Sequel to Shadowboxing
European, Mystery/Suspense, Historical M/M Romance
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 6, 2014
Length: 226 pages / Novel
With Kristopher finally fit enough to travel, he and Michel leave the security of their safe house and continue their journey across Germany toward Switzerland. Caught in a series of Allied bombings, they stop to help civilians and narrowly escape capture by German forces.
While investigating a downed aircraft in the Black Forest, the two men discover an injured RAF pilot. After they are separated, Kristopher and the pilot are discovered by a German officer who claims he is not who he appears to be. Determined to find Michel again, Kristopher has to trust the stranger and hope he is not connected to those searching for him and the information he carries. Meanwhile Michel is intercepted by one of the Allied soldiers he met in Berlin. His help is needed to save one of their own.
Time quickly runs out. Loyalties are tested and betrayed as the Gestapo closes in. Michel can only hope that they can reach safety before information is revealed that could compromise not only his and Kristopher’s lives, but those of the remaining members of their team—if it is not already too late.
“Oh.” Kristopher paused, his spoon halfway to his mouth. “I’m sorry. I never thought. I didn’t mean to….” The words trailed off. Telling them he hadn’t meant to embarrass them would only serve to do just that.
“I’d never heard the poems before either,” Michel said. He glanced toward the door, as though suddenly nervous.
“That’s the thing with wars,” Karolina said. “They draw all sorts of different people together, don’t they? It doesn’t matter who you are. Out there on the battlefield everyone’s the same, aren’t they?”
“Yes, they are.” Kristopher swallowed a mouthful of beans while he collected his thoughts. “I was a musician,” he said at last. “It was a long time ago. Sometimes it feels as though it was in another lifetime. I’ve been trying to work out why the code phrase sounded so familiar. I’m sorry. I guess I should have kept it to myself.”
“Nonsense,” Georg said briskly. “Don’t apologize for having a good education, and if it gives you some distraction to get through this terrible time, you should use it.” Karolina placed a hand on his shoulder. He reached up and placed his hand over hers. A sad look crossed her face, and she suddenly appeared a lot older.
Kristopher bit his lip. He lowered his gaze and concentrated on eating. He hadn’t meant to upset either of them. Michel had warned him to keep any conversation brief and focus on very general topics.
Damn it. He wasn’t very good at this at all. For a short time he’d forgotten their situation and been caught up in the moment, remembering his passion for his music and wanting to share it.
“Paul….” Michel spoke Kristopher’s assumed name, and he looked up. “Karolina’s right. This war has drawn people together who normally wouldn’t have even met. Perhaps we should take it as an opportunity to learn new things, hmm? We all have something to offer.”
“Well said, Gabriel.” Karolina squeezed her husband’s hand. “It’s been too long since Georg and I had the company of young people. You said you were a musician, Paul. What instrument did you play?”
“I play the violin, although I haven’t picked it up in years.” Kristopher watched the couple, noticing the way in which they took comfort from each other’s touch. He wanted so badly to be able to just lean over and take Michel’s hand in his and be open in front of others as to how they felt about each other. During the months spent in the attic at St. Gertrud’s, they’d still had to be careful, but they’d been left alone for much of the time. He hadn’t realized just how difficult having to hide their relationship was going to be.
“We’re not that young,” Michel said when Kristopher lapsed into silence again. He’d told Kristopher he’d turned thirty on his last birthday. Kristopher was almost a year younger and had wondered at the time where both of them would be by his next birthday, which was only a few months away.
Georg chuckled. “You’re about the same age as our boy, so to us, that makes you young.” He got out of his chair. “I’m going to make some tea. Do you want some? Here, Karolina, have my chair. You’re not getting any younger.”
“My husband, he thinks he’s funny,” Karolina said. She gave him a light peck on the cheek and went to clip his ear again, but he ducked out of the way and headed toward the kitchen.
“He’s only offering me his chair to keep me away from my knitting. He knows full well I’ll poke him with one of my needles if he gives me too much cheek.”
“How long have you been married?” Michel asked. He seemed amused by their banter. Kristopher wondered if it reminded him of his parents.
“Since just before the last war.” Karolina picked up the cloth bag Kristopher had noticed earlier and settled into the other armchair. She opened the bag and took out yarn and what appeared to be a large knitted square on needles. “We’d met the year before, and I waited for him to come home to me and our newborn son. I didn’t allow myself to think he might not. Tell me, do you have someone waiting for you?”
Kristopher glanced at Michel. Karolina wasn’t exactly following what he’d been told about keeping to safe subjects either.
“I have someone, yes,” Michel said finally. “I want nothing more than this war to finish so we can have a life together, but sometimes I doubt that will ever happen.”
“It will,” Kristopher said firmly. He placed his bowl on his knee, feeling the warmth of it through his trousers. “When you love someone, you wait for however long it takes.”
Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.
In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.
She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.
Find & Follow Anne Online:
Coffee Unicorns: http://coffeeunicorns.wordpress.com/
Dreamspinner Press Author Page: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/anne-barwel