And the winner is…. Anna, thank you for blogging with us, it’s been fun. Midnight’s Wild Passion is a fabulous book and Pam S is the lucky winner of a signed copy from Anna. I’ve emailed Pam with the good news and she needs to contact Anna as per my instructions. Thanks to everyone for stopping by.
I have the pleasure of introducing another down-under writer, Australian, Anna Campbell. Anna has won numerous awards for her historical romances including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill, the Heart of Excellence, the Aspen Gold and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s most popular historical romance (three times). She has twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award and twice for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. The Australian Romance Readers Association voted Anna their favorite Australian romance author of 2009 and 2010.
I’ve just finished reading Midnight’s Wild Passion, and I cried for about the last 50 pages – it is so moving, so romantic, it’s just ….so amazing! I loved, loved this book. It’s a definite keeper with all of Anna’s other books.
Bron: What is the overall theme/premise of MWP? Is this theme what makes the reader engage so strongly with a story with such an unrepentant, notorious rake as the hero?
Hi, Bron! Hi Brava girls! I’m so excited to be here today. Thanks for inviting me to be your guest. And Bron, I had to giggle. I LOVE your introduction – thank you so much for saying how much you enjoyed MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION. But I read the first line without a hyphen so it came out as “introducing another down underwriter.” I thought, “Hold on, I’m not a depressed insurance agent!” Just goes to show the importance of punctuation!
I think the overarching theme of MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION is redemption (both Antonia and Ranelaw find it in the course of the story). It’s odd how we all fall for the bad boy, isn’t it? I know as a reader, I love it when he tumbles into love much against his will and emerges a much better and wiser man at the end. Usually after some well-deserved suffering! I love it when the rake in question has a fiendishly dark sense of humor – Ranelaw is pretty self-aware and has a sardonic take on the world that I find appealing. Antonia undergoes a redemption of her own and at the end has become the strong, passionate woman she was always meant to be.
Bron: How did you come up with the idea for MWP – to seduce an innocent virgin is pretty dishonorable stuff, even for a rake (not that this is what happens in the story).
As a bit of a challenge, I wanted to write a REAL rake. I’ve written guys who the world considers rakish but they’re not the sexual predators that a Regency rake truly was. Ranelaw isn’t a nice man at the start (although he has reasons for what he does and as I said, I find his self-deprecation appealing. I was hoping he’d be compelling enough for readers to stick with him until he starts to see glimmers of the light). I was walking along the beach just north of where I live when that first scene at the ball popped into my mind pretty much in full detail. Gorgeous Ranelaw intent on no good, dowdy Antonia with excellent reasons to mistrust a rake, and Cassie Demarest caught in the middle. The rest of the story just developed from there.
Bron: The Characterizations are very vivid in MWP. Do you create a collage for your characters and settings?
Thank you! You’re so kind!!! I’m actually an auditory rather than a visual writer so I tend to hear the characters way before I see them. I don’t work with collages although I often have real life people in mind as at least the models for my characters (as I write the book, the characters move further and further from that original picture as they become their own people). For Ranelaw’s appearance, I used an English actor called Marcus Gilbert who starred in a couple of the Barbara Cartland adaptations and for Antonia, I used Alison Doody, a one-time Bond girl, who is just gorgeous.
Bron: Your heroine, Toni, would be classed as a spinster, was that a conscious decision, and what does this bring to the story?
Antonia, as you know, has VERY good reasons not to trust men. After making a huge mistake as a girl, she’s managed to claw her way back to some kind of security (a security Ranelaw puts into jeopardy). I wanted to write about a woman who had repressed her intensely passionate nature because it had brought her to grief in the past and then she meets a man who awakens all those demons she’s struggled so hard to smother. Lots of high stakes emotion in that scenario!
Bron:Ranelaw needed a woman who could match his wit and intelligence. Is Toni’s inner strength gained through her terrible event in her past or was she born strong and confident?
Ooh, great question. When Antonia recalls her childhood, it’s pretty clear that she was a spirited person from the get-go. But that core of inner strength has certainly been fortified through disgrace and betrayal and adversity.
Bron: Ranelaw is bent on revenge but really he’s looking for what? What is he searching for?
I think Ranelaw is looking for expiation. The tragic events of his childhood weren’t his fault but he’s suffered corroding guilt because of what he sees as his failure to keep his sister safe. There’s a hint there that underneath the rakish charm, there’s a real hero who might just emerge before the story’s done.
Bron: Like me, you obviously like bad boys! Ranelaw is divine. The appeal is instant. Is he based on anyone you know? How did this magnificent hero come to you?
Oh, I WISH he was based on someone I know. I suspect elements of real life people have crept into him, they always do, at least in little ways. But he pretty much sprang fully formed into my mind when I thought of the story. So glad he tickled your fancy!
Bron: I really loved the black moment, and, I thought, how on earth will you redeem Ranelaw’s actions. Did you know how you would lead him back to Toni before you wrote that moment?
I was REALLY looking forward to that moment where he realizes he isn’t nearly as self-aware as he prides himself on being. And his arrogance and recklessness have brought him to the point where he’s lost (he believes!) everything that will make his life worthwhile. That scene and what follows were in my head from the start. Sometimes as you write, the story changes and you come up with another big revelation moment as the climax but in this one, everything moved inexorably towards that bit where he’s damned himself forever in Antonia’s eyes.
Bron: I loved the secondary characters – Cassie in particular. She had me completely fooled. Will we see more of her?
She’s a clever little miss, isn’t she? I had great fun playing with the naïve ingénue who isn’t quite as naïve as everybody thinks she is. I didn’t plan on writing her story – there’s a strong hint in MWP what’s going to happen to her. But she’s clearly struck a chord with readers so you never know!
Bron: Would you have liked to have lived in Regency times?
NOOOOOOOO! Let me list the reasons – dentistry, medicine, women with no legal rights, nice long showers. Need I continue? I’d love, however, to be able to visit for one glittering Regency party. I think it would be wonderful to see that glamorous society in action. Oh, and maybe I’ll get to waltz with a delicious rake and shock the patronesses!
Bron: Are there any scenes that were edited out of the final version of MWP? If so would you ever post them for fans to read?
I write a VERY long first draft for all my books and MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION was no different. The odd thing is that I cut and cut, but the order of the scenes stays pretty much as originally written. I just tighten the prose (more like put it on a crash diet!) and work on getting the focus right. So no missing scenes to be unearthed by future treasure hunters, LOL!
Question you’d like to ask the readers, Anna.
Bronwen points out that the Marquess of Ranelaw, my hero in MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION, isn’t exactly an admirable character at the start of the book. Do you have any favorite heroes who you hated to love and loved to hate at the start of the story? I’ve got a signed copy of MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION up for grabs to one lucky commenter.
I can thoroughly recommend Anna’s book. So don’t miss out on a chance to win a signed copy!
Hey guys, remember Anna and I live in the Southern Hemisphere and we may be a few hours behind you in terms of being awake to answer your posts. Bear with us!