Anna Campbell’s Reckless Surrender

Anna Campbell 43970006Hi Anna, thanks for dropping by my blog. It’s fantastic to be able to welcome you here. Congratulations on your recent ARRA Awards – Favourite Australian Romance Author and Favourite Historical Romance, woohooo!!! Well deserved wins.  Since we finalled in the Emma Darcy you have been an inspiration to me – and your support and encouragement have been fantastic. It’s a bonus that I love your books too!

Hélène, it’s brilliant to be here. Thank you for inviting me! I’m so excited about BORDER WATCH coming out and seeing a book of yours on the shelves. I’ve been waiting for this moment since I met you all those years ago. Congratulations! I hope you’re enjoying life as a published author!

Hmm, life as a published author and a pilot still feels a little frantic some days but I am enjoying it! Themes are important in your stories, Anna, and that’s a big part of what makes them so wonderful to read. CAPTIVE OF SIN has a hero who is captive to his own fears and incapable of moving forward until he’s faced them. (He’d be treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in today’s society…) What’s the theme in MY RECKLESS SURRENDER?captive of sin mm c

Thank you, Hélène. There’s a Shakespeare quote that I kept in mind the whole time I wrote MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. “Oh, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive.” Wow, just looked that up and it’s actually not Shakespeare (I thought it was MACBETH!) but Sir Walter Scott. We live and learn!

Diana Carrick is offered the chance to make her dreams come true but first she has to commit what she believes is a victimless crime and seduce Tarquin Vale, the Earl of Ashcroft. But of course there’s no such thing as a victimless crime. So it’s a story about temptation and the consequences of giving into it! I think of this book as a ticking bomb romance – because of course the reader is waiting for the revelations to come out and mayhem to ensue!

Yep, we do love mayhem! So do the themes come first or do the characters bring their own themes and conflicts with them? How do you strengthen those themes?

What a great question! Actually what comes to me first is sort of a job lot! I get an opening scene, generally involving my hero and heroine (I like them on the page together as soon as possible), and there’s always a problem there. The story grows organically from that. With CAPTIVE OF SIN, I had that really vivid image of Charis cowering in the stables on a cold winter night and Gideon coming to her rescue like a knight in shining armour, which of course is exactly what he is, even if the armour is slightly tarnished! With MY RECKLESS SURRENDER, my opening scene has a woman going against her deepest instincts to offer herself as a notorious rake’s mistress—and finding that the rake isn’t at all the selfish, careless debaucher she expected. I then write the story pretty much without editing and the themes emerge as the story does. Once I’ve got a whole story arc from go to whoa, I know what those core issues are and I go back and strengthen their presence throughout the novel.

Tell us some more about MY RECKLESS SURRENDER.

my surrender mm cI describe this book as a dangerous seduction in Regency London. It features two strong, complex characters who get more than they bargain for when they begin a liaison to while away a few summer weeks. Diana is a woman who sees a chance to break out of the strict class barriers of 19th century England and exercise all her frustrated talents and ambitions so I think people will relate to her, even if they don’t 100% approve of her actions. Tarquin is a real change for me – my first non-tortured hero, or at least he is until Diana starts turning his life upside down. He’s a man with a reputation for debauchery but he’s also got a powerful sense of personal honor, evidenced by his reformist politics. I really had quite a crush on Tarquin when I was writing the book!

I always think it’s vital to love my leading man and your heroes are very easy to lust after… Your books are often described as Regency Noir. What influenced you to write the darker side of human nature?

This always makes me laugh because as you know, I’m not actually that dark in real life! I think my natural voice is comic but one day, I came up with an idea for a book about a courtesan and the Scottish duke who wants to marry her. Definitely not a comedy. I was positive I couldn’t write that story but the characters wouldn’t leave me alone. So one day, I sat down to write the first chapter to shut up these people and show them they had no place in my universe. And CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, my first published book, was born. Sometimes working against the grain can have its benefits!

Whose books have had the most impact on your writing?

Oh, how long have you got? I’ve got a career writing Regency romance because of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. I love the Brontes and in terms of voice, I’m close to the gothic feel you get in something like JANE EYRE. I devoured Victoria Holt and every Mills & Boon I could get my hands on when I was a teenager. Then I discovered historical romance starting with Kathleen Woodiwiss. I adore Dorothy Dunnett, Loretta Chase, Laura Kinsale, Anne Stuart, Liz Carlyle. I’ve always been a voracious and omnivorous reader so I think everything has had some influence! As a how to book, I love BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott and BECOMING A WRITER by Dorothea Brande.

Your sex scenes are hot, Hot, HOT! How do you go about writing them? I need to be sitting under a fan to read them, so I’m wondering, do you turn up the aircon, grab a good glass of wine and take the phone off the hook? Phonus interruptus might not be a good thing…

Phonus interruptus? Ouch! That sounds really uncomfortable! LOL! I’m so glad you love the naughty bits. Thank you! I really work hard on those – MY RECKLESS SURRENDER is my sexiest book yet. The nature of the plot means that these two people spend a lot of time in the bedroom! In the early drafts, the love scenes are usually pretty prosaic, but I love the way amy reckless mm sb c good sex scene doesn’t just get your characters naked physically. They’re naked emotionally too, even if they don’t want to be (believe me, Diana and Tarquin don’t want to be!). Then I go back and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite – generally I shorten to make it more intense. My first draft love scenes meander on for pages and pages but in there, there’s the germ of something really strong, both emotionally and physically. Actually I think the emotional heat of a love scene is much more important than the physical heat. And I always try to have something at stake with the plot. They’re never just having good (or bad, as sometimes happens in my books!) sex – there’s lots of other stuff going on at the same time. You need that dramatic tension to keep the reader involved.

I know you’re up and working early in the morning. Gives us a glimpse into a normal writing day – if there is such a thing…

Snort! Is there such a thing as a ‘normal’ day? My routine varies according to how close to deadline I am. But you’re right, I always wake up horrifically early, check emails, do anything urgent like blogs or interviews or promotion. Then I work through until around 11, 11:30, have some lunch, a snooze, then go back in the afternoon for another few hours.

Where to for Anna Campbell’s next story?

I’ve written the first draft and it features my first genuinely bad boy hero. He wants to put his evil plans in motion but finds himself distracted by the last woman he ever thought he’d be attracted to. I’ve always adored stories about alpha males completely at sea after they encounter lurve! At this stage, it’s scheduled for the middle of next year.

Oh no, that’s such a long time to wait… sigh…

Anna, it’s been fantastic to have you on my blog and, as always, I’ve learnt so much.

So folks, tell us your favourite love scene – book or movie – and why it resonates for you. Anna will draw a winner on 25th May and that lucky person will receive a signed copy of My Reckless Surrender.

MY RECKLESS SURRENDER – Anna Campbell, Avon Books, June 2010

Reckless Surrender


69 thoughts on “Anna Campbell’s Reckless Surrender

  1. Your blog tour is going to keep you very busy this week, Anna! Lots of opportunities for people to snaffle a copy of My Reckless Surrender!!

    And that unpronounceable volcano has a lot to answer for…

  2. Jo, I remember that scene! The kiss was so touching – and sexy too! Believe me, I don’t care how tired I am, I wouldn’t go to sleep if I had GC in the house! Snort! Thanks for swinging by – laughed at you never getting sick of hearing about the book. Hmm, wonder if you’ll feel the same after the blog tour, LOL!

  3. Caren, strangely that description of your favourite love scene didn’t surprise me! Hmm, wonder what that says about you, LOL! Thanks for swinging by, my Bandita friend!

  4. Fiona, really looking forward to meeting you in person! I think Sydney is going to be great. And what a wonderful location, right on the seafront there. Our international guests will be stoked. Hope you love COS! You know, I haven’t seen or read The Notebook. Maybe I should! Thanks for swinging by!

  5. Hey, Quilt Lady, thank you for saying such nice things about the books. Oh, Dirty Dancing is one of my all-time favourites. I LOVE that movie! Nobody puts Baby in the corner!

  6. Hi Caren, humour can absolutely make a love scene more memorable!

    Jo, anything with George Clooney makes me go, ahh….. That scene in One Fine Day is lovely!

  7. Hi, Helene and Anna! What a great interview. I never get tired of hearing the details about Anna’s latest book.

    One of my favorite love scenes from a movie is from ONE FINE DAY where the hero (George Clooney) and heroine (Michelle Pfeiffer) finally get their respective kids settled down watching The Wizard of Oz and they kiss. It’s so tender and scary at the same time as they try to negotiate falling in love around the antics of single parenthood.

  8. I love the love scene in ‘Moonstruck’ when Loretta finally lets her hair down and pushes Ronny to knock the table out of the way and kiss her senseless. It’s hilarious and just right. What could be more romantic than a man shouting, “A bride with no head!” at you? *snork* Makes me want to go watch it now!

  9. Louisa, thanks for dropping by. Devil in Winter sounds wonderful. One of the things I love about hosting a guest is all the fabulous books I find out about. My postman must wonder what happens when there’s this sudden influx of parcels arriving for me…

  10. Ah Dirty Dancing… sigh… it did have some lovely moment, Quilt Lady! The Notebook ‘rain’ scene was gorgeous Fiona but then I cried and cried and cried some more… Can’t wait for Sydney!

    Leigh, glad you liked the interview. Enemy at the Gates was excellent wasn’t it. Very gritty and real.

  11. Hi Helene and Anna, great interview with brilliant questions. I have COS on my tbr pile, can’t wait after reading this. The first love scene that came to mind for me was The notebook, when they are in the rain…maybe i just wish it was me kissing that hunk. I’m a big fan of romance and hesitate at reading a book unless i know there is romance threaded through it. What can i say…i love a great ‘happy’ ending! See you girls in Sydney!!

  12. I love Anna’s books and she writes some awesome love scenes! With books its hard to mention just one also movies too! Pretty Women is up there with the movies! Also Dirty Dancing had some awesome scenes in it!

  13. Helene, I had such a flashback to the ED dinner when you sold Border Watch! I couldn’t have been happier for you! Felt like I’d be in there on the ground floor, if you know what I mean!

  14. Helene, I always figure if I can get someone to read my stuff – no matter how – the chances are I’ll have someone who will read more. Oh, goodness, I sound like some horrible drug pusher, don’t I? Do you want a sweetie, little girl? Bwahahahahahaha! I’ve had people apologizing for borrowing from libraries too – hey, never, never do that. Number one, libraries are great places and no more need be said. Number two, I get paid for library borrowings in Australia at least. Number three, libraries buy the book in the first place and will replace it if it’s popular and falls to pieces which happens to the best of us (she said, checking her butt in the mirror!). Oh, and I had a number four which is that if I get a must-have author through a library, I end up buying the books anyway and I don’t think I’m alone in that!

  15. Jeanne, Helene’s book is brilliant and as I said a completely JEANNE book! Hey, they’re going to blow up the Sydney Opera House! How much more Jeanne can ya get? Snork!

  16. Hi Suz, Pretty Woman ticks all the boxes doesn’t it. And yes, for me the Emma Darcy award dinner was a turning point and I treasure the friends I made there.

  17. Jeanne, I’ll have to look out for your books – especially if mayhem is your specialty!

    Suzanne, sounds like COS is getting around! Had to laugh at your ‘one borrowed’ line. I have a friend who rang very apologetically to tell me she’d loaned her copy of BW out, but that it was ok because the person she’d loaned it to was buying several more to give as pressies!! Hey, I don’t think any writer minds how a reader gets their hands on a copy!! 🙂

  18. Suzi, I love looking back on that Emma Darcy Award dinner and thinking how we all sat together and go on so well! I adore that scene in Pretty Woman – I think it was partly responsible for me writing courtesan books! I love the he rescues her and she rescues him right back line – I think that’s true about every single book I’ve written! Great choice!

  19. You know, I didn’t even think that – I lend books out all the time and turn people into devoted readers who will buy everything else by the recommended author. I think it’s a great investment! It’s like libraries – I love it when libraries have my book and it’s popular! NEVER apologize for lending out one of my books, hon! I think it’s great!

  20. Hey, Suzanne, I love the way you’re spreading the word of Anna Campbell through your circle in Dallas! I still get a giggle out of you standing at the door at my first Avon signing and only letting people in when they promised faithfully to get my book. The writer next to me asked me what my secret is – I told her it’s not WHAT you know, it’s WHO you know! It’s a very fond memory – your support means an enormous amount to me! You know, all jokes aside, I still think word of mouth is the best way to sell a book. It isn’t flashy and it can take some time but long-term it’s the best marketing you can get. I know it works on me!

  21. OH and I’d insist Megan buy a copy, but she’s already ordered your back list and the newest book, so one borrowed book has lead to more sales in the long run, dearest!

  22. Anna and Helene,
    Amazing to think you ladies, including Sharon, all finalled in the same award and are now famous published authors. Well done all of you.
    And I have a favourite love scene in a movie whose emotion I’d love to capture perfectly in a book. It’s in Pretty Woman when Richard Gere risks everything, overcomes his fear of heights, and climbs the fire escape carrying a bunch of flowers to stop Julia Roberts, a prostitute, from leaving. He does it at the hotel doorman’s urging, another first for him to even acknowledge hotel staff, and throws aside everything he’d ever believed and clung to, in order to marry the woman he loves. I love the idea of a hero throwing aside his life-long beliefs in order to gain true love. Sigh!

  23. Helene and Anna, what a lovely interview! Anna you are going through your third generation of fans here in Dallas. How? Well, so glad you asked. I had just finished Captive Of Sin at work (1st generation fan), gave it to my friend Megan, who read and loved it (second generation fan) and she gave it to her sister to read, (third generation)! And that’s how we do it!!

    Can’t wait for MRS to hit my hot little hands!

  24. Hey, thanks, Bandita Jeanne! And if anyone knows about mayhem, it’s YOOOOOOOOO! Helene’s book is right up your alley, actually. Helene, Jeanne writes brilliant romantic suspense too!

  25. Did someone say Mayhem? Grins. Swinging over from the ROmance Bandits Lair to say howdy, Anna!

    Helene, your book sounds faboo too! :>

    Anna, I’m looking forward to this book, as I do ALL your books. Can’t wait!

    Jeanne, AKA La Duchesse

  26. Hey, it’s the fabulous Louisa! Nah, a trip to Oz is much noisier 😉 Book’s out tomorrow (well, tomorrow in Oz days!).

    Love your description of the love scene from The Devil in Winter. And isn’t that the most beautiful title?

    Hey, thanks for mentioning CTC! That’s some great company you’ve got me in. Actually my idea of that book was that the love scenes would chart the changes in the relationship so they really WERE the plot!

  27. Ooh, Leigh, that love scene in Enemy at the Gates sounds really intense! Yum! Actually it’s a kiss not exactly a love scene but I adore that scene on the battlements in The Last of the Mohicans! Wow, that’s intense too. Thanks so much for saying such lovely things about the books!

  28. Hey, it’s my buddy Sharon! I’m on Sharon’s group blog today, the Love Cats! Looking forward to that!

    Ooh, I’m an inspiration? That’s not what you tell me when we’re face to face 😉 Actually thank you, that was a lovely compliment and I shouldn’t tease you. Or not much!

    Actually I really believe a sex scene should never just be about sex, if you know what I mean. It needs to move your plot forward somehow. If there’s no dramatic tension, everything goes a bit limp. Snort!

    Thanks for the congrats too. The ARRA Awards were a huge thrill. If anyone wants to see a happy author clutching two plastic trophies, check out my Facebook page:!/album.php?aid=384626&id=464724380503

  29. Amy, I love hanging out with other authors, both in cyberspace and in the flesh! They’re great girls! Glad you’re having a lovely day. We had a beautiful day yesterday but today’s looking like rain. I’ve got a stack of work things to do, though, so it probably is good that the sun’s not tempting me to laze about!

  30. Hey, Christine, thank you so much for saying such nice things about SURRENDER. Yup, definitely my hottest book yet! Snort!

    I absolutely adore that scene in WELCOME TO TEMPTATION. Actually I don’t think they actually do the deed in that and it’s still amazingly sexy. Do you remember the bear and Julianne? Oh, be still, my beating heart!

  31. Thanks, Bronwen! So glad you loved COS!

    The first draft is usually few months work, depending on how hard I find the story. Then I polish for at least six months before I send it off. My first drafts are AWFUL! I don’t edit as I go because turning on that internal editor frightens away the story somehow. So the first draft is pretty well straight through in one go – and you’d believe it if you saw it! 😉

  32. Liz, giggled at your ex-mil’s line! How funny! For some reason I’m thinking of that old joke:

    MAN: Do you like Kipling?

    WOMAN: I don’t know. I’ve never kipled.

    Boom, boom!

  33. Oh this is almost like a trip to Oz! G’day my two Aussie friends! Great interview, but it only makes me more anxious to read the book !!

    Some of my favorite love scenes are:

    The wedding night scene in The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas. I love it because while she is bemused and has enjoyed it and realizes he is indeed a skilled lover, he is completely blown away by his own powerful reaction to making love to Evie. He even says it was almost like he was the virgin. LOVE that scene!

    I love all of the sex scenes in Claiming the Courtesan because you truly see the emotional evolution of their relationship from love scene to love scene.

  34. What a great interview! Thank you and contratulations, Anna. Your love scenes are very hot! One of my other favourites is from the movie ‘Enemy at the Gates’ with Jude Law and Rachel Weisz – two young soldiers, unkempt and without privacy in a city turned to chaos by warfare – grim but very moving.

  35. Joanna, welcome! I’ll have to look up Johanna Lindsey’s love scene – I do love a good shipboard romance.

    Hi Christine, lucky you getting to read the manuscripts! And you’re right, I think dialogue is very important and you do that so very well in your books! Have yet to get my hands on Sweetest Little Sin, but I will!!

  36. Hi Helene and Anna
    Great interview – I enjoyed the snippets about your writing process, Anna! And if I could just indulge in a small fan moment here — I agree with Helene, since finalling in that very same Emma Darcy Award, you’ve been an inspiration to me, too!

    The love scenes in your books feature hugely among my favourites because you really ramp up the conflict for the characters with them. Diana and Tarquin sound like no exception!

    Congratulations on winning the ARRA Awards! And good luck with My Reckless Surrender – I know it’ll be a smash hit! Can’t wait to see it on the shelves DownUnder.


  37. Oh Liz, that’s too funny and if Anna doesn’t want it for a sequel I might have to snaffle it myself!

    Hi Bronwen, Anna does do clever heroines and dark heros sooo well!!

  38. Hi Anna, Great interview and nice to see you visiting other great authors. Been a quiet day here too. Just laying out in the sun and enjoying the warmth, and no rain, for a change.

  39. Helene, lovely to ‘see’ you here! Congratulations on Border Watch! You must be so proud.

    Anna, congratulations on MY RECKLESS SURRENDER. Yes, I think you’re right, that it’s your hottest book yet (which is saying something) *G* I’m lucky enough to read Anna’s books in manuscript form and I love it when they come out and I can (a) gloat and (b) see what everyone else thinks!

    Very hard to choose a favourite love scene –there are so many great ones, but maybe from Jenny Crusie’s WELCOME TO TEMPTATION — the scene on the dock. The great thing about that was not so much the act itself but the dialogue. I think dialogue is key in a love scene.

  40. Hey, great interview! I have lots of favorite love scenes from books. One was a Christina Dodd book, involving a shower, Johanna Lindsey’s The Magic of you has a great scene on a ship and Eloisa James Pleasure for Pleasure is really hot! I can’t really just name one! I’m thinking of several more right now. I can’t wait to read your book it looks very very good!

  41. Hi Anna

    I loved Captive of Sin and can’t wait to read My Reckless Surrender. I love dark hero’s and clever heroines.

    How long does it take for you to plan, plot and write the first draft of your book? Do you edit as you write or simply edit at the end?

  42. Not sure about my favourite love scene but your quote ” oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive” Reminded me of my (ex) mother in law. She added another line to that … ” but if you practise for a while , how you can improve your style” … Maybe a theme for a sequel ?

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