I met Annie Burrows during the RWA Book signing - we both volunteered to assist authors on adjacent aisles. Annie joins us today for a cozy chat ... from her bio,
During school holidays, the whole family loved to visit stately homes and castles. As soon as we got home, my older sister and I would either dress up as lords and ladies, and romp around the garden, or, if it was raining, retreat to our bedroom where we would draw intricately detailed plans of our very own imaginary stately home, complete with secret tunnels, dungeons, and usually, a maze in the extensive grounds.
When I was old enough to go to university, I studied English literature, with Philosophy. I was not sure what I wanted to do after that, but meeting a handsome student of maths, who was the owner of a very powerful motorbike helped me make up my mind. Reader, I married him.
Kim: Stately homes and castles - can you share a favorite?
Annie: The closest stately home to where I live, and the one I have visited most often, is Tatton Park. But slightly further afield is Lyme Park, which was used as one of the settings for Pemberley, and recently hosted a sculpture of Mr Darcey himself in the wet shirt scene.
They also had The Shirt on display.
Kim: Tell us about where you live in England - what is your favorite sight, smell, and sound?
Annie: I live in Cheshire, which is in the North West of England. There isn't all that much in my home town itself, but from here it is only one hour's drive to North Wales.
Kim: Let's chat about that motor bike - does he still have it? What would be the equivalent to a motor bike (in terms of sexiness and raciness) in Regency England?
Annie: Sadly, the motor bike was sacrificed to practicality when we had our first child. We did seriously consider getting a side car, but she was born in October, and we didn't want her exposed to the elements that way!
And wow, what a great question about the equivalent in Regency England! After a lot of thought, I've come to the conclusion that the only mode of transport that really compares would be a massive black stallion. A biker sits astride his vehicle and is exposed to the open air. In just the same way, a horse rider would control his mount with the power of his thighs. He would also wear buckskin breeches and leather boots for protection, the way bikers wear leathers and gauntlets.
Excuse me for a moment -, thinking about tight leather breeches, and all the power throbbing between a man's thighs has got me reaching for my fan...
Kim: Tell us about THE CAPTAIN'S CHRISTMAS BRIDE - what inspired it? What makes Regency Christmas so special? How do "get in the mood" to write a holiday romance when it is not the holidays?
The Captain's Christmas Bride sprang to life from the question - how far would one of my Regency heroines go to get their man? Funnily enough, I did intend to set it at a summer house party. Only my editor wanted the book to come out at Christmas, so my original idea had to undergo a bit of work to make it fit. Instead of naughty goings-on in the summer house, I had to come up with a scene for seduction that would give my characters plenty of privacy without being freezing cold!
As for Regency Christmas - I love the idea of those grand house parties the aristocracy used to have. All the family were likely to receive invitations at that time of year, even the most lowly, as well as the celebrities of the day - such as poets, inventors, or naval heroes. So you get a cross section of society, all thrust together in a fairly intimate setting. When I've read biographies of Regency characters, they often met up with their future spouse at such gatherings. Which gives me great scope for introducing my own characters to each other.
As for how I get into the mood to write a holiday romance - well, I usually get the idea during the holiday season. The snatch of a Christmas carol, the scent of mince pies or roasting turkey, the arrival of a family member for a visit - they can all spark off little ideas which I jot down and save until they've all gone, and I have my house to myself again.
Kim: What's next for Annie Burrows?
Annie: My next book is called "In Bed with the Duke". It is still with my editor, awaiting her revision suggestions, but basically, the duke of the title wakes up naked in a bed in an inn with a woman he's never seen before in his life. Neither of them has any idea how they got there. But each of them is certain that the other must be up to no good. So suspicion runs rife, accusations fly, yet passion flares as the Duke (who is travelling incognito) and the woman (who is an heiress though she has nothing but the clothing scattered across his bedroom floor) join forces to piece together the missing hours of their lives.
If you want to know when it will be published, I keep readers informed of my publication schedule on the "Coming Soon" page of my website, annie-burrows.co.uk, where they can also sign up to my newsletter.
Readers can also find me on Twitter @NovelistaAnnie.
Or like my facebook page, facebook.com/AnnieBurrowsUK.
Mahalo, Annie, for sharing Mr. Darcy's shirt and Regency Christmas with us! THE CAPTAIN'S CHRISTMAS BRIDE is available December 1 from Harlequin. Until then, I am giving away British swag to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,
1. Leave a comment about riding a motorcycle or a black stallion - have you done either?
2. Comments are open through Saturday, November 21, 10 pm in Baltimore.
3. I'll post the winner on Sunday, November 22.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City