The genre interests me because I love history and romance, and although I don’t strictly write straight historical romance, my books lean towards being sagas, there is always some romantic element in my books of varying levels. I do enjoy a happy ending, even if it is not an overly romantic ending the kind some readers expect.
You’ve recently started to write under a new name, why is that?
Yes, I’ve started to write under a new name, my maiden name of Brear. As Anne Brear all releases will be historical.
What kickstarts a new novel for you?
It really can be anything at all. A picture, a song, a scene in a movie, information from a reference book, all can set off an idea where I can see the heroine and hero playing out their lives for me. For most of my books though, the story will just come to me and I run with it. I let the characters dictate where the story goes, which keeps me interested.
Your settings are quite diverse, from Australia to Yorkshire, and Scotland too. What is it that you look for in a setting for your stories?
Most of my stories are set in Yorkshire, with a few set in Australia. I find Yorkshire a fascinating place, so diverse from the bleak moors to the coastal cliffs of the east. My ancestors are from there, too, so I feel comfortable writing about the towns and people. There is such a wide interesting history of the areas I set my books in, so that all adds to creating a feeling of setting, flavour of the people and places. I like to ask myself, how did people cope, what must it have been like to live in those times?
How much of a part does your camera play when doing research?
It didn’t play much at all, as I was living in Australia when I wrote most of my books, but now that I have relocated to England, I believe my camera will be used a lot more for my books!
Feisty heroines seem to be your metier. Tell us how you set about creating one. Do you have any little tricks, or does she just emerge on the page?
I like strong heroines. I believe they make interesting characters to read and ultimately to care about. I like the decision makers, those that buck the trend a little but still live within the parameters of their social class and the expectations of the era the book is set in. All my heroines are put through such trials and hardship in some form or another and they need that inner strength and believe in themselves to cope and get through to the other end where happiness lies.
And what about the hero? What turns Joe Public into an alpha-male in your eyes?
Like my heroines, I like strong men as a hero, someone the heroine can respect and admire, but also one who challenges the heroine to be all that she can be. The perfect hero in my mind, is a hero who isn’t perfect! I want him to be flawed, to have a weakness, usually the heroine, to be adaptable yet keep the strengths that attracted the heroine to him in the first place. I try to make my heroes the kind of men women will fall in love with, as I do.
What event in history would you like to have witnessed in person?
There are too many to count, really, but two would be the coronation of Queen Victoria and attend the Great Exhibition, and then perhaps have certain days in a time machine to see other key events in history like the signing of the Magna Carter, Elizabeth I coronation, the civil war, etc.
How do relax when you’re not writing?
I like to watch movies, spend time with family and friends, have picnics when the weather is nice, and of course reading. My reading list increasingly grows!
What was your favourite fashion trend of your youth that would look ridiculous now?
In the 80s I wore leg warmers, the brighter the colour the better, and novelty earrings like frogs and hamburgers, toothbrushes, etc. Ridiculously embarrassing now!
Halifax, 1876. On the death of her mother and sister, Isabelle Gibson is left to fend for herself and her brother in a privately-run workhouse. After the matron's son attempts to rape her, Isabelle decides to escape him and a life of drudgery by agreeing to marry a moorland farmer she has never met. But this man, Farrell, is a drunkard and a bully in constant feud with his landlord, Ethan Harrington. When Farrell bungles a robbery and deserts her, Isabelle and Ethan are thrown together as she struggles to save the farm. Both are married and must hide their growing love. But despite the secrecy, Isabelle draws strength from Ethan as faces from the past return to haunt her and a tragedy is set to strike that will change all of their lives forever.
Thank you for sparing time to talk to us today Anne. We wish you continuing success with your books. Best wishes, Freda To find out more visit here: http://annebrear.blogspot.com
Interviews on the RNA Blog are for RNA members, although we do occasionally take guests. If you are interested in an interview, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org