Wonderful regency author Anna Campbell came to visit us in the office and we were lucky enough to have a chat with her and ask her a few questions! Read all about all things regency, writing tips and what Anna has in store for her readers…
What’s usually the inspiration behind your books?
Usually it’s different each time, I read a lot of non-fiction so sometimes that will inspire a story, or someone will tell me a story that has happened in their life – I shamelessly steal my friends’ stories. Or I’ll be thinking about something and I‘ll go hmmm…now that in a regency would work very well! I always think that you can never be short of ideas, it’s having the time to turn ideas into something useable that you’re short of.
How much of yourself is reflected in your books?
I think elements of your character comes across in everything you write. Sadly, no handsome Scottish dukes are lining up to kidnap me however, if any Scottish dukes are willing to take the job then I’m free! I personally wouldn’t want to live in the regency era, as women’s positions could be terrible, and so were the medical side of things, but I’d happily spend a week in a ducal household as a rich guest.
Who is your favourite author?
I Read an awful lot. For historical I really like Nicola Cornick, Liz Carlyle, Madeline Hunter. I also read a lot of contemporary romance, I really like Nora Roberts. Oh, and I love Sarah Morgan books – I think they’re fabulous. I read a lot of mystery, generally with a romantic element. I have lots of favourite authors and if you asked me the same question in five minutes I would probably come up with an even bigger list.
How would you describe your ideal romantic hero?
A man of honour, if he isn’t a man of honour at the beginning of book then he is by the end of it. People always talk about the six-pack and the chiselled jaw but I think a real romantic hero comes down to character and sense of humour. So, my ideal romantic hero must have honour and a sense of humour, and I believe that’s the same in real-life too – and they must have a brain!
Tell us the best advice you were ever given as a writer?
The best advice I was ever given as a writer comes from Robyn Donald and she said, ‘the people who fail are the people who give up’. When she said that to me, it didn’t mean what it means to me now, for example it’s different when you have been writing for a long time, and you have been published and you’re thinking about giving up, and she’s right, the people who fail are the ones who give up, so keep trying.
What advice would you give to aspiring romance writers?
My advice to an aspiring romance writer would be finish the book. It’s very easy to start the book, but it’s much harder to finish one and you’ll learn things out of finishing a book that you won’t learn otherwise.
How would you explain your writing process?
I tend to write a very messy first draft and then I go back and polish and polish and polish. I basically write the first draft from word one to the end in a linear process. I don’t go back and check it, I write the whole thing and then go back and turn it into a story.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I find first drafts challenging. The process that I enjoy, is changing the mess on the page into something that’s worth reading. There’s a Michael Angelo quote, ‘I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free’ and that’s what I like doing, carving away the marble to find the angel.
What’s next in store for your readers?
I’m currently working on novellas, but the idea is that I’m going to start a series with some full-length novels in 2018. I’ve recently written a Scottish series The Dashing Widows, I have a Christmas story and then I’m going to start working on some full-length novels.
It’s been a pleasure meeting you Anna! Thank you for finding the time to chat to us.
It’s been really exciting coming in. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the readers for picking up my books and giving me such a lovely reaction to them, it’s a real pleasure.
You can find Anna Campbell’s wonderful regency romances here.