Our sexiest ever series Mills & Boon DARE has now launched and we can’t wait for you all to discover DARE! We caught up with author of Ruled, Anne Marsh to find out more about her latest DARE book…
Ruled is a hot read! Have you always written sexy storylines, or was this your first?
I’ve always written sexy storylines. My very first book, my then-editor called me up and told me to expand all the sex scenes because they were too short. After I got done dying of embarrassment, I took her advice to heart.
What can you tell us about the inspiration behind Ruled?
I ran out of MC books to read (Joanna Wylde needs to write much faster!), so I went down the DIY route. And once I had a big, tough, alpha biker, naturally I wanted to pair him with a princess with a spine of steel. I love women who sparkle and kick butt.
How do you feel about being one of the first authors to write for Mills & Boon’s new series, DARE?
I feel like one of those explorers who sails for terra incognita in a rickety boat with limited foodstuffs and water! I can’t wait to see what the other books in the line look like, and I’m honored that they chose me to be one of the firsts. I sincerely hope I don’t crash or end up on the wrong continent. Thank you for coming on the ride with me.
Ruled has a lead female character who runs a successful small business. Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Absolutely. I’m 100% in favor of equality. Plus, writing books is very much a small business; and especially if you’re a romance writer, it tends to be a woman-owned business. I’m part of the Dare team, plus I have a number of other writing projects. That’s a whole lot of timelines, project plans, covers, editing schedules, and promotions to wrangle and I employ a number of part-time people (all women) to help me with that. Being a boss has been a learning experience for me that I’ve appreciated.
Why did you choose Las Vegas to feature in your book?
I’ve visited Las Vegas a number of times, and I’ve always been fascinated by its possibilities. It’s a place of glitter and grit, which is never clearer than when you’re walking up the Strip at 6am and the sun’s coming up. You can see behind the magic then, and you can also see the trash on the sidewalks, the drunks, the slight tattiness of it all—it just makes you look and dream.
Do you envisage any celebrities when dreaming up your characters?
Never! I am one of the least visual people ever, plus I don’t watch TV or movies. I used to work at Pixar, and my co-workers’ favourite game was to drag me down to the atrium and see which visiting celebrities I couldn’t spot even when they were right in front of me in the lunch line. I totally missed Bono, although I did identify a bunch of visiting sheiks thanks to my Harlequin reading! (They wore the long white robes but left the horses and oases at home, which disappoints me to this day).
What I do tend to do is have a theme song for the hero—and then I play it about 10,000 times on auto-repeat (I’m sure my family is eternally grateful for headphones). Rev, the hero of Ruled, has a song for certain—it’s Brantley Gilbert’s ‘Just As I Am.’
Do you read in the same genre you write?
Absolutely. Does a baker have to swear off cake? I know some authors consider that a no-no, but there’s no way I’m not devouring contemporary romance and rom con. I read pretty voraciously and go through 5-10 books a week. I also go on binges where I re-read every book in a series. There are just too many amazing contemporary authors not to indulge—Emma Chase, Jill Shalvis, Ainsley Booth, Kristan Higgins, Helena Hunting, Kylie Scott… there’s a reason I read so much!
What are your top three books of all time?
That’s an evil question. Even Marie Kondo let me have twenty! There are books, like the Bible, that I’ve always got with me. But if you were to ask me what three books I’ve re-read at least four or five times this year and I run around gifting to everyone I know, I’d pick Ruby Dixon’s Ice Planet Barbarians, Anne Bishop’s Written in Red, and Kylie Scott’s Play.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to write but is too scared to start?
BIC. Butt in chair. You have to sit down and you have to put words on the page. Maybe it’s just ten words or fifty, but you start writing and you keep writing. Writing isn’t the scary part—that’s publishing. Then you have to let someone else see your words, and I’ll be honest, that feels like parading down Market Street in San Francisco in my laundry day underwear. But you do it, and you listen to what people with experience have to say, and you learn from it. Dare has some fabulous editors, and I get better every time I listen to them.
What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?
Let me just say that I write dirty. I do not write Christian inspirational. But… Rev, my hero, comes from a religious background. His father was a minister. He has those core values to love, honour, respect, although he’s not Mr. Theology and he’s no fan of rules. These things influenced him, and it was a challenge to let that upbringing and those values be a part of him—and quite a bit of it ended up on the cutting room floor during edits. Some day, I’d like to write a hero who is both alpha and Christian. It seems like an interesting challenge.
And finally, when can we expect another book from you? We loved this one!
Thank you! The second book in the series, Inked, releases on 22nd March.