Monday, November 27, 2006

Party Post 2: Annie West

Annie grew up loving books and travel. Her childhood dream was to become an archaeologist ... or a national parks ranger ... or a bookseller, so of course she became a public servant. In the meantime she travelled and read books and met the man of her dreams. They live with their family on Australia’s eastern seaboard.

After years of writing, in late 2005 her work was accepted by Harlequin Presents. Now she enjoys fantasising about wonderful men and their love lives. It’s hard work but she has no regrets!

Nalini, this is definitely the blog party for me. Christmas is my favourite time of year! Thanks so much for inviting me along. It’s a real thrill to be here.

When I read the theme for the blog party I panicked – I looked at the calendar and realised I’m not organised for the holiday season. Perhaps I’ll just relax and hope someone else organises everything for me to enjoy (hey, I’m an optimist!).

Maybe the reason I’m feeling so laid back about the festivities is that Christmas really has come early for me – two years running. I count myself to be one very, very lucky woman. (Santa was obviously making up for past years where I slaved over a hot Christmas turkey in sweltering Aussie heat to keep the family content).

Last year, in early December, my dream came true. After nine years writing fiction, I woke to find an email from an editor in Richmond (London). I’d had several full manuscripts rejected by editors of other lines. I’d had people tell me they loved my writing but it just wasn’t what they were after. The luck seemed always against me. I’d submitted revisions on this manuscript and, frankly, I was waiting for the rejection. I skimmed the email looking for the inevitable ‘thanks but no thanks’ and couldn’t find it. I read it twice before I realised the editor really wanted to buy my book. I’d been too nervous to notice the title of the attachment: ‘Mistress for the Taking acceptance doc’. Duh. I printed the email and kept reading it through the day just in case I was hallucinating and it was really a rejection. (You think I’m joking, don’t you?).

That book, my first for Harlequin Presents, is rolling out to the bookstores now and in just a few days I’ll be able to pick it up off the shelves! What more could I want for Christmas? I said, I’ve been doubly lucky. I’ve recently sold my fourth book to Harlequin. Believe me, the festive season has started early here!

What about you? Has Christmas ever arrived early? I’d love to hear your story if it has. Or maybe you’ve got ideas on what would make this Christmas extra special for you and yours. Join the party and send in your thoughts. Now, there’s an easy way for you to win an early Christmas present. I’ll send one contributor a signed copy of my lucky first book ‘A Mistress for the Taking.’

Merry Christmas to you all!


A Mistress for the Taking’ is out in the UK now, in Aus/NZ Dec06, and in North America Jan07. To find out more, or for a second chance to win one of Annie’s books, visit her at


Nicole said...

I can't remember a time when Christmas arrived early, but I'm sure it has.

Christmas day this year will be the first one spent without either family, just me and my husband since I work right up to Christmas eve, but I think it'll be nice. Just the two of us. And the cat.

And congrats on your book being on teh shelves. I'll have to look for it at SuperTarget.

Amy Andrews said...

Hi Annie, great blog. What better Xmas present can you get than a publishing contract? Oh, I know, having your first baby actually arrive on the shelves for Xmas.
Woohoo - nothing but good times ahead. Must trundle down and get me a copy.

Latesha said...

Congratulations on your debut book, Annie. I'm looking forward to reading it. I hope that you and your family have a great holiday season.

Annie West said...

Hi girls and thanks very much for the good wishes on this first book. As you say, Amy, seeing it on the shelves for Christmas will be the best present!

Nicole, I'm sure you're right - celebrating Christmas alone with your husband (and the cat) will be special. I love spending the holiday season with family, but I remember living overseas when it was just the two of us and that Christmas had a magic all its own. I hope it's like that for you too.


KimW said...

What a neat story! Congratulations to you.

As long as I'm with my husband and family, I think Christmas is special. Nothing fancy needed. lol It's my favorite time of year even though a little stressful.

Barbara said...

Congratulations on publishing your first book!

jennybrat said...

Congrats on your fourth sale! My birthday is a week before Christmas so you could say Christmas always comes early for me.

Tehya said...

All Christmases spent with my family are a favorite of mine.

Anna Campbell said...

Annie, I've said it before but it bears saying again - congratulations on all your success. I've read A Mistress for the Taking and ooh, la, la, is it a great book, or what? Congratulations too on your fourth sale!

allyblake said...

Congrats on your first sale, Annie! And your fourth. what a year!

As to Christmas coing early...doesn't it come earlier every year? I'm sure the tinsel, and musak was in place before we even hit November!

But I don't mind in the least. the longer the celebreations, the longer the fun.

Can't wait to read your first book.


Fiona Lowe said...

Always great to hear your story and you will have a FAB December with your first book out on shelf in Australia. I can't wait to stand in the aisle and say, 'I know that author':-)

Not sure about christmas come early but one year I missed it completely. We flew out of the US at 11pm on Christmas Eve and arrived in Australia 14 hours later on Boxing Day !

Jeanette J said...

Christmas coming early? Well, we have a card store in the mall we go to that starts putting their ornaments up for sale in July...a wee bit too early for me.
I really don't feel Christmasy until we have some snow on the ground

Jennifer L. said...

Annie I love it when your christmas "fuzzies" arrive early. It gives you a permanent smile even when dealing with shopping chaos! Congrats on the book!

Annie West said...

Wow, thanks everyone, for your congratulations. It's so lovely to receive such encouragement on my debut for Harlequin.

As for Christmas, I agree with Tehya and Kim - it's great to be with family (even if it takes a bit of organising).

Fiona, I'm appalled at you missing Christmas! I hope you celebrated later.

Jenny, I do hope you get double celebrations with your birthday so close to the festivities.

Jeanette, I've only had one white Christmas and it was magical. I'm used to an Aussie Christmas, where it's hot summer holidays. The cicadas are just out now on the trees so it must be getting close.

And as for the preparations beginning earlier - would you believe our street just had its Christmas party? It was early to accommodate people going on vacation. Nevertheless, it seems a litte too early for me.

Which reminds me - I have a deadline I'm supposed to be attending to. It's starting to loom closer!


KarenG said...

It is wonderful that your book is out at Christmas time. A perfect present for an author. When I was a little girl I found my present early. It was a bike that I had wanted for many years.

Joyce said...

I'll be celebrating Christmas with a new knee. It's working great and I'm real happy with it!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful story :) Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

Congrats Annie, sounds like you've had a wonderful year :o)

If I could get an agent to request the full of my ms would be great. Have 2 requests for partials that are going out this week so fingers crossed. Other than that, I'm not sure what Santa could bring lol

froggie said...

I guess Christmas is coming early at my house this year... Christmas shopping that is! With all the blogs I visit there's talk of the upcoming holiday, so I decided to start getting ready now instead of later. In a way this is much better as I won't have to deal with big crowds (I'm just not a mall person). Though I have to admit that most of what I've purchased was from on-line stores!!☺

Congrats on your books being picked up for publishing, looking forward to reading all of them.

Annie West said...

Bonnie, thanks for the good wishes. I'm glad you enjoyed my early Christmas story.

Joyce, a new knee! How terrific! I hope you get years of use out of it. Now that's a stunning Christmas present.

And Karen, your mention of finding your bike early took me straight back to my childhood, creeping in to the see what was under the tree then trying to work out what shape the gift was before anyone else was awake.

Oh, I do love Christmas! And special gifts.

Actually, this year my children are contributing some of their pocket money and joining in with me to buy a gift for a needy family in another country. We went to the Oxfam website and are currently choosing between a goat or fruit trees or a water pump. We'd better decide soon, before Christmas is gone.


Annie West said...

Lis, oh, best of luck getting an agent. That can be as hard as snaffling and editor, I hear. But to have two requests going out this week you must be on a roll. I hope one or both of those lead to good news for you. Now, that would be a lovely Christmas present.

Froggie, it sounds like you're impressively organised. I wish I could say the same but this year I'm way behind. Maybe I could get you to do my shopping too while you're at it!


Emmy said...

Congrats on the books.
I have a love hate relationship with the Christmas season. I love the holiday the decorating, spending time with family the whole thing. I don't really hate the holiday it is more of frustration. My birthday is only 3 days before Christmas. Sometimes there is so much going on that one usually the b-day gets over looked which causes the frustration, and then I don't feel like Christmas should come until my b-day does.

Annie West said...

Emmy, it must be hard having your birthday so close to Christmas. I know a couple of people in the same situation. One actually celebrates her birthday a month early just to be sure she gets both special days in.

Hope this Christmas and birthday are great.


Amy Andrews said...

My b'day's 4 days before Xmas and it can be a blessing and a curse. My husbands is the 4h and my daughters is the 31st so we have a verrrrry busy December in our house. My daughter always laments her birthday being on the very last day of the year. But as I always tell her she'll be the birthday girl at every New Years Eve party when she's older so she'll be the toast of the town and they'll always be a party to go to.

Little Lamb Lost said...

Due to distance we have always gone to one side of the family and then the other alternating years for our Christmas holiday. This year, my mother-in-law will be with us at my mom's house and we will be mixing traditions. It will be grand fun.

Annie West said...

Amy, December must be frantic in your house. Hey, good point about the new year's celebration coinciding with your daughter's birthday. That will make her birthday always special.


Annie West said...

Hey, LLL, I understand what you mean about mixing family traditions. We've been doing that for a few years now and it seems to work well - after plenty of planning!


Pam P. said...

Congrats on that first sae and then the others, Annie, must feel great.

I've never experienced an early Christmas but having so many relatives we've often celebrated more than once to get together - first with our own immediate familes and various relatives, then the week after with other aunts, uncles and cousins. It's great doing that every so many years as the familes grow and the new kids get to meet the others.

robynl said...

Congrats on your book being out, Annie. Woohoo!!
Snow here in Canada is indicitive of Christmas coming soon and we are getting snow as I type. The wind is howling also so it is a good time to curl up with a good book and drink hot chocolate or I could even wrap Christmas presents that are sitting on a table behind me. Goodness, Christmas is coming soon.

Annie West said...

Robyn, your description of the wind howling outside and the snow falling really made me think of Christmas (which is weird since ours are hot). Maybe it was the thought of snuggling by a fire with a cup of chocolate and a great book - now that's my idea of holiday bliss!

Pam, I love the sound of your ongoing, always growing Christmases! I hope you take photos as the family expands.

Thank you both for your good wishes. This book is such a thrill for me. And in between mails I headed down to the post office to find a box of books (my second release) waiting for me. Yes, that early Christmas theme is definitely continuing here.


Tessa Radley said...

Annie, what a wonderful post--thanks for sharing. And so good to hear about your box of books too.

There's always something wonderful about getting a parcel in the post and your books, well, even better!


Annie West said...

Thanks, Tessa. You're right it was an enormous thrill. There's something so special about holding your very own book, isn't there?


Anonymous said...

My Christmas came early last year when I(a person who never gambles on ANYTHING) won $2000 in a raffle! EVERYONE had a great christmas gift that year!

CrystalG said...

Congratulations on the publication of your first book.
Last year, Christmas came early when my neice had a successful heart surgery to repair a defect artery. She is doing great and I look forward to sharing a second Christmas with her.

Meljprincess said...

Since my Dad passed this February it would be extra special if my Ma, Sis, and I could get together for Christmas. We're trying to work something out but I dunno....

Merry Christmas, Annie. Looking forward to reading your books.

JENNA said...

I think Nicole's holiday, spent at home sounds like the perfect way to spend the day. I'll be bustling between winding up Hannukah, the Swedish Christmas Eve, Italian Christmas Day, and thank to my cousin's marriage, a traditional English Boxing Day (what is that?). I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

Minna said...

Congrats on the books!
For me Christmas and all other holidays combined came early few years ago when I got the chance to study translating in the university.

Annie West said...

Wow, what interesting lives you all lead!

Minna, I'm so glad you got your early present when you were accepted on the translating course.

Jenna, my mind just boggles at your multi-cultural festivities. Sounds fantastic!

Crystal, that's excellent news about your niece.

Avidreader, what fun to win such a big raffle, and right when you'd appreciate the money most. I remember winning a huge fruit tray and was thrilled (I don't win things). Can't imagine how excited I'd be to win cash.

Mel, good luck with trying to organise your Christmas. We're still trying to do the same with family members so busy.

Merry Christmas to you all!


Jennifer Y. said...

We have sometimes celebrated Christmas early because of conflicting holiday plans...but I have never had Christmas come early unexpectedly.

Carol said...

Congratulations on your first book! That's a wonderful early Christmas present!

Being with my family makes every Christmas special!

Estella said...

Congrats on your sales!

Maureen said...

Well, Christmas came early for me the two years that I had my children, both born in December.

Annie West said...

Thanks, again everyone, for your good wishes.

Jennifer I hope one year your Christmas comes early - I can thoroughly recommend it.

And Maureen, you really did want to make sure you had special Christmas gifts the two years your children were born, didn't you? That's taking matters into your own hands!

All the best,

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Fab party and Annie you know how I feel about your debut book it is absolutely wonderful and you have such an incredible career ahead of you.

Signing off, it's snowing here in Seattle and must get up early am to get to work.

PS I've learned that holidays have a way of working out....why? Family, friends and peace and joy that it brings.

Annie West said...


Thanks very much for the kind thoughts.

And I love the way you sum up the joy of holidays!