Thursday, March 22, 2007

Interview: Anna Campbell - Claiming The Courtesan

I was wondering what to post today when I remembered that Anna Campbell is having her book release soon. And since debut authors are always fun to torment get to know, I shot her some questions and she sent me some answers. Check out the interview below. (Anna's also giving away some cover flats of the beautiful cover on the left.)

Interview with Anna Campbell

: Nalini, thanks for asking me to be a guest on your blog. I was here for a visit back around Christmas and had a wonderful time. Congratulations on all your success! I read SLAVE TO SENSATION while I was recovering from the flu in January and it was a brilliant book. About the only thing in the universe that could have made me forget my horrible physical woes. Can't wait to read VISIONS OF HEAT but as I'm trying to write my third book, I may just have to.

1. So, who is Anna Campbell? Give us the lowdown.

Anna Campbell is an international woman of mystery who breakfasts with presidents, lunches with lords and dines with kings. What she does afterwards and who she does it with is nobody's business but hers (nudge, nudge, wink, wink, however).

Right, having got that off my chest, I'm an Aussie girl who's always wanted to see a book of hers in print. As I'm yet to discover a tall, dark, tormented duke on my doorstep, I'm single and happy to be that way. I live near the sea on the east coast of Australia, even if my heart is waltzing around a ballroom in Regency Mayfair. I'm partial to many things including Peter O'Toole in LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, email, a nice red wine and good books, especially luscious romances.

2. Your debut book releases March 27 - give us a glimpse into the state of your mind right now.

I'm bouncing around like a loon at the moment, Nalini. How did you feel? Is this emotional rollercoaster normal? At one moment, the world's my oyster, at the next, I have a real fit of the collywobbles. It's also surreal. I keep remembering how I announced to the world when I was in primary school that I was going to grow up to be a writer. Hey, it looks like it actually happened. People have been marvellous too, contacting me and wishing me luck or saying how excited they are about the book hitting the stands any day now.

3. Backcover copy of Claiming the Courtesan?

This is a stunning debut, a love story that sweeps you away and keeps you captivated until the last page is turned…

He would marry her, and possess her in every way possible.

The Duke of Kylemore knows her as Soraya, London's most celebrated courtesan. Men fight duels to spend an hour in her company. And only he comes close to taming her. Flying in the face of society, he decides to make her his bride; then, she vanishes, seemingly into thin air.

Dire circumstances have forced Verity Ashton to barter her innocence and change her name for the sake of her family. But Kylemore destroys her plans for a respectable life when he discovers her safe haven. He kidnaps her, sweeping her away to Scotland, where he vows to bend her to his will.

There he seduces her anew. She spends night after night in his bed…and though Verity still plans her escape, she knows she can never flee the unexpected, unwelcome love for the proud, powerful lover who claims her both body and soul.

4. I haven't read Claiming the Courtesan. Sell me on it.

This is one of those big luscious romances that I hope will sweep you away to another world for a few hours. It's darkly sensual and dramatic and I really tried to make it an emotional journey from darkness to light for my characters and for my readers. It tells the story of London's most notorious courtesan, Soraya, and her tormented, passionate lover, the Duke of Kylemore, who swears to make her his bride. It's a compelling story of love and courage and ultimate redemption that I hope will stay in the reader's mind long after they read the last page.

5. I've heard your hero is an ultra alpha. Do you want to tell us about him?

The Duke of Kylemore is a man who's true to his time, which means he's arrogant, he thinks the world, including women, exists for his convenience and he exhibits a lordly manner (well, he is a lord, when all's said and done). But beneath his proud elegance lurks a complex, unhappy soul. He's tormented and alone, hiding devastating secrets and pain. From the moment he sees Soraya, he wants her because something in him recognizes she's his only chance at salvation. Of course, because he's unacquainted with anything resembling love, he acts out his desire in ways that end up backfiring on him.

The book charts his redemption and the growth in his self-awareness until he's a fit partner to the woman who is his other half. Yes, he's an alpha, perhaps even an ultra alpha. I'm not apologizing for that. He makes some bad decisions but he will suffer extremes of emotional pain as a consequence. And after all his suffering, he emerges from the fire a better man. When I read, I like to share a compelling inner odyssey with the characters. I hope with this story that's what I've achieved, so that even if Kylemore's actions aren't always laudable, you can understand why he's doing what he's doing. And man, is he passionate! Always an attractive quality in a hero!

6. Right, sooooo I've heard some interesting things about your next book, Untouched. Any chance of a glimpse as to what it's about?

Umm, if I told you I'd have to kill you. It comes out in December from Avon. I'm totally in love with the hero who, while strong and passionate and brave, is in many ways the absolute opposite to Kylemore. It starts with my heroine being kidnapped to become the Marquess of Sheene's sex toy so you can probably see that it has a similarly dark, sensual atmosphere to CLAIMING THE COURTESAN.

7. Ooooh....are you sure I can't bribe you with my secret stash of boy toys?

Boy toys or toy boys, Nalini? Ha. There's a couple of devilish twists to the plot I really don't want to give away at this stage. But it's a mixture of Beauty and the Beast and the Sleeping Beauty. The story has a dark fairytale quality that I hope takes the reader into a really different world when it comes to romance novels. It's a world of danger and intense sensuality where nothing is as it seems. And I absolutely love the title. UNTOUCHED works on so many different levels. I was delighted when Avon agreed with me that it really suited the book. I'm putting an excerpt and the back cover blurb on my website in May so I hope I've intrigued you all to come and check it out.

So I'm wondering - how do you feel when you read an ultra alpha? Does the time/world in which a book is set have an influence on how you feel about these forceful, sexy heroes? Who is your favourite alpha hero? Best three answers get a signed coverflat for CLAIMING THE COURTESAN!


Annie West said...


So great to see you here. Nalini - thanks for inviting her over!

I was interested to hear you breakfast with presidents and dine with kings, Anna, it must get a little crowded at your place.

Had to leave a comment since I've read CLAIMING THE COURTESAN and I loved it. It's dark, sexy, intense, highly emotional. Need I say more? Kylemore is an alpha hero in a time and place where that meant real power and he's not afraid to use it - which makes for a fascinating read since he's totally absorbed in the heroine.

Nalini, re. those boy toys/toy boys. I'm starting a new book and might be interested, purely for research you understand...


Anonymous said...

I dunno, Annie. What're you offering in return??? [waggles eyebrows]

LesleyW said...

How do I feel when I read an ultra-alpha?

For me, there has to be a reason why they are like that. Otherwise I become overwhelmed with the urge to (figuratively) smack them in the face with a brick.

Favourite alphas - Black Dagger Brotherhood who are alpha because of their very nature, Jamie from Diana Gabaldon's series whose alpha tendencies stem from the time he lives in. Windwolf from Wen Spencer's Tinker he's very alpha in an inscrutable elf-like way. Vaughn and Lucas :). Clay from Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series.

But I also have favourite beta heroes - Henry from A Time Traveller's Wife. Miles Vorkosigan who I'd say was a beta hero.

And there are the heroes you can't quite place. Jeremy from Kelley Armstrong's Otherworld series is the werewolf pack's alpha, but I'd say he's more of a beta hero. He has Clay and Elena to do the alpha stuff for him.

Anonymous said...

Bring on the alpha hero!!!

This is Fiction. He can be as ultra as he likes; all it ever takes is a heroine strong enough to mold him into the man she (and the readers!)knows he can be.

Oh, I cannot wait! I'm kicking my kids out of my room, opening my own bottle of red, and plan to enjoy every last word of it. :)

Anna Campbell said...

Annie and Nalini, I'm sure there are enough toy boys/boy toys to go around. Play nice! And Annie, thank you for those kind words about my book.

Lesley, really interesting comments. I agree with you - if there's sufficient motivation, I can handle most things in fiction. I'm a massive fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood - yes, they're ultra alphas, but they have to be to protect and defend. Be still my beating heart! Who would think I'd go for a man named Vishous or one called Rhage? Goes back to my comment about the skill of the writing having so much to do with my emotional response to a story. Those books are so passionate and intense, they just sweep you into that vivid world.

Hey, Gillian, so glad you're looking forward to my book (heard from a friend in Kentucky it's in her local bookshop this morning - now, that was an exciting moment for a new writer!). Wish I could be there to share the red with you!

Anna Campbell said...

Nalini, how did you feel when your books first came out? Was it a different feeling between your categories and your single titles (by the way, I nearly weakened and read Visions of Heat yesterday but I kept going on my wip - I think I'm an alpha hero with that sort of strength!)?

Nalini Singh said...

Anna - I hope Vaughn seduces you away from your work *grin*

How did I feel with my first release? Manic, happy, over-the-moon, scared, absolutely delighted...and everything in between. Seeing Desert Warrior be published was seeing one of my dreams coming true, so there might even have been tears.

With StS, it almost felt like the first book all over again, because this was a whole new area. There were some very intense emotions with both DW and StS. I don't think it can be any other way when you're that passionate about something.

Christine Wells said...

Hey, Nalini, great interview! Anna, can I borrow your bio? It's a lot more interesting than mine!

Alpha heroes--love them, as long as they're teamed with a heroine strong enough to match them. I was going to say 'tame' them but who wants a tame alpha?

That's why I loved Soraya as a character. She has endured so much and still has the strength to fight Kylemore. Ultimately, they both win.

I know I've already read it, but Anna prised the manuscript from my resisting fingers some time ago, so I'm REALLY looking forward to reliving the experience. Hopefully, my copy isn't far away!

Anonymous said...

Um, collywobble? Is that some of that Australian talk?

Great interview Nalini. Now, on to the questions:

How do you feel when you read an ultra alpha? Does the time/world in which a book is set have an influence on how you feel about these forceful, sexy heroes? Who is your favourite alpha hero?

I love ultra alphas ... IF they have redeeming qualities. And I like a little break in a book from extreme alphaness (is that a word?) all the time. He's got to show some tenderness and the ability to laugh, too. Otherwise, the testosterone levels turn too toxic for me. ;)

The time/world of a book probably has some bearing on how much latitude I give their attitude. (cool, I rhyme). For instance, if he's a modern-day stockbroker or something, I wouldn't expect the same level of awareness of danger as I would from a soldier or Middle Ages warrior. If someone does live in a time period or world that's dangerous, I would expect more alphaness from him. That level of command and confidence would make someone feel safer, I would imagine.

Who's my favorite alpha hero? Hmmm, I really liked John Huntington in Lisa Marie Rice's "Midnight Man" and Wolf Mackenzie and his son Joe Mackenzie, in their books by Linda Howard. "Mackenzie's Mountain (Wolf)" and "Mackenzie's Mission (Joe)." There's lots more, but those bad boys have to be at the top of my list. Hot, hot, hot!

Annie West said...

Blogger ate my last message so am trying again.

Nalini, in return for a boy toy - how about a sexy sheikh (only between the covers of a soon to be released book though).

Lesley, I agree with you - characters have to behave in a convincing manner. They can get away with so much as long as I believe there's a reason for what they do - whether it be the hero or the heroine or any other character for that matter.


Anna Campbell said...

Nalini, nice to hear my behaviour isn't that bizarre, then! Whatever the neighbours might think!

Christine, of course you can borrow my bio - I take it you mean the international woman of mystery one not the boring, real life one? I'm so glad you like Soraya - she was a character who was very close to my heart when I wrote her. I think it was her courage and generosity of spirit that really touched me. I think she's the only woman who could bring light into Kylemore's darkness.

Jennifer, don't you get collywobbles where you come from? It's that state of terror where your knees feel like they're about to collapse on you! Really interesting comments on alphas. Thank you. I love the way Linda Howard writes men - they're so convincing as real males and they've got that marvellous heroic dimension as well. I haven't read the Mackenzies. Sounds like I should check them out.

Annie, I've read your sheikh and I've got to say the world has a treat coming up! Yes, I know this sounds like a love fest, but Rafiq really is an amazing hero! Yum!

Anonymous said...

Anna, I can honestly say I'd never heard of collywobbles before. ;) I'd love to hear you say it, though. I luv accents. Of course, I'd have the accent to you. I live in North Carolina, USA, so I've got what can kindly be called a rather strong Southern accent. The more unkind in the U.S. would call me a hick if they heard me talking. If you're uncertain of what a hick is (like I was with collywobbles), here's a fairly accurate description from the Urban Dictionary, "Derogatory term for someone from the country. Somewhere between a bumpkin and a redneck, though they tend to get wrongly lumped in either category."

I like to say that jist cause I sound like a hick don't mean I ain't got no learnin'. ;) We adore double, and triple or more, negatives. *snicker*

And I must say, I'm not a great lover of historicals, but the description of your books now has me intrigued. I believe I'll have to add them to my list of "Must check 'em out" books. Thanks for letting Nalini interview you. I love to find new authors.

Anna Campbell said...

Jennifer, we most definitely have hicks in Australia! And I LURV Southern accents. I visited the US for the first time last year for the RWA conference in Atlanta and honestly, hearing the people talk down there was like drowning in chocolate. Yes, please, I'd love you to check out my book! Hope you enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, I like them sheiks. So exotic, so sexy!

Jennifer, LOL! Man, I'm from New Zealand. To most of the world, that's the absolute sticks. Do you guys say that? It means the middle of nowhere *g*

Anonymous said...

Nalini, yep, we've got plenty of people who live out in the sticks around here. Bunch of them ole' rednecks live out in the sticks.

Anna, that's so cool that you've been to Atlanta. Of course, the accents vary a bit from place to place. Even within North Carolina, the people on the western, more mountainous end (me) have a slightly different accent from those in the central part and those on the coast. It all depends on who settled where way back when people started trickling in.

Oh, and I visited Australia, New Zealand and Fiji in August, so I got to hear some very cool accents. *frowns thoughtfully* I didn't always understand what in tarnation ya'll were talking about sometimes, but that's OK, it sure sounded pretty. ;) Scenery was beautiful, too.

Well, ladies, I've stayed up all night for some reason, so I really need to get my behind to bed so I can get up and go to work this afternoon. Yea. Not. It is now 6 a.m. my time. So, good night, good morning, and thanks for chatting.

P.S.: Nalini, did you ever go to the doctor? Or did the Hack Attack finally go away?

kathy said...

Nalini, thank you for putting up this interview. I hadn't heard of the book, because lately, i've been staying away from historicals. Now, I'm dying to read it. Good thing, it's being released only a few days from now, and I don't have to wait too long.

May said...

I want to read this book and it's a historical and it does not have vampires.

I think some of my historical-lover friends will worship you for that alone, Anna. LOL.

Alphas..It depends. If he uses it, yummy! If not...Not so much.

Barbarita V said...

I read the excerpt and it sounds great. I added to my wish list.i check but is not in stores yet.

Anna Campbell said...

Jennifer, glad you got come down here! Sounds like a great holiday. I haven't been to either NZ or Fiji so you're well ahead of me!

Kathy, Barbara and May, I hope you enjoy my book. Keep an eye out - as I said, it had made it to Kentucky yesterday even though the official release date is 27th March. And another friend who had ordered it from Borders said she'd had notification that it was on the way. Hooray! And no, May, not a vampire in sight! LOL!

Anonymous said...

I so love Uber Alpha Heros!! **Sigh**
And I love fairy tales also ;)

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Katie, you're MY sort of reader!

Anonymous said...

Great interview, Anna and Nalini!

I don't suppose there are courtesans at your brekky table too, Anna?

Looking forward to the big release date. Not long now!


Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Vanessa. And hey, no courtesans at my brekky table! Can't handle the competition! Especially given how I look in the morning!

Anna Campbell said...


Nalini, thanks so much for inviting me. I've had great fun and I feel like I've made some new friends which is always nice.

Now for the big moment. Who gets the coverflats?


JenniferK, just for her accent, LesleyW for her thoughtful comments on alphas and May for giving me a laugh about no vampires allowed!

Will you three girls please email privately on and give me your snail mail address and I'll get a few bits and pieces off to you.

Thanks everybody for coming over to play!

Nalini Singh said...

Glad you all enjoyed the interview! I'll have to find more debut authors to torment ;)

Jennifer - hope you got some sleep! As for the Hack Attack, it appears to be readying itself to wander off into the sunset. I'm spit-shining it's booths myself! Fingers crossed.

Nalini Singh said...

Anna - it was my pleasure :):)