Risky Regencies: It’s been a while since we’ve “seen” you here at RR, Anna! What have you been up to?
Anna Campbell: Hiya, Riskies! Thank you so much for having me back to visit. I love it over here, as you know! But where is Bertie? You know I hang around here mainly to flirt with that a la mode paragon. Don’t tell me he has found another ballroom to grace! I shall weep into my Mechelin lace handkerchief! Although I won’t blow my nose in it. Euch!
2008 did not feature a new Anna Campbell book on the shelves in America, but I’ve definitely been busy in the interim. I wrote my next book, which as yet is without an official title. I’m currently calling it the “Manderley book” because the hero has a lovely old house on the Cornish cliffs. It’s out in November, and features a runaway heiress and a PTSD knight in shining armor here. Standard angst-ridden Anna Campbell fare!
I had my first 2 short stories publisjed in a really big magazine here in Australia. That felt like a huge achievement for someone who didn’t think she could EVER write a short story. You can find them both here–just go to the bottom of the page and click on either title.
I shall control my blushes and say my biggest moment for 2008 was the double-RITA final. That was one of my writing dreams that came true! It was such fun visiting San Francisco and wearing those green ribbons at conference. Actually, it was just fun to visit San Francisco. What a great city! Another special moment was when Claiming the Courtesan was nominated for Romantic Book of the Year here in Australia.
RR: You call Tempt the Devil a “Regency noir Affair to Remember.” Sounds intriguing! Tell us more about that. How did you come up with this idea?
AC: I suspect I’m the only person who will see the connection! An Affair to Remember was my late mother’s favorite film so I watched it a lot! One day I was thinking about those characters in a Regency setting and realized that Terry is a kept woman, i.e. courtesan, and Nicky is a rake, if not a gigolo! For these sophisticated, jaded characters, falling in love is a disaster. They’ve got life pretty well sorted out. Then wham! Love takes them over and they’re stuck doing all sorts of things they wouldn’t have dreamed of doing. I also loved the way both Nicky and Terry used wit as a defense against the world. That part of An Affair to Remember definitely translated to Tempt the Devil.
RR: What are the famous historical women you used as inspiration for Olivia?
AC: Olivia was very much her own person, but I did steal a few details form actual women to round out her character. Some of the research I did for TTD was just too good to be ignored!
In appearance, she looks very much like a young Lauren Bacall. I wanted someone who wasn’t a conventional beauty but could still stop traffic. Some of her behavior is borrowed from George Sand, the French novelist, who was such a scandalous and charismatic character in 1830s Paris. My book is set in 1826 so it didn’t seem too much of a leap. Sand was an amazing character–althought I’m not sure I would have liked her very much. These days she’s mainly famous as Chopin’s lover, but she was a strong, dynamic, self-willed woman of genius who supported herself with her pen when that was almost unheard of. She regularly wore men’s clothing and smoked in public, and led an extremely torrid love life!
I borrowed a few minor details from a famous courtesan in the Victorian era called Skittles (apparently because as a child prostitute she plied her trade outside a skittles alley). Her real name was Catherine Walters and she became the mistress of Edward VII as well as a number of the best and brightest of the time. She never kissed and told, and all reports indicated she was a sparkling, joyful, compassionate companion. I think I would have liked her! She was also a famous horsewoman and used to have herself sewn into her riding habit for rides in Hyde Park so her superb figure was shown to best advantage.
AC: I just started my 5th book for Avon. I always like the early stages of a book–anything seems possible! It’s set in London and will have a similar atmosphere to Tempt the Devil. Or at least that’s the idea so far. I find out the stories change drastically from conception to actual writing!
RR: This week we’ve been talking about some of our favorite reads for 2008. What are some of yours?
AC: I actually had a great reading year! Some new authors I discovered are C.S. Harris who writes Regency romantic mysteries featuring a charismatic hero, Viscount St. Cyr. On the complete opposite of the spectrum I discovered a wonderful Harlequin author called Kathleen O’Reilly who writes amazingly textured books full of emotion and sensuality. I’d recommend her stuff to anyone. I discovered the Inspector Lynley mysteries by Elizabeth George late in the year and have since read 7! I read my first J.D. Robb and disovered what all the fuss is about. One of my Bandita friends, Jeanne Adams, wrote a great romantic suspense as her debut book, Dark and Dangerous. I really enjoyed Deanna Rayburn’s Silent in the Grave and Silent in the Sanctuary. As far as old favorites go, I really enjoyed books by Christine Wells, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Madeline Hunter, Annie West, Tawny Weber–too many to mention, really!
You can read more about Anna Campbell and her books at her website!