Anne Barwell on Writing, Characters and her new release One Word (Hidden Places #3) (author interview,excerpt and giveaway)

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One Word (Hidden Places #3) by Anne Barwell
Dreamspinner Press
Cover art by

Available for Purchase at Dreamspinner Press

 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Anne Barwell here today on her One Word tour.  Welcome, Anne, and thanks for answering some of our author questions for us.

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Interview with Anne Barwell

Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for One Word, the 3rd book in my Hidden Places series from Dreamspinner Press.

  • Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Yes, definitely. When my brother and I were kids, my dad introduced us to the SF genre, and both of us were hooked very quickly. I still read a lot of SF, although I tend to drift more into fantasy these days because there is more of it about. It was the other way around then.  I write what I like to read, so a lot of my stories have SF or fantasy elements to them.  I also write historical although my interest in those didn’t come until later, although some of that was because of stories Dad told about family history.

  • Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

I’m happy with either.  I think some stories work well with a HEA, but some don’t.  With an MM historical a HEA is often not feasible, given the penalties for being found in a homosexual relationship.  Also, I think that often stories are a slice of someone’s life, so I like to think of the characters continuing their story after the final page of the book. Life doesn’t always tie everything up in a pretty bow, so stories shouldn’t always need to either.

  • Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

I didn’t read romances as a teenager, and only started reading them in recent years. I enjoy them, although I still tend to lean toward the genre romances such as SF, fantasy, historical etc. Sometimes, though, I just want something lighter and I have a few favourite authors I turn to for that.

Who do you think is your major influence as a writer?  Now and growing up?

Susan Cooper, who wrote the Dark is Rising fantasy series is a big influence. I blame her for my interest in fantasy and anything Arthurian.  Madeleine L’Engle is another. I love A Wrinkle in Time and the other books in that series, and the way her other books, although in another series, were connected and had characters in common.

More recently reading Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series inspired me to start writing again as an adult.  Tanya Huff is another one. They’re also both mainstream writers who have gay characters in their fiction.

  • How do you choose your covers?  (curious on my part)

Instead of a scene from the story, I like my covers to reflect elements of the story and its characters.  Most of the story in One Word takes place in a small English village hence the background on the cover.  The Morris Minor is Donovan’s pride and joy—and was also the car I learnt to drive in.  Ethan is a Maths and Science teacher, hence the mathematical equations as part of the background.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories?  And why?

That’s like trying to choose a favourite child.  One that will always stand out for me is Shadowboxing which is book 1 of my WWII Echoes Rising series. I’m proud of that story, and the series, and it was the first story I wrote that I knew was going to be a novel—it turned into a three book series.

  • If you write contemporary romance, is there such a thing as making a main character too “real”?  Do you think you can bring too many faults into a character that eventually it becomes too flawed to become a love interest?

I prefer my characters flawed, but in saying that I think they still need to be likeable.  If they have no redeemable features why would someone fall in love with them?  On the flip side, people aren’t perfect and I’d be very suspicious, and think a main character was unrealistic, if he or she was cheerful all the time and didn’t have the occasional bad mood. There are things in this life that would make anyone grumpy.  Ditto for someone who never makes mistakes—the saying comes to mind about not knowing that Mr. Right’s first name was Always.

  • With so much going on in the world today, do you write to explain?  To get away?  To move past?  To wide our knowledge?  Why do you write?

I write because I have characters who want their stories told. With life being a bit stressful at times, I enjoy being able to escape into another world, and giving these guys the happy endings they deserve. However, I do believe in making them work for that HFN or HEA.

  • What’s next for you as a writer?

My next book is called Prelude to Love and releases from Dreamspinner on 2nd January as part of their Dreamspun Desire range.  I loved writing this story as it’s set locally, plus one of the main characters is a music teacher so I didn’t need to do a lot of research.  Here’s the blurb:
Music speaks directly to the heart.

 

Two very different men face turning points in their lives after the collapse of long-term relationships….

Joel is a music teacher who knows it’s time to forget his ex and move on, while Marcus runs a lawn-mowing business and has come to Wellington to escape the reminders of a recent breakup. Although they’re opposites, when Joel and Marcus connect, their romance has the potential to hit all the right notes.

 

Too bad neither of them feels ready for new love.

 

With family and friends in common, dating is risky—things could get messy if it doesn’t work out. The sweet song of possibility draws them to each other, though, and they share a kiss following a Chopin prelude.  But it will take some practice and perseverance to find their perfect harmony….

Once my blog tour for One Word is finished, I’m getting back into writing The Harp and the Sea, which I’m co-writing with Lou Sylvre. It’s an historical with a dash of fantasy set in 1745 on the Isle of Skye.  While she’s writing her part of it, I’ll be working on A Sword to Rule which is the second and final book in my fantasy Dragons of Astria series.

One Word Blurb

A Hidden Places Story

Ethan Leavitt arrives in the idyllic village of Oakwood to search for a missing friend. Having always prided himself on his ability to find rational explanations, Ethan’s trust in concrete evidence and logic is tested by the mystery of Oakwood and Tomas’s disappearance.

Donovan Campbell’s happy, sometimes flippant, exterior hides a past he’d rather forget. As he struggles with his memories and to hold on to the inn he owns with his best friend, the last thing Donovan needs is for some guy he’s only just met to start getting under his skin. When a bank robbery escalates into a dangerous situation, Donovan must embrace a part of himself he can no longer ignore in order to save a future that might never have the chance to exist.

Ethan learns that often the person you’re looking for is not the one you find. But have he and Donovan both realized that too late…?

Excerpt

“If you want to talk anytime, I don’t mind listening.” Donovan glanced at the screen, then back to Ethan. Everyone else in the room was focused on the movie, and he’d kept his voice low so they wouldn’t be overheard. “Not now of course, but later.”

“I’m fine,” Ethan repeated. He edged toward the other end of the sofa, away from Donovan. “Thanks, though,” he added quickly. He did appreciate the offer, but it wasn’t a good idea.

“Time for a break,” Heidi announced, grabbing the remote and hitting Pause. “Doug and Mikey, come help me make drinks and bring in supper.”

“I don’t—” Mikey started to stay.

Doug cut him off. “I don’t know about you, Mikey, but one of the first things I learned about Heidi is that she means she really needs help but doesn’t want to admit it.” He winked at Mikey. “I’m sure Indy wouldn’t leave a lady in need to fend for herself.”

“Well, if you put it that way, I suppose.” Mikey got to his feet and followed Heidi out of the room. “Heidi, do you think Dad would mind if I texted him to see how Granddad is?”

“I’m sure he wouldn’t,” Heidi replied. “I think it’s a great idea.”

“Nice psychology there, Doug,” Ethan said. He didn’t think for a moment that Heidi needed the help, considering how organized she was.

“About as subtle as Heidi,” Donovan murmured. “The two of you are a match made in heaven, I swear.”

“There’s nothing wrong with my hearing either,” Doug said, although he didn’t sound offended by Donovan’s comment. “I’m going to help out in the kitchen.” He collected the empty popcorn bowl. “We’ll be at least five minutes.”

“Yeah, real subtle,” Donovan said.

“Huh?” Ethan wasn’t sure what Donovan was on about. “I think it’s sweet that Doug likes helping Heidi in the kitchen. A lot of guys don’t, and one person in the relationship gets to do all the work.”

Another mark against Duncan.

Perhaps the long walk Ethan had taken that morning hadn’t been such a great idea. It had given him too much time to think, and reflection wasn’t something he did well, especially of late.

“Yeah, he looks after her. I’d be having words with him if he didn’t.” Donovan cleared his throat. “You seem real distracted this evening, Ethan. Did something happen?”

“I’m not distracted,” Ethan said. “I’m enjoying the movie.”

The last part of what he’d said was true, at least. It appeared there was something to the genre Tomas had spent years trying to get him to read and watch after all.

“Uh-huh.” Donovan put his hands behind his head and leaned back on the sofa, keeping his tone casual. “That’s what all the stuff about helping out in the kitchen was about. Doug and Heidi are both good at reading people. You’ve gotten more and more distracted and agitated over the past twenty minutes or so. I bet if I asked you what was happening in the movie before Heidi hit Pause, you wouldn’t be able to tell me.”

“I know exactly what’s going on,” Ethan said indignantly. “And weren’t you supposed to be watching the movie instead of me? Can you tell me what happened in the last five minutes?”

“I’ve seen it before. I can quote this movie in my sleep, so answering that question isn’t going to prove anything.”

“So you admit you were watching me?”

Donovan blushed bright red. For a moment, he seemed flustered as hell. “Umm… I mean…. You’re changing the focus of this conversation onto me.”

“So?” Ethan brushed imaginary crumbs from his jeans. He sighed. As much as he thought Donovan looked hot—

No, not going there.

“Look, I’m sorry,” Ethan tried again. “I appreciate your concern, but it’s not something I want to talk about. With anyone.” He attempted an olive branch, not because he wanted to, but because…. The last thing he wanted was to upset anyone, and especially not Donovan.

“Don’t worry, it’s not about Tomas. If I’d heard something, I would have told you, okay? I know you’re concerned about him too.”

“Okay.” Donovan raised his arms in mock surrender. “I won’t ask about your crap if you don’t ask about mine.”

“I was only being concerned last night,” Ethan protested. Surely Donovan wasn’t going to bring that up now, after pretending it hadn’t existed all day?

“That’s all I’m doing now,” Donovan said softly. “Deal?”

“Oh.” Ethan ignored the way his cheeks flamed. Donovan had neatly turned Ethan’s indignation back on himself. “Point taken.” He took a deep breath, knowing he didn’t have any option but to agree. “Deal.”

Buy Link: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/one-word-by-anne-barwell-9001-b

Giveaway

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You can find the list of sites taking part in the blog tour here:

https://annebarwell.wordpress.com/blog-hops/

November 3 – Open Skye Book Reviews
November 6 – Book Reviews and More by Kathy
November 6 – Top to Bottom Reviews
November 6 – Two Men Are Better Than One
November 6 – Gay Book Promotions
November 7 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
November 8 – Happily Ever After Chapter
November 9 – Love Bytes Reviews
November 10 – Boy Meets Boy Reviews
November 10 – Nic Starr
November 13 – The Novel Approach Reviews
November 14 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
November 15 – Aisling Mancy

About the Author

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Anne Barwell on Bidding Adieu to her series and her release Comes a Horseman’, Sequel to Winter Duet (guest post and giveaway)

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Comes a Horseman (Echoes Rising #3) by Anne Barwell
DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Reese Dante

Available for Purchase at DSP Publications

 

Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Anne Barwell here today talking about the writing the series finale, and her latest release Comes a Horseman (Echoes Rising #3).  Welcome, Anne!

✒︎

 

Bidding Adieu by Anne Barwell

Thanks for hosting me today as part of my blog tour for Comes a Horseman, the 3rd and final book in my WWII Echoes Rising series from DSP Publications.

I have a Rafflecopter running as part of the tour so be sure to enter.  DSP Publications also have the ebooks for Shadowboxing (book 1), and Winter Duet (book 2) on sale from 17th July-August 4th.

Although I started writing this series with a clear overall story in mind, part of me still can’t believe I’ve finished the final book.  I first began writing the early draft of Shadowboxing in 2002, but shelved it when the thought of all the research got a little daunting.  After my first novel with Dreamspinner Press, Cat’s Quill, was published in 2011, I dusted off the manuscript for Shadowboxing and started writing again. This time the research felt more doable, and hoping I might have a home for it, I went back to the beginning, edited it heavily, and finished the story.  I was delighted when Dreamspinner wanted to publish it, and ecstatic when it and Winter Duet, book 2 of my renamed Echoes Rising series, were republished by DSP Publications in 2016. 

Although this story wasn’t my first published book or series, it was the first thing I’d written that I knew was going to be a novel.  That novel quickly became a three book series, when I realised the story I wanted to tell either needed to be split into a series, or would be one very long book.

I’ve grown attached to these characters, as they’ve been a part of my life for nearly twenty years, and although I’m happy I’ve finally finished telling their story, I’m going to miss them. Despite writing in series, Echoes Rising is the first I’ve finished—although I’m working on completing my others in progress too.  The characters—much like myself—have changed and grown over those years, to the point where I had to rethink some of the scenes in this last story.  They might have worked at the beginning of the series, but these men are no longer the same as they were when they started on this adventure.  They’ve endured many hardships, lost people they cared about, but through it all they’ve built friendships which have impacted their lives. I figure that’s quite an achievement considering that—apart from Matt and Ken—none of them knew each other before the pieces moved into place leading into their mission into German in 1943.

I suspect—considering the strong personalities of these men—that although Echoes Rising is finished, that they’ll find another way to sneak into my writing.  I’m gearing up to set up an author newsletter and will be writing free fiction as a part of that, and Liang is making noises about sneaking into a 1950s murder mystery I want to write.  Matt already has a blink and you’ll miss it cameo in an upcoming release, so watch this space.

After all, these guys are spies, and very practised at getting into places they’re not to be.  I’ll miss the 1940s and WWII as well. I’ve learnt a lot more than I ever thought I would, so maybe other characters from that period still have stories they want to share. Only time will tell.

Finally, I want to thank the readers who have enjoyed reading about my characters’ exploits in WWII. I’ve loved being able to share this series with you. 

Blurb

Echoes Rising Book 3, sequel to Winter Duet

France, 1944

Sometimes the most desperate struggles take place far from the battlefield, and what happens in secret can change the course of history.

Victory is close at hand, but freedom remains frustratingly just beyond the grasp of German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer, Resistance fighter Michel, and the remaining members of the team sent by the Allies—Captain Matt Bryant, Sergeant Ken Lowe, and Dr. Zhou Liang—as they fight to keep the atomic plans from the Nazis. The team reaches France and connects with members of Michel’s French Resistance cell in Normandy. Allied troops are poised to liberate France, and rescue is supposedly at hand. However, Kristopher is no longer sure the information he carries in his memory is safe with either side.

When Standartenführer Holm and his men finally catch up with their prey, the team is left with few options as they fight to keep atomic plans from the Nazis. With a traitor in their midst, who can they trust? Kristopher realizes he must become something he is not in order to save the man he loves. Death is biding his time, and sacrifices must be made for any of them to have the futures they want.

Excerpt:

Matt nodded, his lips moving although he did not speak. He was counting, Michel realized, as they pulled away from shore, and using the rhythm of his movement to distract himself from the darkness.

The moon’s light highlighted the waves lapping around the boat—the water seemed to reach toward them before diving back again. Ken and Matt quickly settled into a unified motion, both focused on what they were doing, although Ken glanced at Matt a couple of times.

Frej signaled for Matt and Ken to change direction slightly and rest the oars. They did that for a few moments, letting the boat drift with the current. If Michel squinted, he could see the outline of the bridge in the distance and several shapes moving at either end of it. The guards on duty would hopefully stay focused on the bridge itself and not notice a small rowboat sneaking over the border. The area was well guarded, but as it had been secured for quite some time, they would not be expecting trouble.

On the other side of the boat, Liang quickly turned and leaned over the side. As soon as he started to make a gagging noise he shoved his hand over his mouth to silence it. If his seasickness got any worse, it would be difficult to mask the noise of him vomiting over the side of the boat. He was doing his best to silence his dry heaving, but his hunched posture suggested he felt miserable and unwell.

Frej leaned toward Ken and gestured. Ken nodded, rested the oars again, and then he and Matt changed direction. Matt was still counting under his breath, and he gripped the oar tightly.

“Who’s there?” The shouted question shattered the silence.

Kristopher glanced around, an expression of panic on his face.

Michel put a hand on his arm to calm him but didn’t dare whisper the reassurance he wanted to. He turned around and strained his eyes, trying to find the source of the disruption. Matt and Ken stopped rowing, the boat drifting back the way they’d come, caught by the current.

He heard boots against wood in the distance—the unmistakable sound of men running, probably over the bridge crossing the Rhine south of their position. “No farther or I’ll shoot,” one of them yelled.

Frej got down on the floor of the boat. Michel and Kristopher followed, then Liang. Matt kept hold of his oar, trying to keep it as still as he could. He leaned down into a crouch, as did Ken.

Gunfire sounded from the bridge. A couple of shots in succession before stopping. Michel heard an engine, a vehicle approaching. A door slammed, and then everything went quiet again. Logically he knew the bridge was a good few kilometers away, but Frej was right about noise carrying on the water. If felt too close for comfort.

Frej waited a few minutes. “Row,” he whispered urgently. “While they are distracted.”

Giveaway

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Rafflecopter giveaway:

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You can find the list of sites taking part in the blog tour here: https://annebarwell.wordpress.com/2017/07/23/comes-a-horseman-blog-tour

July 25 –  MM Good Book Reviews

July 31 –  Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

August 1 – Two Men Are Better Than One

August 1 – Top to Bottom Reviews

August 1 – Genre Talk at The Novel Approach Reviews

August 2 –  Love Bytes Reviews

August 3 –  Andrew Q. Gordon

August 3 –  DSP Publications Blog

August 4 –  Nic Starr

August 4 – Alpha Book Club

August 7 –  My Fiction Nook

August 8 –  Divine Magazine

August 9 – Aisling Mancy

August 10 – Lucy Marker

About the Author

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand.  She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts other authors, reviews for the GLBTQ Historical Site “Our Story” and Top2Bottom Reviews, and writes monthly blog posts for Authors Speak and Love Bytes.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell on Writing, Characters, and their story ‘Sunset at Pencarrow’ (author interview and giveaway)

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Sunset at Pencarrow (World of Love) by Lou Sylvre and Anne Barwell
Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain

Buy Links:

 (Discount code PENCARROW from 5/31-6/30, 30% off, DSP store only.)

Amazon |  Barnes and Noble |  Google Books | iTunesKobo

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to have Anne Barwell and Lou Sylvre here today talking about writing, characters and their latest story, Sunset at Pencarrow.  Welcome, Anne and Lou!

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Lou: Before we get started answering questions, Anne and I just want to say thanks—first to readers, but equally to STARW for hosting us on our Sunset at Pencarrow blog tour. A heads-up: We have a Rafflecopter giveaway going on so don’t forget to enter early and often!

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How much of yourself goes into a character? Do you feel there’s a tight line between Mary Sue or should I say Gary Stu and using your own experiences to create a character?

Lou: The answer to that question depends on how I look at it. In the most literal sense, plunking myself down in a fictional situation and writing about what I would do there, never ever. On the other hand, I’m sure many readers have heard it said that characters are all different versions of the author, and I believe there is some truth to that. I mean, how can we write characters with integrity—real reactions, responses, interactions, and inner workings unless they somehow come from inside ourselves? But so much goes into making up all the hidden parts of ourselves, not just our experiences and so forth, but our empathy, not to mention those characteristics that are part of us and we would never be able to say why. When I write a character, I definitely draw on that resource. Sometimes, it’s just little bits of gut knowledge or subtle reaction. Sometimes, though, it’s extreme—for instance when I write a “bad guy,” what they’re made of are my own honest responses exaggerated and twisted.

So the process goes something like this: Imagine a character vastly different from me, then write as if I am him (or her). Use my own honest emotions, reactions, responses, etc., to drive him along his trajectory toward whatever it is he wants or needs.

Does research play a role into choosing which genre you write? Do you enjoy research or prefer making up your worlds and cultures?

Anne: I don’t really choose the genres I write—they choose me. I enjoy researching, but I also love the challenge of making up my own worlds and cultures. I’ve written a few historicals and writing those always entails lot of research, and I always learn something new with each book. I work at a library so I tend to refer to a mix of print and electronic materials when I need information. Although I don’t have to worry so much about every little details being as accurate as possible when writing fantasy, I still want consistency in my world building and to ensure that whatever magic system I’m using makes sense. So… instead of a lot of research in the traditional sense, I’m still spending the time I’d usually research in making up a new world.

Lou: I don’t see that as an either/or question. Every novel takes place in a fictional world, even if it is contemporary romance set in a real city, with real buildings and streets and even events—because your characters don’t live in that real city and their story isn’t happening there. And even the most far-flung paranormal, sci-fi, or fantasy has to have elements of realism, because if it didn’t, it would make little sense to readers, and because to hold such a story together the question of “how” is at least as important as “what.” I do enjoy research a great deal regardless of the kind of story I’m writing. That was one of the bonuses of writing Sunset at Pencarrow; it required quite a good bit of research for me, never having been to New Zealand, not having a Vietnamese Buddhist mother, not having been familiar with the places fighting might have occurred in Afghanistan, etc. Anne and I do have another work in process which would fall, genre-wise, somewhere between fantasy and magical realism, but it’s worked around a real series of events in historical Scotland. Lots of research needed there, too—interesting, and one of the fun parts of the writer’s job.

Has your choice of childhood or teenage reading genres carried into your own choices for writing?

Lou: As a teen, I loved fantasy, sci-fi, and suspense/thriller fiction. I veered away from that in my thirties and forties, reading a lot of Native American literature, women’s literature, lesbian fiction, and mainstream novels and short stories (though I never really stopped reading fantasy and sci-fi). Sometime in the last two decades, I’ve come back around, and now read genre fiction almost exclusively, especially fantasy and (with or without the suspense) romance—the latter mostly M/M. Not surprisingly, those are also the things I like to write nowadays.

Anne: Definitely. I grew up on a reading diet of mostly SF/fantasy and comic books, with the odd historical and mystery detective thrown in. I loved—and still do—Susan Cooper, Madeleine L’Engle, Robert Heinlein, Rosemary Sutcliff, and Andre Norton, to name just a few. If a book looked interesting, I’d read it, which is still my criteria for picking up one today.

My writing, like my reading, covers a range of genres, and sometimes a book will ‘misbehave’ and not stick to one genre. I’ve written historical (WWI and II so far), fantasy (contemporary, high, and urban), SF (time travel), and contemporary romance. There’s a touch of mystery detective through several of those too.

Do you like HFN or HEA? And why?

Lou: Either can be satisfying to me, but I do want one or the other if I’m reading romance. I don’t particularly care for endings that are essentially cliffhangers (unless the next book picks up where the last left off in a series), or endings that just leave too much to the reader to decide what happened, in any genre. To me, however, the very worst kind of ending is the one that tidies everything up too neatly, with no room for me to imagine a future for the characters in my own reader mind.

Anne: I don’t mind whether characters get a HFN or HEA, as long as they don’t go through a lot of strife for nothing. In some situations, such as an historical, a HEA isn’t going to happen, but that’s fine. Sometimes, the story is a slice of someone’s life, and like real life, I’d prefer not to know what happens in the future. As long as they’re happy now, I’m happy.

Sometimes characters aren’t going to get either, but there needs to be a good reason for that, depending on the story. If there isn’t a good reason though, I get annoyed. I read a series a couple of years ago, and devoured all three tome sized books, only to have the author kill one of the main characters in the second to last chapter of the final book and then have something happen that undid everything the characters had worked for. And yes, I’m still muttering about that one.

Do you read romances, as a teenager and as an adult?

Anne: I didn’t read any romance stories until I was an adult, although some of the stories I read had some romance in them, so I have a lot of catching up to do. I’ve always enjoyed stories that are more character driven and as romance is a part of life, it makes sense that I’d be drawn towards reading the genre. I read across a lot of genres, and my romance reading tends to be more MM rather than MF, although I do enjoy a good MF romance too.

Lou: I didn’t really start reading romances until I was in my twenties, unless you count things like Jane Eyre, which I read as a young teen. In the 1970s, I read authors like Kathleen E. Woodiwiss and Johanna Lindsey—that was the infamous bodice-ripper era. I stopped reading them for a while except Lesbian romance. For the past decade or so, I’ve been reading mostly (but not exclusively) M/M when I read romance.

How do you feel about the ebook format and where do you see it going?

Anne: I read both ebooks and hardcopy, but given the choice I prefer the feel of a hardcopy book. However, if it wasn’t for ebooks, I wouldn’t have been able to read many books that I’ve enjoyed. There are more novellas available now than there used to be, as most of those aren’t in print, and also being in New Zealand, books and postage to here are very expensive, so many books I want to read would be out of my reach in hardcopy.

I think there’s a place for both ebooks and hardcopy for that reason. Each has their pros and cons, and readers who prefer one of the other, so I’m hoping we’ll continue to be able to have the option to read whichever way we want for.

How do you choose your covers? (curious on my part)

Lou: I’ve been lucky enough to work with Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink, their YA imprint. More so than some publishers, they allow the author to have a good deal of input about what goes on the cover, but it’s the assigned artist who interprets that. They provide mock-ups to choose from, and also accept suggestions for changes. So I don’t have to just accept a cover as a done deal, but I also don’t have to create one or go shopping for one. When I choose from the mocks and offer possible tweaks, I’m looking to evoke a feeling or atmosphere that gets at the heart of the book. I am more than pleased with the covers I have, and honestly I’m delighted with the cover Anne and I got from Reese Dante for Sunset at Pencarrow.

Do you have a favorite among your own stories? And why?

Lou: I’m going to take the liberty of changing the question slightly. Since Sunset at Pencarrow is my current love, I’m going to choose my favorite among my other books. It’s not easy, but I’d have to choose Because of Jade, the final book in my Vasquez and James series. Through five previous stories, I put those men through hell. They faced unspeakable terrors, they grew as individuals, and they grew in their love for each other. At the end of each book, they had a happy ending, but never quite complete. In BOJ, they are finally mature, and though they face problems and scares, the main focus is the way they grow their love outward, as they adopt a little girl and make a family. I love the men the characters grew into, I love the world they make for themselves in this book, and I love their little girl. More than that, it makes my heart sing a little that I finally got to give them a true happy ever after, which they so richly deserved.

Anne: Choosing a favorite story is like choosing a favorite child, but one of my favorites would have to be my Echoes Rising series. This series has been a part of my life for well over a decade, and when I started writing the first book—Shadowboxing—it was the first time I knew that what I was working on was a novel. It actually turned out to be three novels, but these books and their characters will always have a soft spot in my heart.

What’s next for you as an author?

Anne: Comes a Horseman, which is the 3rd and final book of my WWII Echoes Rising series releases from DSP Publications on 1st August. After that, One Word, which is book 3 of my contemporary fantasy series Hidden Places is being published by Dreamspinner Press in November/December this year. Writing wise, I’m finishing up Prelude to Love which is a contemporary romance set in New Zealand. After that I’m heading into another co-written book with Lou called The Harp and the Sea, which is a historical set in 17th century Scotland with a touch of magic realism. While she’s working on her side of that, I’ll be writing A Sword to Rule, the 2nd and final book of my fantasy series Dragons of Austria.

Lou: I’m re-working the first two books and writing the third in a series that spun off from Vasquez and James, and making some decisions about the series future. Anne and I have a novel in progress (the Scottish historical/fantasy mentioned above), and I’ve got a couple of novellas in the early stages. So, I’m busy, and hopefully will have more specific news soon. Thanks for asking!

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Lou and Anne: Thank you again, readers. We’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment (and get another giveaway entry in the process). We also hope to see you along the way throughout the tour.  

Just click here

for the complete schedule and links!

 

Blurb:

Kiwi Nathaniel Dunn is in a fighting mood, but how does a man fight Wellington’s famous fog? In the last year, Nate’s lost his longtime lover to boredom and his ten-year job to the economy. Now he’s found a golden opportunity for employment where he can even use his artistic talent, but to get the job, he has to get to Christchurch today. Heavy fog means no flight, and the ticket agent is ignoring him to fawn over a beautiful but annoying, overly polite American man.

Rusty Beaumont can deal with a canceled flight, but the pushy Kiwi at the ticket counter is making it difficult for him to stay cool. The guy rubs him all the wrong ways despite his sexy working-man look, which Rusty notices even though he’s not looking for a man to replace the fiancé who died two years ago. Yet when they’re forced to share a table at the crowded airport café, Nate reveals the kind heart behind his grumpy façade. An earthquake, sex in the bush, and visits from Nate’s belligerent ex turn a day of sightseeing into a slippery slope that just might land them in love.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Book info:

Novella
Pages: 129
Words: 48,703
Formats: epub, mobi, pdf
ISBN-13 978-1-63533-520-0
ASIN: B071LHK72M

About the Authors

Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She works in a library, is an avid reader and watcher across genres, and is constantly on the lookout for more hours in her day. Music often plays a part in her stories, and although she denies being a romantic at heart, the men in her books definitely are.  Anne has written in several genres—contemporary, fantasy, historical, and SF— and believes in making her characters work for their happy endings.

Lou Sylvre

Lou Sylvre loves romance with all its ups and downs, and likes to conjure it into books. The romantics on her pages are men who fall hard for each other, end up deeply in love, and often save each other from unspeakable danger. It’s all pretty crazy and very sexy. Among other things, Lou is the creator of the popular Vasquez and James series​, which can be found at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and many other online vendors.

Contact links:

Anne:

Lou:

Lou and Anne’s shared Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sylvrebarwellhoffmann/

Giveaway

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