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Monday, June 6, 2011

GUEST AUTHOR: Anne Whitfield

My special guest author today is Anne Whitfield.

An avid reader long before she put fingers to keyboard, Anne also considers herself a storyteller who loves to entertain her readers. She writes contemporary romance novels, short stories and historical women's fiction (and is published with Knox's Robinson Publishing).

Her latest release is THE HOUSE OF WOMEN (avaialble June 2011), but I'll let her tell you more about it in the interview.

Please welcome, Anne to my blog hotseat!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Australian born to English parents who emigrated to Australia in the 1960s from Yorkshire. I’m married with three children and live in a wonderful part of New South Wales, called the Southern Highlands, nearly two hours drive south of Sydney.

I did live in England for three years in the eighties and lived in a very old farmhouse (built in late 1700s) with no modern conveniences like central heating! The pipes used to freeze in winter and we’d have to get water in buckets from town, or melt snow. It was all very strange for an Aussie girl!

However, living in England gave me the love of history.

When did you start to write and how long did it take you to be published? 
I started writing in 1997, but didn’t finished that first novel until 1999. After a few false starts, and a tight escape from a vanity publisher (I had no idea what one was at the time!) I signed with Samhain Publishing in 2005.

Can you tell us about your latest release? 
I loved the idea of a large family all pulling different ways. With a selfish mother, a tyrannical father and seven daughters, the family was complex, but add to that a lost love, a heroic butler and a handsome stranger, well, the real fun began then!

THE HOUSE OF WOMEN was a great book to write.

Leeds. 1870. 
Lonely and brokenhearted, Grace Woodruff fights for her sisters’ rights to happiness while sacrificing any chance for her own.
The eldest of seven daughters, Grace is the core of strength around which the unhappy members of the Woodruff family revolve. As her disenchanted mother withdraws to her rooms, Grace must act as a buffer between her violent, ambitious father and the sisters who depend upon her. Rejected by her first love and facing a spinster’s future, she struggles to hold the broken family together through her father’s infidelity, one sister’s alcoholism, and another’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy by an unsuitable match.
Caring for an illegitimate half-brother affords Grace an escape, though short-lived. Forced home by illness and burdened with dwindling finances, Grace faces fresh anguish –and murder– when her first love returns to wreck havoc in her life.  All is not lost, however. In the midst of tragedy, the fires of her heart are rekindled by another. Will the possibility of true love lead Grace to relinquish her responsibilities in the house of women and embrace her own right to happiness?

Which book that you’ve read has made a lasting impression on you? And why?
Most of Audrey Howard’s books leave a lasting impression on me. I love her books. The heroine usually goes through hell before the happy ever after ending. Catherine Cookson’s Tilly Trotter series and also, THE DWELLING PLACE as firm favourites, too.

Do you have a pet that keeps you company when you write?
 Yes, I have our little dog, Angus, who is a Tenterfield Terrier (like a Jack Russell) and he’s my constant companion. He likes to sit under my desk, but around 10:30am he knows it’s morning tea time and if I don’t get up, he starts to ‘talk’ and jump about. So, I get up and put the kettle on for a coffee and he gets a chewy bone.

What’s next for you? What are you working on?
I’ve just started writing my next historical. As of yet it doesn’t have a title, but the main characters, Charlotte and Harry, are there, demanding to be heard. It’s set in Yorkshire England again, about 1874.

Aside of this new story, I have plenty of finished books waiting to be published. Stay tuned!

Do you have any advice/handy tips/craft skills you’d like to share with unpublished authors? 
Advice can be tricky, because so much depends on the writer and what they write, but first I would say, never give up! This is a hard and at times very frustrating business, be prepared to wait for results. Learn everything you can about it.

Talk to other writers, join writing groups and especially try and find a good critique group, who will help you polish your manuscript before you send it out.

Research agents. Research publishers. 

Anne, it's been wonderful having you here! Thanks for answering my questions.

Some of Anne's other books:

Feel free to visit Anne at her website (for more of her books and free stories) or blog, she'd love to see you there!


  1. Hi Kylie and Anne. Great interview. Congratulations on your latest release, Anne. The House Of Women sounds wonderful:)

    Best wishes

  2. Hi Anne and Kylie!
    Wonderful interview as always Kylie and Anne, i can't wait to read this story. It sounds like an emotional rollercoaster.
    Cheers! Teg's :)

  3. Hello Anne and Kylie
    Thanks for sharing, the house of women sounds like a great read and the cover is just gorgeous. All the best for the release!

  4. Thank you for hosting me, Kylie!
    Thanks Alli, Tegan and Vicki Lee for your kind comments.

  5. The House of Women sounds fabulous! Congratulations :-)

    Best wishes to you and Angus (who sounds like he might like a little cup of coffee too!).

    Robyn E

  6. Lovely interview and as always, you have so much to tell readers about. Good luck with House of Women, I can't wait to buy my copy!

  7. Thanks Robyn and Anita for stopping by!

  8. Thanks, everyone, glad you enjoyed Anne's interview! :-) Sorry to take so long to reply, just passed my deadline and have been uber-busy meeting it. Can breathe now.

  9. Great interview Kylie. The book is wonderful I've read it! Hi Anne.

  10. Hi Kylie, and Anne,

    ((((waves ))) from Festival of Romance!

    Lovely interview, and a lot about the author we didn't know before. ;)