I know I'm in my own little world, but it's OK.
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Saturday, January 7, 2012

TOPIC: An Author's Life...with Anna Campbell

Being a published author is an ... involved ... process, and I take my hat off to those who've been in the business more than a few years now.

As a pre-pubbed author I was always curious about what happened once you received THE CALL and stepped into the world of publishing.

What did it involve? How did they handled the day to day pressures? Did they developed routines, set goals etc.? What did they like/dislike about the process?

So I asked my special guests these questions and many of them have offered some intriguing insights into their lives. Maybe they'll even give you a heads up on what to expect if you're thinking of entering the world of "getting published".

My first special guest is...Anna Campbell.

Author Facts
ANNA CAMPBELL has written six multi award-winning historical romances for Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in eleven languages.

Anna has won numerous awards for her Regency-set romances including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (twice), the Heart of Excellence, the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association's favorite historical romance (three times).

Her books have twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA Award and twice for Australia's Romantic Book of the Year.

Pseudonym or Given Name? Why a pseudonym?
Pseudonym. I intended to write under my given name but was so sure I’d never be published, I didn’t spend a couple of bucks parking a domain name.

Would you believe about six months before I sold, someone with my name (and I suspect it’s her real name) published a romance? As far as I know, she hasn’t published another but it meant I needed to come up with an alternative name. I dug back through the family tree and combined names from my two grandmothers.

Location: Sunshine Coast, Australia.
Published Genre:  Historical romance (late Regency setting).
Website:  www.annacampbell.info 
First published in: 2007. 
Number of books published: 6.

The Nitty Gritty
List up to 5 significant events in your journey to publication?

  • Joining Romance Writers of Australia
  • Placing in the RWA First Kiss 2001 (my first contest entry)
  • Meeting Annie West, my wonderful critique partner
  • Winning the RWA Emma Darcy Award 2005
  • Getting an agent
What resources/techniques/events did you find useful to develop your writing skills/craft?
I think the principal difference between my unpublished and unpublished writing is that in between I learned to write emotion.

Can you share the special moment when you received THE CALL/THE EMAIL?
CLAIMING THE COURTESAN went to auction in 2006 after finalling in the RWA Golden Heart®.

I spent a really fraught week not sleeping – New York is on almost absolute opposite time to Australia. Then finally the word came through on Good Friday morning 2006 that the final offers were in.

I’d had a dream of being an Avon author since I’d read THE WOLF AND THE DOVE as a teenager and it turned out – I WAS AN AVON AUTHOR! Huzzah! It felt quite surreal, partly because I was operating on severe sleep deprivation by then, and it took a while to sink in properly.

But I remember being in the pool a couple of months later and suddenly smiling to think my dream of being a published author was finally coming true.

Looking back over your writing career, how have you grown as an author?
I’m not sure that’s something the author notices! One thing I’ve learned is to trust my process. It’s awful and it drives me mad but I know it’s given me a publishable book in the past. It should give me a publishable book in the future. Fingers crossed.

How important is it to set career goals? Can you give an example of one you have for yourself?
Actually I’m not sure I set career goals aside from meeting deadlines and writing the best darn book I can. I think a lot of this stuff is completely outside the writer’s control (bestseller lists, foreign editions, prizes, appearances on Oprah).

Can you describe your writing process/timeframe from when you start a new book to handing it in at deadline?
I’m currently writing my first series (still under wraps) and I’ve got eight months to write each book.

That’s fairly luxurious in the current genre environment, but I’ve got to say I still find it a stretch because I’m a pretty slow writer. I write a really dirty draft that’s always too long and completely unreadable, then I refine it down like making a lovely rich sauce. At least that’s the theory!

One of the things I found challenging about being a published author is the constant juggling of tasks ie. writing a book, editing another, planning promotion, writing the prosposal for another (and usually this all happens while holding down another job or dealing with family/life etc.).

What do you enjoy the most in the publishing process?
I usually enjoy turning the dross of my first draft into something readable. Like most writers, I love those occasional days when writing is like magic and the pages pour out in a beautiful flow.

What do you least in the publishing process?
Actually, I like pretty much everything. I wanted to be a full-time writer all my life, I’m not looking for things to complain about, LOL!

Is there anything you think pre-publishers writers need to know about the business/industry before they're published?
It doesn’t get easier.

A Bit of Fun
Hunkiest hero ever: Daniel Day-Lewis in LAST OF THE MOHICANS. Sigh. Swoon.
Greatest love: Music.
Timeout/relaxation for me includes: Reading and wine.
Special quote/saying you like: "The heart has its reasons that the reason cannot know." – Blaise Pascal.


  1. What a lovely idea, Kylie! And how fun to read about other writers' path to publication. Very much enjoyed the interview and yes, Daniel Day Lewis in The Last of the Mohicans is in my top ten for sure. Sigh.

  2. Thank you both Kylie and Anna for sharing. It's so nice to be re-invigorated with an inspiring story like yours, Anna.

  3. Great interview, Kylie and waving to, Anna! I'm so excited to hear about this series you're writing!!!! I can't wait to read it. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your writing life. I love reading other writers experiences and style. And totally agree on Daniel, what a hottie! Would watch the movie more often if it wasn't so sad... sniff

  4. Ah, Pauline, I can see that you're a woman of exquisite taste! "I will find you!" Sigh.

  5. Hey, thanks, Sarah! I'm so glad you enjoyed the interview.

  6. Tamara, I'm hooked on hearing about other people's process/writing life too. And it's always inspiring, even just to confirm that I'm not so weird as at times I suspect I am, LOL! Thanks for saying you're looking forward to the series. I'm just putting final touches on the first book as we speak! Actually I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the music from The Last of the Mohicans. It's great writing music.

  7. It reassures me that there are other slow writers, but if you were a faster writer we'd have more of your books! Oh well, patience is a virtue I'm trying to master :)

    Can't wait to see the new series!

  8. Hi Anna!

    I'm here playing hooky from doing my edits...and working on the WIP. Loved the interview and could identify with so much of it. But spending days lost in the world of our characters - and be paid for it - is a wonderful way to make a buck. Can't wait for the unveiling of your new series.

  9. Hi, Kylie and Anna!

    Oh, Anna, it was a fantastic day when you finally got that call after working so hard for so long! Thanks for saying that it doesn't get any easier after publication. You can't just rest on your laurels once you sign that first contract, can you? I'm looking forward to reading your new series!

  10. I love this - One thing I’ve learned is to trust my process. It’s awful and it drives me mad but I know it’s given me a publishable book in the past. It should give me a publishable book in the future. Fingers crossed.

    I know a bunch of prepubbed authors who are going to love you for life for saying this, Anna! I know I've tried out so many other author's ways of writing and none of it has worked for me so I'm going to trust my own process.

    Thanks for this, Kylie, and the inspiration, Anna! Have fun.

    Bron xx

  11. Jessa, I must say I envy people who can pop out a book in a couple of months. But I've come to realise I'm just not one of them! Thanks for swinging by and for saying you're looking forward to the series!

  12. Donna, I'd feel so ungrateful to the universe if I whinged about my job. As you say, we get to spend lots of time with our imaginary friends ;-) And going to work in my pjs is pretty cool too. Good luck with the revisions!

  13. Vanessa, I think before I published I lived in this cloud cuckoo land where everything was perfect after I'd finally sold a book. Sadly, there are just more mountains to climb. Although it's not really sadly - it would be awful to be bored! Thanks for saying you're looking forward to the series.

  14. Bronwyn, thanks for swinging by. I'm glad my comments hit a chord. I think one of the good things about being unpublished and trying for so long is that it did let me work out my process. By the way, I'm not joking when I say it drives me nuts! ;-)

  15. Looks like you definitely struck some chords with others concerning your process, Anna. And that's so important because how often have we as writers sat there wondering if there was anyone else out there experiencing the same things we're feeling/going through? :-) I know I have and it's driven me nuts!!! LOL

    Ladies, so glad you enjoyed Anna's interview - I love having her visit and eagerly look forward to seeing her answers to my questions. There's always something new I learn when I do.

    And in this business of writing/publishing knowing what's ahead can help you anticipate & prepare. So thanks to Anna, and all the other author's who are going to be a part of this series, for being so willing to share such valuable information. :-)

  16. Hi Kylie! Hey Anna C! What a wonderful interview! Oooh, the new book's a series? Ooooh! How exciting!

    Did I know this? *rolls eyes* I probably did, but I'm brain dead, so...grins.

    I love what you said, Anna about trusting the process. Every time I try to change it, I regret it. My process may be messy - thought different from yours - but it DOES work. :> Mostly. Hahahaha!

    Thanks for the insights! And will you divulge any coool stuff about the series??

  17. Hey, thanks so much for having me as your guest today, Kylie. I'm so glad you enjoyed my answers. I thought you asked some really interesting questions. I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of the series! Can't wait until your book comes out in Feb!

  18. Hiya Jeanne! There's a free set of steak knives with every copy of a book sold? No? Oh, dear, back to the marketing drawing board! The first book is a Beauty and the Beast story - very gothic. Thanks for swinging by!

  19. Hi Kylie, Hi Anna. I enjoyed this quick interview and oh, boy, do I agree about learning to trust your process! Sometimes all that's between you and the panic button is that knowledge that somehow you've done it before.

    Anna, I'm so chuffed that our meeting is one of your 5 key events! That was a momentous day, wasn't it? What fun we've been having since.

    Good luck with the new series and with the ebook compilation that's out now.

  20. Snap, Anna, I have the soundtrack on my iPod too! :D

  21. Hey, it's one of my top fives in the flesh (well, the cyber flesh!). Definitely meeting you made a huge difference to me - I actually think it was the way you helped me have confidence in what I was doing. Sometimes the fear monsters are really hard to beat back in this business. Someone telling you you're doing OK makes a huge difference. Thanks for swinging by!

  22. Annie, thanks so much for mentioning the e-book bundle out now (only in Australia and New Zealand). Aussies and Kiwis can buy CLAIMING THE COURTESAN, TEMPT THE DEVIL and MY RECKLESS SURRENDER as an e-bundle under the title, the Courtesan Collection. It's available at all local e-book sellers at the bargain price of around $15 Australian. Here's the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Courtesan-Collection-ebook/dp/B00642XEPG You can find links for other formats on my website: http://annacampbell.info/books.html

  23. Tam, I love those Scottish-style tracks in the first half in particular. That wild reel that plays under the kiss and under the ending always get me going.

  24. Great interview, Anna and Kylie. I'm sorry I'm so late, but I just had a moment to look at my email. Whew!

    I really enjoy hearing about other writers and how they came to write, cope with deadlines, enjoy and don't the process, and the like.

    One thing that never sank into my poor pea brain is that once you have a book published, the pressure to continue, to replicate, to keep going gets more intense. It's not like you can publish one book and rest on your laurels LOL.

    I indie published my three books, and even though I know I'm my own taskmistress, I'm a b**ch of a taskmistress! I always feel like I can do more, do it faster, and do it better.

  25. Jo, keep cracking that whip. We want more of your wonderful stories! I think that feeling we can always do it better and faster is a bit of a danger. I find stress doesn't always help me to produce my best.

  26. Just popped in to say hi to you both and thanks for a great interview! Anna, you're one of the few people I know who has wanted to be a full-time writer forever and pursued that goal until here you are now, living the dream! Congratulations and here's to many more wonderful Anna Campbell books!

  27. Hi, Kylie and Anna--What a fun interview!

    I can get a first draft down pretty fast, but then I have to go back and layer in description, clean uo the plot, etc. All that takes time, too.

  28. Hiya Christina! Hey, everyone, make sure you get Christina's latest which has just come out. MAD ABOUT THE EARL is an enchanting Beauty and the Beast story that you'll just love!

  29. Hi Nancy! Thanks for swinging by. I've pretty much come to the conclusion that everything in this game takes time. Sigh.

  30. Hi Anna and Kylie, great interview! Anna that's interesting as to why you write under a pen name, but what a gorgeous pen name it is :-) I love that you're now writing a series! Can't wait to read!

  31. Hey, it's my friend Christina! HELLOOOOO! Thanks for swinging by. Yeah, it's a story I tell at all my workshops - I tell people spend the couple of bucks (and it literally is a couple of bucks) to park a domain name. Mind you, I think Anna Campbell SOUNDS like a historical romance author ;-)

  32. Hey, Anna! Love looking into your life as a writer, even though I know a lot of it. :)
    I'm very excited to read this new series you're working on.

  33. Hi Anna

    Thank you for sharing. It was wonderful to read more about your journey. Because I've been such a good girl this year (nudge, nudge, wink, wink) Santa gave me a Kindle for Christmas. My very first download was the Courtesan Collection which I am now thoroughly enjoying. It's been on my TBR for a while now.I've just finished 'Claiming the Courtesan' and looking forward to reading 'Tempt the Devil' next.

    Kylie, another awesome post. I love your blogs - always fresh & full of fun :D Thanks

  34. LOVED the interview Kylie and Anna. Well done Anna on your fabulous milestones =)

  35. Great interview, Anna. So interesting to learn about your process. Mine is the exact opposite. I do really short first drafts and mainly dialogue. Then I have to add in all the descriptions etc. Horrible process, but what can you do.
    Best wishes for the series.

  36. Thanks, Suz. Yeah, not a lot of mystery left between us, is there? ;-) Glad you're looking forward to the series!

  37. Hey, Juanita, fantastic you bought the Courtesan Collection! Thank you so much. That's a serious slab of Anna Campbell in that collection! I love Kylie's blogs too - I'm really looking forward to hearing what the other authors say in this collection on the published author life.

  38. Janni, I'm laughing because we ALL think our process is horrible. I've always envied people who plot everything beforehand because I don't think they write themselves into a corner the way I'm liable to do (and then I have to get out which can involve some major gymnastics). But my plotter friends all seem to have their own bugbears with their process too. Actually what's interesting about dialogue in my first drafts is that usually that's the one bit that doesn't need a lot of revision.

  39. Thanks, everyone, for your comments. To those who shared their own processes, thank you. I love hearing how others go about writing. It's an amazing thing to consider just how diverse we all are but it's awesome that we all recognise similarities in our processes as well as celebrate our differences.

    One thing I think we'll all agree on is that supporting each other as writers is vital. And I think that's something a lot of us do well, particularly in RWA & RWNZ.

    Another thing I love is that readers (aka Anna's fans) like to read about an author's process/routines when writing a book. I know from reading my favorite author's interviews that I find those snippets fascinating - a bit like the Extra's or Special Features at the end of a movie DVD. :-) It adds value to the experience of reading their book. Does anyone feel the same way?

  40. Thank you for an informative and inspiring interview. Anna and Kylie :)

  41. Terrific interview, Kylie and Anna!

    It's always fascinating to hear about other people's "process" and I thoroughly enjoyed your description of refining a dirty draft down to a lovely rich sauce! And may I just say that you do make lovely rich "sauces" so I'm really looking forward to your new series!

  42. Kylie, I sometimes wonder whether my fascination is because I'm another writer or whether everyone is interested. Be an interesting survey!

  43. Ooh, Sharon, you're so kind about my cooking, uh, my writing! Hey, and maybe my lovely rich sauce might just be SAUCY! Right, I'll stop now. Thanks for saying you're looking forward to the series.

  44. Daniel Day Lewis of the "I will find you." probably one of the most romantic lines ever!

    Anna, love reading about you.
    Great stuff, Kylie. As always.

  45. Hey, thanks for swinging by, Eleni! I think that's such a romantic movie. Love that kiss in the fort. Triple sigh!

  46. Thanks, Kylie, for having me as your guest. And thanks to everyone for swinging by to have a chat. Lovely to see you all! Kylie, wishing you best of luck (not that you'll need it!) for the release of VENGEANCE BORN next month!

  47. Lovely interview. I greatly enjoyed reading it. Thank you, ladies.

  48. Hi Natalie, thanks for dropping by and saying hi! :-)

  49. Anna, thanks for being my first guest in the series and for being so candid answering my questions - you've shared some great insights. It's been fun interviewing you again! Thanks! :-)

  50. Hi Natalie, thanks for dropping by and saying hi! :-)

  51. Hi Kylie, Hello Anna!

    Lovely interview. I greatly enjoyed reading it. Thank you Kylie for bringing my new fav author!

    And thank you Anna for Midnight's Wild Passion!

  52. Hey, Romance Reader, ahh, I love it when I feed another reader's addiction with their favorite author! LOL

  53. Hi Kylie and Anna!

    Lovely inteerview ladies! Thanks.

    Kylie- Romance Reader did a post on what she felt after reading Anna Campbell's Midnight's Wild Passion!


    While immersed in the story I kept hearing a running commentary of how she'd have liked to have been born in that era! I guess it was my fault for not having her waaayyyy back then!!!!

  54. Anna Campbell writes a breathtaking historical romance!