Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hello, Fiona. Thank you so much, Fiona, for inviting me to be your guest here. My name is Anna Campbell, and I’m old enough to know better.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I was born in Brisbane, the subtropical capital of Queensland, the big eastern state of Australia that goes up to the pointy end and has the Barrier Reef along most of its coast. I grew up in Redland Bay just south of Brisbane where my family had an avocado farm. Since then I’ve lived in Brisbane, London, Sydney, and now I live in a resort area called the Sunshine Coast – and most of the time it lives up to that title.
Fiona: A little about yourself (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I had a brilliant childhood with a lot of time to dream – I’m sure that’s one of the things that made me a writer. I have one brother. I went to boarding school and then university where I did a degree in English lit. What bliss, to be able to lie around reading all day. Lying around reading is still my idea of paradise. Never married and no children.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I’m currently working toward the release of The Highlander’s Defiant Captive, book 4 in the bestselling Lairds Most Likely series, set in, you guessed it, the Scottish Highlands, one of my favourite places in the world. That should come out in August/September. It will join the other books in the series, The Laird’s Willful Lass,The Laird’s Christmas Kiss, and The Highlander’s Lost Lady. I’m getting ready to head off to the Historical Romance Retreat in California in September, which is sure to be a lot of fun. It’s my first U.S. visit in a few years so I’m looking forward to meeting a lot of my readers. If you’d like more information on that convention, here’s the link: https://www.historicalromanceretreat.com/
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I was in love with stories from the first fairytale my parents read to me. I turned into a voracious reader very early so it seemed natural to start writing my own stories. My first writing heroine was Enid Blyton and my first attempt at a novel was a horse-napping saga called The Rochdale Mystery. That was grade 3. It took me a while to get to the point of finishing a book!
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I had a very early sense of my vocation. There’s an essay my mother kept from grade two where I proclaimed to the world that I was going to be the next Enid Blyton. So I think I always thought of myself as a writer.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
After fiddling around with a stack of genres, always romantic or romantic elements, I settled for Regencies in the Julia Quinn mode. I wrote one that gained a lot of praise in contests and some major prizes and I thought, “This is the one.” But then one afternoon, I was lying in the bath and I got the idea for a brooding Scottish duke who decided to marry his notorious mistress as revenge on his despicable family. The story was dark and sexy and not at all the sort of thing I wrote (I’d decided I wrote romantic comedies, remember?), but the idea wouldn’t leave me alone. One day, I sat down to write the first chapter just to prove to myself I couldn’t do this idea justice, and that ended up being the first chapter of my first published book, Claiming the Courtesan, which came out from Avon in 2007.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
The story was originally called “No Ordinary Duchess,” but the publisher wanted something a bit sexier. After much toing and froing, we settled on Claiming the Courtesan.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I have a pretty lush writing style that I hope suits the larger-than-life atmosphere of a historical romance. I also like to use quite a lot of humour in my stories, even the most dramatic ones. I think a shared sense of humour is one of the secrets of a successful relationship.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Events in my life and people I’ve known have inspired me – they’ve made me the person I am today who is interested in writing about these subjects. But I make up the stories and the characters from scratch. Occasionally a historical event will inspire elements of a character. To give you an example, Antonia, the heroine of Midnight’s Wild Passion, was partly inspired by Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, but her life followed a very different trajectory.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
Because I live in Australia and I set the books largely in the U.K., I travel a lot: location spotting, researching and just generally looking for inspiration in history and places. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Western Highlands of Scotland and one of the lovely things about writing my current series, The Lairds Most Likely, is that I can use a lot of the settings I know so well as background for the stories. Achnasheen Castle, for example, is based on EileanDonan Castle near Kyle of Lochalsh.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The brilliant Hang Le.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Real love is worth every sacrifice.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
I quoted for Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore, which is out from Berkley in September. It’s a brilliant debut: different, funny, emotional, and really sexy. I have numerous favourite writers. Like many historical romance fans and writers, I love both Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer. I admire the way they tell such compelling love stories against a finely observed social background. I also love the wit and elegance of their writing.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
My critique partner Annie West, who writes wonderful contemporary romance – check her out. We met at my very first writers’ conference and we both worked closely together for several years to achieve publication. We still get together regularly to talk plots and markets and writing in general. Her website is http://www.annie-west.com
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Definitely. It’s a dream come true that I can write full time.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I’m pretty happy with how The Highlander’s Lost Lady turned out.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
My latest book took longer to put together than I’d originally planned, so I was travelling when I was putting the final touches to the manuscript, and still flitting from place to place when the launch arrived. Neither situation was ideal. I need to organise my timing a little better next time and make sure there’s more flexibility in my schedule.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
My current hero is a tall, powerful Highlander with broad shoulders and long dark hair. Think a Scottish Jason Momoa. My heroine is a fiery redhead. I’d say Maureen O’Hara but she’s no longer with us, and I can’t think of anyone in the current crop of actresses who has that particular quality.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
My advice for people starting the wonderful journey toward becoming a writer is to finish what you’re working on. Then put it aside for six months and write something else. When you come back to edit the first book, you’ll have a bit of distance from it, and also you’ll have learnt a lot from writing your second book.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Keep on reading!
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
I read a lot of nonfiction, especially when I’m working on writing a story as I am now. So just now I’m in the middle of Swimming with Seals by Victoria Whitworth, about a woman who moved to Orkney, and, uh, swims with seals.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
The first proper book I read was Black Beauty. I was horse mad and I can remember crying my eyes out when Beauty was pulling the hansom cab and fell and broke his knees.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I blush to say I laugh at cat videos on the internet. Don’t hate me. Oh, and puns. I love puns.
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
I’d love to meet the Scottish author, Dorothy Dunnett, who sadly passed away a few years ago. She wrote huge sweeping historical series that I just love. Her Lymond Chronicles are absolutely unforgettable. I think she’d have a wicked sense of humour and a wise heart.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
I like to swim, I like to read (there’s a surprise), I like to travel. The last few years I’ve been lucky enough to take long trips in Europe which have been wonderful and very inspirational for future stories. I like to bake. I’m also a bit of a culture vulture, so give me an art gallery or a ballet company and I’m happy.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I’m an old movie fan so if the film features Audrey Hepburn or Errol Flynn or Cary Grant, I’m in heaven!
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
I’m partial to oysters and potato chips (crisps) and rack of lamb and mandarins/clementines. Oh, and ice-cream! Favourite colour is blue. I like all sorts of music, although I write mainly to classical music and soundtracks.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
Well, hopefully I’m no longer writing because I have a huge bank account, in which case I’d read and travel and drink champagne with my friends!
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
With the people I love – and hopefully by the sea.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Here lies Anna Campbell who wrote from the heart to touch the heart.
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
Amazon Authors page USA : https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Campbell/e/B002NKV1HQ/
The Highlander’s Lost Lady:
Amazon U.S. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PM94FN3/
Amazon U.K. https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PM94FN3/
The Laird’s Christmas Kiss:
The Laird’s Willful Lass:
The Dashing Widows: Six Regency Novellas:
Lord Garson’s Bride: