Talking with Joanna Bourne

Dabney: Thank you so much for talking with me. I am an unabashed Joanna Bourne fan girl and have been ever since I first read The Spymaster’s Lady. AAR readers have loved your Spymasters series; I’m sure many of us are counting the days until the release of your newest, Rogue Spy. Continue reading

Pandora’s Box: The Last Hour of Gann

The Last Hour of GannWendy Clyde here. Dabney Grinnan and I are discussing R. Lee Smith’s The Last Hour of Gann, which was released in September.

While Dabney had read Ms. Smith, this is my first book by her and I was very pleasantly surprised by the book’s quality and complexity. When Dabney suggested we have a Pandora’s Box discussion I leapt at the chance, because The Last Hour of Gann is a thought-provoking, emotional book that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. It’s difficult to provide a brief synopsis for such an epic book, but the basic premise is the story of an earth woman, Amber Bierce, who, seeking to leave her bleak life on Earth behind, signs on for interplanetary colonization, dragging her reluctant sister along. Their ship crashes on an alien planet with thousands of human lives lost. Chances for the few survivors to flourish are slim to none until the party meets with an indigenous lizard-man, the warrior-priest Uyane Meoraq. Meoraq is on a religious pilgrimage when he encounters the flat-faced, soft-skinned humans. Deciding that there are lessons to be learned from this alien species he agrees to help them survive and allows them to travel with him to the temple he’s seeking. He finds Amber the most intriguing of all the humans and the two soon develop a friendship that deepens into attraction.

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An interview with Sherry Thomas, YA author

The Burning SkyReaders love Sherry Thomas’s historical romances. Of the seven she’s published, three are Desert Island Keepers here at AAR and three others garnered a B+. She is a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s RITA® Award.

When I heard Sherry was releasing a Young Adult novel, The Burning Sky, I requested an ARC and gobbled it up. I know Sherry through Twitter. I contacted her and asked if I could interview her for AAR. Despite being in the midst of a book tour–The Burning Sky comes out tomorrow–she graciously said yes.
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An Interview with Alexis Hall

glitterland Alexis Hall has just released his debut novel, Glitterland, to wide acclaim. It’s a four and a half star read on Goodreads. Library Journal gave it a starred review and deemed it “Highly recommended.” Alexis and I are Twitter pals so I asked him if he’d be willing to be interviewed for AAR. He said yes. I sent him my questions and, though he was on vacation and typing on his phone, he sent me the following resplendent replies.

1) I’ve rarely read a romance with such polar opposite leads. Both men fascinated me. Can you tell me a bit about how you came up with Darian and Ash? Who came first? 

It’s pretty straightforward actually: Darian came first. Last year, there was a contestant on the UK X Factor called Rylan Clark who was this, well, sparkling glitter pirate of a man. Obviously Darian isn’t Rylan Clark, because that would be deeply weird, but he was a strong inspiration for the character. The thing is, that type of person does show up in fiction fairly regularly but usually as a background character or a gay best friend, and he tends to be played for laughs. So I decided I wanted to write a book where he was the hero because I think it’s so easy to dismiss people who seem shallow or frivolous or camp or, basically, just not like you. And that meant I needed a context in which he could shine, and also be taken seriously for who he is. Continue reading

Books With Buzz: Grace Burrowes – and an ereader giveaway!

GraceBurrowes Many historical romance readers know Grace Burrowes as the very prolific author of European historicals, many of which have been enjoyed by our reviewers and readers. Darius received a DIK review here, and many of her other books and novellas have been well-received also.

Burrowes’ latest release, Once Upon a Tartan takes readers to Scotland, where a smart, headstrong beauty has little use for an English lord’s highhanded ways. Hester Daniels and Tiberius Flynn are entrusted with the care of a little girl and while Hester wants her raised in her beloved – if rundown – home in Scotland, Tiberius insists that his prosperous estate is the only fit place for a child. And as they battle, other kinds of sparks start to fly! Continue reading

Mary Ann Rivers talks about loss, change, and love

TheStoryGuyThis week Mary Ann Rivers released her first published work, a moving novella entitled The Story Guy. Goodreads readers give it a 4.5. I thought it was almost perfect.

I know Mary Ann through twitter (every Tuesday night we watch Buffy and Tweet madly at #buffyclub). I also follow her at wonkomance.com. (Read her recent piece Love, Actually; it’s gorgeous.)

Mary Ann’s work feels deeper (which is not the same as darker) to me than much of what I read in contemporary romance. I wanted to know why she writes the way she does and asked if I could ask her for AAR. She graciously said yes.

 

Congratulations on getting your first work published! I have to tell you, The Story Guy doesn’t read like a debut novella. Your prose is clear and confident and your story limned with grace. Can you tell me how you got here? When did you start writing fiction?

Thank you! I am completely honored to be debuting as a writer in the romance community. I’ve read romance since about the fifth grade, which means I’ve been reading romance for twenty-eight years. When I was fifteen, I wrote in my diary that I wanted to be either famous poet or a romance novelist, and when I was eighteen, I wrote to Jude Deveraux after reading Sweet Liar, the very first hardback I had ever purchased, and she wrote back. Now we’re at the same house. So I would encourage diary writing, long-term goal setting, and letter writing in any writer, generally.

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Books With Buzz: Lauren Willig Interview and Giveaway

Willig_Lauren_00198_final _ credit Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series is already much-beloved among readers and when news broke that she planned to release a standalone work of historical fiction set in another time period, readers really started buzzing. Ranging from Edwardian England to 1920s Kenya to modern-day (or at least 1999/2000) New York, The Ashford Affair tells an engrossing story of romance and family secrets that spans generations. The novel got a DIK review here and when we got a chance to interview the author, we jumped right on it.

And we also have three(3) copies to give away! If you would like to be entered to win a copy of The Ashford Affair, please comment below by 11:59 pm on Monday, April 22, 2013. And without further ado, here is Lauren!
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Books With Buzz: Sarah Mayberry Interview and Giveaway

When readers list their favorite writers of category romance, Sarah Mayberry consistently makes the lists. Her characters feel very real, and her ear for dialogue makes their stories a delight to read. In addition, she tends to be a versatile author, writing stories with heat that fits in well with the Blaze line while also exploring family situations and deep emotion within the Superromance line.

In her latest release, The Other Side of Us(due out this Wednesday!), Mayberry takes readers to a beach community in Australia where the hero and heroine have retreated from their usual lives. For one, the discovery of an affair has led to the end of a marriage, while the other is still on the long road to recovery following a devastating car accident. The new neighbors are prickly with each other at first and there’s certainly a lot of believable baggage between them, but watching them create a relationship is a delight. Mackenzie and Oliver are both mature, intelligent characters and both the emotion and heat in this book made it good reading.

And we have three(3) copies to give away! If you’d like to win a copy of The Other Side of Us, just comment below by 11:59 p.m. on January 3, 2012. This contest is open to both US and international readers. Continue reading

Books With Buzz: My Kind of Christmas by Robyn Carr

A new release by Robyn Carr is a fabulous reason to celebrate. When you add into the equation that her latest is a new Christmas release plus it features hunky Patrick Riordan, then it is triple the delight as far as I’m concerned. I had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite authors about her writing career, and her very successful Virgin River series. In addition to some great insights into Ms. Carr’s varied writing history, her publisher Harlequin MIRA is providing copies of Carr’s November 2012 release, My Kind of Christmas for some lucky winners. The details on that are listed at the end of the interview. But enough from me. Let’s get to the good stuff.

Leigh: I am very excited to have you here today, as I’ve been reading your books since the late 1990s. You have been writing a long time, first starting out with historicals like Chelynne published in 1980. Was it the change in the industry that made you switch from historicals to contemporary books or just your own internal voice?
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