✨ I am delighted to welcome back to the blog author ✨
Welcome back to the blog, Anna
Your latest novel, A Torch in his Heart is a new direction for you.
What can you tell us about it?
...Like Bambi on ice...
They say it broadens your mind to venture into the unknown. I am sure it does—no, wait, I know it does—but it does come with a lot of side-effects. Stepping out of your comfort zone leads to sweaty hands and zillions of butterflies in your stomach. Not an entirely pleasant experience, no matter how much broader it leaves my mind…
All of us step out of our comfort zone. Some do it but rarely, others eagerly embrace every opportunity to try something different. And whenever we do take that step into the unknown, we change—a bit.
“Hmm,” you may say, giving me a look over your reading glasses. “Really?”.
Absolutely—if nothing else because we boost our self-confidence every time we try something new. Yes, sometimes things back-fire and we must retire for a while to lick our wounds. In those cases we also change. Hopefully, we learn a lesson rather than become bitter.
I have recently done a lot of venturing into unfamiliar areas. One of those excursions has resulted in a new book, A Torch in his Heart. Seeing as this is my fourteenth book, one would think this is no big deal. But it is. You see, in this book I have stepped out of the historic context I usually prefer and set the story in the present day. In itself a challenge as I enjoy using the historical events as a framework on which I build my story. I then upped the ante by adding a suspense element. Gulp, gulp.
I think the end result is a readable and somewhat heady cocktail of timeslip, passion, fast-paced action and epic love. As yet, I don’t know if my readers agree—always a nervous position to be in. Some have suggested I should use a different author name for this excursion into a new genre, but just the thought of maintaining two author profiles left me so exhausted I had to crawl into bed and binge on Jayne Ann Krentz books for a couple of days. (Not a good choice, as Ms Krentz actually does use different pen names depending on whether her books are set in the past or present *groans*…)
So how has this experience changed me? Well, for a start, it has led me to read much more contemporary romance than I usually do, and that has been a rather pleasant experience. I also find it interesting to note just how different the taste in romance is depending on which side of the pond you’re on. It seems to me British romances are more tongue-in-cheek and cozy, strong emotions understated rather than overblown. US writers have faster pace, are more into titillating sex scenes and don’t really do understated. I enjoy them both, but I do like some drama with my love 😊
Those that do not read romance may walk around under the misconception that romance features insipid ladies who depend on feminine wiles to hook the oh, so masculine hero. In fact, what all romance has in common is that the female leads are surprisingly strong. Not secret agent strong, more determined and stubborn and very courageous when it comes to the crunch. A bit like you have to be if you venture outside your comfort zone…
Very often, romance heroines do just that: they take a deep breath and plunge into the unknown, usually because their heart, rather than their head, is guiding them. Along the way, they are obliged to overcome all sorts of obstacles—as one must, if one aims to achieve one’s goal. Thankfully, our brave heroines (and heroes) usually make it across the finishing line and I, the very gripped reader, can relax.
Helle Madsen in A Torch in His Heart is one of those women forced to embrace change. One moment, she’s just your ordinary financial accountant, the next she’s the protagonist in an epic love story spanning 3 000 years and including such things as an abnormally gifted lover, a vindictive and very dangerous reincarnated adversary and a world turned upside down by passionate love and seething hate. As Helle herself puts it: She didn’t want to be the heroine of a far-flung, time-spanning adventure best fit for a Hollywood fantasy, or have her fate tied down without any choice in the matter. She wanted to be normal Helle, with no strange baggage in the form of previous lives and vindictive jilted suitors.
Unfortunately, once Helle meets Jason, it’s too late. She can no more tear herself free from the sticky strands of time and fate that bind them than she can amputate her foot. Besides, she doesn’t want to. It’s not Jason that’s the trouble—it’s that damned nemesis of theirs, Sam Woolf, that has Helle waking up at night shivering with fear.
This my foray into contemporary romance may not leave me shivering with fear, but I do suffer the odd frisson of nervous anticipation: will the readers like it? I comfort myself with the thought that no matter what, I have followed my heart and seen this project to completion—a bit like the heroine of a romance does every time she decides to trust her feelings. A story that has been burning little holes in my heart since well over a decade is now told. I can but open my hands and set it free, hoping it will fly and soar.
Meanwhile, I return to some of my other WIPs. So if you excuse me, dear Jo and Jaffa, I must run: I have a situation to sort in the late 13th century before things turn really, really nasty. Edward I is a dangerous king to rile.
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with three absorbing interests: history, romance and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England. She has recently released the first in a new series, The Wanderer. This time, she steps out of her normal historical context and A Torch in His Heart is with a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. She has loved writing it – she hopes her readers will like reading it just as much.