Thursday, December 4, 2014

Author Interview: Anna Clifton

Anna Clifton
author, New Year's Promise

Give us a bit of your background (where are you from, your family, traveling adventures)

I grew up in a big family on the tranquil shores of Sydney Harbour. My parents allowed my brothers and sister and I to pretty much run free and because of that, our childhood was idyllic. My two beautiful, if somewhat unusual parents, are the reason that I value emotional and psychological freedom so highly. Freedom and control are important opposing themes in my books.

Fill in the blank favorites - Type of hero. Type of heroine.

My favourite hero strives to understand his loyal, generous, complex heroine better than she understands herself. He also has a great sense of humour to make her laugh, a broad shoulder that she can lean on when her day’s been less than fabulous, and last but not least, a lively, intelligent mind to keep her on her mental toes forever. A question that I make sure to ask myself as I write their story is this: are these two becoming that couple in the restaurant who no matter how many years they’ve been together always look as though they’ve only just met and are falling in love as if for the first time. If the answer is yes, I keep writing.

Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

This year I travelled to the Dingle Peninsula in County Kerry in Ireland. It was remote, mysterious and breathtakingly beautiful. Lurking on that peninsula is a scarred, surly, Irishmen who some day soon is going to take my unsuspecting heroine’s heart and imagination by storm. It’s all in my imagination of course. But I think another trip to Dingle for further ‘research’ is an imperative!

What got you started on your writing journey?

My fascination with the romance novel began when I was staying on a friend’s outback cattle station; I picked one up from her big sister's bookshelf to pass the time one day. As a fourteen-year-old reader I instantly fell in love with its passion, its just-for-the-hell-of-it fun and its unbridled HEA optimism. Many years later, as a writer, I would come to love the scope it offers for exploring the endless mystery around why we feel, think and behave as we do – a special focus in my stories about love, friendship and family.

Why do you choose to write clean/sweet romance?  Do you write steamy romance as well?

This is such a thought-provoking question!

I’ve never really believed that steam is essential for romance. If I ever begin to doubt myself I just bring to mind the most intensely romantic songs and films I can think of; in most of these the bedroom is either low-key or doesn’t feature at all.

Having said that, I understand that steam is very important for many readers. Unfortunately for my bank account, those readers are not my readers. The emotional journey is the lynchpin within my stories. Some writers can interweave the emotional journey with the sexual journey – I’m not one of them. I tried it a few times, but I found that the sex scenes derailed the emotional journey and then the physical frisson took over as my endgame. Eventually I accepted that I would have to leave the steam to other writers who do it much better than I ever could.

Do you have a favorite comment or question from a reader?

A reader once told me that she’d re-read one of my books many times, particularly when she was feeling in a rut. That blew me away.

How many books have you written, and how many of those have been published?

I’m currently writing my fifth novel in my ‘Murphy’s Law’ series about a group of legal eagle friends and their families – both real and urban. Three of my books are published and the fourth is under contract, all through Escape Publishing.

Please share about your book 

Justin Murphy is the guy to whom everything comes too easily, except the one thing he can never have: Ellie Halligan - his childhood friend and the original girl-next-door. Justin has secrets you see, including the one that will finally explain for Ellie the fate of his missing brother. But after hanging on to those secrets for twenty years, Justin’s not about to give them up without a fight, not even for Ellie.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

Reviewers sometimes say that they really like my books and they’re not sure why. If you don’t mind something a little unconventional and left-of-centre, something that triggers a mini-debate in your head, you might like to give New Year’s Promise a try.

Do you have a favorite character you have written so far? 

I do. It’s Justin Murphy from New Year’s Promise. I shoved this drop-dead gorgeous, uber-successful lawyer through the emotional wringer as I’ve never shoved any character through the wringer before. And despite everything I did to him, he didn’t let me down.

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