Featured Author: Anne Gracie

I’m just about to board my flight from DC back to Los Angeles after an incredible five days on the East Coast (love, love, love every place I visited!  Cool history!  Amazing, historic buildings!  The best readers and writers!) and I’ll be adding some photos and details in a blog later this week, but as its a travel day for me, I thought I’d ask the lovely, smart, witty, Anne Gracie to join us.

I’ve known Anne for years now.  She’s one of my “Aussie” friends, a superbly talented novelist, and a gifted, passionate teacher.  She taught a workshop on heroes years ago (2003 on the Gold Coast, maybe?) that made a massive impression on me and I adore her books.  They are fresh, character rich, and very original.  When you read an Anne Gracie novel, you know you’re reading Anne Gracie…she couldn’t be anyone else, nor would I want her to be!  I just finished her brand new book, The Autumn Bride, and adored it.  Such a great read.  I highly recommend.  And I’m not the only one who thinks she’s brilliant.  Anne is also up for a Rita this year for Bride by Mistake–hooray!–and I can’t wait for you to get to know her better.  So without further delay.  Here’s my wonderful friend, Anne Gracie!

Anne, how did you get the idea for The Autumn Bride?

Sometimes ideas for stories come to me just as I’m falling asleep or waking up — that semi-dream state is a fertile time for me, and I keep notebooks by the bed to write them down (tragic, I know 😉 So, there was this young woman climbing through the window of an old mansion at night — this is the Regency-era — I knew she was desperate and intending to steal something, and I knew she’d never done anything like this before.

Inside the room she finds an aristocratic old lady, bedridden and at the mercy of her rapacious servants. My girl Abby just has to do something about it. With the old lady’s cooperation, she and her “sisters” — one real sister and two close friends — arrive, pretending to be the old lady’s nieces, take over the house and sack the horrible servants.

Everyone’s happy, until the old lady’s nephew arrives. . .

What do you like most about your book?

I really enjoyed the relationship between the old lady and the four girls. I didn’t plan it to take up so much of the story, but the old lady just sprang to life, and I loved her and couldn’t make myself prune her back. The book ended up being as much about female friendship as about the love story between the hero and heroine.

What do you love most about being a writer?

When the story is stuck or I’m struggling to find the right way to tell it, and I’m prowling around the house being grumpy and frustrated, I confess, I hate being a writer. But when the story is flowing, and the scenes are rolling and the characters keep speaking in my head so that I have to rush to write it down — and sometimes they surprise me, or make me laugh or make me cry — it’s the BEST feeling. Like flying.

Is there anything that has surprised you about writing or publishing your books?

Yes, I had no idea how wonderful and supportive the romance author community is. I never dreamed other writers would become some of my dearest friends. I’d always believed writing is a lonely business, but these days, that’s so not true.

Some writers like to let plot ideas percolate and grow for a while before they start writing the story.  Would you say this applies to you as well?

Usually while I’m finishing off one book, ideas for other stories start popping up. I write them down in a notebook as they come — they range from whole scenes to snatches of dialogue, as well as ideas and possibilities. I have a pile of notebooks with story ideas and fragments, and from time to time, I add to them. When I come to start the book, I read through all my notes, find a starting point and go from there, writing chronologically, and with only a vague idea where the story is going. I love it best when things happen in the story that surprise me.

What do you do when you’ve finished a book?

The first thing I do is sleep in, because usually I’ve been up late doing last minute edits, tweaking and fretting. Then I get my hair cut and maybe colored — it’s a little bit of pampering that I really enjoy and a fresh new me to face the world. After that I might head off to my favorite bead shop — I make jewelry in my spare time — or sometimes I’ll sign up for a craft class. It’s all refilling the well. In the last month or so of writing a book I become practically a hermit, so after it’s in, I catch up with friends, movies, life in general. Oh, and I spring clean the house, because in the last month or so, housework has become pretty slapdash.

 What’s your favorite time of the day and place to write?

Mornings, sitting up in my bed with a mug of coffee on the bedside table and the morning sun streaming through my bay window. In winter it’s especially cheering, because if the sun’s out, it warms and lights the room for most of the day.

 What are you working on now?

I’m working on the next book in the series, The Winter Bride. It’s about a bad boy rake, a missionary’s daughter, a forced marriage and a surprise. I’m having a lot of fun with it.

Thanks Jane for inviting me to visit. It’s been a pleasure.

Anne, thank you, thank you, thank you for visiting with us today!  Readers, be sure to visit Anne’s website and learn more about her books.   They are all terrific, and in honor of her Rita nomination for best historical, I’m giving away 3 copies of Bride by Mistake, Anne’s Rita nominated book, a Jane Porter novel (your choice!), plus a Starbucks drink card and lots of fun reader goodies.  The contest will run through Thurday night, with the three winners announced Friday morning.  Just comment below to be entered to win, and tell me how things are going–and if you read historicals, and of course, have you read my marvelous Anne?–be chatty if you like.  I love it.  Your comments are always some of my favorite things to read!

They’re boarding my flight.  Must go.  More soon!

xoxoxo

159 Comments

  1. Anne’s books are captivating and special and I have enjoyed them greatly. Thanks for your interesting profile today. I enjoy historicals and love being transported to another place.

  2. I have never read any of Anne’s books. I do read historical fiction. We are going to Boston this summer so I’m in search of any genre with a Boston setting. 🙂

    1. Linsey, I love Boston. It’s a beautiful city. The first time i stayed there it was high summer and i slept with my window open (no air-con) and wafting in on the night breeze was the sound of a clarinet being played – beautifully.

      Every visit since, something special has happened to me in Boston.

  3. Yes I read historicals. I love books and movies that are historical. I haven’t read anything by Anne yet but I would love to win and read one of her books.

  4. Another author I have not read yet and I am dying to try. It is always so great to read the books from your recommended writers because I am sure I will love them.
    I do love historical fiction. History was my favourite subject in school. I have always loved to visit historical places, trying to imagine how people lived in those days.
    Can’t wait to see pictures of your dinner with Sarah.

    1. Thanks, Sabrina. I also liked history, but truthfully, a lot of my historical knowledge back then came more from reading historical novels than anything the teachers gave us. 😉

  5. Hi Jane! I’ve never been to the East Coast, sounds like you had a blast! Someday I’ll get there!

    I have never read any of Anne’s books, but I do enjoy reading historicals. So I am looking forward to reading her work! You always have the best reccomendations!
    Have a great week!

  6. Don’t think I have read any historicals and I haven’t read any of Anne’s books jet but The Autumn Bride looks like a book for me.
    This week I’m in Europe and fighting bad jet lag.It’s tuff on the kids but at least the weather is nice:-)
    Have a great week.

    1. Elizabeth, how exciting to be in Europe! Jet lag is a drag, isn’t it? I’m always a bit dopey for the first few days I arrive in the States until I get over it. But oh, what fun you and the kids will have.

  7. Hi Jane,

    I haven’t read any of Anne’s books but they sound wonderful. You always tell us about the best books and authors. Reason #1,000,000,000 why you are the best!

      1. Jane,

        Melissa told me that you guys were chatting about me 🙂 She knows how much I adore you and how excited I was that you two were meeting. I can’t wait for us to get together again.

        xoxoxo

    1. Marlene, Jane is indeed the best! She’s one of the people I mean when I say I never realized what wonderful friends I’d make being published. I met Jane first on line, and then In DC at a conference when she and I were newbie authors, and it’s been wonderful to watch her career go from strength to strength.

      1. Hi Anne,

        I just adore Jane. I met her for the first time a couple years ago and we formed an instant bond. She is not only my favorite author, but someone I’m proud to call my friend.

        I can’t wait to read your book. It wounds absolutely wonderful!

  8. historicals are my fave!! I have so many on my kindle, and I just keep re reading them. it’s so good to meet a new author! Thanks for the post! n.kuhn.acn (at) gmail (dot) come

  9. I haven’t read any of Anne’s books, but I look forward to doing so. I’ll be sure to pick one up next time I am out!

    Heather

  10. Love historicals and I´m always on the hunt for more to read! =) This sounds great!
    Thanks for the giveaway & Happy Monday!
    //Linda

  11. oh the Autumn Bride Sounds exciting!!! I love series too because it’s great getting to read about characters from past novels (I definitely have the fall-in-love-with-the-hero syndrome lol) I’m adding to my goodreads list!

  12. I have not read any of Anne’s books, but I am huge historical fiction lover so can’t wait to check it out!! Thanks for the giveaway, would love to win some new swag!!!!

  13. I love books. All kinds of books. Would love to read a Anne Gracie.book. She would be a new author for me to read.

    1. Judy, me too. My house is piled with books — I keep running out of space. I know I should buy an e-reader — and I do plan to — but I love the feel and look of actual books, so much.

  14. I haven’t read Anne’s books yet, but I love finding Aussie and NZ authors as I find they have just enough of a different perspective to make reading them even more fun and interesting.

  15. My life is very boring – I am home by myself all the time while my husband works swing shift. My numerous health issues have limited what I can do. Reading is my escape! I enjoy romance, thrillers, mysteries and historical books. I haven’t read any of Anne Gracie yet, but I look forward to experiencing her novels.

  16. I haven’t read any of Anne’s books yet. I do like historical fiction, so I will have to check her out, based on your recommendation. It is a beautiful day today; happy Earth Day!

    1. Nova, it’s a beautiful day here too — it’s autumn, and the sun is shining and the air is clear and crisp. Shame I need to be at the computer working, instead of out in the garden. Though if I were in the garden, the weeds would be calling… 🙂

  17. Things are going well with me. =] I don’t read historicals and I’ve never read any of her books before but they sound good!

  18. I have never read one of anne’s books, but i will now. I love historicals, and am heading over to amazon now to check out her books!

  19. I do read some historical romances but I haven’t read any of Anne’s books. I will be sure to look for this one. Thanks for the interview and recommendation.

  20. I love Anne’s books and I can’t wait to read this one. I just spent this past weekend with my sister’s for my birthday and it was a fun time as always. Nothing like spending time with family. I am still waiting to hear from the doctor about getting injections in my hip. I am about to give up on all doctors. They are always finding something wrong with you but never quite fixing the problem. Hope to hear something this week. In the mean time I will just keep heating pad on it and reading. I want to get some yard work done but can’t do it with my hip like it is.

    1. Hi Quiltlady — I’m so sorry to hear about your hip. Let’s hope they get it fixed soon. Somehow when Spring hits it feels even worse to be incapacitated — you want to be out and about and doing things. Hugs.

  21. Jane,

    Safe trip home, glad you had a great time.

    I do read historicals from time to time, but I have not read any of Anne’s! I will have fix that. I love series books and this series sounds delightful.

  22. I haven’t read any of Anne’s books but it sound very good. I do read historical books that are love stories and I also read historicals that have a little spiciness to them. I also enjoy series books.

  23. Hi, Jane!

    I read “The Autumn Bride” and loved it. I found so many things to chuckle about too. Adding humor to a book is like the perfect seasoning! And isn’t the cover just stunning? I’m so looking forward to reading “Bride by Mistake.”

    Now, I’m ashamed to say I have not read any of your novels as yet, Jane, but they are on my Wish List which grows with leaps and bounds every day!

    1. Connie, thank you so much for those kind words. As for adding humor — I can’t seem to keep it out. Strangely 😉 I was always getting into trouble at school for laughing and joking. Luckily people like it in my books.

  24. I feel like Annie in a way. We have 4 more weeks until the semester ends and it’s ON! Very busy and generally at the end of the semester I take a weeks vacation – mid May. Not this year…it’s looking to be June sometime. I have to empty out my mind and regroup after the Spring and Fall semesters.
    I’ve not read any of Annie’s books, but I will definitely check out her website and see what is available. I generally don’t read historical but I have to say that reading the excerpt for The Autumn Bride had me wishing for the book.
    And I love the word “slapdash”.

    1. Ah, Ginger, I think you must be a teacher — and I do recall that frantic end-of-semester deadline. Blessings to you — teaching is a wonderful, much undervalued job.

      As for my books, all my Berkley books are still in print and available. And slapdash? My grandmother’s favorite criticism. LOL

  25. I love historicals! One of my all time favorites has been the Outlander series ! I haven’t had the opportunity to read anything Anne has written, but I would love to!

    1. Crystal, I adored the outlander series, although I wasn’t as interested when it moved to America. I loved the Scottish parts best. But oh, what a hero was that Jamie! sigh.

  26. I read mainly Southern Lit both current and historical. I don’t generally read romance novels but since my son is getting married NEXT MONTH (Oy!), I would love to give Autumn Bride a whirl. Thanks for posting another giveaway!

  27. Hope your flight goes well today. Yes, I love historicals. I love transporting to that period/era when I read and imagine what life would be like back then. I have not read Anne yet, but will definitely look into her books and check out her website. I love historical covers too, and The Autumn Bride cover is very nice.

  28. I typically don’t read many historicals. But, the few I have read have surprised me. I tend to like up to the minute books the best. Nothing exciting going on in my end of the world this week.

  29. I have not read Anne’s books yet. BUT thanks to your blog, I now know about her and will be sure to read her books. I LOVE historical romances. I guess I just love reading good love stories.

    1. Diana, me too — I don’t care what period a book’s set in, or even what kind of book — I read all sorts — as long as the story sweeps me away, I’m happy.

  30. I really don’t read historicals. I tend to be a modern mystery lover. It is always nice to find a series, though, where you get to know and like the characters.

  31. I think I like all romance stories, but historical fiction is my absolute fave. I haven’t read Anne’s books yet, but I have Autumn Bride on my Nook and I will be reading it very soon. However, I have quite a few books on my Nook waiting for me–including a few of yours as well. With the help of the internet, I’m now able to find more good books to read than ever before.

    1. Janet, your Nook sounds like my bedside table — crammed with TBR books. My bedside table was once my mother’s sewing table, so it’s not all that small, either. But isn’t it wonderful to have the problem of too many books?

  32. I would love to win…you are both on my t-b-r lists, unfortunately authors keep recommending other authors and the list just grows. Thanks, Dee

    1. Deanna, I know that feeling. It gets even harder when so many of your friends are authors, and you want to read all their books. I think it’s a shame nobody will pay us to read books — there ought to be a job like that. LOL

  33. I’ve never read any of her books but The Autumn Bride sounds marvelous. I do like stories with relationships between women of different generations. So many young people these days don’t appreciate the older generation so I love reading about those interactions. Hope you have a safe trip home.

    1. Linda, I suspect it’s the same with every generation — getting interested in the older generation later in life. I had some very strong older women in my family — and from the family stories, so did they. 🙂

    2. Linda, I’ve read nearly all of Anne’s books, and she has this lovely gift of interweaving real characters–interesting characters, especially women of different ages and backgrounds–into her stories, and I love that. I also think one of the reasons I loved The Autumn Bride so much was because of the fragile ‘aunt’ she had in this story. The woman was so delightful, and I loved her from the first meet. A truly heart-warming story!!

  34. Thank you so much for all the freebies. What a blessing. I have read a couple of Anne’s older Harlequin books: An Honorable Thief and A Virtuous Widow. I do love the historical romances. I love to be completely taken away when I read a book and I can get completely lost in the historical ones.

    1. Hey, Ranee — they were my last two books for Harlequin — I only did four, and then moved to Berkley. And I agree, getting lost in the world of a book is wonderful. It’s always been my preferred escape, from the moment I could read.

  35. I haven’t had the pleasure of reading Anne’s books YET. Yes, I do read historical romances.

    Right now my life mostly revolves around my youngest who will graduate this June. I don’t remember doing things like this when I graduated (way back when) in 1977!!

  36. Kirsten, a couple of my friends have kids in their final year, too. It’s a stressful time — for them and for you. All the best of good luck to them — and you.

    1. Theresa, that was the scene that made me know there was a book there. And the relationship between the old lady and the girls just took off. Lady Bea is a stitch, too.

  37. I’m excited to hear there’s a Winter Bride to look forward to. The Autumn Bride was a heartwarming read with such courageous and engaging heroines. I’m hoping one more of them is finding love in the Winter Bride.

    1. Thank you, Dora for such a lovely comment. I’m glad you enjoyed the Autumn Bride. And yes, the Winter Bride will bring happiness to another of the girls. And possibly frustrate a few muffins. 😉

  38. Hi Jane,
    Glad to hear you had a great time on the East coast. I have not read any of Anne’s books. I am enjoying the sunny weather we have had today. Time is flying and it will be summer before we know it.

    1. Sandy after the cold winter so many of my friends in the US have had, the advent of spring and the beckoning of summer must be lovely. I live in a mild climate, a bit like San Francisco, and we get heat in Summer, but not for too long — it changes all the time. And we never get snow.

  39. congrats on the Rita nomination!

    I read Historicals but none of yours so far, Anne.

    Finally the snow is disappearing and the Starbucks card would be so welcome along with awesome reading; thanks.

  40. Dear Jane, This is wonderful…thank you so much for reconnecting me to a writer I have enjoyed. I read the Merridew Sisters Series and loved them. Then somehow, I don’t know how I did it, I misplaced Anne’s name or forgot to write down the books in my reading log or something. This is like finding an old friend and I am putting her other books on my wish list right now.

    Anne, thank you for your comments and for your books. Wishing you the best of all good things in the future. So glad you are a friend of Jane’s.

    1. Hi Library Lady — thanks for your very kind comments about my Merridew books. And I’m so pleased I’m a friend of Jane’s, too — we’re very lucky people.

      I’m a huge fan of libraries and library ladies, too. Growing up, my family moved a lot for my dad’s job, and public libraries kept my bookworm hunger satisfied and my imagination fed.

  41. I have never read any of Anne’s books before but the sound like something I really want to read. Heading over to amazon right now.
    Thanks Jane for the heads up. 🙂

  42. Anne now goes to the top of my “must read” list 🙂 Thank you Jane as always for introducing such quality writers to us. Safe travels! Pam

    1. Pam, Anne is a brilliant writer. She really likes people…likes interesting people…and it comes through in her writing. She never creates stock characters. Love that!

  43. Hi Jane,
    How are you both? I have not read any historicals but love for this to be my first. Sounds like such a good read.

    Always,
    Melinda

  44. I haven’t read any book by Anne. would really like to have the chance to read ones 😉

    my two boys have been sick for a week. mommy needs something new to reads ..

  45. Every single person in my house has been sick this weekend. Needless to say, my life, and my books, require humor. Yours sound like a nice blend. Thanks for introducing us to another remarkable writer, Jane.

  46. I would love to win a copy of this book, I love historicals, I would love to win a copy of The Good Daughter, I love Romance novels, historical fiction, Historical romance,mysteries, I just love to read.

  47. I have not read Anne yet but I love historicals. I will definitely be adding Bride by Mistake and The Autumn Bride to my TBR list! I’d also love a copy of The Frog Prince or The Good Woman/The Good Daughter. Thanks for introducing me to another author of historical romances!

  48. I have read Anne’s stories in the past but I haven’t read her latest. They look good though so I will be checking them out. We are getting our house ready for a big party for our daughter’s college graduation so there is a lot to be done and planned.

    1. Maureen, how exciting to have your daughter graduating. I bet the time has just flown. I have a couple of long distance friends whose kids are in that position and I’m like. “What? But I thought they were twelve!” LOL

  49. Since my Degree is in History, you would find it odd that I typically do not read Historicals. But this sounds like a great read! Now that I’ve entered my 40s, I find that I’m migrating to Women’s Fiction more and this sounds like just the right mix!

    1. I’m not actually surprised by that, Kelli — I think sometimes studying a subject ruins us for “playing” in that area. I studied history, too, but the periods I studied aren’t the period I set my books in. I developed a lot of my love for history when I was a kid and reading historical novels.

  50. I do read historial romance. Particularly, Lauren Willig and Julianne MacLean. I haven’t read any of Anne’s books, but if you recommend them they have to be good!

  51. I do enjoy reading historicals. Thank you for recommending Anne’s books. I have found many “new to me” authors on your blog that I have enjoyed reading, and I’m certain that Anne will be one of them. I also like the author interviews you do. And being an “old lady” myself, it’s nice to know there is an old lady character in Anne’s most recent book.

    1. Donna, I often have an old lady in my books — I don’t think books feel real without a range of ages. And I have fun with my old ladies — they’re invariable strong minded and sometimes a little outspoken. Both my grandmothers were very strong minded, but very different, and I had a beloved elderly godmother who was very different again.

  52. I love author by author recommendations… and I’ve had a lot of good reads right out of your blog Jane! I had heard of The Autumn Bride, read an excerpt, and I have to say that feisty old women are some of my favourite characters… the Dowager Countess on Downton Abbey and Lady Danbury from Julia Quinn spring to mind. I’ve not read any of Anne’s books, so this is another author for me to check out!

    1. Hi Kathryn, I’ve had quite a few readers write to me and say when they were reading my old lady, Lady Beatrice, They were picturing the dowager countess from Downton Abbey. I’d have Maggie Smith play any of my old ladies in a heartbeat — she’s one of my favorite actresses.

  53. Hey Jane and Anne! I have not read any of annes books yet, and i can’t wait to them! I so enjoy all historical romance. I have really enjoyed reading about the friendship that Jane and Anne share! Keep up the awesome writing the both of you. We dont want to run out of good novels!

    1. Kellybran, I so vividly remember meeting Jane in the flesh the first time at an RWA conference. We’d met through email, but not in person. Since then we’ve met up again at other US conferences, in New Zealand, where we were both guest speakers, and in Australia. Last time she brought Megan Crane with her and presto, another new friend! It’s one of the most wonderful and unexpected things about being a romance author — the friends I’ve made.

  54. I’ve never read books by Anne, this one sounds great and is going on my TRL.

    I’ve never been one for Historical Novels but have recently fallen in love with them.

    Congrats on your Rita nomination!

    1. Lisamarie, I think it’s true of most genres — all you need is to read one good book and a whole new genre opens up. It was like that for me with paranormals — I read JR Ward’s “Lover” books, and then Nalini Singh’s psy/changelings, and suddenly I was reading paranormals, whereas before that I couldn’t imagine why anyone liked them. 🙂

  55. Hi Jane, I was just checking on who might have won, but for some reason this blog only shows up to comment # 76 when it says there are something like 152. I am posting to see if it shows any after 152 like when this posts. Thank you for doing giveaways, it is always fun! Pam

    1. Ha! It is still Thursday, sorry! And I just figured out that the blog counts replies as well apparently. Ok, going away now 🙂

      1. No worry, Pam! And I’m coordinating the winners with my lovely Anne over in Australia so its a bit of a time change thing in terms of getting winners names picked, and then announced. Anne has drawn the names and they will be up if not late tonight, than first thing in the morning!!

        Jane

  56. Hi everyone,

    The lovely Anne Gracie picked the winners and they are:

    #6 is Brooklyn
    #36 is Linda Mc
    # 72 is kellybran

    Winners, please drop me an email with your mailing address, comment number and the title of this blog and I’ll get prizes in the mail soon!

    Jane xoxo

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