Free-spirited sex therapist Brianna Ballantine has four days to find a fiancé so she can inherit her birth mother’s Italian villa. Commitment is not on the agenda. Writing her sex therapy book and signing legal papers are. And once all is said and done, she’ll return home to Scotland.
For finance guru Tomas Richards, relationships have been a bad investment—give him stocks and shares any day. When Tomas offers a marriage of convenience to help Brianna secure her inheritance, the sizzle between the sheets promises an affair to remember, despite family complications at every turn.
But Tom must convince Brianna to stay, and make this Italian affair a lifelong commitment.
Welcome to The Hot Pink Typewriter, Annie! Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
When I retired from full time work as a high school principal a couple of years ago I put on a few new hats. I am a writer, an editor, a nanny (as in a granny) a tutor, a wife, a gardener, and the owner of a large dog who needs a walk on the beach every day... oh and I don’t sleep.
Wow! You’re one busy lady, are you a naturally disciplined writer? Or do you have any tips you can share about keeping the word count flowing and meeting those crunch deadlines?
I have a fridge magnet that says ‘if it wasn’t for the last minute nothing would get done in this house!’ That applies to my writing too—I write best under pressure when I know a deadline is looming.
My biggest problem is the necessary evil of social networking for promotion. It can be such a time waster. So when I have a deadline, I don’t allow myself to peek until I have written 1000 words. If the deadline is really close, I make myself go 5000 words before I dip into the online world!
What sub-genres of romance do you write and why?
I write mainly contemporary now, as that is where the contracts have appeared from the contract fairy. But my first love is historical romance... and I am trying hard to find the time between books to pursue that love of history in my romance writing.
I flit in and out of the steampunk genre... I had never heard of it until I saw a call for a competition about three years ago. I did the research and fell in love with the freedom of world building, alternative history and creating techno-contraptions.
Where do you do your best work?
I sit in a lovely cane chair near a window which looks out over the ocean. Water is my element and the view inspires the words. The winter sunshine bathes my back and it is very easy to imagine exotic settings in such beautiful surroundings.
Your latest novel, Italian Affair was just released, congratulations! Can you tell our readers what they can expect of it?
Italian Affair is the story of two very different people who have very set ideas...or so they believe... of what they expect out of life. Each is a little flawed by their past experiences. I had great fun setting them up so they had no choice but to fall in love. And then that is the dilemma for both of them. The cover quote says it all... I hope readers will ‘laugh, cry and sigh!’
Your latest release Italian Affair is your second Indulgence release, and I know it’s early days, but was this experience different/similar to the release of Holiday Affair?
Holiday Affair was my first real contemporary release and I had had no experience of the publishing world. I was so green, I didn’t realise that getting to #364 on Amazon was such an achievement for a debut book! Now that I know the industry almost inside out, I am an obsessive statistic checker. Now that I have a few books to check by the... er... hour... er.. .half hour, I may get no words done in a day!
The dedication at the front of Italian Affair is deeply intriguing, can you tell us more about this and the inspiration behind the story?
Tom, the middle brother in Holiday Affair needed to find his happy ever after and I mulled over his problem and what sort of woman he would need to fall in love with, to complete his happiness.
Now, for those of you who have read Holiday Affair, you will remember Tom as a bit of a stuffed shirt, as one reviewer of Italian Affair described him! Tom needed someone who was free spirited, who could tease him, but who would also fall in love with the wonderful man he is.
Inspiration came to me through a very dear friend and I have dedicated Italian Affair to this friend, Melissa Lulham. As writers we take very little time away from our keyboards and don’t have the time for pampering ourselves. My secret weakness for pampering myself is having a facial—it does wonders for the stiff neck from sitting at a keyboard all day. Melissa is a beauty therapist and one day as I lay back with gunk on my face and cucumber on my eyes, she told me how she had discovered her birth grandfather on Lipari Island.
My eyes flew open, the cucumber went flying and Brianna Ballantyne was born in that moment. Free spirited and with an urgent need to find a husband in four days, she meets Tom on the plane on the way to Italy. And that is where their story begins. I adore this book. I have learned and developed so much as a writer over the past couple of years; I hope everyone enjoys their story as much as I do
The descriptions of Lipari are so evocative, have you been there yourself?
No...not yet. I do plan to travel there next year. I relied on Melissa’s descriptions ...and Google Earth is amazing as a research tool for settings. Being a historian and a librarian for many years, I know the value of research and I do research all of my settings down as far as the types of cobblestones in the square. The only thing you can’t capture without a visit is the smells!
If you could go anywhere in the world right now to research your next book where would that be?
New Orleans has always called to me. I am planning my historical and it begins in a fire in New Orleans in 1794...so I think a trip to the RT conference next year in New Orleans is a must do!
Can you summarize Italian Affair for us Twitter-style (140 characters or less)?
Stuffy, stitched-up, list-making Tom and sassy, vulnerable Brianna confront change, family ties and finding the right person to love.
For a bit of fun, can you open your book to a random point and tell us what’s happening?
A rhythmic creaking sound drifted in through the open window, and he lifted his head away from her hair and turned to the sound. The grating of a key in the metal gate on the back balcony followed. He shook Brianna’s shoulder when he heard a voice call out, “Allo? Allo?”
“Brianna,” he whispered. “There’s somebody in the kitchen.”
“What?” She sat up and smiled at him, her expression relaxed and contented.
“There’s somebody in the kitchen.” His words were confirmed by the running of water and the clanging of dishes in the sink. Then a quavering female voice burst into song. Bells will ring ting-a-ling-a-ling, Ting-a-ling-a-ling and you’ll sing, ‘Vita bella’
Tom and Brianna have finally ended up in bed and are interrupted by the arrival of the second person that she meets in her blood family... Great Aunt Maria!
Do you have a favourite scene in Italian Affair?
The final scene where Tom is waiting for Brianna to come home to him, not knowing what the outcome will be, is one of my favourites. An astute reader will see the parallels to the first time Tom sees Brianna at the airport in Sydney.
Oh... deep breath...and then expelled in a huge sigh.
I think I am a mad woman!
I have three books completed and in edits with Entangled Publishing. Outback Affair which follows Holiday Affair and Italian Affair, is complete and with my editor. Worth the Wait is the first book in a three book Bliss imprint series and is in edits. Dangerous Desire is a romantic suspense and I am just waiting for the cover; it will be out in September. I am also writing a paranormal for the Covet imprint which is due to my editor before we go off on our outback adventure in a couple of weeks. I also have other news which I can’t reveal yet but is my favourite genre above!
If you could have dinner with any three authors, who would you choose and why? And what would be on the menu?!
Well... the menu is easy.
I would invite them into my home and serve them fresh fish as that is what we live on here on the coast! Served with lots of lovely Australian white wine and followed by Pavlova!
The dinner party would be made up of: Nora Roberts as I would want to know how she disciplines herself to be so productive; Sharon Penman... to find out how she completes her historical research and Ian Rankin so I could listen to his lovely Scottish accent!
Thanks so much for joining us here today, Annie, we wish you many sales and lots of luck with all your up and coming projects.
You can find out more about Annie on her website and the buy links for ITALIAN AFFAIR are: