Anna Campbell Interview
There's still an enormous appetite for a good romance, according to a leading name in the fiction business. Voted Australia's Favourite Romance Author in 2009, Anna Campbell has built a stellar career setting hearts aflutter and book sales soaring with her steamy, award-winning novels. And she believes romance is here to stay.
'Readers still love that emotional punch, and love being swept away by a powerful romantic story. Romance is about the profound things in life – love, courage, endurance, trust, family. Stories about these big issues will always be relevant," said Anna Campbell.
From Twilight's vampire-driven plots to the traditional Mills and Boon variety, today's romance is served in a range of different packages. But despite the different sub-genres, readers are drawn to what's important to them – love, relationships and the promise of a happy ending – which still makes romance fiction one of the highest selling genres today, and a multi-billion dollar industry worldwide.
Always a voracious reader, Anna Campbell decided when she was a child that she wanted to be a writer. Once she discovered the wonderful world of romance novels, she knew exactly what she wanted to write. Her historical romances have been critically acclaimed and won numerous awards, most recently including Australian Romance Readers' Favourite Historical Romance for Captive of Sin and Favourite Romance Author for 2009. Anna lives in Queensland. Her upcoming novel, Midnight's Wild Passion, will be released in May.
Interview with Anna Campbell
Question: Why do you believe romance fiction is so popular?
Anna Campbell: I think people love the emotional satisfaction that a great romance offers – and they get a guaranteed happy ending.
Question: How do you, as an author, keep up with the changes in fictional romance?
Anna Campbell: I read widely in the genre – it's a tough job but someone has to do it.
Question: How do you ensure your romance books are relatable for readers?
Anna Campbell: That's a really interesting question. I'm not sure I do – I tell a story that's compelling for me with characters who engage my emotions. I hope that because I relate to the story, other people will. I think my stories deal with a lot of the basic human truths like love, courage, endurance, trust, family – you know, all the BIG stuff.
Question: What makes you believe that 'romance is here to stay"?
Anna Campbell: I don't think good stories ever go out of style! In fact, in bad times, romance becomes even more popular. In the recent recession, romance was the only area of publishing that showed growth.
Question: How does it feel to be voted Australia's Favourite Romance Author in 2009?
Anna Campbell: I can't tell you how touched and happy I was when I heard. Sadly I wasn't at the Australian Romance Reader Association dinner in Sydney when the news was announced – I was running a workshop in Adelaide. The next morning I was up early checking my email down in the hotel foyer when I found out. I gave a loud squeak of excitement which frightened the poor night receptionist!
Question: What do you hope people take away from your writing?
Anna Campbell: I hope people will enter a rich world of drama and emotion that keeps them turning the pages and that they close the book at the end with a huge sigh of satisfaction.
Question: Who originally inspired you to begin writing?
Anna Campbell: I had a couple of really inspiring teachers in primary school. I was such a keen reader that writing was a natural development, but the first person to take me seriously as a writer was my grade six and seven teacher, Mr. Campbell. He used to give me time off Maths to go away and write stories! Yeah, I think it's a fabulous deal too!
Question: What motivated you to begin writing romance books?
Anna Campbell: I've always read romance. Both my mother and grandmother were big romance readers so I guess I was genetically programmed. I fiddled with romance stories in high school and then finished my first manuscript (which will never see the light of day!) before I started university. There was a long gap between that and selling Claiming the Courtesan to Avon!
Question: What research goes into romance writing?
Anna Campbell: I do a lot of research – it's part and parcel of writing historical romance. All my books are set in the 1820s, so after the Battle of Waterloo and before the accession of Queen Victoria. It was a time of decadence and scandal and excess, at least in high society – just right for romantic shenanigans! These days, I have a pretty good general knowledge of the historical period but there's almost always something specific I need to research for each book. For example, with Untouched, I had to research the treatment of mental illness in the early 19th century (seriously scary!). Research is one of the fun bits of being a writer! I also travel regularly to the United Kingdom where all my books are set.
Question: Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book?
Anna Campbell: Midnight's Wild Passion comes out next May from HarperCollins Australia. It's a classic Regency romance with Cinderella elements and I really enjoyed writing it! Here's the blurb from the back cover:
London's most notorious seducer, Nicholas Challoner lives solely for revenge…
The dashing, licentious Marquess of Ranelaw can never forgive Godfrey Demarest for ruining his sister"now the time has come to repay the villain in the same coin. But one formidably intriguing impediment stands in the way of Nicholas's vengeance: Miss Antonia Smith, companion to his foe's unsuspecting daughter.
Having herself been deceived and disgraced by a rogue"banished by her privileged family as a result and forced to live a lie"Antonia vows to protect her charge from the same cruel fate. She recognizes Ranelaw for the shameless blackguard he is, and will devote every ounce of her intelligence and resolve to thwarting him.
Yet Antonia has always had a fatal weakness for rakes…
Interview by Brooke Hunter
Photo credit: Robyn Hills