Today marks the release of Marry in Haste, the first book in Anne Gracie’s new Marriage of Convenience series. The name of the series bodes well for me, as this is one of my favorite tropes! In true Anne Gracie fashion, she knits a colorful bunch of characters together into a family that keeps the reader in stitches. Anne was gracious enough to answer some of my questions about this series and what’s ahead!
Ba_BAMB: Hi Anne! Thank you so much for visiting Books & Beauty Are My Bag today. I loved Marry in Haste, and I’m so excited for everyone to get their hands on it! I love the way you have of putting people together in an unconventional way and making them a family. Where did the idea for this series come from?
Anne: Thanks so much, Angie, I’m delighted to be here. I didn’t sit down to plan this series, as much as characters started talking in my head. That’s often how things start for me — with characters and their problems.
Ba_BAMB: With this new series, whose book are you most excited to write next?
Anne: I have thoughts about all three of the stories to follow MARRY IN HASTE, and each one has its own charms. Snippets of story keep coming to me for this person or that, and I write them down in a notebook but really, the deeper into a story I get the more I love it. At the moment I’m writing Lily’s story and I’m really loving her and her hero.
Ba_BAMB: George, Rose, and Lily aren’t your typical ladies of the ton. It’s going to take some very special (and patient) men to catch their eye. Have we met any of their heroes yet?
Anne: It’s not so much their hero’s eyes they have to catch — they’re each lovely in their own way, but I do think they’ll each give their hero a run for their money. 😉 But that’s a good thing, I think. I always want the hero to earn his happy ending.
And yes, you have met Lily’s hero – he appears briefly in Marry In Haste.
Ba_BAMB: I loved Emmaline’s back story and her determination to make Cal and the young women a close-knit family. Is there a particular quality you like in a heroine when you’re reading and/or writing?
Anne: I’m not sure about one particular quality – each heroine comes with different qualities. Emm is a little different in that because of things that happened when she was younger she’s given up her dreams of being loved and having children. Instead she’s determined to do the best for the girls she teaches. She’s not a whiner. But when she’s offered a loveless convenient marriage, she seizes it, determined to make the best of what life offers her, and to make a family out of a set of disparate, not very happy individuals. And with the hope that she might have a child of her own. And that’s why she’s a heroine.
Ba_BAMB: What was the biggest surprise revealed to you by a character you were writing? Something even you didn’t see coming?
Anne: I get surprised by characters all the time. They’ll say things I didn’t expect or do things I didn’t plan, and it nearly always makes the story better. (Though sometimes it gets me into a bit of a mess and I end up cursing them!)
But if I explain what those surprises were, it will spoil the surprise. I will say that something Gil Radcliffe said surprised me, and changed the ending of the book. When you’ve finished the book, you’ll know what it was. <g>
Ba_BAMB: Can you tell readers a little about your writing process? How many books do you work on at once, and are you a pre-plotter, or do you fly by the seat of your pants?
Anne: I’m a pantser who tries to plot as much as I can in advance. I generally know the shape of a story, but often the details will surprise me during the writing and change the story. I only work on one book at a time, but I’m forever getting ideas for scenes or characters in other stories—sometimes whole dialogue conversations—and I always write them down by hand in a big notebook. Otherwise I’ll forget them.
I write both by hand and straight onto the computer. When I’m stuck, I always go back to handwriting, starting by asking myself questions about the characters and the story and writing down the answers, and before I know it, I’m writing dialogue and the story is flowing again.
Ba_BAMB: What drew you to writing historical romance vs. contemporary?
Anne: When I started to write romance for publication, I didn’t know of the very wide variety of books in the genre – there weren’t that many romances published in Australia. And most of the contemporaries I’d come across were short and not exactly my cup of tea. But I grew up on Georgette Heyer, so Regency-era historical seemed a natural fit.
Ba_BAMB: What is the most interesting piece of information you’ve come across while researching?
Anne: I’ve learned some fascinating things doing research, mainly from reading journals and letters of the times and I often pick up wonderful details to enrich my stories. No one piece of info stands out, but I did love learning about how people first crossed the alps in the early 1800s. They were carried over the highest part of the mountains by hefty young peasants. Wealthy aristocrats were put into in litters — like a chair with two poles threaded through — and packed tightly with straw and furs (for the cold) and strapped in like stuffed mummies. Then four young men would each take the end of a pole and carry them over hair-raising mountain paths, skirting plunging precipices – jogging most of the way! It wasn’t for the faint-hearted.
Ba_BAMB: Who are some of the authors who’ve inspired you?
Anne: Practically every author I’ve ever read. In historical romance of course Georgette Heyer is the reason I write Regency-era. Eva Ibbotson is another author I admire. I remember reading Mary Jo Putney’s Veils of Silk early on and loving her exotic setting. I knew I wanted to do that. Mary Balogh is an auto-buy— I love her deep characterization. I could go on, but then I also am inspired by writers in other genres — like Lois McMaster Bujold, and Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Lee Child and Dick Francis and and and . . .
Ba_BAMB: I love your books, Anne, and I’m excited for what’s ahead. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re working on now?
Anne: Thank you so much, Angie. I’m finishing off Lily’s story at the moment and trying to decide who will be next. I’m also thinking of dipping my toes into self-publishing, perhaps with some short stories about the girls from Emm’s school. But I’ve also promised so many readers I’ll write Marcus’s story (from an earlier series) so we’ll see. Contracted stories come first.
Ba_BAMB: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Anne!
Anne: My pleasure, Angie.
Marry in Haste by Anne Gracie | Marriage of Convenience #1
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
ARC from Netgalley
Buy Marry in Haste
If you’d like to win a print copy of Anne Gracie’s Marry in Haste, please answer the following question and enter the Rafflcopter by clicking on the ‘Giveaway’ banner below:
What kind of story do you prefer? A — where the hero is a goner from the first sight of the heroine and spends the rest of the story trying to convince her to marry him. Or B — where he doesn’t know what hit him and spends most of the story in denial, wriggling like a fish until he works it out.
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