Spring Fashions, Season Quiz,
and an Interview with Annette Blair
that magical season where it is time to shed the winter clothes
for exchange of bright pastels colors. Of the four seasons,
I find that Spring has always been my favorite. The beauty
of the many different plants paint a vivid picture as the new season
unfolds. I have searched the net, and found some very informative
sites that will get you in the mood for Spring.
spring, fashion is about imagination, creativity, fun. A thousand
flowers (and ruffles, lace, and fringes) are blossoming. Individual
style is in the ascendant. Celebrating that eclecticism, we've enlisted
of New Yorkers — chefs, artists, businesspeople, actresses —
to make the season's looks their own
Spring in Photos!
Yorkers in white • Designers
you notice • What we saw on the runways
Are you Winter, Spring, Summer or
Fall? Take this fun
quiz and find out.
the month of April, I have selected author Annette Blair.
Ms. Blair's book An Unforgettable Rogue was a pure
joy to read. Throughout the pages I knew I must seek out this
special author who has touched my heart with such a moving novel.
of being an award winning novelists, Ms. Blair is an avid Glass
Slipper collector. She frequently has contests where the lucky
winner is awarded a memorable slipper of their own. To see
what wonderful prizes she is featuring this month, be sure to visit
Unforgettable Series, An Unforgettable Author
with Annette Blair
Housley: Thank you for agreeing to take time out of your busy
schedule in order to conduct this interview. We at "Beneath the
Covers" are very excited that you have given us the opportunity
to share the insights of what takes place behind the scenes in the
creation of your exciting novels.
Annette: I'm happy to share
my experiences with you and your readers. Thank you for asking
Suzie Housley: The "Rogues
Club" is such an exciting series, could you give us the background
on how it came to be created?
Annette: First of all,
I love marriage-of-convenience stories and always wanted to do a
series with military men who were forced to marry. The first
was to be A Rake, Undeniable. Most of the credit for the Rogues
Club series, however, must be given to Amy Garvey, my former editor
at Kensington. Less than a week after I sent her A Rake, Undeniable,
Amy called to say that she wanted the book, but she wanted to call
it An Undeniable Rogue rakes
made her think of gardening implements-and she wanted me to write
a sequel called An Unmistakable Rogue, and she
wanted them to be a series called the ROGUES CLUB. She left
the logistics of the club to me. I came up with the men forming
a club of sorts in a tent on the night before the Battle of Waterloo,
since UNDENIABLE began with a dying officer extracting a
promise on the battlefield. Days after I turned in the first
in the series, she offered me a contract for a third.
Suzie Housley: I can easily picture
your "Rogues Club" to be made into a television mini-series. Have
you given this any thought?
Annette: Not until you
said so in your wonderful review. I must say, I find even
the thought delightful. What fun it would be to see the rogues
brought to life. I absolutely love the idea and I'd love to
hear who readers think should play each rogue. LOL.
Housley: Bryceson Wakefield is a character that has really pulled
at my heartstrings. You did an outstanding job turning this 'Beast'
into a Prince. Are their any similar characters like Bryceson that
we can look forward to in future novels?
Annette: I think you'll
like Reed Gilbride in An Unmistakable Rogue, because
he's tortured as well, though in a different way. He has never
belonged anywhere, doesn't even know who he is. Unwanted by
the people forced to take him at birth, oldest in a family of fourteen,
the only child not of their blood, he was made to be responsible
for the rest. Reed now wants to know who his parents were,
and why they gave him away, then he wants peace and solitude-and
no more children-for the rest of his days. When a mysterious
letter sends him on a search for his heritage to an estate called
Sunnyledge, he finds Chastity Somers, carrying an identical letter,
with her four "brigand brats," and a determination as great as his
... to claim the estate for the children. To say that they
turn his world upside down is an understatement; to say that he
takes it well, is impossible.
Suzie Housley: Congratulations
on your recent Blue Boa Award. Could you tell us more about this
Annette: What I find
particularly special about the Blue Boa Award of Excellence is that
the books are judged by reviewers from across the country.
Oddly enough, this isn't the first time I win a Blue Boa Award.
Thee, I Love was a Blue Boa Award Honorable Mention in the Historical
Category in 1999, and in 2003 An Unforgettable Rogue took second
Suzie Housley: The highly
anticipated An Unmistakable
Rogue is due to be released November 2003. Could
you tell us more about the characters that we have patiently been
waiting to arrive?
Annette: Good news:
It's now due to be released in October 2003. In An
Unmistakable Rogue, the main characters: Reed Gilbride
and Chastity Somers, and the secondary characters, orphans: Matthew,
Mark, Luke and Bekah, all have in something in common with the Sunnyledge
Estate itself: they have all been abandoned. More than searching
for the past, these characters are searching for a place to belong,
and someone to belong to. They will all discover that the
past is unimportant compared to the present, and the future, and
that home is not a building, but the people we love.
Suzie Housley: You are known
to have a wonderful collection of glass slippers. How long have
you been collecting these treasures? Approximately how many do you
currently have in your menagerie?
Annette: I have been
collecting glass slippers for more than ten years. Favorites
are my antique slippers, made as early as 1876, but there are later
designs, from glass companies that have gone out of business, that
I really love, like Degenhart's mini slipper and Westmoreland's
granny slipper. In the Fenton line, I collect only hobnail.
Among my favorites are the advertising slippers made in the 1880's
by Duncan & Sons and Bryce Brothers, with company names molded
into the bottoms of the shoes. I have approximately 200 slippers
and boots from the 19th and early 20th centuries, ranging in size
from two to five inches long and two to six inches high.
Suzie Housley: Are you a
part-time or full time writer? How do you include writing into your
daily living habits?
Annette: Are you sure
you have room for this answer? LOL. I am a full time
Development Director, and a part-time Journalism Advisor, for a
private New England Prep School. I also consider myself a
full-time writer. I am either obsessed or possessed; I'm never
sure which. I write every day, morning and evening.
I can write around the clock on weekends. Working for a school,
I have several 'breaks' and four weeks in the summer, so seven weeks
in a year to write like a fiend. When I'm on deadline, I often
get up at three or four a.m. and write for a few hours before I
go to school. I have to be at school for 7:30 a.m. but I'm
home by 3:30 p.m. Usually I edit in the morning when I'm bright.
Evenings I just fix what I red-marked in the morning and never try
to second-guess morning decisions, because I'm brain dead by the
time school is over. Writing fresh is for weekends and school
breaks. My husband is supportive, and understanding, and he
will even bring me food on a tray if I don't emerge from my "cave"
for long periods.
Suzie Housley: When did
you discover that you wanted to be an author? Was it difficult getting
your first novel published?
Annette: I wrote romance
stories about my friends and their boyfriends in high school, so
I suppose that should have been a tip-off, then I spent years jotting
plot ideas down on odd pieces of paper and stashing them in my nightstand.
But ultimately, it took my teenage daughter to challenge me to write
a romance of my own that sat me down at the computer to begin.
Was it difficult? LOL. The New England Chapter calls
me their poster child for perseverance. It took me 12 years,
112 rejections, and three golden heart finalist standings--1996,
1997, 1998--before Kate Duffy at Kensington called to buy my first
three books. Was it difficult? Yes. Do I know
why? Yes. I had a lot to learn. Am I stubborn?
Suzie Housley: What mistakes
have you experienced as a writer that you can pass on a lesson learned
to someone who is trying to break into the business?
Annette: Don't be afraid
to submit; just do it. Don't be afraid to fail; you will,
but it won't kill you. You almost have to fall as far as you
can, before you succeed and sell. Some people sell fast, but
most don't. It's almost as if there's dues to be paid.
Work hard and don't give up, and it'll happen. Give up, and
it never will.
Suzie Housley: Approximately
how many hours do you spend researching each novel? Do you enjoy
this aspect of creating novel?
Annette: I honestly can't
tell you how long I spend researching. I don't put in a chunk
of solitary time researching before I start. I start by writing-always
a good place to begin I think-and fill in the historical details
later, though I do devour the historical information and often have
to remind myself to get back to the writing. I like the historical
research to be a lush background to the story, but not one that
overshadows the characters or the romance.
Suzie Housley: What do you
find is the most rewarding part of being a writer? What part could
you live without if given a choice?
Annette: I could live
without the rejections, of course, though I've survived a great
many of them. I could live without the paperwork too, seriously.
I have a secretary at school, and if I ever leave to write full
time, I just might try to take her with me. The most rewarding
part about writing is hearing from readers. One recently wrote
and said, "There is so much joy in reading your books." Giving
my readers joy--what could be more rewarding than that? Another
awesome reward is the writer friends you make along the way.
I honestly cannot imagine my life without them.
Suzie Housley: Is there
anything that we haven't covered in this interview that you might
like to mention?
Annette: I'd just like
to give my family credit for putting up with me in my writing mode.
They miss talking to me; they miss eating meals together.
They cheer the good times and console me in the bad. I have
my own special hero for inspiration, the boy I sat beside in seventh
grade, and who is beside me still, many, many, many years later.
Romance is a celebration of life, and I have been fortunate enough
to enjoy the celebration. For that, I will be eternally grateful.
Suzie Housley: How can fans
Annette: I can be reached
or at PO Box 302, Manville RI 02838. I love hearing from readers.
Thank you so much for taking the time
to share with us and answer the questions I have directed to you.
I wish you much success in your up and coming book and any other
future novels that you have to offer.
Kensington Publishing - October 2002
ISBN: 0821773844 - Paperback
it at Amazon
Read an Excerpt
Beauty resides where gentleness and
love are the wondrous of gifts . . .
‘Alex’ Huntington was moving on with her life; she stood before
the altar to pledge herself to another. A year had passed since
she had been widowed when her husband died on the battlefields of
Waterloo. Her thoughts were haunted by the love she felt for her
first husband, who she had loved since childhood—a love that was
never returned. She was shocked when she saw a limping stranger
slowly making his way towards the altar. There was something familiar
about the newcomer that made her heart beat faster. When she heard
a voice from the past declare that he was her husband come back
to her from the dead, she felt herself go faint. Had her thoughts
of her beloved been turned into a reality?
Duke of Hawksworth had returned from the war a changed man. No longer
did he possess the golden looks that had once made him the catch
of London’s elite society. His face and body exhibited hideous scars
that were a daily reminder of what he had suffered that ill-fated
day when he was given up for dead. He felt that his scars make him
unworthy to claim his husband’s rights to his beautiful wife. Although
he felt he was not worthy of his wife, he refused to allow her to
marry an enemy, the Viscount Chesterfield. Stopping the wedding
ceremony was his only option. Seeing the beautiful swan his wife
Alex has become in the year they had been apart only heightened
his awareness of how beastly he must appear to her. Secretly he
vowed to one day release her from the commitment that bound them
together. Only his heart knew of the magnitude of his love for her,
a love that did not become apparent to him until he lay so close
to death. Such a love could not be forced to live with the beast
that he had become.
As a reader/reviewer
I have made it a point to seek out and read every Beauty/Beast theme
reads that I can lay my hands upon. Since childhood, this theme
has been one of my all time favorites. I can honestly say that Annette
Blair has written the best Regency I have found in this genre. Annette
Blair’s characters magically wrapped their way around my heart.
My tears of sorrow quickly changed to joy as I finished the last
heart-wrenching page. To say that I was impressed with the first
book that I have read by this author is an understatement. I am
thrilled that there are other sequels to come from this book. I
can easily see this memorable series being made into a mini-series
for television. VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
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