Monday, August 5, 2013

Love Paranormal & Historical Romance? Come meet Romance Author Annette Drake!

Annette Drake
Romance Author
     Welcome readers and thank you for popping in today! Help me welcome Annette as she tells us about herself and her writing. Annette, thank you for taking the time spend the week with us and for offering an e-copy of your book to TWO lucky winners! Readers, be sure to get in on the contest at the bottom and the winners will be picked on Saturday. You can earn multiple entries! Now let's get started!

Deanna:  Tell us a bit about yourself.

Annette: Despite all of the self-promoting I'm doing right now, I’m actually an introvert. I love people, but I love being at home alone. I think that’s because I have so many voices in my head, that adding real voices overwhelms me. I don’t like crowds, and I avoid places like Costco on a Saturday. 

Deanna:  I can agree with that! Crowds aren't my favorite either. For an evening out, would it be dinner or a movie? What would the dinner be? What might the movie be?

Annette: A movie. I love stories. I love being whisked away from the problems of life. Great movies do that. I always try to wait a few weeks after a movie has premiered, and then go to the late showing. It’s so great because usually my husband and I are in a theater by ourselves. I use to enjoy eating out, but to be honest, I prefer my husband’s cooking, and again, I don’t like crowds. Also, I’m extremely impatient. I don’t like a 30-minute wait for a table, and then a 20-minute wait for my meal. No, thank you. Waiting makes me super cranky! It’s best if I just eat at home. Nobody gets hurt.

Deanna:  That's cute! LOL Do you prefer wine, whiskey, scotch, or ice tea?

Annette: Ice tea. As part of my probation, I don’t drink alcohol. I’m kidding! I have some health concerns that rule out alcohol for me.

Deanna:  What do you do to relax when you aren’t writing?

Annette: In November of 2011, I rescued a paint mare. She was starving. Now, she is not and in fact, we have to keep a close eye on her so she doesn’t get too fluffy. I love spending time with her in the evening. I turn on my music and brush her to my heart’s content. It’s therapy.

Deanna:  Annette, she's beautiful! We're glad she keeps you calm and relaxed. Do you have to split your writing time between a day job?

Annette: Yes, I work at a cardiology practice Monday thru Friday, 8 to 5. This job makes writing time precious.

Deanna: As authors, we’ve sometimes been accused of being several people. How many personalities live in your mind?

Annette: Too many to count. They all want my full attention. I often have to tell them, one at a time, please! I have lots of books within me. What I don’t have right now is a lot of writing time. I hope that changes with the publication of Celebration House and my next novel, Bone Girl.

Deanna:  Congrats on the upcoming release. You'll have to come back for a visit when that book is done. How many plots do you include in one of your books?

Annette: Right now, usually two. My main character always wants something desperately. Then I have a secondary character who is also chasing a dream. One plot and one subplot are all I can handle at this point in my writing journey.

Deanna:  Readers love to know how writers spend their day. Tell us about a typical day in your life as a writer.

Annette: I rise at 5 a.m. with my husband. He leaves for work shortly before 6, and I plop into my chair in my office. I turn on music, and I start writing down what my characters whispered to me when I was driving to work the day before or taking a shower. I usually have a scene I picture in my mind. I try to put that onto the blank page as honestly and accurately as I know how, one word at a time. My goal is to write 1,000 new words a day. And I’ve learned that creating the first draft is often the most fun part of being a writer. In the evening, after my son is tucked in bed, I resume from where I stopped earlier in the day.

Deanna:  What one thing would you pass on to new writers?

Annette: You’re going to hear the word “no” a lot. That’s part of this gig. Just keep writing and remember, it only takes one yes!

Deanna:  Do your books have a common theme or are they all different?

Annette: I’ve published one paranormal romance and am considering self-publishing my second novel. The two books are vastly different, but they both come down to this: a main character who wants something and won’t give up until she gets it.

Deanna: Good luck with either path you take. Both still require us to market ourselves. What are the physical characteristics that you admire in a man?

Annette: I’m partial to Hugh Jackman look-alikes! That’s how I pictured my hero in Celebration House. A little over 6 foot tall, near-black hair and blue eyes (though Hugh’s eyes are brown), angular chin with a muscular build. I like the idea of a man who works rather than works out. Also, I don’t find extremely skinny, athletic men to be attractive. That’s not for me.   

Deanna:  Good description! Tell us about your latest book and the type of reader it may appeal to.

Annette: Celebration House is a paranormal soft romance. I think readers who enjoy character-driven books will love the book. I think it may appeal to women more than men. More important than gender, though, if the reader loves ghost stories, loves to ask questions like, why is that rocking chair moving on its own, she will love this book.   

Deanna:  My last book was a ghost story, too! Tell us about Maj. Thomas Stewart, the hero of your latest book.

Annette: Tom is a ghost who was killed in the Battle of Lexington in September of 1861. This was his first and only battle, his chance to prove himself as a soldier. He is intrigued by Carrie and admires her courage when she confronts Col. Bartholomew Stratton, the builder of the house Carrie wants to renovate. Tom is attracted to her, though she is foreign to him with her modern ways. The limitations of not being able to touch her or help her when she is in trouble exasperate him. Tom loves the rain, plays a mean game of poker, and is faithful to those he loves. 

Deanna:  It's sounding good already. Tell us about Carrie Hansen, the heroine of your latest book.

Annette: Carrie is a woman in her early 30s who has spent her life caring for heart patients. She became ill and a cardiac patient herself. After her illness resolves, or so she thinks, she learns she has the ability to see and talk with the dead. Carrie decides she wants to define herself by more than a diagnosis, so she pursues her dream to restore an antebellum mansion and open it for events like weddings or class reunions.

Deanna:  Okay, that gave me the chills! Will there be a sequel to Celebration House?

Annette: It depends on how well the book does. There’s been talk of it from my editor at Tirgearr Publishing. Initially, I said “No!” when this question was first posed to me. Now, I think, maybe. I have other books ahead of it, so it would be awhile before another book with the same characters could be finished. Although I will admit to daydreaming about the opening scene.

Deanna: Which is more important: character or plot?

Annette: Yes. Okay, I’m being silly. For me, it's all about the characters. It’s the people you meet in the book and who you relate to that are the focus of my writing. I love unintended consequences. I love saying because this happens, then this will happen. Good times! But something has to happen, thus plot is important. Otherwise, we don’t have a story. I think the most important thing is giving that main character something they desperately want, something they will battle grizzly bears for or climb mountains. Or leave their family, move 1800 miles away and spend their inheritance on...

Deanna:  That's passion! What’s your fantasy for Celebration House?

Annette: I dream of what all authors dream of...that my book will be made into a film. I love the idea that at some point in my life, I will sit in a darkened movie theater and see the images that have been in my mind up on the huge screen. My husband and I will probably be the only people in the theater because the movie came out two months prior, and I’ll be slurping iced tea.That will be a night to celebrate just the same.

Blurb:

      Carrie Hansen spent her life caring for cardiac patients. Little did she know she would become a patient herself. After recovering from her own heart surgery, she realizes she has a special gift: the ability to see and talk with the dead.
     Now, with her new heart failing, she leaves the bustle of Seattle behind and returns to Lexington, Missouri, the small town where she spent her childhood. Here, she sets out to restore an abandoned antebellum mansion and open it as a venue for celebrations.
     Carrie’s work is cut out for her. The 150-year-old Greek revival house is in need of serious repair. Her sister, Melanie, tries to bully Carrie into returning to Seattle, predicting “her little project” is doomed to fail. Finally, Carrie’s health gives out on her, requiring emergency surgery.
     But she will not give up. Carrie’s unique gift allows her to build relationships with the mansion’s original occupants, especially Maj. Tom Stewart, the handsome Civil War soldier who died a hundred years before Carrie was born. He encourages and comforts her, though not in the physical way they both desire.
     Then there’s the builder of the house, Col. Bartholomew Stratton. If there’s one thing this 19th century horse trader cannot abide, it’s the living trespassing on his estate. He delights in scaring these intruders away, even if they are paying guests.
     Will Carrie finish restoring Celebration House or will it finish her? And how can she plan a future with a man who has only a past?

Excerpt: 

    Driving up to the house, Carrie smiled. She loved the long driveway, the poplar trees on both sides. Behind the trees, the fences had fallen into disrepair. Just one more thing she’d have to fix. She parked her car alongside the house and stacked her groceries and camping gear on the front porch. Seeing a small barn behind the main building, she decided to explore and see if there was room to park her car inside.
      Carrie opened the door and stepped inside. Sunlight streamed in through the dirty windows. Even though the barn had been vacant for years, she smelled hay and horses.
      Looking to her left, she saw a man shaving. He was bare from the waist up, his chest finely proportioned, lean, and muscular. His arms were powerfully built, and his right hand remained steady as he scraped the white soap from his angular jaw. His dark blue uniform pants were tucked into black leather knee-high riding boots. He stood at least six foot tall, and though Carrie hadn’t made her living in the carnival, she guessed he was probably younger than her, likely in his mid 20s. He peered intently at a small mirror tacked up on one of the barn walls. She waited to speak until after he’d finished the last swipe with the ivory-handled straight blade and had dipped it into the basin of soapy water. 
      “Good morning.”
      He turned towards her suddenly, his expression an equal mix of surprise and annoyance. He dropped the razor and grabbed his shirt off a nearby nail. He turned his back to Carrie and pulled it on.
     “You can see me, ma’am?” he asked, buttoning his shirt before stuffing it into his pants.
      “Yes. Do you see me?” 
    “Yes, but I believe I have the advantage. I am dead. You are not.”
 



@annettedrake13

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