Woot!! Anna Campbell is in the house! I’m so thrilled to have one of my favorite authors visiting the blog today. Anna writes the most fabulous, passionate and smart Regency-set historical romance, and she’s got the reviews, awards and reader accolades to prove it. And luckily for us, she has a new book out – hooray!! Let’s turn the blog over to Anna to hear all about it.
Stormy Weather in SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED
Hi Vanessa! It’s great to be back here on your blog! Thank you for having me as your guest today to talk about SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED (out 25th September).
So let’s talk about including that telling detail that makes a setting come alive. Sometimes there’s no substitute for visiting the place where a book is set. Even if you’ve forgotten that you’ve been there!
I picked Devon because I wanted somewhere rugged and untamed and dangerous, a little like Jonas Merrick, the hero of the book. I needed a location a long way from the civilized environs of London. And I had a vivid picture in my mind of half-ruined Castle Craven where my scarred and tortured hero barricades himself away from the world. It was rambling and craggy and perched on jagged cliffs over a crashing sea.
Castle Craven is actually based on a ruined castle I visited on the Northumberland coast in the north-east of England. If any of you are Anya Seton fans, Dunstanburgh Castle was a stronghold for John of Gaunt, the hero of that wonderful historical romance KATHERINE. Dunstanburgh is at the opposite end of England to Devon, but one of the joys of writing historical romance is that you can pick up any random old house and plop it wherever you like. The power can be quite intoxicating!
The weather forms an essential part of this wild and stormy tale. You know, it’s wild and, uh, stormy.
The funny thing is that until I sat down to write this piece on some of the research behind SEVEN NIGHTS, I’d forgotten that my only visit to Devon was in November 1986. It was just before I flew back to Australia after two years living in England and I was returning home with very mixed feelings indeed. And would you believe the weather mirrored my turbulent emotions? Much as the tempestuous weather in SEVEN NIGHTS mirrors the conflicting, powerful emotions of Sidonie and Jonas. How strange to discover that the memories from that rather bleak holiday have lurked in my subconscious all this time, ready to pop up when I wrote SEVEN NIGHTS.
Devon in England’s south-west is unusually sunny for the U.K. (which in Australian terms is still not very sunny, but that’s another discussion!), so much so that it’s earned the nickname of the English Riviera. When I visited the county this particular November, it was more like the English Siberia. Howling, icy winds. Seas that looked like they wanted to devour you whole. Horizontal rain. Not very Riviera-like. Brrrr!
It wasn’t a great holiday – aside from the meteorological horrors, I didn’t have a voice. And as anyone who knows me will testify, not talking is the ultimate torture! But I now realize that vivid images and atmosphere from that trip lodged in my brain to stew for twenty-six years, resulting in the dramatic, gothic setting for dramatic, gothic SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED.
Isn’t the mind a strange thing? Have you ever realized that something you thought you’d forgotten is influencing current thoughts or behavior? Do you have a favorite stormy weather scene in a romance? One of mine is in FLOWERS FROM THE STORM by Laura Kinsale where, you guessed it, the hero gives the heroine flowers. In a storm. Yup, pretty much gave that one away in the title. Anyway, if you like stormy weather in a book, I’m hoping you’ll enjoy SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED. To put my money where my mouth is, I’m giving away a signed copy to a commenter today. Good luck!
Vanessa, here. Anna, you know I love ALL your books, and I can’t wait to read this one! So, let’s talk stormy weather – can you think of a great stormy weather scene in a book, movie or TV show that you particularly liked or remember? Just comment for a chance to win Anna’s new book.