Saturday, December 5, 2015

Sit Down Saturday with Anna J Stewart (and a Bad Boy)

Today we're celebrating the release of THE BAD BY OF BUTTERFLY HARBOR by Anna J Stewart.

So, Anna, where did you get the idea for this novel?

Luke Saxon popped into my head one day. Well, maybe not him exactly (he went through a couple of name changes before we settled on what he should be called), but his situation. More importantly, his past. I'm always looking for a strong conflict between my heroes and heroines, and I liked the idea of Luke having done something seemingly unforgivable that would be a pretty big hurdle for him and Holly to overcome on their way to their happily ever after.

I also wanted to write series of books set in one of my favorite places on earth, the Monterey, California area. After a road trip with some girlfriends for "research", the story sort of came together. Not that Luke and Holly didn't fight me along the way. They did, but they ended up where they needed to be: together.

In looking at the cover, if you could add a caption or captions, what would they say?


*blinks*  I'm sorry. I get distracted when I'm told to look at the cover. He's, er, it's so pretty!  I'd probably say, this is a guy with a lot on his mind. The past weighs heavy on him, but not so much he doesn't take time to enjoy the beauty in life, or how fragile and fleeting it can be. He's learned the hard way to take life a minute at a time because one never knows when it's going to run out. Hmmm...that makes him sound very depressing. He's not, I promise! He's just very appreciative (or he will be by the time the book is done) of what he has.

How long did it take you to write?

About two months. It was actually one of the easiest books I've written. Once I got into the zone and figured out where each of the characters needed to progress to, the story flowed. There were times I had to reign in a couple of the secondary characters (why do they always want to butt in?!), but whenever Holly and Luke got on the page together there was a magic that happened.

What is your favorite scene?

I'm calling it the "blackberry pie" scene. Toward the middle of the book, Holly brings Luke a blackberry pie. It's a peace offering of sorts, and it's a significant step forward in their friendship. She's spent so long being angry with him, she's only recently discovered the details of what happened the night of the accident that nearly killed her father. It's a tough thing to swallow, to know you've misjudged someone so badly and she wants to make amends. It's also when I discovered something Luke did to always remind himself of the mistake he made. I didn't have a clue about until I wrote it. It was a nice surprise (sorry, no spoilers!).

Who is your favorite character and why?

Oh, that's going to be a tough one! I know I should say Holly or Luke, since they're the main characters, or even Simon, Holly's 8-year old son (who's a few crimes away from becoming a super villain). Honestly, I think I have to say Charlie Cooper, who arrives in town with her mom early in the story. Charlie is 7 and ends up as Simon's conscience a'la Jiminy Cricket. Another one of those nice surprises who walked in the diner door. I had a little more fun with her in the second book in the series (RECIPE FOR REDEMPTION, 6/16).

Tell us one thing you learned during research.

Okay, this was one of those "alert the online spies this only research" kind of things. Luke is a former bomb technician (he was trained in the Navy and then headed up the bomb squad in Chicago). Given a thread that runs through the story, I needed to research weaponry/guns and pipe bombs and explosives. Do you know how easy it is to build a bomb? It really shouldn't have been as much fun as it was. It was a little scary, though, some of the sites that popped up on my Internet search. *shudders*

What music would match the mood of this novel?

Oh, boy. I'm not that much of a music girl. If it isn't Bon Jovi, Adele,  or Broadway shows I'm pretty clueless, but there's a calmness about Butterfly Harbor that speaks of those surreal, fantastical melodies from The Lord of the Rings or maybe Enya. Except where those explosives come into play, of course.

This is your first book for Harlequin. Exactly what does that mean to you?

Just a few days ago I realized it's been 30 years since I read my first romance. 30 years since I knew that's what I wanted to do: write romance. The release of this book is life-affirming and a dream come true. Literally. I always wanted to be a Harlequin author and now look! I am! Believe me, there's much celebrating going on in my neck of the woods. Might even need to take another trip to Monterey. For research, of course.

What do you plan to work on next?

I recently turned in the second book in the Butterfly Harbor series. This will be Abby Manning's story. I'm hoping (*fingers crossed*) to have some more stories to tell. There are a lot of characters demanding their own books, believe me. I'm also dipping my toe in the suspense arena with Harlequin next year so that'll be new, but I have to tell you, I'm chomping at the bit to get back to Butterfly Harbor. I love my sweet romances!

What are you reading for pleasure right now?

I've got three books on my TBR pile: AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir, THE SECRET LIFE OF WONDER WOMAN by Jill Lepore (about the man who created Wonder Woman, my favorite super hero), and STARS OF FORTUNE by Nora Roberts because her books are why I fell in love with romance 30 years ago.


USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart can't remember a time she didn't have a book in her hands or a story in her head. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for the independent heroines she writes. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). Visit her online at www.authorannastewart.com

20 comments:

  1. Anna, I'm so looking forward to reading this story. Luke looks like the perfect brooding hero. And I love blackberry pie so already I know Holly is a good heroine.

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    1. Hi Roz! Thank you! I'm quite partial to Luke--it was hard to keep him on the sidelines in book 2! LOL. Hope you had a great weekend.

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  2. Oh, this one is on my TBR pile. Sounds so good, and can't wait to meet Simon. Congratulations on your first Harlequin.

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    1. *waving* Hi Beth! Thanks so much for stopping by! And glad to know I'm on your TBR pile. No better place for an author to be!

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  3. I love these interviews! I must say, I'm jealous to hear it was an easy book to write. I'm still waiting for that experience, Anna. :) I look forward to reading it!

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    1. Hi Jill. Still not sure if I've blocked things out or not, LOL. Great to see you here! Hope you had a great weekend. :)

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  4. Beautiful cover! And it is so much fun doing research! Just this morning I stood in the waiting area of a tire store and discussed how to cause someone to have an accident. :-) Can't wait to read about your bad boy!

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    1. Hi Pat! Wonderful to see you here. Research rocks! Except when you have to take out a disclaimer on social media . Thanks for posting!

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  5. This book sounds great!! Only two months to write it? That's amazing. I love it that Luke takes life a minute at a time, not taking it for granted. That doesn't make him sound depressing at all, just grateful. Sincere congratulations to you for living your dream of becoming a writer. That cover is delicious. ( :

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    1. Hi Laurie! How wonderful to see you here. Thank you for posting! Something tells me I lucked out with this book and the two months, LOL. It's nice when the characters don't fight you. Hope you had a great weekend!

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  6. Anna, your post hurt me . . . literarily! I was traveling on business most of this week, and with all the flights and talking, I developed a sore throat and lost my voice. When I got to the part about you being distracted by the cover, I couldn't help but laugh . . . out loud. And it hurt!! I so look forward to reading The Bad Boy of Butterfly Harbor!

    Congratulations for your release!

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    1. LOL. Sorry about that, Kate! And bummer about being sick. Never fun. :( Hope you enjoy Luke when you get to him, er, it. Yeah. IT. *mumbles to self* Feel better!

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  7. I know I just wrote a comment, but I have to leave another one. I went online to get your book and . . . huge congratulations on a 4.9-star average review rating! Yay, Anna! :-)

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    1. EEEK! I'm trying not to read them, LOL. But thank you for letting me know!

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  8. Yes, he is pretty, isn't he? And you say there's a book under that picture somewhere, too? :-) I'm so envious of that two-month thing. Good luck with it--you're well on your way!

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    1. Hi Liz--well, as I told Laurie above, I probably lucked out with this story. Given the deadlines I've got next year, 2 months would be awesome! Hope you have a great Christmas!

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  9. Congratulations, Anna, on the book and its reviews! Sorry I'm so late to the party - was out touring Christmas craft events. The book sounds great, hero looks great, and I think you should go back to Monterey, too, and celebrate with pie. (Does Clint Eastwood still live there?)

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    1. Hi Muriel! No worries--I just got here myself, LOL. I think Clint lives in the area, yes. He was mayor of Carmel. I wonder if he moved back to Los Angeles. But yes, I think another trip might be in order . Merry Christmas!

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  10. Congratulations on your first full-length novel with Heartwarming! I love that cover and I can't wait to read this one :)

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