Anne Stuart is switching gears again. In 2013 and 2014, we enjoyed her Scandals at the House of Russell series – a Historical Romance trilogy. Now, she’s taking us back to the Romantic Suspense genre with the release of Consumed by Fire which is scheduled for next Tuesday, May 26th. Oh boy, there is nothing like an Anne Stuart romantic suspense! Although I thoroughly enjoy her historical titles (oh yeah… House of Rohan series), I’m still partial to her edgy tales of suspense.
Anne graciously agreed to chat with us today and tell us all about it. And to make it all an official celebrationl we’re giving away five (5) MP3 copies of Consumed by Fire narrated by Jill Redfield.
We’re giving away five (5) MP3 copies of Consumed by Fire. Entry is simple. Just complete the easy entry form found at the bottom of the page by midnight (CST) Monday, May 25th. No comments are necessary to enter although we’d love to hear your thoughts in our discussion area. You may only enter once – anyone entering more than once will be disqualified. We’ll contact winners on May 26th (the day of release) so watch your email as we must have acknowledgement of your win within 24 hours. If we don’t hear from you, we’ll select another winner. The giveaway is limited to those residing in the U.S.
Chatting with Anne
LEA Hi Anne! Welcome back to AudioGals.
ANNE Thanks, Lea. Great to be here!
LEA The last time we talked with you was in 2013 upon the release of the first book in your Scandal at the House of Russell series. Can we take a minute to review that series with our listeners?
ANNE Oh, I love that series. Three sisters who become domestics in order to find out who murdered their father. So much fun — a little Downton Abbey, a little Upstairs Downstairs. Xe Sands did the audio and she did a marvelous job!
LEA Oh – we agree! Of course, anything Anne Stuart gets attention around here.
ANNE Amazon’s been very good to me. One of the reasons I signed with them was because they automatically do an audio version as well as physical and e-versions, and you know I’m an audio addict.
LEA Yes – I think you were the first author I knew who listened as well!
ANNE Really? I’m completely hooked.
LEA Can you tell us more about your relationship with Amazon?
ANNE Well, obviously the publishing is a very small cog in Amazon’s wheel (I went out to lunch with my editors when I was in Seattle last month and was agog) but they’re very dedicated and caring. You end up with two or three editors — the big honcho, the acquiring editor, and then they send the book out to a freelancer for the actual editing. I work with a wonderful woman named Charlotte Herscher and we’ve built up a great relationship over the four books we’ve done.
LEA I understand that Brilliance is part of the larger Amazon family but operates as a separate entity. Does Brilliance or Audible Studios publish the audio version of your books?
ANNE Brilliance does, which I think is kind of strange, but they’re excellent. They ask me if I have a preference for narrator, and of course I always say Xe, though I have someone new this time and she’s very good. But you may want to talk about that later.
LEA So, upfront, Amazon offers you as the author a print publication, eBook, and audiobook?
ANNE Yes, all three. I don’t know if they have separate programs for just e-publishing but I suspect more of them are the triple format kind of contracts, at least for Montlake and Thomas and Mercer (their mystery arm).
LEA As a listener, I always trust Brilliance to deliver quality audiobooks. You just don’t find many production errors and the narration is usually top notch. I’m not referring to any particular publishers here but the number of production errors we see sometimes surprises me. We don’t see that with Brilliance.
LEA And that means a lot when you are investing the price of an audiobook.
ANNE Interesting. I haven’t noticed a difference (as a consumer) but I was always aware of which publishers were to be trusted when I was just a reader.
ANNE I’m lucky enough that all my audiobooks are tax deductible, so I don’t pay a whole lot of attention to price (Audible loves me).
ANNE I like Tantor a lot — I think they do an excellent job.
LEA Oh yes – Tantor is excellent – great romance selection. :)
ANNE And, of course, Laura Kinsale’s productions are exquisite.
LEA Kinsale’s audiobooks are now the standard that all others should follow – including publishers. She holds the “elite” title when it comes to excellence in audio direction, production, narration, and of course, writing. It just doesn’t get better for overall quality.
LEA I think we notice trends by publishers, etc. more as we request review books from publishers.
LEA So, I automatically think of audiobooks by publisher as well as author and narrator!
ANNE Yup, that’s different from us listeners, I think.
LEA And now we’re back to your Romantic Suspense titles (I must admit my personal favorite Stuart genre) with Consumed by Fire, which releases this next Tuesday – May 26th.
ANNE My personal favorite too, though I love my historicals. But basically in my heart I think of myself as a romantic suspense writer.
LEA Me too – as a reader/listener, I think first of your dark romantic suspense titles (aren’t they all!). :)
LEA And now we have Consumed by Fire for our enjoyment – please tell us more!
ANNE I’m really excited about this one! It’s an offshoot of the Ice series I did for Mira and in an indie production (On Thin Ice). This time the Committee is forming a branch in the US and our dastardly hero and his true love are basically taking a battling road trip in various RVs from Montana down to New Orleans. Though it starts out in Tuscany when they first meet and he betrays her. I have such lovely heroes!
ANNE Sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s the hero and who’s the villain in my books.
LEA I was just about to ask you what awful thing your hero had done!!
LEA And I love, love, love that mixing up of the hero and villain!
ANNE Well, I tend to write Men Who Kill and Women Who Love Them. She’s an inadvertent witness to a hit, so he has to silence her. He does so by seducing her, natch!
LEA Ah – yes! As only Anne Stuart can give us.
ANNE It’s delicious if I do say so myself.
ANNE Have we seen either Evangeline or James in your previous books?
ANNE Nope, they’re brand new. The only cross-over is Peter Madsen at this point, and he’s only mentioned. Mira never wanted me to write more Ice books, and Amazon wanted something new but with the connection, so this has got the same feel and the same setup with an American rather than international twist. Except in the next book they’re back in the jungles of South America so I guess I have to take that back.
ANNE I hope to bring in some of the old characters as the series moves along. I’ve just about finished the second one and the third one’s gonna be a corker!
LEA So, this couple will have two books back to back?
LEA Or three??
ANNE Nope. Each book has a stand alone couple with the previous couples showing up in the next books (that was how the Ice books worked). I’m in awe of the books that carry a relationship through three or four books and make it slowly develop. I’d like to try that but I think I like sex and happy endings too much. Still, it would be a challenge since I do love to read them.
LEA Well, I have to agree with the HEAs with each book.
LEA I enjoy continuing series but the romance arc within one book is more satisfying to me.
ANNE But people like Ilona Andrews make cliff-hangers so enticing. I guess as long as there’s room to grow in the relationship then it makes succeeding books fun. But stupid misunderstandings are annoying. Gotta be a real problem to the relationship.
ANNE Or just not get it fully settled in the previous book.
LEA I am a huge Ilona Andrews fan – and Jeanine Frost too. I hang on for the next book anxiously along with the other fans. But still – those HEAs are so nice.
ANNE Sigh. I was just thinking about Renee Raudman and Mad Rogan. Yum!
LEA Oh, Renee Raudman’s performance of Mad Rogan in Burn for Me – superb!! She is responsible for its inclusion in my Top Ten 2014 Listens over at Speaking of Audiobooks. Really great book turned into fabulous by the narrator.
LEA Okay, back to Consumed by Fire and your other series – so the only cross-over is Peter Madsen from the Ice series?
ANNE Yup, Peter tends to be the heart of all the Ice books – he always shows up in one form or the other.
LEA Which book was HIS book?
ANNE His was Cold as Ice. He was the one who’d had sex with a man in the very first book, but he was the only possible hero of an offshoot (and the Ice books were my first series in 20 years — I hadn’t planned it as a series). So I had to work my way around that little wrinkle.
LEA I remember now.
LEA Well, you pulled it off with great style! Hardly felt a bump
ANNE Cool. I figured women slept with people undercover all the time — why wouldn’t a man? And why only the opposite gender. Operatives are all about shadow lives and lies. It seemed logical.
LEA I’m open to believing that!
LEA We are used to seeing Xe Sands associated with your books. And I must admit, we were a little sad to not see her name on Consumed by Fire. But I hear very good things about Jill Redfield.
ANNE Yes, I was quite distressed when I first saw the Xe wasn’t doing it (I’d requested her, of course) but Jill is really very good. She’s done the Sylvia Day Crossfire novels among other things, and does well with male and female characters. She’s done an excellent job of this, and on top of that, she’s the only one who knows how to pronounce Isobel Lambert’s name! I’d love to talk to her, but she’s very mysterious so I’m guessing it’s a pseudonym. Jill Redfield is a character in a well-known video game as well, so I’m thinking that’s where it came from. She probably records non-racy stuff under a different name but since I only listen to racy stuff, I can’t recognize her.
LEA Understand. It is harder for me to pick up on similarities in narrators with different names but we have a few reviewers who have quite the ear for it.
ANNE Someone told me (either an actor friend or someone on here) that some voice artists use pseudonyms for hot books, so I’m guessing that’s what Jill does.
LEA Yeah, we see that quite often.
ANNE But it’s a mystery.
LEA We have an internal list of narrator pseudonyms (some are only educated guesses) but it’s not news we share. We understand that there is a reason for their decision to do such and we respect that. We try to only mention pseudonyms if the narrator has made it known publicly.
ANNE Good. People should be allowed their privacy. Except, of course, when I want to glom onto all their stuff. I’d listen to Xe or Barbara Rosenblat do just about anything.
LEA That’s the problem we have as listeners and you know that so well! We often buy by narrator rather than author!
LEA And we want to know everything they have to offer.
ANNE Yup. And sometimes they’re baaad.
LEA Oh yeah.
ANNE And it’s not the narrator’s fault.
LEA Totally agree again.
LEA Jill looks to be relatively new to narrating with twenty titles to her name over at Audible. But I’m very hopeful as she has earned an A and a B here at AudioGals. You better believe I’ll be finding out for myself as soon as Consumed by Fire is released.
ANNE It’s wonderful, she says modestly.
LEA And, always, we must ask about that lovely backlist you have just waiting for audio production. Any movement forward on that?
ANNE Rats, no. I’m toying with the idea of recording a novella myself, just to see how it goes, since I have some acting experience, though I think I’d probably read it rather than perform it. I need to get some money together to do some on my own — Mary Jo Putney has done a good job with it and I think hasn’t lost money. I’d do it because I’m dying to relive the books in audio. Won’t be quite the same if it’s my voice, but I may experiment with that.
ANNE “Some on my own” means with a real narrator. I’d just try the short one for grins. And it might very well be a disaster.
LEA That’s news we love to hear! One thing we are sometimes concerned with on self-published titles is the author’s unfamiliarity with audio listening. Does a non-audio listener know what makes a good narrator? Well, that’s one thing we don’t have to worry about with you! As a long time audio fan, you understand what romance listeners want to hear.
ANNE Yup, and I’ll know what sucks:)
ANNE So I’d only put it out if it was decent quality
LEA Last time we talked, you had just appeared in a theatrical production of The Music Man. Any other theater on your horizon?
ANNE Ah, we’ve got Kiss Me Kate and Hamlet this summer. I’d love to do me some Hamlet — it’s my favorite Shakespeare.
LEA So, what else is next for Anne Stuart? I mean – we have talked about your current RS series – a couple of plays – and possibly some audios of your backlist…
LEA Anything else you want to share?!
ANNE Oh, I’ve got so many things I want to write. After I finish this one, I’m diving into Brandon and Emma’s story from the Rohan family series – it’s long overdue. It’ll be an indie book but they’ve already waited too long. And I’ve got a stand-alone romantic suspense set in Spain with mistaken identity and lots of intrigue — it’s so cool. Plus a really neat idea for the next Fire book. So many books, so little time!
LEA Wow – so much!! So, is Consumed by Fire Book 1 in the Fire series? Is that the name of the series?
ANNE Yup, it’s the Fire series as opposed to the Ice series. Makes sense — America is young and fiery, Europe is old and icy. Though my heroes always tend to be a bit icy until you get beneath the first layer.
ANNE And of course I need to free my Lucifer (a hero) in the Kristina Douglas series, so that’ll be another indie when I have the time. That’s the great thing about indie publishing — beloved series don’t have to die. At least beloved by me.
ANNE It’s funny because my husband of 40 years is an absolute pussycat.
ANNE It’s having a great man like him that allows me to explore really dark fantasies.
LEA Oh, isn’t that the way of it?
LEA When can listeners expect the next entry in the Fire series?
ANNE Unfortunately I’m late turning it in due to an injury (frozen shoulder and I couldn’t type) so I’m thinking six months at least.
ANNE But I’m writing as fast as I can!
LEA Oh no! Hope that has improved!
ANNE Enough so I can type, not enough to use a rotary cutter for making quilts (or slicing veggies)
ANNE But it’s slowly getting better.
LEA Well, sounds like you will continue to have plenty to entertain us – Fire series or not.
ANNE I’ve got so many books I want to write that I’ll be writing until I’m 108 (I had a great aunt who lived that long, and health care is better now). I’m never gonna stop.
LEA Sounds good to me!
LEA Thanks for joining us today.
LEA We always love having you here with us.
ANNE My pleasure! The AudioGals have a special place in my heart!
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