For almost forty years, Anne Stuart has been writing romance with an exciting edge that keeps us eagerly anticipating each new release. Her backlist is extensive with titles found in a number of romance sub-genres including historical, romantic suspense, contemporary, paranormal, and gothic. Today marks the simultaneous print and audio release of Never Kiss a Rake, the first in Anne’s newest historical romance series, Scandal at the House of Russell. You’ll hear more about the series from Anne.
Below, you’ll find a sound sample from Never Kiss a Rake that features both the hero and heroine (Audible’s sample does not), graciously provided by narrator Xe Sands. Thanks to Xe for choosing a supreme four minute sample!
The Sound Sample
Talking with Anne
Lea: Welcome to AudioGals Anne!
Anne: Hey, babe. Thanks for having me here.
Lea: It’s been two years since your last historical release – Shameless, the final entry in the House of Rohan series. Since that time, you have released four paranormal romance titles in The Fallen Series as Kristina Douglas. Now you are returning to historical romance (yes!). Can you tell us about this newest trilogy?
Anne: Absolutely. The series is subtitled Scandal at the House of Russell and it’s the story of three sisters, daughters of a shipping magnate, who find that their father has been murdered and their money has vanished. The three sisters make a pact to find out what really happened, and each one enters the household of a likely suspect as a servant. The oldest, Bryony, becomes housekeeper to a rake, the Earl of Kilmartyn. The second, Maddy, becomes a housemaid to a former pirate, and the youngest, Sophie, becomes a cook in the household of Viscount Griffiths.
Lea: Oh boy, I’m rubbing my hands in delight! When can we expect to see Books 2 and 3?
Lea: I know from our AudioGals recorded interview with you and Xe Sands that you had something to do with her narration of this new series. Can you give our listeners a little insight on your working relationship with Xe?
Anne: Oh, I adore Xe. If her voice was a man I’d marry it. Whenever I get a chance I ask for her, because she does such a great job in doing my books (and anyone else’s, for that matter). We had to do a little bit of juggling to get her for this one – Montlake prefers British readers to do British historicals, but we came to a compromise where she reads the story without an accent and uses an accent for the various dialogue bits. I think it works really well.
Lea: I attempted to count up the number of titles you have released over the years and got lost with reprints and the like. When did you start writing romance?
Anne: I wrote my first romance in the early ‘70s, and it was published in 1974. Obviously I was very young <g>. It was a gothic entitled Barrett’s Hill for a branch of Ballantine Books (which now belongs to one of the conglomerates)
Lea: I know you write several romance sub-genres. Did you start with historical romance?
Anne: Well, sort of. I started with Gothics, which are romantic suspense in a historical setting – usually a governess and a big house and a brooding master. Then I switched to regencies before I wrote contemporaries. Basically I love romantic suspense in all forms, so whether they’re historical or contemporary there tends to be a strong gothic feel to them.
Lea: Two words that likely first come to mind with Romance readers/listeners when they hear “Anne Stuart” are “bad boy.” Can you expand on your bad boy heroes?
Anne: Well, who doesn’t love a rake? There’s just something so delicious about a bad boy and a good girl. Bad boys encourage a heroine to do all the things she’s secretly wanted to do but never dared. I do tend to go a bit further with my bad boys – I figure the darker they are, the sweeter the redemption.
Lea: Although we see more and more bad boys these days, you must be one of the first to feature this type of hero regularly – if not the first. Have you always had a “bad boy” component to your heroes?
Anne: Oh, absolutely. If the hero is a good man, a noble human being then the heroine would be an idiot not to fall into his arms at the drop of a hat. Of course there can always be outside sources keeping them apart, and there have been wonderful books written with that scenario. I just have a personal affection for a “hero” who goes to the very edge of acceptable behavior and sometimes falls over the edge.
Lea: I see that your Ice series was published in audio format by Harlequin with Tantor picking up the last two in the series. Tantor published the House of Rohan series and the first two entries into the The Fallen Series. Harlequin continues to occasionally publish your titles – as recent as August, 2012. I assume that we will continue to see an occasional release from Harlequin. And I see Brilliance is publishing the Scandal at the House of Russell trilogy. We’re excited to see a number of publishers releasing your titles as we are always on the lookout for your older titles prior to 2000. Any news to report on seeing your backlist in audio format?
Anne: Alas, no specific news yet, but I’ve made arrangements with Belle Books to publish the rest of my single title backlist, and they’re very interested in doing the audio versions as well. So fingers crossed. If I had the money I’d do it on my own, hiring Xe or, be still my heart, Nicholas Boulton, but right now that’s not a possibility. I’m even considering whether I could do my own but I have real doubts. Narrating your own books seems a bit of a vanity project to me. However, I have this fantasy that I’d get good at it, and instead of doing my own I’d do some of my favorite books like Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels or Sharon and Tom Curtis or Judy Cuevas. Just a fantasy, however. Not sure if hearing my own voice reading it would have the same transcendent effect. I kind of doubt it. However, I do some acting, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility.
Anne: I just played Eulalie MacKechnie Shinn in The Music Man, and humbly pass on the word that I stole the show (just a bit — everyone was fabulous). I got to sing and dance (One Grecian Urn) and collapse on the floor in a dead faint, so that three sturdy men had to haul me up every performance. The fabulous lead actress, a Tony nominee, said they’d created a monster with me, but she didn’t know how over the top I am in real life (though she might have guessed with my nun fetish last year in The Sound of Music).
Lea: Thanks Anne for joining us today. As always, it’s a good time!