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Monday, December 7, 2015

Meet Author Anna Durand

Instead of my usual Monday Morning Musing, I'm happy to introduce you to a terrific author, Anna Durand. Last month, Anna invited me to her blog. Today, it's my turn to return the favor. When I checked her Pinterest site, I discovered she's a fellow Michigander. She's a hearty soul who lives in the U.P., where they get much more snow than we do in West Michigan.
 



Welcome, Anna.Tell us about yourself.

I’m a writer and a librarian, which means I’m always torn between reading or writing – and I keep trying to assign Dewey decimal numbers to my characters. My dual personality also means I actually enjoy doing research! Until recently, I’d stuck to paranormal romance as my subgenre of choice, but this year I decided to step out of my comfort zone to write contemporary erotic romance, and I’m also working on a historical Highland time travel romance. Wow, that’s a mouthful!

Even though I'm not a librarian, I'm torn, too, between reading and writing. How long does it take you to write a book?

I used to spend months writing one book, but I’ve trained myself to write much faster now. Editing takes a bit longer, as I don’t want to rush it. Like many writers, I used to think a first draft needed to be perfect, or almost perfect. These days, I allow myself to screw up in the first draft so I can just get it done. You can’t fix what you haven’t written. A few months ago, I set myself a challenge to write a complete 20,000-word story in five days – and I achieved it, even exceeding my word count goal by a couple thousand words. I wrote my award-winning upcoming book Fired Up in about a month, and that one came in at around 55,000 words.

Wow. You are a fast writer. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I’d love to say I have a set schedule for when I write, but as a self-employed business owner, I squeeze writing in wherever and whenever I can. Some days, I’m lucky to fit in five minutes here and there. If I plan it right and nothing unexpected pops up, I write for several hours in a day. Once I sit down to write, I shut off my email and crank up my favorite writing music – then I dive in and don’t come up for air until I run out caffeine or chocolate.

What’s your favorite movie?

I love Knight & Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz. As a reader and writer of romances, I get sucked in by the developing bond between the hero and heroine. I also adore heroes who can take out the bad guys, then turn around and be tender with the heroine. But another thing I enjoy about this movie is that the heroine starts out freaked out by the crazy situation of rogue spies hunting her down, yet she finds her strength and becomes just as heroic as her hero. Comedy, action, romance, a strong heroine, and Tom Cruise – what’s not to love?

I love Knight & Day for the same reasons. We must be kindred spirits. LOL Are your stories driven by plot or character?

I strive for a balance between the two, but the romantic relationship is the core of the story. This means I’ll sacrifice a bit of plot to make sure the hero and heroine have plenty of time to develop their relationship. In Intuition, I also worked to flesh out the secondary characters and I was gratified to receive reviews praising this aspect of the story. I also love complex plots, so with all my books (even my short stories) I weave in in as much plot as I can without weakening the fabric of the romance.

Achieving a balance is hard work. What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?

I hope when they close the book, they’re smiling and exhilarated. I also hope readers come away with an appreciation for the overriding theme of many of my stories – redemption. But my number-one goal is always to provide a satisfying ending that leaves the reader feeling good and [fingers crossed] craving more.

Tell us about your latest book.

My latest release is the short story Tempted by a Kiss, a contemporary erotic romance. I set out to write a contemporary romance and it organically evolved into an erotic story – my first erotic romance. I loved the characters, Mel and Adam, so much that I expanded their story into a novel, Fired Up, which has won several awards.


Tempted by a Kiss blurb

Mel Thompson just dumped her cheating ex after two years together. Now she's determined to understand the allure of casual sex by having a steamy fling of her own at a notoriously raunchy underground club. When her best friend, Adam Caras, catches on to her plan, he makes a surprising offer to derail her. If she wants a hot fling, he'll give it to her.

Who better than Adam, renowned lady-killer, to demonstrate the erotic pleasures of a one night stand? Sex could ruin their friendship, but after a soul-searing kiss, Mel fears one night may never be enough.

Excerpt

This time, he offered me his hand, palm up. I stared at it. My stomach fluttered, though I had no clue why. I'd danced with Adam a number of times, at weddings and parties.

A strange warmth rushed through me, but evaporated in an instant. The hand, the one attached to the arm of my best friend, waited patiently. I settled my palm in his. He curled his fingers around my hand. I hopped off the stool and let him guide me toward the dance floor. The music had segued from an up-tempo number to a slow, seductive beat with an enticing melody, played on exotic instruments. The song conjured visions of a Middle Eastern palace, belly dancers, and hot, dark men with lascivious intentions.

We sidled between the other dancers, wending our way across the dance floor on the hunt for a vacant slot. At last, we broke out of the masses into a cramped space just wide enough for the two of us, forcing me to move closer to Adam. He pivoted on his heels to face me and, keeping my hand in his, lifted it in a ballroom dancing position. His other hand lightly rested on my hip. This was what I expected from a dance with Adam. Then he dragged me into him, my body suddenly crushed against his heat. My heart skipped. The strobes had given way to soft, pulsing, golden lights. In the twilight of the floor, I couldn't make out his expression. Entwined with Adam, aware of every hard line of his muscles, I was paralyzed.

Buy Links


One last question, Anna. Where can readers find you?

I’m everywhere. You can’t escape from me. [evil cackle] Seriously, I’m on most of the major social networks, though I still can’t figure out what Instagram is – probably because I’m over forty. Egads! Yes, I admitted that in public. If you show up at my house, I’ll sic my attack cat on you, but I’d love for you to join me in these spots online:




Thanks for visiting, Anna. I'm so glad I got to know you better. Best wishes.

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