Anna Randol is the author of A Secret in Her Kiss, a new Avon release featuring a spy protagonist. Talk about a dangerous occupation! I love the premise, so I asked Anna to stop by the virtual offices to tell us more about her new book.
[Manga Maniac Café ] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[Anna Randol] Historical romance writer who loves happy endings, my family, dark chocolate, travel, and hamburgers. I wear shoes as little as possible.
[Manga Maniac Café ] Can you tell us a little about A Secret in Her Kiss?
[Anna Randol] Here’s the blurb: A rare beauty, raised in the exotic heart of the mysterious East, Mari Sinclair knows it’s time to end her career as a British spy when she narrowly avoids a brush with death. Unfortunately, there are those who think otherwise—and they are not above using blackmail to keep Mari in the game.
Saddled with a handsome, duty-obsessed "minder" to ensure that she completes—and survives—one last mission, Mari is incensed . . . for her guardian, Major Bennett Prestwood, is simply too dedicated, too unbending, and too disarmingly attractive. But in the face of dark secrets and deadly treacheries, as the true peril to Mari is slowly revealed, loyal soldier Bennett realizes that to save and win this extraordinary woman, he will have to do the unthinkable and break the rules—rules that passion and desire have suddenly, irrevocably changed.
[Manga Maniac Café ] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the book?
[Anna Randol] While researching an earlier manuscript, I discovered a print of a gentleman spy chasing butterflies. It turns out that some British noblemen in the 1800s, and even up through World War I, would use similar disguises to gain access to sensitive locations. Apparently, the rest of Europe had learned not to questions the eccentricities of the British aristocracy! I immediately decided I needed to have a character use the same ruse, but rather than a nobleman, a feisty, half-Greek heroine popped into my head. I knew right away she wasn’t a woman destined for a proper English ballroom and the rest of the story unfolded from there.
[Manga Maniac Café ] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?
[Anna Randol] The research on Constantinople in 1815 was definitely tough, but once it was done, I loved being able to immerse myself (and my characters) in such a fascinating land and culture!
[Manga Maniac Café ] What are three things Mari would never have in her boudoir?
[Anna Randol] A British flag. An etiquette book. A letter from her relatives back home in England.
[Manga Maniac Café ] What do you enjoy most about romance? What prompted you to try writing your own?
[Anna Randol] I love a happily ever after! I know it might be cliché, but I love knowing that despite all the horrible things a hero and heroine face, good will triumph in the end. Of course, the hot heroes help, too!
I’ve always had stories in my head, little bits and pieces of scenes I would replay over and over again until they were perfect, but it wasn’t until about five years ago that it occurred to me that they might actually be worth putting down on paper. I’m not sure if it was spurred by my switch to being a stay-at-home mom or if I simply wanted those characters out of my head, but it worked. While writing may be hard some days, I love it!
[Manga Maniac Café ] What are your greatest creative influences?
[Anna Randol] Everything sparks ideas for me (fortunately or unfortunately, I haven’t quite decided yet), even something as silly as action films! While most people are enjoying the explosions and gun fights, I’m trying to figure out the perfect heroine to bring the hero to his knees and what changes he’ll need to make to be worthy of her. Other things jumpstart my ideas as well— tidbits from news stories, a line of conversation, a song on the radio.
[Manga Maniac Café ] What three things do you need in order to write?
[Anna Randol] Kids in bed. Chocolate. And more chocolate.
[Manga Maniac Café ] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?
[Anna Randol] The Babysitter’s Club series! I remember working my way down the whole row of them in the public library. I so wanted to be like Kristy even though I was a total Mary Anne.
[Manga Maniac Café ] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
[Anna Randol] I love to hang out with my husband, even if we aren’t doing anything but sitting on the couch making fun of movies. I also love reading everything I can get my hands on, martial arts, and getting girly pedicures.
[Manga Maniac Café ] Thank you!
Now for the GIVEAWAY! Anna very generously offered a copy of A Secret in Her Kiss to one lucky commenter. Want to win it? It’s easy to do! Just make a comment on this post! Tell us why you want to read Anna’s book for a chance to win a copy! US mailing addresses only. Contest ends March 2.
A Secret in Her Kiss is available now! You can purchase a copy from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below: