Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Today's Special - - Q&A with Anna Bradley


I had the pleasure of meeting Anna Bradley at the RWA National Conference in July and was intrigued by the description of her debut book, A Wicked Way to Win an Earl. After reading it - in one day - it's easy to understand why this first book in Bradley's Sutherland Scandals series is garnering so many rave reviews. 

As Bradley relates the tale, she has been an avid reader, writer, and book fondler since childhood, when she pilfered her first romance novel and stole away to her bedroom to devour it. (How many of us can relate to that?) Her love of the written word led her to a master's degree in English Literature. Nowadays, Bradley is a multi-tasking wife, mom, author, and professor of writing and literature. She lives in Portland, Oregon, where she says people are "delightfully weird and love to read."



Welcome, Anna! Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, A WICKED WAY TO WIN AN EARL. What has been the most exciting part of publishing your first book? What’s been the scariest? Have you been to the store to pet the cover of your book yet? ;-)

Thank you, P.J., and yes, I’ve been to Powell’s Books to pet the book! Next I’ll probably do something equally embarrassing like take pictures of it on the bookstore shelf and post them to my website. Petting the book may be the most exciting moment yet, but I’ve been pinching myself since I was signed by my agent, Marlene Stringer. I’m incredibly lucky to work with such talented people.

The scariest part by far is knowing my parents will read the love scenes! I squirm every time I think of it.

That would probably have me squirming too. Tell us about your hero and heroine. What’s keeping them apart?


They share a scandalous past that complicates their relationship, and they’re both struggling against society’s expectations and their expectations of themselves. They’re passionate people who are fiercely loyal to those they love, and it’s the core of the conflict between them. Each sees the other as a threat to their loved ones’ happiness. What happens when you get two passionate people with opposing goals together? Sparks fly! That’s what happens with Delia and Alec.

Alec and Delia are both complex characters (which I love!). What would you like readers who buy A WICKED WAY TO WIN AN EARL to understand about these two?

That they’re flawed, but while their flaws are what drives us crazy about them, they’re also what makes us love them. I think it can be that way with real people, too—our biggest flaws, turned sideways, become our greatest strengths. Delia and Alec both struggle to discover who they are and what’s important to them, and many readers can relate to that. We all want to be our best selves, but we make mistakes along the way. Delia and Alec’s mistakes are heartbreaking and dramatic. They have to earn their HEA!

There are many intriguing secondary characters in this book. Is this the start of a series? How many of the Sutherlands and Somersets will have stories? Are you able to share anything about the future books?

This is the first in a four-book series called the Sutherland Scandals. All four Sutherland siblings find love, romance and happy endings in this series. The second book is called A SEASON OF RUIN, and it comes out in June 2016 from Berkley. That story features Delia’s sister Lily and Alec’s brother Robyn. The third and fourth books belong to Alec & Robyn’s sisters, Ellie and Charlotte, and the ladies have as much drama and romance as their two brothers! After this series there’s a trilogy featuring the three youngest Somerset sisters, who are going to get into all kinds of delicious trouble.

This makes me a very happy reader! I was so afraid Delia's and Lily's younger sisters might be left out of the fun. 

What inspired you to become a romance writer and why did you choose historical romance?

Like many writers I started as a reader. I’ve been a diehard fan of historical romance for years, ever since I discovered and devoured Georgette Heyer’s books and became convinced I was born in the wrong era. I read all kinds of romance and have favorite writers outside the genre, but I have a soft spot for historicals, so they’re a natural choice for me to write in that genre.

According to the bio on your website, you once worked with a rare books library that featured works by British women writers from the 1600s through the Regency period. What an incredible opportunity! Please tell us about the experience. Were you able to read any of the books? Did you discover any new-to-you authors who made an impression on you? Is this library open to the public?

It was an incredible opportunity. I was really lucky to get that job. I happened to be in the right place at the right time when the opportunity came up, so it was one of those serendipitous moments. My job was to acquire and catalogue rare books by British women writers from 1600-1830, and I did get to read some of the books. That was the best part of the job—that and touching all those gorgeous bindings! I have a weakness for novels, and I discovered some fantastic writers I’d never read, like Ann Radcliffe, who wrote shudder-inducing Gothics, and Sarah Fielding, Charlotte Lennox and Anna Maria Bennett.
The library is open to the public now. It’s the Chawton House Library, and it’s located in Hampshire, England, in Chawton Village, near Alton. Even better, the estate where the library is housed once belonged to Edward Austen Knight, Jane Austen’s brother. It’s well worth a visit for the incredible history alone, and the house, gardens and grounds are as spectacular as the library.

A WICKED WAY TO WIN AN EARL takes place during a house party. If you were hosting a house party and able to have anyone (real or fictional, alive or dead) attend, who would be some of the “must have” people on the guest list?

Colin Firth, and he’s required to wear the wet white shirt he wore in the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice! Sorry, I couldn’t resist. Let me see, aside from Colin . . . Jane and Cassandra Austen, all the Sutherlands and the Somersets from the Sutherland Scandal series, of course; and all the characters in Julie Anne Long’s Pennyroyal Green series, and . . . um, this is going to be a crowded house party!

Wow! That has the makings of the most coveted invitation of the year. I know I'd want to be there! 

Tell us about your current “life beyond the books.” Are you a full-time writer or a multi-tasking master?

Oh, I’m a master multi-tasker! No, the truth is I’m a mother/writer/teacher and most of the time I have to scramble to keep up with everything. Just ask my poor, long-suffering husband and kids! I’ve served plenty of frozen pizza for dinner this past year, and I’m definitely that Mom who forgets to bring snacks to school pick up, but I love it all and I feel very blessed.

Where can readers connect with you online?

The easiest place is my webpage – annabradley.writerspace.com, or you can find me on Twitter @annabradley472 and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/annabradley472. I love to hear from readers!

Anna, thank you for visiting with me today. I wish you all the best with the Sutherland Scandals. I'm excited to return to your world! 

Would you like to add anything? Would you like to ask our readers a question?

My pleasure! Thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about my books, PJ and thank you to your readers! Oh, I do have a question for them, yes. 

Are you ready to get wicked?



 Anna has two giveaways today. 

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment will receive the Pride and Prejudice Keepsake Edition DVD, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle.

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment will receive a signed copy of A Wicked Way to Win an Earl.

Deadline for comments to be entered in giveaway is 11:59 pm (PST) tonight. 


A tantalizing new Regency romance filled with the most elegant society—and the most forbidden desires…

England, 1811. Delia Somerset despises the privileged ton, but her young sister, Lily, is desperate to escape their family’s scandalous past and join high society. Unwilling to upset her sister, Delia reluctantly agrees to attend a party at the Sutherland estate—and avoid the gossip at all costs.

Alec Sutherland is known as a hot-headed scoundrel, but nothing gets a rise out of him as much as the news that his brother desires Delia’s hand in marriage. She is, after all, the daughter of the London belle who soiled their family name. He’s determined to ruin her reputation as well, in the most delicious way possible. It’s only a matter of time before he can woo her with his irresistible advances.

As Delia devilishly plays along in Alec’s game, determined to prove the joke is on him, they inch ever closer to repeating history. And in this game of seductive glances, scandalous whispers, and old debts, the outcome might be much more than either of them anticipated…








59 comments:

  1. What a wonderful opportunity you had being able to work in a library specializing in old books. They really are special. Todays book covers can't begin to compare with the bindings of old. The lithograph illustrations in some of the old books are unbelievable. The style of drawings and photographs used is nothing like today's. I have been picking up old books since I was in high school and found an 1865 work on how to be a housewife and mother. They are windows into a time and place that no longer exists. I have one written on the Allentown, PA floods. Tabloid journalism was alive and well even back then. The contemporary fiction gives you a good feel of what society and life was like at the time.
    I like the sound of A WICKED WAY TO WIN AN EARL. Social status and conflicts that can arise from it can make for an interesting story. Best of luck.

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    1. If not for my allergies, my dream would be to surround myself with those beautiful old books, librarypat. Sounds like you've made some exciting finds!

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    2. It really was a wonderful opportunity, librarypat. I was so lucky to get the chance to do that job. We had a lot of leather and gilt bindings, and some amazing lithographs and colored plates! It's hard to describe how beautiful they are. I'm guessing your 1865 book has some interesting advice for women on how to be a perfect wife and mother!

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    3. Very little that we would accept today. It did make for some interesting reading. I have a slim volume of a book published in the late 1800's put out by a religious group. It is on relations between men and women and husbands and wives. Lets just say it is a wonder any children were ever conceived. I have a book with the most lovely illustrations of flowers. It is one of the prettiest books I have ever seen.

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  2. Congratulations Anna on the release of A Wicked Way To Earn An Earl. I love series books and can't wait to read this one and meet the Sutherlands. Thank you for this chance.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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    1. I hope you like the Sutherlands and Somersets as much as I did, Carol. I have the feeling we have some fun romps ahead from Anna!

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    2. Thank you, Carol! I hope you enjoy the book and the Sutherland family!

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  3. A WICKED WAY TO WIN AN EARL looks and sounds fabulous. Love the title.

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    1. It's a wonderful story! Hooked me from the start and held my attention to the final page.

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    2. Mary, you would laugh if you knew how long it took me to come up with that title! Thank you, and hope you like the book!

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  4. Congratulation Anna Bradley on your book release. You are a ew author on my list.

    Angela
    ndeguzmanph(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you'll give Anna's book a try.

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    2. Thanks, Angela! It's been thrilling to get added to readers' new author list! A dream come true!

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    3. Thanks, I did check you fb author page.

      Angela

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  5. Hi Anna and PJ

    I visited Jane Austen's house and museum in Chawton a few years back. I seem to remember seeing the entrance to the estate, a short walk away, but think it was closed to the public at that time .... must return and take another look sometime!

    Are you ready to get wicked?

    When I 'discovered' the vast empire of romance literature, Eloisa James was high on my list of authors to read. I believe she had some 'disagreements' with peers in the academic literary world, over the value of the romance genre.

    Anna, I wonder whether 'A Wicked Way to Win an Earl' is proudly displayed in the college library for the students to read or is perhaps tucked away under the counter. If I could visit the library I would wickedly entice the librarian to let me peek under that counter.You should warn her that I have a wickedly seductive grin which few can resist! LOL

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    1. Q, When you visit Chawton again, we'd love to hear about the library! And....um...does your wife know about this librarian seduction fantasy of yours? *grin*

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    2. It was closed for quite a while as it went through a massive restoration project, Quantum. Definitely go take a look if you get back there. It's an incredible place! Yes, I can imagine Eloisa James had a little trouble with academia. My book is not (that I know of - I admit I haven't checked!) on display at the library, no. Academia has a little catching up to do still, I think, though more and more we're starting to see commercial fiction treated with respect and as a viable art form. I can't quite say I'm being embraced as a writer yet, though!

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  6. When I first saw A WICKED WAY TO WIN AN EARL, I immediately added it to my "must get" list. The synopsis of the story really grabs me and I know I will thoroughly enjoy it. I'm also delighted that it will be part of a series featuring different family members. Those series are the best because readers feel like the characters are part of their own family.

    I am so envious of the fabulous cataloging job you had. Being able to be amongst those wonderful novels had to have made you really WANT to go to work every day. To discover these authors, their novels, and even the way they wrote must have been fascinating. I got a little thrill when you mentioned Ann Radcliffe's gothic novels. I adore a good gothic novel and could devour them all day.

    Congratulations on your debut novel, Anna! I so look forward to reading it.

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    1. I got a little thrill when you mentioned Ann Radcliffe's gothic novels. I adore a good gothic novel and could devour them all day.

      Right there with you, Connie! I think it comes from cutting my romance reading teeth on Victoria Holt, Mary Stewart, and Phyllis Whitney.

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    2. Thank you, Connie! I love Gothics, too, and Ann Radcliffe is a pioneer in that genre, for sure. Her work is incredible, and when I think what women writers were up against as authors during the 18th century when Radcliffe was writing, it makes her achievement even more impressive.

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  7. What an intriguing storyline. A WICKED WAY TO WIN AN EARL sounds like a great read. Congratulation to debut author Anna Bradley. I will be honest, I hadn't read a historical romance for years. It's not that I don't enjoy them, but since I write contemporary and contemporary romances are my first love --and I follow so many authors of that sub-genre, I haven't had the time to indulge in too many other sub-genres. I made the exception and started the paranormal series by Darynda Jones--loving it. This past summer I took the rather large plunge into the Outlander series. It has awakened my love of historicals--darn it! I must say this book by Anna Bradley does sound like one I would enjoy. So I'll be adding it to my TBR pile...double darn it. :) Seriously, though . . .aren't we so blessed to have such wonderful books available to us? I think A WICKED WAY TO WIN AN EARL will be a great addition to many bookshelves.

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  8. Thank you, Annie! I actually love contemporary, too, though I know what you mean about having a first love. Outlander, though - I think that series catapulted a number of readers into historicals! What an addictive series. I'd love to hear what you think of "A Wicked Way to Win an Earl" if you decide to give it a try. Too many books, too little time, right?!

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  9. Your job at the library sounds like a dream job. Love sitting in the library reading obscure texts. I am also a huge Heyer fan. Would you love seeing a Heyer novel brought to the big screen or even the little screen

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    1. Phyllis, did you know Sourcebooks currently has many Georgette Heyer titles priced at $1.99 for e-book? I believe the sale goes through tomorrow.

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    2. It really was a dream job, Phyllis. To this day I haven't found anything else quite like it, though I admit writing keeps me pretty intrigued! I would love to see GH brought to life on the big screen, too. Which book would you choose?

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  10. Congratulations! What a lovely post to learn about your career and writing. It sounds ideal and special.

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    1. Doesn't that library job sound fun?

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    3. Thank you! I'm starting to see, now that my book is published, how the best part of being an author is getting to interact with the readers. You all are so lovely!

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  11. I love it when The Romance Dish introduces me to new authors of clever books. Thanks for the post and giveaway. I look forward to reading more!

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    1. Romance Dish is the best! Such wonderful readers on this blog, too!

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  12. What a busy and productive life. Your book sounds captivating. Thanks.

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    1. Thank you so much, petite. It sure was fun to write!

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  13. Congratulations on your debut book! I am excited to see that it is the beginning of a series and look forward to reading it. I had read the excerpt in a post here some days ago and really chuckled at the most uncomfortable first meeting of the main characters.

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    1. Isn't that a terrific first meet, Lil? I know it's going to be a good read when the author has me laughing before page 20. :)

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    2. I so love hearing that! That scene was the most fun to write, too!

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  14. Great interview and congrats on the debut book, I love any book with 'wicked' in the title. Fascinating the library is housed in Jane Austen's brother former residence! :)

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    1. "Wicked" is such a great word, isn't it? Chawton House Library is truly an amazing place, Karyn. Every time I was there I used to think "Jane Austen walked on these floors, and sat in these window seats"!

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  15. Congrats on your debut book!

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  16. Congratulations on your debut release, Anna! I loved the Q&A with you and PJ. Looking forward to reading your new book. Thanks for the giveaways!

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    1. Thanks, Cathy. P.J. is the best interviewer - she's so easy and fun to talk to!

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  17. Congratulations on your debut book.

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  18. This sounds wickedly wonderful and I love debut books - something about firsts!!

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    1. There is something special about a first book, isn't there? I'm really excited about this one.

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  19. Congratulations on your debut book. I envy the job you landed by luck. All those old book. The leather bindings and the printing. Glad to know we could go visit the library.

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    1. My nose is recoiling in horror at the thought of all those old books but my reader's heart is celebrating! ;-)

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  20. How exciting to have a book debut! I do like to hear about new authors and a recommendation from PJ goes a long way for me.

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    1. Thanks, Di. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

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  21. PJ is my #1 source for debut authors in the romance genre. I look forward to reading A Wicked Way to Win an Earl. Many romance heroines read Ann Radcliffe's books. Do you have plans for any of your heroines to be among them?

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    1. Janga, I think you'll appreciate Anna's skill with the English language. She paints wonderful visuals with her words!

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  22. Hi again Anna,

    Congratulations on the release of your debut book. Hope to pick my copy of it real soon....but maybe I'll get lucky and win a copy of it today!

    BTW, has a winner been chosen for your giveaway here on 10/25? Didn't see a name listed. Just wondering.

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    1. Karen H, a winner from the 10/25 giveaway has been chosen and will be posted at 9:00 pm tonight. I think you'll like the results! ;-)

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  23. Hi Anna, Congratulations on your book release! It sounds great! Definitely going on my wish list! (Unless I am lucky enough to win like Karen H did ;-) )

    I am very jealous of your work with those books - I would have paid them to be able to go through such awesome historical books.

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