I'm delighted to host Annemarie Brear on my blog today. Annemarie is an author of historical women's fiction, contemporary romance and several short stories. Also a lover of chocolate, good movies and her family! Her latest book, Where Dragonflies Hover, is published by Choc Lit.
Annemarie was born in Australia but is currently living in England. Her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, genealogy, roaming historical sites, buying books and gardening.
I asked Annemarie to tell us a bit more about herself:
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, I think I have. I enjoyed writing as a child and would write stories which my mother always thought was very good, but then mothers do that don’t they? :) I did very well in English at school and got the highest in the class on an essay we had to write regarding the movie, Kes. The class had to rewrite the ending of the movie/book and I threw myself into it, even down to researching the roads he’d take to get to the new farm he was moving too. I think it was that essay that started my love of writing. Soon after that, at the tender age of fifteen, I co-wrote a Mills & Boons style story, which I still have somewhere buried in a box. I started writing my first novel, To Gain What’s Lost, aged 25 and it took two years to write.
Has any author inspired you?
Yes, many authors have inspired me, mainly Catherine Cookson and Audrey Howard. Those two authors’ books at the time I started writing were the gaol of what I wanted to achieve with my own writing. Reading their books always took me away to another era, with characters I cared for, and that was what I wanted to do within my own stories.
What do you like writing most?
I prefer writing historical women’s fiction, but every now and then I will feel the urge to write a contemporary romance. I think it helps my creative process to be able to switch between the two. However, historical will always be my main priority. I write about strong women who go through many ups and downs before getting a happy ending.
Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Definitely a pantster. Sometimes I have a little idea of where the story may go, but apart from the era, I usually let the characters dictate the story arc. I find that if I plot out a story beforehand I lose interest and write myself into a wall. Being a pantster allows me to be continually surprised by the turn of events and characters actions.
Is your writing ever inspired by your family or real life incidents?
My story ideas come from everywhere. I am currently into writing books set in the Edwardian era and WWI, so I have so many historical events that I can choose to help inspire me. I find ideas from other books, especially non fiction research books, from movies/documentaries, pictures and paintings, etc. An idea can come to me simply from seeing a country house, or visiting a museum. I think writers are so lucky to be able to use the world around and history to give us inspiration to put a story together to entertain others.
What are you writing at the moment?
I’ve just started writing the third book in the Kitty McKenzie series, which will be set in WWI and be about Kitty’s grandchildren as they leave home and face war. But I also have another idea brewing about a shipwreck, so we will see where that one goes.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wrote Where Dragonflies Hover, after I read a book about Australian WWI nurses. I was astounded by the hardship they went through to nurse the wounded, but they were not really recognised at the time for the most amazing job they did. WWI was an incredible time for medicine and science. So much was learnt and discovered to benefit us all today and those women didn’t get as much praise as they should have done, in my opinion. So I felt the need to write about one. I brought her story alive in a diary that a modern day character, Lexi finds. I hope I did justice to those brave women.
What time of the day do you write best?
I prefer writing in the mornings, but working full time means I need to write wherever and whenever I can.
What are your hobbies?
Can visiting country houses and castles be counted as a hobby? LOL I can’t knit or paint, but I love to garden.
What advice would you give to other writers?
My advice would be to write the book of your heart. To learn as much as you can about the art of writing. It is a craft and all craftsmen and women practise and practise. So keep at it and keep learning new ways to improve your style. Don’t over tell. Join groups of like-minded writers as writing can be a lonely at times.
That's good advice, Annemarie. :)
Annemarie Brear on the web:
Sometimes a glimpse into the past can help make sense of the future …
Everyone thinks Lexi is crazy when she falls in love with Hollingsworth House – a crumbling old Georgian mansion in Yorkshire – and nobody more so than her husband, Dylan. But there’s something very special about the place, and Lexi can sense it.
Whilst exploring the grounds she stumbles across an old diary and, within its pages, she meets Allie – an Australian nurse working in France during the First World War.
Lexi finally realises her dream of buying Hollingsworth but her obsession with the house leaves her marriage in tatters. In the lonely nights that follow, Allie’s diary becomes Lexi’s companion, comforting her in moments of darkness and pain. And as Lexi reads, the nurse’s scandalous connection to the house is revealed …
The late sunshine enveloped the house in a golden glow. Again, it seemed to call to her, begging for attention. A path on the left of the drive looked inviting as it meandered through a small strand of poplars. Lexi grabbed her keys, locked the car and took off to explore again. She had nothing to rush home to now, and if she got caught for trespassing, then so be it.
The overgrown pathway brought her out on the far side of the grounds near the end of a small lake. She gazed over the water towards the back of the house and noticed a paved terrace area. From there the lawn then sloped down to the water. She’d not been around the back before and fell even more in love with the property. She could imagine the serenity of sipping a cool drink on a hot summer’s day and looking out over the lake.
Lexi stepped out along the bank. A lone duck swam by, its movement serene on the glassy, dark surface. This side of the lake was in shadow from large pine trees, and she stumbled on fallen pinecones hidden in the long grass. On the opposite side of the water were some small buildings, a garage, fruit trees in early blossom, and an overgrown vegetable patch, complete with a broken, rejected-looking scarecrow.
She wandered over to a narrow shed on her left and peered through its sole, dirty window. Unable to make out much in the dimness, she walked around to the front and was surprised when she was able to pull the bolt back on the door. Why didn’t people lock things? A covered rowboat took up most of the space inside. She smiled, seeing herself rowing it on the lake. Growing more excited, Lexi edged around it to peer at the workbenches and the odd assortment of tools and useless things one found in abandoned sheds. It was like treasure hunting in an antique shop. She used to love doing that with her grandfather.
She glanced about and spied a dusty painting leaning against the wall. The scene was of a child and a brown dog. Behind the canvas were more paintings, some framed, some not. Lexi flicked through them. The ones that caught her attention she took out and set aside.
She looked for somewhere to sit and study the paintings. A small tin trunk wedged under a workbench seemed the only offering. Thinking it empty, she went to tug it out, but it remained fast.
Using both hands, she heaved it out and was showered in a puff of dust. Squatting down, she inspected the latch that was held tight with a small lock. ‘Why are you locked?’ she murmured. The shed was open to anyone passing by, yet this ugly little chest had a lock on it. The trunk was nothing special, plain and in parts rusted. No ornament or writing hinted at its use.
Intrigued, she grabbed a hammer from the workbench, but then hesitated. She had no right to open someone else’s property. Lexi closed her eyes momentarily. What was she thinking of breaking into the trunk? What am I doing? Never had she broken the law and here she was guilty of trespassing and breaking and entering! She looked around the rowboat as though expecting someone to jump out and arrest her.
Something inside urged her on. She knew she couldn’t stop now. Sucking in a deep breath, she bent and hit the lock hard. The ringing sound was loud in the quiet serenity of the garden. The metal dented and with another few solid whacks the lock gave.
Shivers of excitement tingled along her skin. Gently, she eased up the lid.
It sounds exciting, doesn't it? Want to read more? You can buy the book here:
Also available in Apple ibooks, etc.
Thanks for dropping by to talk to us today, Annemarie. Lots of luck with your book!