Anna Campbell – The Women’s Journey

Hi friends!

Welcome to the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate this awesome genre! Come back every day to read all three “Power of Romance” posts. Check out the full calendar of authors here. You can also find links to the last four years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook.

Happy August!

#LoveRomance #ThePowerOfRomance

I Feel the Power!

I was born lucky! And no, I don’t mean I win a lot of prizes. Sadly.

I was born lucky because I had both a mother and a grandmother who were mad fiends for romance fiction. And they passed their enthusiasm down to me. As result, I’ve had a lifetime of the most glorious reading pleasure, and along the way, I picked up some profound messages about female empowerment.

My love for reading romance started as a little kid with fairy tales like Beauty and the Beast and Cinderella. In my primary school days, I moved on to Georgette Heyer and Mills and Boons (those are Harlequins to my North American friends) via my mother, and Barbara Cartland and Victoria Holt via my grandmother.

Growing up in the 60s and 70s, something I immediately noticed about these stories with the lurid covers was that they weren’t like so many of the other books on the shelves at the time. Even as a young reader, I was aware that in contrast to a lot of popular fiction, they revolved around a central female character and what she wanted. Her journey was the most important thing.

Many books and films then (and unfortunately now) featured a heroine whose role in the story was to be the prize that the hero won through his deeds and general magnificence. She essentially held a passive role, like a beautiful (they were nearly all beautiful!) trophy awarded to the dominant alpha male for his all-round impressiveness. She didn’t have much of a part to play in initiating or resolving the issues in the plot. Even if she did jump out of her box to do something apart from look pretty, usually it ended in disaster, and our brawny and brainy hero had to rescue her from the consequences of her inevitable female weakness.

But in the romances I read, the girl was traveling the road towards happiness, and it was her story that counted. The things she cared about mattered, things like family and domestic harmony and emotional fulfillment. If that also included her being a nuclear physicist or climbing Everest or outwitting the bad guys with a cunning plan, well, all the better.

Of course, we all love our heroes and we thrill to watch them falling in love with the heroine, but I still think in a good romance, the woman is the figure around whom the whole story pivots.

So what I’ve taken away from the thousands of romances I’ve read over the years is that women and women’s concerns are valuable. I still think that’s a pretty powerful message, and one that we all should shout from the rooftops.

Let’s all sing along with Alice Cooper! Who got da power? Romance got da power!

 

Anna recommends:

Emily Larkin    –    www.emilylarkin.com       –     @Amazon

I absolutely  adore Emily’s Regency stories – smart, passionate, unusual, beautifully written.

 

Liz Carlyle     –     www.lizcarlyle.com      –    @Amazon

My favorite historical romance writer – emotionally complex, atmospheric, and memorable.

 

Nicola Cornick    –     www.nicolacornick.co.uk     –     @Amazon

I love Nicola’s historical romances and recently I’ve really enjoyed her time slip stories, especially the brilliant The Phantom Tree.

 

Connie Brockway     –     www.conniebrockway.com     –    @Amazon

I love how you never quite know what you’ll get when you pick up a Connie Brockway – well, apart from a great read, that is.

 

Eva Ibbotson    –   @Amazon

Eva Ibbotson writes the most perfect comfort read romances. My favorite is A Countess Below Stairs which I must have read 20 times.


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment when you felt or were aware of the power of romance.

I remember sitting in an internet café not long after the release of my first book Claiming the Courtesan and getting a really moving letter from a reader who was nursing a terminally ill mother. She thanked me for writing a book which gave her a few perfect moments of escape. I couldn’t help crying, because when times are tough for me, I turn to romance too. But it had never occurred to me that a story of mine could offer someone else that same safe harbor in a tumultuous world.

Tell us about an object that has powerful memories for you.

I’ve chosen a Royal Copenhagen porcelain figurine that brings together powerful memories of two important women in my life. One was my mother, who owned this quirky piece depicting a woman in traditional Danish costume knitting. The other was my mother’s best friend, who gave my mother the figure and who sadly lost her battle with cancer just before her fiftieth birthday. Aunty Joan (no actual relation) was a free-spirited woman who traveled the world and always kept a young attitude, right to the end. It was wonderful to have two such women as examples when it came to leading my own life, and I always think of both of them every time I look at the figurine.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Generosity. It’s something the world definitely needs more of.

Tell us about a powerful book you read this year (or one that’s so powerful you’ve never forgotten it).

Like many romance readers, I’m in awe of the books Laura Kinsale wrote in the 1990s, particularly Flowers from the Storm which I think is a masterpiece. The tortured romance between a brave Quaker heroine and a duke who’s had a stroke is so powerful and unusual and heartbreaking, I dare anyone to forget it.

Tell us about a person who’s had a powerful influence on your life.

In grade six and seven, I had the most marvelous teacher called Neil Campbell. He encouraged me to start my first novel (sadly unfinished) and used to let me out of classroom activities to go to the library to write. I still remember his belief in me and how he made me think perhaps one day I could be a writer. When it came time to choose a pen name, I chose Campbell partly in tribute to him (and also to my grandmother who was another Campbell!).

Main Drawing:

Anna is generously giving away a Kindle version set of all six of her Dashing Widows novellas – that’s The Seduction of Lord Stone, Tempting Mr. Townsend, Winning Lord West, Pursuing Lord Pascal, Charming Sir Charles, and Catching Captain Nash. No geographical restrictions. To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 11, 2017. (open to everyone)

Anna is also giving away 6 more sets as part of the US and international bundles, plus she’s sponsoring a tote & cup giveaway! (see below for more information)

There are many more drawings too—including international book bundles! See the bottom of the post for more information.

#LoveRomance #ReadARomance


Photo by Robyn Hills robyngraphs.com.au

ANNA CAMPBELL has written 10 multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins, and 16 bestselling independently published novellas.

Anna has won numerous awards for her Regency-set stories including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (five times).

Anna’s next release is a boxed set of all 6 Dashing Widows novellas out at the end of August.

Learn more:

www.annacampbell.com     |    Facebook     |     Twitter @AnnaCampbelloz

 

Buy Anna’s books:

availableon-amazon       availableon-nook    availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

#LoveRomance   #The PowerofRomance    #ReadARomance


MORE DRAWINGS!

Each RARM post will have one main drawing each day (posted above). Authors are also contributing to weekly (US only) bundles, which will be drawn at the end of the week. Each bundle will consist of at least five books and the amount of bundles will depend on the amount of books the authors contribute.

(Anna is contributing to the US and international bundles, plus sponsoring a cup/tote giveaway.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week1@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “Bundles” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

International friends!

Rather than individual drawings off posts, this year we’ll do sets of books, 3+, depending on how many authors contribute. To enter, send an email to Week1@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 1 contests are through Aug. 8

For the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month, many of the contributing authors  are supporting an extra-special drawing – high quality tote bags and mugs printed with a fun, pro-romance image (see below).

Read-A-Romance Month, through the generous support of many of the authors, is giving away at least 30 mug & tote combos.

Plus, at least two lucky winners will win a Read-A-Romance Month “Month of Books” Mega Bundle, consisting of 31 books!

To enter these exciting drawings,  send an email to August@ReadARomanceMonth.com (US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month.

(US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month. I may include an international cup/tote combo.)

You will not be automatically added to a newsletter, and I promise not to sell or give your email addresses to anyone. I do reserve the right to send you an invitation to sign up for my newsletter, which will also have opportunities to win more prizes and great romance reading tips!

 

Check out all three great posts everyday in August at ReadARomanceMonth.com.  Or you can find the posts on the RARM Facebook page.  Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.

#LoveRomance  #HappyReading  #ReadARomance

  • Claire Louisa Holderness

    What a great interview and I’m going to take a look at flowers from the storm

    • Anna Campbell

      Claire, check it out. And if you like it, try The Shadow and the Star. That’s another absolute classic from Laura K. Her books are really unusual but man, they pack a punch. So glad you enjoyed the piece.

  • cheryl c.

    You have a gift for writing novellas. I have always found that you are able to pack a lot of story and romance into a little package.

    • Anna Campbell

      Cheryl, thank you so much. That’s a lovely compliment. I love that the digital publishing revolution has made novellas a real force again. I’ve always loved romantic shorts.

  • Kelly Jetzer

    I agree with you that one of the powers of romance novels is that the woman’s journey is the central theme. That’s one of the many reasons I love romance novels! I agree with your assessment of Flowers from the Storm. It might be time for another reread.

    • Anna Campbell

      Kelly, I’ve re-read it a couple of times. Leaves me in an emotional heap every single time.

  • Sue G.

    I actually started my mom reading romance novels! I would keep talking about different books I read and then she caved and asked to read one. From there she reads probably twice as much as me!

    • Anna Campbell

      Ha, Sue. That make me laugh. It’s like the water going into the tap instead of coming out of it. Love it.

  • Mimi Wolske

    Loved your takeaway on reading romances and how your books/story lines reflect that. Thanks for sharing a piece of your life each time your are interviewed or write something for someone’s site.

    • Anna Campbell

      Mimi, thanks so much for checking this out. It really did make me remember back to my experience of falling in love with romance novels.

  • Sophia Anne

    After going through Anna Campbell’s interview, only today I learned a great deal about Anna lifestyle. I am also addicted to Romances books since my schooling days whereby I used to get punishment from teachers for reading romances books instead of focusing on my school books.
    Anna Campbell is a remarkable author who love to create books after books for her love of Romances in order to please a crazy addicted person like me and. I admire her capability as an author, personality, caring and dedicated person. I love reading her wonderful and interesting books. I am bless to have Anna Campbell as a friend.

    • Anna Campbell

      Wow, Sophia Anne, what a lovely tribute. Thank you so much. And thank YOU for the friendship!

  • Evelyn S

    Great post!

    • Anna Campbell

      Thanks so much, Evelyn!

  • Jacquelyn Kleypas

    I agree that romance is my escape. I saw a quote that life is too short to read depressing books and I completely agree.

    • Anna Campbell

      Jacquelyn, so agree. Here’s to the happy ending!

  • flchen1

    Great interview! Anna, I love the connections behind why you chose Campbell! And I agree that Flowers from the Storm is a story that sticks around a long time 😉 Thanks for helping celebrate romance!

    • Anna Campbell

      Hi Fedora! Thanks for checking out the piece. FFTS is wonderful, isn’t it?

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I enjoyed reading your essay!

    • Anna Campbell

      Thank you so much, Melissa. It revived some lovely memories!

  • rebecca moe

    Flowers from the Storm was a powerful read for me too (my dad had recently had a stroke, so seeing things from the duke’s POV was enlightening, to say the least). I also devoured Eva Ibbotson’s historical romances–such beautiful books, and wonderful stories!
    (So clearly, I need to be reading your books too, since we share reading tastes ;))
    Thanks for posting!

    • Anna Campbell

      Well, I certainly won’t argue with your conclusion, Rebecca! Maybe you’ll even win a few today. I think Eva Ibbotson does that lump of emotion in the throat quality better than almost anyone else I can think of.

  • Patty Vasquez

    I was lucky to have grown up with a mother who was a voracious reader, read romance, and let me read to my heart’s content. I’m happy to see you mention Connie Brockway as a recommended author. I love her books. And yes, they can be quirky, but they have interesting characters and great romance.

    • Anna Campbell

      Patty, that quirkiness in Connie Brockway is a quality I really treasure. I really don’t know what I’m getting when I pick up one of hers. Her stories can have me sobbing, like my fave As You Desire, or laughing my head of like something like Bridal Favors.

      • Patty Vasquez

        As You Desire is my favorite, too! I adore Harry. He has one of the most romantic lines ever: “You are my country, Desdemona.” Yearning, harsh and poignant and she felt herself swaying toward him. “My Egypt. My hot, harrowing desert and my cool, verdant Nile, infinitely lovely and unfathomable and sustaining.” Sigh. 🙂

        • Anna Campbell

          Oh, yeah, baby! Big time sigh. He’s an adorable hero.

          • Anna Campbell

            I also really liked So Enchanted which had paranormal elements.

  • Molly

    Thanks for sharing I really enjoyed it.

    • Anna Campbell

      Thanks so much for checking it out, Molly.

  • Pamby50

    I love that your mom and grandma both instilled the love of romance books in your life. I didn’t start reading romance till Kathleen Woodiwiss with Shanna. I was hooked. You write amazing books.

    • Anna Campbell

      Pamby, thanks so much for saying you enjoyed my little fit of nostalgia. It was fun for me too. Oh, Shanna, I think I must have read it about a dozen times. Loved it. Thanks for the kind words about the books too.

  • Ellen

    You are so right about generosity. Your figurine is lovely and a wonderful way to remember 2 special people. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Anna Campbell

      Ellen, so glad you agree with me about generosity. I think it makes such a difference day to day. I had a lovely time revisiting the story about the figurine.

  • MaryC

    I remember ordering books from Mills and Boon because I hated to wait for Harlequin to publish hem.

    • Anna Campbell

      Mary, Mills and Boon were the big cheeses here because of the British connection. I didn’t even realize Harlequins existed until I was in my 20s.

  • Booklover

    I’m a former teacher, so I love hearing about your former teacher. Did you ever write to him and let him know you’re a published author?

    • Anna Campbell

      Booklover, actually it’s a nice story – I had a piece in the paper in our nearest capital city about how I’d got published and he happened to see it and he contacted me and said how proud he was that my early ambitions had come to fruition. I cried when I got it. It was a really lovely message.

  • Nicole Marie

    Great post, thanks for sharing your story!

    • Anna Campbell

      Thanks, Nicole Marie. I’m so glad you enjoyed my trip into my reading past.

  • Ren

    Thank you for your story. It’s funny. I don’t read many historical romances these days; however, they are what got my love of reading started. You are a new author to me and can’t wait to check out your stories. Maybe I’ll fall in love with historical all over again.

    • Anna Campbell

      Oh, Ren, wouldn’t that be lovely? I grew up in the era when the historical was king too – I read some wonderful books back then! I hope you enjoy mine. Thanks for saying you’ll check them out.

  • Glenda

    How lucky for you that your mother and grandmother read romance and encouraged you to do so! My mother read everything under the sun except romance… I think she would have been happier if she had added romances to her reading list.

    I’ve already got all the Kindle copies of your Merry Widows, so I don’t want to be entered btw. 🙂

    • Anna Campbell

      Glenda, thanks so much for picking up my widows. The next book is something a bit longer featuring Lord Garson who definitely deserves true love. I really feel lucky that I had people to pass on the romance torch. I think romance is such a life-affirming genre!

  • Karin

    Thank you Anna Campbell! I’ve loved your longer novels, but I also appreciate the short novellas you’ve been releasing, which are so reasonably priced that I can’t resist them. I’ve read several of the Dashing Widow series, and it would be great to have the whole collection.

    • Anna Campbell

      Good luck in the draw, Karin. I hoped that people would look at my novellas and think “I’ve got 99 cents and I’ve got a couple of hours. Give me a bit of enjoyment!” Glad you’re having fun with them.

  • Mariea Gillespie

    Miss Anna is an amazing writer. She brings you into the story and makes you live it with the characters

    • Anna Campbell

      Mariea, aren’t you lovely? Thank you so much. That’s what you hope to do when you write the book.

  • Kezia King

    Really great post! My mom was a big science fiction fan so we had those crammed onto every shelf. Occasionally, I’d come across a paperback with Fabio on the cover but I never read one. I wish I had gotten into romance much sooner. 🙂

    • Anna Campbell

      Kezia, thanks for swinging by. So glad you enjoyed the post. It was a nice one to write – so many people I’m grateful to in this particular game. The romance reading was a major bond with my mum and grandmother. I still miss sharing recommendations with them.

  • Michelle Hemsath

    I’m so happy to have seen a link to this interview. I loved reading about your memories and inspirations. Without reading anything yet I was captivated by the picture of the figurine, it really speaks to one. I definitely see your Auntie Joan’s influence in your life, all the traveling you do. And thank the Lord for Neil Campbell. ‘Flowers From the Storm’ is in my TBR list and I just recently added another I’m excited to read. And isn’t Connie Brockaway a gem!? I haven’t read them all, but have a distinct memory of the quirkiness of ‘The Other Guy’s Bride’ and the oh, everything about ‘All Through the Night.’ Gotta get at that TBR stack. Adding new books to my wish list because of this interview.

    I completely agree with Cheryl C.’s statement about your gift for novellas. Short or full length I am always ecstatic to hear about the next new one coming and then wait with bated breath for it to appear.

    I already have all the Dashing Widows, so I am not entering that drawing, but wheee! A mug or tote would be awesome. It has been wonderful read more about you through this interview. Keep blessing us with these heart and soul filled escapes, Anna.

    • Anna Campbell

      Michelle, how absolutely lovely to see you here! Thanks for swinging by – and for saying such very nice things. Much appreciated. Oh, definitely try Flowers from the Storm. It’s so unusual and so brilliant. Oh, really enjoyed The Other Guy’s Bride too. And All Through the Night is heartwrenching.

      • Michelle Hemsath

        All much deserved my friend, and my very true pleasure.

        • Anna Campbell

          Mwah!