Hi Anna, Welcome to Café Cala.
It’s great to have you visit Café Cala with your Christmas novella. I’m intrigued that you chose to make your pirate a Scotsman. I’ve been making chocolate brownies this morning. Would you like tea or coffee with yours?
Ooh, English breakfast tea and brownies? Nothing better! Actually the pirate thing in A Pirate for Christmas is a bit of a joke –my Scotsman’s really a staunchly honourable naval captain, but local gossip paints him as a pirate. As he says, for this insular little English village, a Scotsman is so exotic, making him a pirate in the public imagination merely seems another short step! So far, all the heroes of my Christmas novellas (I’ve done four) have been Scottish earls. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
1 Where did you get the idea for A Pirate for Christmas?
This is my fourth Christmas novella and while the others were very well received, a few people commented that they weren’t very ‘Christmassy’. Part of the problem there is that Christmas really wasn’t a huge deal in the Regency – the major religious holiday was Easter and many of the traditions that are so popular now originated in the Victorian era. It always makes me laugh when I think that Charles Dickens started a movement to save Christmas because it was in danger of disappearing from people’s lives altogether. Hard to imagine now when they put up Christmas decorations in my local Coles in September! So I decided to base this year’s story around a nativity play in a small village and Bess, Rory, Daisy and all the villagers showed up in my head as a result.
2 What have you found most rewarding about your writing?
Two things – one is being able to share the stories in my head with people all around the world. The other is the wonderful reactions I’ve had from readers. Really, nothing beats a nice email from someone to say how much they’ve enjoyed a book.
3 How did you start writing?
I was a mad keen reader right from the get-go and I think it was a case of monkey see, monkey do. I started my first novel, an Enid Blyton clone, when I was in grade three and it just went from there.
4 What would you say has helped you most?
Dogged persistence. Seriously, writing is a long game. And good writer friends who understand the ups and downs of this strange process.
5 What are you working on at the moment?
I’m writing the second Dashing Widows novella, Tempting Mr. Townsend, which should be out in February next year. It’s Fenella’s story and a bit of a Beauty and the Beast tale as the proper Lady finds herself on an eventful road trip with rough diamond and self-made tycoon BarnabyTownsend.
6 What advice would you offer aspiring writers?
Finish the book! It’s so easy to get caught up in perfecting the first couple of chapters or to give up when you get a ‘better’ idea once the initial excitement has worn off. There’s things you’ll learn from plugging through to end of a story that nothing else will teach you. And once you’ve got a complete manuscript, you’ve got something you can polish up and sell. Nobody wants a great first chapter on its own!
7 Which authors do you enjoy reading?
Oh, so many. I’m still a voracious reader. In romance, I really like Sarah Morgan, Helene Young, Annie West, Liz Fielding, Madeline Hunter, Liz Carlyle, Christina Brooke, Susanne Kearsley, Loretta Chase, Georgette Heyer, Laura Kinsale. In the last few years, I’ve become a big mystery reader and some favourites there include Carola Dunn, Elly Griffiths, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, and C.S. Harris. My favourite writer is Dorothy Dunnett who writes brilliant historical fiction.
Pursued by the pirate…
Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate.
Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter… Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honorable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset.
A Christmas marked by mayhem.
Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime.
When vicar’s daughter, Bess Farrar beards the elusive new lord of the manor in his library at Preston Abbey to obtain permission to borrow Daisy the donkey for the annual nativity play, she has no idea what fate has in store:
That lush mouth, a promise of passion if Rory had ever seen one, set in a mutinous line, and she regarded him from across the room like a strange and potentially dangerous new species. “You’re a very unusual man, Lord Channing.”
He smiled at this outspoken lassie with utter delight. “You have no idea, Miss Farrar.”
“Is it because you’re a pirate?”
For a moment there, he’d felt in control of the situation. The feeling had been fleeting. He stopped on his way to the library door and stared at her in astonishment. “What on earth did you say?”
She looked slightly shamefaced and made an apologetic gesture with one hand. “I’m sorry. Perhaps you don’t like people to mention your former occupation.”
“My former occupation,” he repeated very slowly. “As a pirate.”
“The story’s all over the village.”
“You must have expected people to talk about you. And given you’ve been such a recluse since your arrival a month ago, it’s inevitable that rumours are flying.”
“Inevitable rumours.” Rory paused. “That I’m a pirate.”
She studied him and devil take her, understanding filled her lovely face. “Seeing you were free to take up the title, I imagine that you’ve reformed.”
“I wouldn’t be too sure about that.”
She eyed him uncertainly, but ploughed on. He commended her determination. “There’s no need to feel embarrassed about your past crimes, my lord. Here at Preston Wyck, we tend to take people as we find them.”
“Is that right?”
“Yes.” Her tone firmed. “When we do find them.”
He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “You’re about to start nagging again. I feel it in my piratical bones.”
You can read another excerpt on my website here: http://annacampbell.com/books-2/novellas/pirate-christmas/
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