My guest today is a lifetime writer and now novelist. Please help me welcome Anna St. Claire! Let’s get to know her from her bio and then see what she has to say about her inspiration for writing.
Anna St. Claire is a big believer that nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself. She sprinkles her stories with laughter, romance, mystery and lots of possibilities, adhering to the belief that goodness and love will win the day.
Anna is both an avid reader and author of American and British historical romance. She and her husband live in Charlotte, North Carolina with their two dogs and often, their two beautiful granddaughters, who live nearby. Daughter, sister, wife, mother, and Mimi—all life roles that Anna St. Claire relishes and feels blessed to still enjoy. And she loves her pets – dogs and cats alike.
Anna relocated from New York to the Carolinas as a child. Her mother, a retired English and History teacher, always encouraged Anna’s interest in writing, after discovering short stories she would write in her spare time.
As a child, she loved mysteries and checked out every Encyclopedia Brown story that came into the school library. Before too long, her fascination with history and reading led her to her first historical romance—Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind, now a treasured, but weathered book from being read multiple times. The day she discovered Kathleen Woodiwiss’ books, Shanna and Ashes in The Wind, Anna became hooked. She read every historical romance that came her way and dreams of writing her own historical romances took seed.
Today, her focus is primarily the Regency and Civil War eras, although Anna enjoys almost any period in American and British history.
Betty: When did you become a writer?
Anna: I started writing as a child and majored in journalism as an undergraduate. When I owned my medical spa, I learned all about all the procedures through research and wrote a weekly column for the paper regarding skin care. After that, I decided to pursue my writing dream – to publish a book. Authoring a book had always been on my list of things I wanted to accomplish, long having had a Civil War romance in my head. (Embers of Anger, Book one in my Embattled Hearts Series). I’m pretty hooked on Regency Era books and am now writing my seventh and eighth regency stories.
Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Anna: I majored in writing, so it’s always been second nature to me. However, my dissertation on wellness and preventive strategies was my first publication. (Yea…not a story I spend a lot of time reading, myself.) Yet, with a background in journalism, I had to change my writing style when I decided to write a historical romance. I worked almost a year and a half on the first novel, Embers of Anger, before finally getting serious and publishing it in 2018. I am still really proud of that series. The second one is halfway finished. (There will be three in all.)
Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Anna: I loved all of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s stories, especially Ashes in The Wind. I think I’ve read that one at least five times—however, not as much as Gone With the Wind, which I have read a dozen times. There are too many historical romance authors that I enjoy to name. They know who they are, though.
Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Anna: It was kind of like the Forrest Gump story – when he started running. One day I started writing. I hope to write much longer than he ran, though. <snort> I enjoy creating characters and their stories, and find myself lost in sketching a story out or working on one.
Betty: How did you learn to write? A mentor, classes, conferences, craft books, or something else?
Anna: I have several people to thank for this. I hope this doesn’t sound cheesy, but my mother was an English teacher in middle school. She more than anyone influenced my interest and skill in writing. Mom helped me learn how papers were put together, and taught me to plot, character sketch, and write from the heart. My mother still writes and has a wonderful conversational writing technique.
One other influential person was probably my English teacher in 10th, 11th, and 12th grade. Yes, it was a small school of 500 students and she taught me all three years…how lucky was that? It was a good thing I liked her! One regret I have is that she didn’t live to see me actually write a book and publish it. She died of complications from Breast Cancer about ten years ago.
Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Anna: I wish I had a better grasp and more patience for the marketing techniques. That has been my biggest hurdle. And it is a work in progress.
Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Anna: There was one in particular – Elizabeth Johns. She is the one who pushed me off the ledge and made me do it. She still supports and encourages my writing. Others that have been particularly encouraging and supportive have been Madeline Martin, Meara Platt, and Laura Smith.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today? Anna: This is one of those books that when I started writing it, it just sort of took off. The characters wrote much of it for me. I enjoyed it because it gave me license to write the historical with modern day dilemmas. I used my own puppy as a secondary character. Shep is on the cover. I love to use my beloved pets, as well as other animals like donkeys, parrots, and horses in the stories.
Maggie Winters had everything she always wished for — betrothed to the man of her dreams, a loving home, and a new puppy. But it all changes when her parents die and her new guardian sweeps Maggie from town and forces her to marry a stranger to pay his debts. When she suddenly finds herself a widow and free of an unhappy marriage, can she finally find the love she’s dreamed of?
Lord Maxwell Wilde still loves Maggie Winters, despite his years abroad in service to the Crown. They had planned to marry until she disappeared from his life, leaving only a scribbled note in her wake. Returning home late from an assignment in the middle of a sudden storm, he finds a badly injured woman lying in the road. He saves her only to realize he has rescued the woman he had never forgotten.
Hearts are in play as danger beckons them into a treacherous game. Do they dare grab a second chance at love?
Thunder boomed above him. A second later, a sharp crack of lightning lit up the dark sky. Gripping the reins of his horse, Maxwell Wilde, Earl of Worsley, fought to stay seated as his mare reared and struggled. The lightning illuminated a woman lying in the road just ahead. Had the lightning not struck, he most certainly would not have seen her.
The scant light showed a small-framed woman curled into a fetal position, wearing a soiled blue dress. A small shaggy white dog pawed her arm, whimpering and licking her face. Large drops of rain pelted both of them but did not affect the dog’s loyal persistence.
“Whoa, Willow.” Max slid from his mount and walked over to the woman. At his approach, the dog at once became protective, giving a guttural growl. It forced Max to stop and rethink his goal.
“Easy, boy.” He lowered his hand to the dog and allowed him to sniff it. The dog stopped growling and eased himself down, curling his furry white body next to the woman’s head—protecting her—still whimpering and licking her face. Max took a deep breath, careful not to anger the dog and not wanting to injure it. The dog was unmistakably attached to the woman. Feeling more confident the dog would not attack him, he lowered himself onto his haunches to get a better look at the woman.
Gently, he swept wet, muddied blonde tresses from her face. Recognition was swift and tumultuous. “Bloody hell! Meg, what happened? Why are you out in this storm, of all places? Why are you here?” Questions flooded his brain. He fought the gut-wrenching impulse to pull her close. When she did not answer, he picked up a limp hand and noticed rope burns around her left wrist, anger registering. “You are bleeding.” He moved her damp blonde hair away from her forehead, revealing a deep gash from which blood still oozed. Fear gripped him. He stared at her motionless body until he saw her chest barely move. Good. She was breathing. “Thank goodness you are still alive.”
Her eyes opened and closed. Her throat worked, but she did not speak. She needed a doctor. Max needed to get her to safety and leave before she engaged his heart yet again.
He had washed his hands of Maggie Winters when she ran away and abruptly married the Earl of Tipton three years past—when she and Max were planning to wed. Anger churned in his gut as he thought about the day he found out, and it renewed his confusion, pain, and anger. She had disappeared without a word—merely a scribbled note delivered to him. Without thinking, he reached inside his waistcoat pocket and touched the folded missive. No one had heard from Maggie in years.
Buy links: Amazon
The Earl She Left Behind is free on KU.
There you have it! What a cool story, too. Thanks for sharing, Anna!
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