Saturday, August 18, 2012

In The Hot Seat With H.C. Brown-Author Anne Barwell

Title:  Magic's Muse
Release Date:  27th August 2012
Author:  Anne Barwell
Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press –
Genre :  M/M, Fantasy, SF, romance, drama
Blurb: Sequel to Cat's Quill.
Tomas and Cathal have escaped from Naearu, Cathal’s mystical homeworld, but happily ever after is never as straightforward in real life as it is in books. Then again, most people don’t deal with the complication of a lover who’s magically bound to a tree or have an interfering cat for a cousin.
With Naearu’s police force, the Falcons, still after Cathal, he can’t go home. Now that he and Tomas have consummated their relationship, Cathal’s abilities are evolving and changing to the point that Tomas can sense them. And until the oak portal closes, Cathal—and his new life with Tomas—are in limbo as Cathal can’t expect Tomas to stay with someone who can never venture past the property line. Will he and Tomas ever get to follow through on their engagement?

1-Welcome the talented Anne Barwell! It is great to have you here today, I have enjoyed reading your books and look forward to your new release.
 Tell my readers about your hot new release?
Hi, Heather, and thanks again for this opportunity to chat with you and your readers. My hot new release is 'Magic's Muse' and is releasing from Dreamspinner Press on the 27th of August. It's the sequel to my first novel, 'Cat's Quill.'

2- Can you tell us a little about yourself and your books?
I live in New Zealand, and my day job is working in a library, so I'm surrounded by the temptation of books, DVDs and the like all day. I work evenings and weekends which might not work for some, but does for me, although it is difficult at times to mesh with stuff going on online. I remind myself that it would be worse if I worked 9-5pm, Monday to Fridays, as then I'd never see a soul on here. At least this way I get to sneak on for a bit before I start work at lunchtime during the week. I also play violin for a local orchestra – we're in the middle of Beethoven's 9th at the moment, then it's practice for a proms concert for the end of the year.
I write M/M and am published with Dreamspinner Press. I dabble in a few genres. The Hidden Places series (Cat's Quill and Magic's Muse) is a contemporary fantasy /SF series, the Echoes series (Shadowboxing and the two books to follow it) are historical set during WW2, and Slow Dreaming is SF/time travel. But in saying that, they're very character driven and have a good dollop of romance and action/drama in them, as that is what I like to write.

3- Have you ever used events or stories contemporary or historical in your work?

Yes. Shadowboxing is set in 1943 in Berlin, and as such is very grounded in what was happening at the time.  Many of the places and buildings used in the story are real, although some were destroyed later during the war, and the bombing raids that take place during the story are real historical events. The research for this story was fascinating and I learnt a lot. I've since been reading about the involvement of NZ flight squadrons in the war as one of the characters in 'Winter Duet', the sequel to 'Shadowboxing', will be a Kiwi.
There are also references to the Christchurch earthquake in 'Slow Dreaming', as one of the characters, Sean, is originally from there.

4. Is there anything you find particularly challenging/ rewarding about writing?

One of the most difficult things is sending off the submission to the publisher and then waiting to see if they want it. On the flip side, receiving a new contract is a great feeling, and a confirmation of myself as a writer. We all seem to be bad at second guessing ourselves, especially in post submission mode, I've noticed.
The other challenging thing is finding enough hours in the day to write, and everything that goes with it. I find I need to be very organized and disciplined with my time and most days I feel very scheduled out. It's very worth it though as I see a story take shape on the page and the characters take on almost a life of their own. And then there are the days in which those characters seem to 'dictate' and I type and just go along for the ride.

HC. This is an echo of me. I love the way the characters come to life in my head, it's something only another author experiences. Yes, letting go of a story to submit to a publisher is one of the hardest things  to do as an author and the most stressful. I believe our readers think publication is a given when every manuscript we submit has to earn publication on its merits.

5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? How has that childhood dream affected your current career?

I've been interested in reading, writing, and books for as long as I can remember. I wrote stories by myself, and with friends, at primary school, and helped out after school at the local library. It has taken me a while to work out what I wanted to do with my life, and a lot of years were spent as a stay at home mum raising three kids, while working as a part time music teacher, and later training as a primary/secondary teacher. In hindsight, these were all steps leading me to where I am today – working in a library and writing. The two 'jobs' complement each other, and my colleagues and friends at the library are very supportive of my writing. I love seeing my books on the library shelves, and knowing they're being borrowed fairly regularly. I got to do an author talk at one of the community libraries a couple of months ago too.

Q: Do you have a writing schedule?

Because I start work at 12, I set an alarm on those mornings so that I have at least an hour's writing time before work. I also try and write on the weekends, although sometimes that doesn't pan out with other calls on my time from house and yard work, kids, and my parents who are needing a lot more help than they used to. Of course, in saying that, depending on deadlines, and how a story is flowing, often the schedule goes by the board and I'll write in the late evenings too after I get home from work at 9pm or wherever I can snatch extra time.

Q: What kinds of books do you like to read?

I'll read anything that catches my interest, but I do read a lot of SF/fantasy. As long as a story has a good plot, good writing and the characters draw me in, I'll give it a go.  Add in some time travel and anything involving psi powers and I'll definitely give it a go. I also love stories set in the late 1800s and the time periods around that and the two world wars, and read a fair amount of graphic novels and manga.

Q: What can readers expect from you in the near future?

My current WIP is 'A Knight to Remember' and is a fantasy story with dragons, swords and a quest, but with a few twists.  After that I'm writing 'Winter Duet' which is the sequel to 'Shadowboxing,' and 'Shades of Sepia', the first book of an urban fantasy series, 'Sleepless City' which is a joint project between myself and Elizabeth Noble.

Would you like to share an excerpt? 

 I'd love to. This is an excerpt from 'Magic's Muse':

“Sometimes what we don’t want to hear is what we need to.” Cathal spoke the words softly, knowing them to be true. Christian and Will had always done that for him. Much of what they’d said in the past he hadn’t wanted to hear, but he always took heed of what was said, considering it before deciding whether he would act on it or not.

“Even Heidi and Donovan told me I needed to get my head out of my arse when we first met.”

Although it wasn’t the correct response, Cathal couldn’t help but chuckle. “Is that position even physically possible? I know you’re wonderfully flexible in bed, but I cannot visualize it.”

The comment earned him a lazy swat on the side of one buttock. “I’m going to pretend you’re unfamiliar with that saying and that wasn’t a bad joke.”

“My jokes aren’t that bad!” Cathal rolled them more onto their sides to give Tomas more access. “But if you want to keep your hand there I’m not about to stop you.”

“You’re still wearing your clothes, and as much as I love the way those jeans cling to your arse, I prefer the feel of that part of you with nothing on it.”

Cathal raised an eyebrow. For some reason talking like this in bed seemed to always lead to more lovemaking, although it was also the time they spoke the most openly with each other. “Are you trying to get me to take my clothes off?”

“If you have to ask, then I’m losing my touch.” Tomas kissed Cathal hard. Cathal parted his lips, stroking Tomas’s tongue with his own. When they broke the kiss both were breathing heavily.

“There is nothing wrong with your touch, my love.” Cathal hesitated, feeling a little daring but not sure what Tomas’s response would be.

“I can hear you thinking from here.” Tomas propped himself up on one elbow when Cathal pulled away. “Whatever it is, Cat, I’m sure it’s fine.” He frowned. “You do want to make love, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do, very much so.” Cathal slipped off the bed. He felt himself grow red. “I was wondering… umm… would you like me to undress for you so that you can watch?”

“God, yes!” Tomas licked his lips and looked Cathal up and down, already undressing him with his eyes. “I would love that.” He arched his hips off the bed and undid his own jeans, already sliding them down but not taking his eyes off Cathal.

“I wasn’t planning to undress that quickly.” Cathal began to undo the top buttons of his shirt, deliberately taking his time.

“I know that, but I wanted to be ready for you.” Tomas sat up and took off his T-shirt, muscles flexing when he pulled it over his head. His skin was lightly tanned, and for someone who claimed he didn’t exercise much, his build resembled that of a herald. He’d chuckled at that, saying that he didn’t run much either, although he might be persuaded to for the right reasons.

Tomas’s boxers joined his jeans on the floor. Cathal got a tantalizing glimpse of one bare hip and thigh before the blankets were pulled up to just above Tomas’s groin. Cathal let his eyes travel across Tomas’s flat stomach and down to the almost red hair peeking out from over the blanket, teasing to what lay beneath. God, how he wanted to touch Tomas, right there, right now.

“You are, my love. You definitely are.” Cathal swallowed but forced himself not to speed up his own actions. He undid the last button of his shirt, letting it slide from his shoulders to the floor. The undergarment he wore beneath only needed pulling over his head. He did not understand why Tomas did not feel the need to wear one, as this world’s clothing was not as warm as his own. The belt from his jeans came next, followed by the button fly. The denim material eased down over his hips slowly. He stepped out of them and then removed his socks, very aware of Tomas’s eyes on him.

Tomas’s breath hitched. “You’re so beautiful, Cat. When we’re together I want to touch you, to be with you. You look and feel so good.” He gestured for Cathal to come closer. “Do you remember the first time we kissed at the inn?” He looked at the boxers Cathal still wore, reached out and traced the outline of Cathal’s hard cock through the cotton material. Cathal moaned softly, pushing into his hand. “The undergarments you wore then drove me crazy. I couldn’t work out how to undo the laces.”

“I prefer these. They’re easier to remove.” Cathal could take a hint. Tomas wanted him, and now. “Do you want to finish?”

Tomas hesitated, then shook his head. “Do it for me, Cat. I want to see you. All of you.” He removed his hand, threw the blanket off completely, and stroked himself, his eyes glazing over with need.

“All of you.” Cathal licked his lips, needing to touch and taste. He quickly used two fingers to extend the elastic of his boxers, letting them slide off him to pool at his feet. Bending over, he kissed Tomas, deepening it as Tomas pulled him into an embrace and onto the bed. A wave of love and desire washed over him. Cathal wasn’t sure whether the emotions were his or Tomas’s or a combination of both. He didn’t care. He wanted this man so badly, his beloved, his mate.

“I want you.” Tomas ran his hands over Cathal’s back and sides, touching him, caressing him. He wrapped his legs around Cathal’s and threaded the fingers of their left hands together. “I love you, Cathal Emerys.” He whispered a familiar phrase, his breath hot against Cathal’s ear. When Cathal had taken the codename as leader of the resistance, he would have never believed how hearing it spoken by Tomas in this way could sound so good. “I believe in you, Cat. My dragon.”

 HC. Thank you so much for sharing with my readers today I hope you'll drop by again soon.