Straight Talk with Anna Cleary

Please welcome Anna Cleary, one of the authors of When Honey Got Married, for a little bit of Straight Talk!


When you are getting ready to start a new book, what’s the first thing you do? 

I roam like a pregnant butterfly. Can’t settle to anything, can’t concentrate on reality, scour list after list for The Right Names, read every word I can find on a given possible subject,  drive family insane with my vagueness and preoccupation. Eventually the misty characters forming in my head develop voices, and once I have their Names, a moment arrives when I’m ready to start. Can’t start without the names.

How do you celebrate when you finish writing a book?

For some reason I never seem to write The End at any reasonable hour. It’s always three or four in the morning, so the very first thing is to indulge myself in the bliss of sleeping long and late.  Then I plunge into an orgy of catch- up—housecleaning, socialising, gardening, shopping, meeting people for lunch or coffee, inviting friends to dinner, behaving as much like a normal person as I can remember how, and reading,  reading, reading.

Have you had any fun fan moments since you became a writer?

Lots. For me, every contact with readers is wonderful. Authors spend much of their lives in communication with imaginary people, so it’s the greatest thrill ever to chat with someone else who has engaged with them too. One of my books was set in Paris, so I was delighted recently to meet a reader who told me she’d loved it and recognised all the places in it from a visit she’d made there last year.

If you could have dinner, coffee, or drinks with a fictional character, who would you choose and where would you go?

Mr Rochester—drinks, I think. I have a few questions I’d like to ask him on the subject of keeping a wife in the attic.

Do you usually begin a book with a character or a plot?

Always start with the characters. The plot grows from the sort of people they turn out to be. Sadly, since I’m a chronic pantser, I’m never very sure what that is until I’m several chapters in. Yes, being me is distinctly nerve-wracking!

Do you have any hobbies or special interests you’d care to share?

I love music, lit, opera and the arts. I can’t very well pretend not to be a nerd, so I suspect it shows through here and there in the words.

What was the inspiration for your book?

Ah. Once the four of us had settled on a wedding theme, and Louisiana, and decided to link our stories, Eve Fortescue, that beautiful dark-eyed minx, popped into my head fully- formed and dangerous in slinky crimson satin.

How difficult is if for you to come up with a title for your books?

Not difficult, though it changes from book to book.

Who would play your hero/heroine in the tv or film version of your book?

Rainer has to be played by David Gandy. I’m not sure Davy boy can act or talk southern, but he can certainly look the part! As for Eve, beautiful,complicated Eve, I need a present day Natalie Wood. Any suggestions?

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Act like a detective. Read widely, look and listen, and eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. Listen to what people really say. (Though discreetly.)

What jobs have you had on your way to becoming a writer?

Teacher, plant nursery attendant, learning specialist for children with special needs, counsellor, trainer, mother.

Did you have any interesting experiences when you were researching your book, or getting it published?

The whole experience was marvellous and hilarious, courtesy of the three fantastic and inspiring people I worked with.  As one of the three Australian authors attempting to write Southern, I was, of course, heavily reliant on the advice of Ms Kimberly Lang, a bona fide Southern belle if ever I knew one, and one with rather strong views–though always politely, indeed delicately expressed–on the correct practice of Southern etiquette and culture.

In the South, they do not eat swan. And they do NOT hunt egret! And Southern ladies never swear. Ever, I swear!

Who are your favorite authors?

What authors have influenced your book? At the moment, my fave authors are Ally Blake, Kimberly Lang and Kelly Hunter! But I can’t deny Margaret Mitchell’s influence in  the writing of my story, or that of Tennessee Williams.

Are you a pantser or a plotter?

A terrible pantser. A totally mystified, sad, random, frustrated, chaotic, desperate panster. Want to know how that feels?

Where does the magic happen?  Where do you write?

I am chained to my study. I attempt to write elsewhere, but nothing really happens except on this keyboard, facing this screen, in this room.

Aside from writing, what do you do in your free time?

Spend time with my delightful daughter and some beloved friends, including my devoted cat. I adore the movies,  concerts, galleries, and my poor over-grown garden.

Do you prefer print books or eBooks?

Oh. (Sigh.) I love the real thing. The smell of the paper. The shiny cover.  The comforting feel of it in my hands.

What’s in the works for you?

I’m dreaming of writing a big book without restrictions. At the moment I’m writing a Kiss, though I suspect my editor fears it’s turning into an Intrigue. There’s always that risk. I wouldn’t mind another sashay down the road to Bellefleur, however. I relished the experience of When Honey Got Married…

About the Book: When Honey Got Married

HoneyCoverA wedding planner should never mix business and pleasure, but Grace couldn’t resist breaking rule number one for a hot night with her high school crush!

Eve hoped to make one last play for the groom-who-got-away…but instead the down-on-her-romantic-luck actress instead found herself in dark corners with his successful, seductive cousin.

The sister of the bride needed a date of convenience and who better than her hazel-eyed, mysterious co-worker? If only Nina could keep her hands off his perfect body until she learned his true identity…

The groom proposed to her eight years earlier, but it was the steamy kiss that Pippa shared with his brother the night she left town that haunted her memories. Now she’s back and sharing much more than just kisses.

Nothing was going to ruin Honey’s wedding to the man of her dreams.  And she has just the wedding surprise for her beloved groom!

Title: When Honey Got Married (Anthology)

Author: Kimberly Lang, Anna Cleary, Kelly Hunter, and Ally Blake

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length: 277 pages

Release Date: May 2013

Imprint: Indulgence


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