Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Featured Author: Anna DeStefano

I'm thrilled to chat with our newest feature author here on Armchair Heroines! She has a new release that just hits shelves yesterday. Please welcome romance author Anna DeStefano.

You have a new release out this month, Dark Legacy. Tell us about it!

Dark Legacy's an exciting paranormal romantic suspense (more of a thriller, really), about psychic twins who are battling their centuries-old legacy and the government scientists who are trying to exploit their powers. When the idea of writing about the family dynamic between feuding twins came to me, I first thought of writing it into one of my more classic romances. But I've been in love with dream theory for a while, and I wanted the drama between my twins to be about more than sibling rivarly. I wanted a story line where the future of the world itself was at stake... So, I decided to weaponinze day dreams and turn them into direct strike global weapons. Bwahahaha... Maddie Temple needs her sexy psychiatrist's help. Without Jarred, she'll be overwhelmed by her pyschotic twin's nightmares. Both Maddie's and Jarred's lives hang in the balance once Sarah escapes from the scientists manipulating her powers, and the race is on to stop Sarah from unleashing her psychic dream control on the world.

Wow! My spine is tingling already! :0)I believe Dark Legacy is part of a series...would you like to tell us more about it?

I'm working on the sequel now--Secret Legacy (Sarah's love story, and an even more "thrilling" race to uncover even more secret
s). The Legacy Series is an open ended concept, based on there being other families with latent abilities that must be guarded from falling into evil hands. The overriding story arc is based on a brotherhood of "watchers" who track and protect these special families--and, at all costs, stop their abilities from being warped and unleashed on the world.

Ooh, I love open ended concepts. It keeps me from that sense of loss as I finish each book. Eleven of your novels have been published since 2004. Congratulations! Do you have a favorite in there?

I love all the classic romances I've written for Harlequin and Silhouette up 'til now ;o) If I had to chose a favorite, it would have to be my author-driven series, Atlanta Heroes, that I'm currently writing for Superromance. They've allowed me to specialize in romantic supsense--in a line that's typically more about home and family than anything else. With my Heroes books, I explore the emotional richness of community and relationships, then I layer on the fast-paced, suspenseful ride that's inspired my creative ideas the last few years. I think creating Atlanta Heroes prepared me to take on something as ambitious as my Legacy series. Readers and reviewers are definitely responding to my Harlequin suspenses. Last years To Protect the Child won a 2008 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award. And I'm putting the finishing touches on my April The Firefighter's Secret Baby (the heroine in this one is on the run in witness protection, a-la In Plain Sight). I can't wait for another Hero to hit the shelves ;o)

Sounds great, and congrats on the RT nod. I'm putting your Heros on my TBR list right now. You are doing some special contests to celebrate the release of Dark Legacy. Care to share?

A local jewelry designer created a line of necklaces called Dream Flutters, based on the
dream images on Dark Legacy's cover. One was spotlighted in my "Dream On" article in the September Romantic Times. I'll be giving away these one-of-a-kind pieces in Septemb
er on my blog, to celebrate Dark Legacy's release. And I've been giving away designer purses on my blog for years--look for signature XOXO and COACH butterfly purse giveaways in September, too. Butterflies are a symbol of new beginnings, and I've claimed that for myself from the start ;o) Don't miss any of the fun at !

You write in several different genres. As an author, was it hard to make the switch?

Actually, I think all my books have a similar theme--community, family, emotional growth and killer pacing. I always delve into the psychological side of things, because I think the changes going on inside us can be just as fascinating to watch as what the world sees on the outside. With my more classic romances for Harlequin and Silhouette, I have a category reader's expectations to meet, and it's wonderful to write for that anticipation of a happily ever after ending that wraps everything up in a safe place. The fun thing with my new paranormal series with Dorchester has been to do the same thing (a happy ever after for the hero and heroine) while not having to wrap up everything in such a tidy bow. Writing more mainstream fiction allows for a more realistic edge to my books that I'm in love with.

Interesting. I'm looking forward to seeing those differences myself. Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

I have very eclectic reading tastes, so my faves are all over the place. I've been a Bronte girl all my life--I still re-read Wuthering Heights at least once a year, and I LOVE Jayne Eyre. And fantasy/sci fi was a big part of my early reading--T. H. White's The Once and Future King was an 8th grade book report, all 1100 pages of it. And I read the early Start Treck novels, back when authors like A. C. Crispin were writing them (if you're a Spock fan, read Yesterday's Son and The Entropy Effect). I discovered authors like Elizabeth Lowell when she was still writing historicals like Untamed, Enchanted and Forbidden. And then there is Susan Elizabeth Phillips, whom I discovered with Dream a Little Dream (though Ain't She Sweet is my fav. SEP to date) and Linda Howard--the first I read of hers was Shades of Twilight. At the moment, I'm swinging back and forth between gobbling up Lisa Gardner's backlist and Janet Evonavich's. Oh, and I just picked up Pat Conroy's South of Broad. See...It's impossible for me to stick to one genre...

That's great - keeps your reading fresh. I just read my first Susan Elizabeth Phillips book myself. I was crying, "Where have you been all my life, SEP!" It was Natural Born Charmer. I'm preparing to tear through her back list. :0) Besides writing, what do you like to do for fun?

Oh, shopping. Purses and bags are my current obsession. And exercise--either tennis or running at the gym or yoga or Pilate's. Whatever it takes to clear the cobwebs from my mind and get the blood moving. I feel so much more creative after a work out. I know it sounds cliche, but I totally believe in the mind-body connection. And art--looking at art and listening to amazing music and reading my favorite classics. And more than anything else, spending time staying in the moment with my family. My son and husband are my life.

Nice, and I completely agree. I do my best work after a jaunt around the neighborhood. How do you juggle your busy life teaching, writing, promoting?

I keep a lot of lists and try not to drive myself crazy with them. And I've become pretty aggressive about scheduling in down time. Time when I'm not online and not available by email or phone--even if it's just an hour or two a day, I need time where I'm not responsible to anyone outside my immediate family. All this helps me when I come back to the work, because it keeps me loving what I do. Teaching is such a source of inspiration for me, being around other writers and sharing their dreams and their process. Writing has to stay a passion, or the creativity will dry up and then where will I be? So I protect a writing above all else and try to maintain a calm, safe writing space. Promoting is a part of the job where you have to pretty much stay constantly on your toes. But I'm promoting my books, that people are buying and reading and telling me how much they like. How can that be a bad thing, no matter how much time it takes to keep the buzz going? When I keep my priorities in mind and make sure to stay focused on the positive side of all that I do every day, it's impossible not to feel like a very lucky girl ;o)

No kidding! I learned the hard way about scheduling down time. Nothing like being sick for a week to clarify one's priorities!Where can readers find you (facebook, website, etc)?

My website ( is good for those who've never read me before and want to discover my books and backlist and reviews and workshop descriptions and events and stuff like that. My more interactive content (both for writers and readers) is on my blog ( )--and my running contests! And I've jumped into social media this year, with an active presence on Facebook and Twitter (look for Anna DeStefano in both). I'm really excited about the extended writing community I've found on Twitter--the #writegoal tag I created is a place writers visit every day to set goals and report progress and to support one another while we all work toward finishing our next projects. Come friend, tweet, comment and chat with me when you get the chance!

Thanks for being here today, Anna. Looking forward to reading Dark Legacy and watching the series unfold.

AH readers: Anna is kicking off a full on blog tour! Be sure to check out the schedule on the calender at Anna's website. And visit her blog to get into those contests!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wonderful Writers, Amazing Women! AKA An Award, a Contest and a Trailer, Oh My!!

Current Read: Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins

An Award

I was thrilled to receive this "One Lovely Blog" Award from Chiron O'Keefe who writes one lovely blog herself, The Write Soul. This is a first for Armchair Heroines!

So, now I have the privilege of passing on the award. There are a couple of rules:

1. Accept the award and post back to the awarding person.
2. Pass the award on.
3. Notify the award winner/s.

Here are my picks:

1. Five Scribes - packed with information for authors and readers alike! These five scribes are wonderful writers and amazing women.

2. Romance Bandits - another blog packed with wonderful writers and amazing women. There's something for everyone here. This blog is also the home of the dashing Golden Rooster.

3. MamaWriters - I suppose this could be construed as cheating, because I'm a member of the MamaWriters...but it's yet another blog filled with wonderful women who are, you guessed it, amazing writers as well as supportive and encouraging friends and colleagues. I'm honored to be a part of it!

So, thank you again to Chiron and congratulations to the winners I've chosen. Be sure to stop by and say "hi" to them!

A Contest

Another wonderful writer, amazing woman and colleague of mine, Delilah Marvelle, has a new book out. I loved the first one and am saddened to hear that the series has been dropped. Help a girl out and go by the new book, Lord of Pleasure, today. I'm telling you, the Earl of Hawksford is going to be entertaining to say the least!

A Trailer

In case you haven't yet been spurred to action, here's the trailer for Lord of Pleasure.