Romance author Anna Small lives on the Florida Gulf Coast, somewhere around the Tampa area; she’s been writing since age sixteen and now pens evocative works of heart tugging romance. Her first novel, Tame the Wild Wind, an historical romance set in New Mexico, was released last year by The Wild Rose Press. This year, she’s been quite busy, including releasing her second novel, a contemporary romance entitled Taking A Chance on Forever, via Siren-Bookstrand. Ms. Small recently sat down with us to talk about Taking A Chance on Forever….
Thanks for speaking with us today, Anna. Can you tell us, what was the inspiration for Taking A Chance on Forever?
Anna Small: A college buddy and I were talking about his son and my daughter wanting to go to our alma mater, Monmouth University in NJ, and he said, “wouldn’t that be cool if our kids met at school and got married?” I started thinking, and this shows you how the seed of a story can get planted! I originally planned the story from the kids’ POV, and then realized that the better story was if the parents had shared a past relationship and their kids met unknowingly. I don’t remember how I came up with the title, but I wanted it to have “forever” in it and something to do with taking chances, second chances, etc., because that is the main juice of the story.
What kind of research did you have to do in order to write the book?
Anna Small: I wrote to various tourist organizations in California (the book is set mostly in Carmel and San Francisco) and received lots of booklets and info about the sights, landmarks, B&Bs in Carmel, etc. The internet is a marvel. I was inundated with pictures, videos, and tons of written material about the area. I lived in California for a few years and have a lot of relatives in the Bay Area, so it is familiar to me. For the wedding scene in the book, I chose a real place, the Chateau Julien Wine Estate, and spoke to its wedding coordinator on several occasions to get the details just right. The B&B and restaurants in Carmel are of my own imaginings, but a reader can visit the actual winery, stroll through the cobblestone streets of Carmel, and have dinner at Aliotto’s in San Francisco, as those things are real. Other than that, because it’s a contemporary and more of an “emotion” book than my historicals, which tend to have adventure and action, I didn’t have much research.
Who’s your favorite character in this particular book?
Anna Small: The heroine, Kate, has more of me in her than I would like to admit! Like Kate, I dreamed of going to Paris when I was in high school, and wanted to be an artist and live like Monet! But I was inspired by Tea Leoni’s character, Kate, in the film, The Family Man. If you watch that movie, you will see how I got inspired for the character’s moxie and physical description. Like Kate, I also try to follow my heart and be true to my dreams.
Is there a particular tidbit you’d like to share about Taking A Chance on Forever?
Anna Small: Some of the details of Kate and Dan’s early relationship are taken from my own college experiences. I won’t say which ones, however!
What’s a good writing day like for you?
Anna Small: Nonstop writing for about 3 hours, without interruptions from the family or housework, or other obligations in my life. When I step away from the computer and have added 2,000 words or more to a book, I’m elated.
What type of books do you like to read, for your own enjoyment?
Anna Small: I read a lot of women’s fiction and classic literature. I was an English major, and will still pick up Shakespeare or Moby Dick or anything by Jane Austen, as well as read what’s new in romance. I am an avid reader of the authors I am lucky to be published with. My current favorites are the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and the Harry Potter books. We are huge Potter fans in my house.
What advice would you give a budding romance author?
Anna Small: I’m often asked, “how do I get published?” by writers who haven’t even completed a chapter yet! So the main advice is, WRITE A BOOK. If you like to write, you probably like to read, so read books in the style of the book you want to write. For example, if you want to write books like Jodi Picoult, read her books. If you want to write for a Harlequin series, then read the books in that series. The biggest step that helped me was joining Romance Writers of America. I also take online writing courses, enter contests to get feedback, and am fortunate to have a beta reader in my mom, who has read everything I’ve ever written since 2nd grade! Typically, if she doesn’t like something, I will fix it. So, find a good sounding board (reader, critique partner, or group) for your work.
Finally, do you have any forthcoming projects you’d like to share with our readers? What’s next for you, now that Taking A Chance on Forever is out?
Anna Small: I am currently writing 2 books simultaneously that have nothing to do with each other! One is a Scottish historical set in 1737 and the other is a Regency historical set in 1817. It keeps me from getting writer’s block. To add to the fun, I have 4 sequels I’m working on for my first book, Tame the Wild Wind, and those are great fun to write. There are a few others in one form of completion or the other, so I can never say I don’t know what to write. I never know when a story will come to me, and I write when the inspiration is there. Taking A Chance on Forever came about that way. I was in the middle of my current WIP (work in progress) almost 2 years ago, when I had that conversation with my friend. I stopped writing my WIP and wrote TACOF in about 3 months. A few months later, I had a contract and it was published before I knew what happened. Now, I am back in my happy place, which is writing sweeping, overly romantic historicals!
Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with us today, Anna. We wish you all the best with your forthcoming projects! Folks, if you’d like to learn a little more about Anna Small and her works, see her website at: http://annasmallbooks.com/
or her blog at http://www.annasmallbooks.blogspot.com/
And check out our review of Taking A Chance on Forever here. Thanks for sitting in on this conversation, and as ever, keep reading!