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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Guest Interview with Anna Randol

Anna Randol
Hello, it's Samantha here, and I'd love to introduce you to one of my favorite historical romance authors, Anna Randol. I was very happy to have a chance to interview Anna about her second book, Sins of a Virgin. Not only is she a great writer, she's a brave woman. Because let's face it, you never know what questions the Ladies will ask.  

SG: I love that you are an author who has broken out of the norm in the Regency genre. First, there was your debut book, A Secret In Her Kiss, set in the exotic Ottoman Empire, followed by your newest book, Sins of a Virgin, which explores the darker side of London with a courtesan heroine and a Bow Street Runner hero. What type of reception did you receive when you first began submitting your Regency set in such an unusual locale? (As Erin Knightely said, “It just goes to show that if it's a good book, there is always hope!”)

AR: I’ll be brave here…I did get a lot of rejections when my agent began shopping A Secret in Her Kiss. It helped that other authors such as Meredith Duran and Sherry Thomas had been successful recently with some exotically set books. I also had a British hero and heroine which I think made the setting slightly less jarring.

But when it came down to it, the most important thing was that Tessa Woodward at Avon read it, loved the story and my voice, and was willing to fight for me. (Thanks, Tessa!)

I totally agree with Erin, if you write a great book, you can eventually find the right home for it!

SG: What inspired you to write non-England Regency?

AR: I certainly didn’t set out to break any molds or fight against the romance establishment. Mari, my exotic spy heroine, popped into my head and I knew she didn’t belong in England. As the story unfolded, I knew the only place she could be was Constantinople.

But the location definitely allowed me play with the expectations my heroine had as well as the freedoms she was allowed.

SG: Have you read any other historicals set in exotic countries that made you want to write yours? What other exotic locations are at the top of your list of potential settings for future stories?

AR: There are definitely fabulous historicals set all around the globe. Everywhere from Alaska to South Africa.

My next novel, Sins of a Ruthless Rogue, will take place both in England and St. Petersburg, Russia (in the middle of winter, no less). There are imperial palaces and fights on icy rivers, domed churches and false princesses. It has been a blast to research and to write!

SG: We like that your heroines are not a typical English rose, but a strong willed woman fighting for what she thinks is right. What are some of your favorite strong or unusual heroines?

AR: Thanks! I really love heroines who are striving for some goal before they ever meet the hero. I think the hero should complete the heroine but not define her.

Besides, I write really strong alpha heroes, so it’s imperative they not be able to bully the heroines around. My favorite heroines are brainy, determined, clever, and perhaps even a bit plain (except to her hero by the end of the book!)

As far as specifics go, I love Disney’s Mulan. She’s tough, loyal to her family, has a dragon, and stares at Shang’s lips before she passes out.

SG: Sins of a Virgin is the start of a trilogy that sounds intriguing and exciting. What can readers expect when they dive into this series?

AR: I’m so excited about this series! So here’s the quick rundown:

At the beginning of the Napoleonic War, three exceptional youth are plucked from the gallows. In exchange for their lives, they agree to hone and employ their chosen skills in the name of His Majesty’s government.

La Petit—a woman so beautiful she can coax any man to her bed in an hour and the secrets from his heart in a night.

The Cipher—a man who remembers every number he’s encountered and unravels patterns and codes at a glance.

The Wraith—a man who discovers the location of something he wants, then retrieves it. The question is not if he will get what he desires, but when.

Throughout the war, the Trio cut an unstoppable swath through England's enemies.

But now the war is over. The Trio is a liability.

With a bluff appreciation and a pat on the back, they are returned to London and cut loose.

But if the government thinks these elite spies will just fade away, they’ll soon learn differently…

SG: One of the Lady Scribes, who shall go unnamed, has a father who loved your first book. She feels certain he would want to ask you if there is a Regency equivalent to a Bowflex, which is what he said when he first saw the cover to A Secret in Her Kiss.

AR: I believe a regimen of fighting wars, trouncing villains, and making passionate love to feisty heroines does the trick. J

SG: Well played, Ms. Randol!!! Have you ever kissed your book?

AR: No, but I may or may not have caressed the cover a time or two. I mean, who can resist those abs?

SG: Yeah, they are pretty amazing. Being a California girl, do you get to Disneyland very often? Are you someone who likes the thrill rides, or are you more of a sidelines type of person?

AR: I go to Disneyland only about once a year, but I definitely love to ride the roller coasters (Space Mountain rocks!). Even if I didn’t, I now have some daredevil kids, I wouldn’t have much choice!

SG: Do you have a question you would like to ask the readers?

AR: How exotic do you like your life? Do you like to stay close to home? Or do you dream of traveling the globe?

Anna, thanks so much for being with us today at Lady Scribes. We wish you the best on your latest release. I can’t wait to read it! One lucky reader is going to be very happy to get her hands on a copy of your book today. 

The Lady Scribes and our guests always look forward to hearing your thoughts. If you would like to be entered into the drawing for a copy of Anna Randol’s Sins of a Virgin, please answer Anna’s question and include your email address. Only relevant comments adding to today’s discussion will be eligible for the drawing. (The contest is open to US and Canada only.)


  1. Thanks for joining us again, Anna. I'm a bit of a contradiction, in that I love to experience things that are very, very different from my norm...but I'm rarely happier than when I'm in my natural surroundings in my own home, with a cat or two curled up on my lap. At this point, I've never traveled farther than Alaska, and the only foreign country I've been to is Canada. I'm hoping that will change soon.

    1. Me, too! I love to travel, but it always nice to come home. Good luck with your future travels. :)

  2. Oh what a fun interview. Anna, I just wanted to say I loved your first book and thought it was amazing. Anyways, to answer your question when it comes to adventure I'm a homebody. I love reading adventures in the books I read, but when it comes to actually going out and doing it I get scared. I think the last adventure I went on was a road trip with my best friend 10years ago. That was an adventure we lost a radio for a day and half cause we blew a fuse. Good times, good times. I do dream about about about going to Europe; will it happen, probably not. Thanks for stopping by.


    1. Road trips are an adventure all on their own. Perhaps a road trip through Europe at some point. Double the adventure...

    2. I would have to drag my best friend on that one.

  3. Anna,
    It's great to have you back today. There are so many places I would love to visit around the world. China is one of my top picks. But I'm a bit like Catherine also. I like having a home base. :)

    1. Thanks for having me! I love the Lady Scribes!

  4. Anna ~ Welcome back to Lady Scribes!

    I am a big traveler. I've been a lot of places. I love the Caribbean. I love Europe. But I do feel most comfortable in England. My ancestors are mainly from the British isles, and there is something about being in England that feels more like being "home" than anywhere I've actually lived.

    My father is a water engineer who has spent most of his career outside the US, developing water systems in 3rd world countries. I always say my dad has seen the world...just not the world I want to see. ;)

    I want castles and manor houses and all the pretty things to be found out there. I'm kind of a diva. LOL

  5. Congrats on your wonderful success, Anna! I'm so glad you can join us, and the upcoming trilogy sounds absolutely amazing!

    I thrive on the exotic :-) Speaking of Russia, though I haven't visited St. Petersburg, I've explored Moscow, vacationed on the shores of Lake Baikal, and lived for a summer in Irkutsk, where the sun rose at 5am and finally set at midnight. I've traipsed across England, France, and Italy, hit a few Caribbean islands, and traveled to 28 states so far. I'm hoping that's just the tip of the iceburg! I have fierce wanderlust in me, and I want to explore the globe (minus a few very scary countries and regions, lol).

    1. Definitely go back for St. Petersburg. The city is gorgeous!

  6. Love traveling! Too broke to do much of it, though. I wwoofed in Europe for four months last year to work out some of my pent-up desire to break free and see more of the world. Not so exotic locale, perhaps, but I loved being immersed in life there with like-minded people. Amazing experience! I hope to do a little more of it before I have a family.

    I love, love, love exotic settings and unusual regencies, especially together. So glad there is another author working on them. I have to sheepishly admit that I haven't yet checked out your work, Anna, but you are very much on my radar and I will soon. I just have a rather devilishly large TBR pile. *blush*

    anna (at) annabentleytremaine (dotty) com

  7. I was quite an adventurer when I was in college back in the late '80's-I wanted to go to places most Americans didn't!

    I lived in Vienna for a year, got to visit the Eastern Bloc including Poland, Romania, and Yugoslavia. (Dubrovnik-that is a MUST see for anyone). I tried to get a fake passport to get into Albania, but..didn't quite have the cash to pull it off. (hey, it was cheap beach trip from Austria!)

    I loved Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and wandered around the Winter Palace for hours. (Yeh, slipped away from the tour group). You can guess what book I'm looking forward to!

    pirate (dot) trisha (at) gmail (dot) com

    1. Trish ~ OMG! You tried to get a fake passport? You are so much more brave than me! LOL.

    2. My thoughts exactly, Ava! You really are a bit of a pirate, Trish ;)

    3. Yep, I was a bit of a rebel back then, a nice quiet girl that sat in the back, so no one ever suspected me of EVER doing anything remotely bad. I smuggled stuff in and out of the Soviet Union, figured out blackmarket negiotation tactics (great experience for haggling at a car dealership), and a group of us snuck to to meet Soviet University students. (This was back when Americans were heavily monitored).

      My part time job when I was in Austria was a street musician. I literally sang for my supper some days. And yes, it was a lot of fun and I met some interesting personalities.

      Yeh, the passport. . .One of my teachers had a connection, and my Austrian look/language was perfect. I could easily pass for a native, and I was smart enough to keep a low profile. If I could have come up with a hundred dollars, I would have been sunning myself on some beautiful, unspoiled Alabanian beach. (sigh)

  8. Thanks for a fun interview!!! Can I gush and say that I *luvd* Anna's first book and I'm not ashamed to admit that I first picked it up b/c of the very abstastic cover ;) Looking forward to her next books!

    Ummm... I would love to be a traveler... even of the US, let alone the world... but that hasn't happened... yet :) So maybe that's why I love reading about "exotic" locations so much!


    1. Abtastic! Ha ha ha! I love that word. I'm going to start using it. :)

    2. I so want to use that on my Amazon page. "Abtastic." ~Erin

  9. Anna -

    Home is where the heart is but I am jealous that my husband has had the opportunity to travel to exotic places that I'll probably never get the chance to visit.

    Unfortunately he was in the Navy when he did it! Also unfortunately that usually meant that the hotel would be blown up next door to where he was staying (that happened in Israel) or have his fishing boat almost bowled over my a large boat traveling down the Panama Canal (they do get some time off).

    Actually the thing that irritated him the most was when one of the other crew members from his P-3 squadron would order a hamburger when they were in Iceland or want a peanut butter sandwich when they were in Spain!

    I have already made my "dream trip" (thanks to earning a reward from my workplace) to England to see Stonehenge (my husband spent hours walking around amazed at the workmanship needed to craft this monument to the ingenuity of mankind).

    My husband is also a Master Stone Mason and the one locale we have always wanted to experience is going to the pyramids in Egypt. He wants to spend hours roaming around and trying to figure out how they managed this amazing feat while I WANT TO GO SHOPPING and okay I'd love to stroll through the outdoor bazaars and experience the food and culture. It drives him crazy but I love to just stroll, look and listen stopping in cafes, by monuments, the fountains or whatever a locale has to offer.

    Maybe that's what most of us dream of doing someday seeing the amazing world laid out in front of us, just waiting to be explored!

    1. Oooh, your dream trip sounds like so much fun! And I would be right there beside you with the shopping!

  10. Welcome back to Lady Scribes, Anna! OMgosh there are sooo many places I'd like to travel: England, Germany, Italy, Morocco, Egypt, Australia and any and all Island resorts without kids. ;)

  11. I'm like Catherine who left the first comment: I've only been to Canada and I like to spend time at home with my cats. In Canada I went to Toronto (twice) and Niagara Falls. But Canada isn't very far away. I live in Ohio; Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, are only about an hour away. Toronto's about six hours away.

    If I had the money I might want to travel to Europe or go on a cruise. I know a little German and French. I'd love to go to Orlando to all the theme parks. Egypt sounds great, too, b/c of the books I've read.


  12. Welcome, Anna! Your series sounds fabulous!

    My life is definitely boring, but with a few pockets of adventure. I love to travel! Am really ready to plan a trip right about now!

  13. Welcome back to Lady Scribes, Anna! It's always fun to have you here...
    When I think of traveling the globe, I have twin sensations of excitement and fear warring within me. I am an uneasy traveler. I WANT to travel, I just always worry about, well...EVERYTHING. I will never be a woman who can throw some clothes in a backpack and set off. NEVER.
    I would like to see Ireland, Scotland, Iceland, England, France, Sweden, Thailand, Russia, Romania, Brazil and New Zealand some day... (Just not while backpacking... *G*)

  14. Thanks for the visit Anna! For your question, I would love to travel the world; although I love being close to home too, I need my space and adventure at the same time.
    For me as being exotic, as long as I have an exotic hero with me along the way I'm good, especially if he's protecting me on my exotic adventures around the globe. ;)


  15. I've went to quite a lot of countries when I was younger, which I really enjoyed. However, like Catherine and Samantha, I'm really a homebody and like being in my own home, surrounded by everything that I'm familiar and comfortable with.

    Your new book sounds amazing. I'm a bit naughty in that I love anything to do with Courtesans, especially if they're having a dalliance with a Bow Street Runner. :-)

    Thank you for this opportunity.

    dpd333 (at) aol dot com

  16. I love to get in at the beginning of a series!
    At this point I stick pretty much close to home, but if I find a job I may start travelling again.
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

  17. The book sounds good. I'd like to travel around the world.


  18. The book sounds great. I am a homebody. I love to read about far away places. I visit them from my comfortable chair.

  19. Welcome to Lady Scribes, Anna! My husband is the traveler. I'm a homebody. Give me my laptop and a cup of coffee and I'm happy. BUT I would love to see Scotland, Italy, Greece, and about a million more which I admit, is difficult to do from the couch. ;}

  20. I kind of like my life to be mundane, but I do dream of traveling the world. I know that's kind of contradictory, but I like to feel comfortable most of the time and then have the excitement of travel for a period of time and then go back to comfortable. I don't think I'm cut out to be a vagabond, never settling down in one place, that's so not me.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  21. Congratulations to Di! You are the winner of Anna's book "Sins of a Virgin". I will contact you shortly to get your mailing information.

    Thanks again to Anna and all of you who stopped by Lady Scribes to read her interview. We hope you'll visit us again soon. Warmly, Samantha :)