21 September 2009

Monthly Booktip Interview: Annette McCleave

Read my review of DRAWN INTO DARKNESS ~here~

Hi Annette,
Welcome to my realm and thank you for coming up here and talk a bit about your new novel; DRAWN INTO DARKNESS. I’d say, get comfy, grab a drink and talk the talk!
Drawn Into Darkness, the novel:
- Leontine: Do you still remember the day when you came up with the concept of Drawn Into Darkness? If so, tell us about it.
Annette: I didn’t so much as come up with the idea of the book, but find Lachlan. I saw him standing there in my mind, big and handsome, swinging a sword, and telling me he was dead. The rest came slowly. That he gathered souls, that he was serving a penance with Death. That he was in love with Rachel and how unlikely it was that he could ever be with her. I had to tell his story.
- Leontine: What do you like most about writing a paranormal romance story?
Annette: The world building. I spend a crazy amount of time immersing myself in the world of my characters, trying to see life (or in this case, death J) from their point of view. This is really the fun part.
- Leontine: And what challenges you in writing a paranormal romance story?
Annette: The biggest challenge is not writing myself into a corner, such as giving someone a power that will prove difficult to manage from a storyline perspective. I keep notes on my characters for just that reason.
- Leontine: Can you tell us a bit about your creative process in writing?
Annette: I work from an outline. It’s a very sketchy outline, but it has the basic progression of the story identified. I used to write blind, just putting down whatever I saw onto the page—but I found I was re-writing a LOT of pages at the end, pages that could have been avoided if I’d just have a guidepost to follow. So, now I outline.
I also write very early in the morning. My favorite hours are the pre-dawn ones when the house is dark and quiet and the new day is only a promise.
- Leontine: What do you absolutely need to start the day?
Annette: That’s easy. Coffee. I put on a big pot the moment I roll out of bed in the morning. The smell alone is enough to get the mental engines revving.
- Leontine: What do you do when the going gets rough?
Annette: Keep going. What’s that saying? When you’re going through hell, just keep going? That’s my philosophy.
- Leontine: What is the first and last sentence of your book?
Annette: The first sentence is: “Even in death, she was beautiful.” The last sentence is: “Go ahead, love. Drive me wild.”
- Leontine: Can you introduce us to a few main characters and tell a bit about them?
Annette: Well, there’s Lachlan MacGregor, a Soul Gatherer who was born in Scotland in the late 16th century. Now immortal and serving a term in purgatory, he masquerades amongst the living as a priest. It’s a disguise that proves very useful until he meets Rachel. Rachel Lewis is the artist single mom who lives in his apartment building and struggles to raise her teenage daughter under very trying circumstances—which, unfortunately for her, includes a very powerful demon from Lachlan’s past.
- Leontine: Do you have a favorite scene in Drawn Into Darkness?
Annette: I’d have to say that the first sex scene between Rachel and Lachlan is my favorite. It’s the moment when huge barriers suddenly drop away between the two and they truly get a glimpse at each other’s heart. Plus, it’s hot. J (edit Leontine: I so concur on that one *grin*)

- Leontine: Which book is on your nightstand at the moment?
Annette: Kris Kennedy’s The Conqueror. It’s a medieval romance and so far, it’s awesome.

- Leontine: What’s next for you?
Annette: I’m wrapping up revisions on book 2 in the Soul Gatherer series, Bound by Darkness, and developing a proposal for book 3.

Annette McCleave 101:
1. What was the highlight of your week?

Listening to my daughter play her flute. She didn’t play all summer and now she’s back at it. I love it.

2. Last movie you watched?

District 9. A very powerful movie that said a lot more about the human race than it did about aliens.

3. Your dream date would be…?

Daniel Craig as James Bond. Yum.

4. Current favorite food?

Popcorn. With lots of butter and salt. None of that healthy stuff.

5. Your favorite vacation spot?

My favorite trip was to Australia. Loved it and would go again in a heartbeat.

6. Boxers or briefs with your hottie next door?


7. If you could have one thing right now what would it be?

A maid. Keeping the house clean is not my thing at all. Oh, wait, let me amend that. A maid who can cook. I’m not much good with the stove either.

8. What's your favorite band?

I don’t really have a favorite band. This week I’ve listened to the Fray, the Eagles, Evanescence, and Terri Clark. J

9. Current favorite TV series?


10. Brawn or brains, what do you notice first?

Notice? Brawn, absolutely. The lasting impression is always made by the eyes, though. J

It was a terrific interview, Leontine--I really enjoyed the questions. Thanks for inviting me to stop by and allowing me to share the excitement of my debut release with your guests.

And this wasn't all: Annette has up for grabs a copy of DRAWN TINO DARKNESS

Annette: Prize time! I’m giving away a copy of Drawn into Darkness to one lucky commenter this week. Just tell me: if you had to give up all your ‘keeper’ books except one, which one would you hold on to and why?

Good luck!

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  1. Oh no I am not giving up my keeper's except one. Really you can't ask us questions like this Annette. It is too hard to choose.
    I have Shannon McKenna's EDGE OF MIDNIGHT, Lora Leigh's DAWN'S AWAKENING, I have Anna Windsor's BOUND BY SHADOW and BOUND BY LIGHT,I have Kresley Cole's IF YOU DECEIVE I have Lisa Valdez's PASSION, I have Suzanne Brockmann's THE UNSUNG HERO, I have Sherrilyn Kenyon's ACHERON. How can I choose just one??? How?

    If you put a gun to my head, or a sword at my neck I'd say I'd keep SUDDENLY YOU (Lisa Kleypas), the novel that blew me away emotionally and gave me my first favorite alpha hero: Jack Devlin...and one of the first romance novels I ever read in English!

    Great interview Leontine! (and Annette)

  2. Hi :)
    Thank you for a terrific interview Annette & Leontine.
    DRAWN INTO DARKNESS sounds great.
    I love learning more about the author and the novel.
    If I had to pick just one keeper book (gasp!) it would be a (each-book-duct-taped-together) Complete Wheel of Time book by Robert Jordan.
    All the best,

  3. Great interview!

    Ehhh I am not giving up any of my books, do not touch them without my permission, I love my books!

    I have so many favorites, Kenyon, Ward, Showalter, Bella Andre, Erin McCarthy, Alyssa Day and many more.... nooooo way that I could ever choose!

    But my first hero I fell in love with was Mr. Darcy, I was 13 when I read this story for the first time and have been rereading it at least once every year, so I will most definitely hold on to Pride and Prejudice from Jane Austen.

    Leontine, you don't have to enter me for the contest, I already have it, and only need to read another 50 pages to finish it, I love it so far! Truly, Annette great story!

  4. I know picking just one is almost impossible. They are our KEEPERS for a reason, after all. I'll ante up, since I asked the tough question. :-)

    I'd keep my copy of The Wolf and the Dove by Kathleen Woodiwiss. It's become a huge comfort read to me--every time I feel down, it picks me up. I know it's an old fashioned romance, but to prove how much I love this book--I wore out the first copy (beyond the duct tape, RKCharron) and bought a second.

    p.s. I had an ulterior motive for asking--I'm writing down all the books everyone else mentions so I can read them if I haven't done so already. :-)

  5. @Pearl - You're talking some serious addictive and good books. And I still have the one from Suzanne Brockmann & Lora Leigh to go.

    @RKCharron - I am hearing so much about the Wheel of Time series...I know I have many classic Fantasy novels to go.

    @Marissa - Oh yes, first hero love...digs in mind...digs some more...oh yes...I remember now. It was Hugh Fauconier from Bertrice Small's Hellion. He wasn't (physical) perfection but he mesmerized my teenage heart at that time with his personality :D

    @Annette - The Wolf And The Dove...that one is one of my all time favorites by Woodiwiss, another is A Rose In Winter *dreamy eyes* It is very hard to chose just one...I can re-read C.L. Wilson with Lord Of The Fading Lands/ Lady Of Light And Shadow & Kind Of Sword And Sky any day. But also Elizabeth Vaughan's Warprize trilogy. And I have a few more but then the list would get extended with a handful of other series and books *wink*

  6. My answer could be so short cos it's so easy for me, the book I love the most in the world and have re-read the most times:
    magician by Raymond E.Feist, just shows that i am a fantasy gal in my soul :)

  7. Even though it's cruel to ask us to keep only one book, I guess I'd pick Always To Remember by Lorraine Heath. Very emotional story about forgiveness of oneself and others.

    And I'm a huge fan of Dexter too!

  8. You are just no right... Nope, not at all... not right for asking such a question like this...**shaking head and pouting** Not liking this, lol!!

    Okay, if life or death situation... I would have to say kill me... You are not getting any of my Keepers! Seriously!
    Stephenie Meyer's - she introduced me to Edward. Charlene Harris - she gave me to Eric. Susan Sizemore - she handed me the Prime's and what a group of men they are. Amanda Ashley - she wrapped up the Night's family (yum-me). Gena Showalter - come' on... My Lords of the Underworld... **fanning myself**. Megan Hart - Stranger & Broken - be still my beating broken put back together erotic heart. Charlotte Featherstone - Addicted, Oh my Lord Lindsay, need I say more. Amanda McIntyre - Tortured... title alone had me! Elizabeth Amber - she practically handed me The Lord of Satyr brothers... and what a group that turned out to be... And the list goes on.... Damn... this is hard!
    Nope, sorry.... Just kill me! While the books are clutched tightly in my hands, because I am not giving up any of them!!! BBBAAAAWWWWWHHHHAAAAAA (evil laughter - trying)

    Wonderful interview ladies!
    Ms. Annette it is nice to see you make your rounds! (I commented at Ms. Lynda Hilburn's place) And Leontine.... wonderful job honey!
    I hope you had a great weekend and are having a wonderful Monday and have a terrific Tuesday!

  9. Blodeuedd - I think the re-reading speaks for itself :-)

    joder - I heart Dexter, too.

    Cecile - Nice to see you here, too! You have an awesome keeper shelf! :D

  10. You'd have to pry my books from my cold dead hands! HAHAHA

    One book if I had to...Lord of Scoundrels.

  11. What?!? Give up all of my books but one? No, no, a thousand times no. Give up all my Sherrilyn Kenyons? All my Christine Feehans? Not to mention the classics, like Shakespeare & Arabian nights, and the reference books, like The Vampire Encyclopedia? Nope. Although, if I had to, just absolutely HAD to, I'd grab the Shakespeare anthology.

  12. Great Interview, i'm definitely interested in reading Annette's book!

    Arghhh this is a complicated question, mostly because i love my KEEPERS for a reason! and i don't want to give them up =P The more i think about it the more difficult it gets to answer, so i'll go with the first answer that came to my mind....(the 1st idea is often the right one) Pride and Prejudice. It'll never get out of style, i loved this book so much i will never get bored of reading it.

    *sigh* ahhhhh Mr Darcy

  13. Zarek has such a special place in my heart, so I would be keeping Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon.

  14. Hi Annette,

    I think it's a great question. It made me think long and hard about what my answer should be. And despite all the great and wonderful books on my shelves that I love and cherish, there is one book that I would like to keep... I'm cheating a bit on this one ;-)...

    It's a bundel of fairytales that my dad gave me, my sister and brother. I cannot remember the name of it and as it resides at my sister's at the moment I can't look it up so Leontine can you enlighten me on the title again???

    I know it has a peach coloured cover with a girl underneath a starry night at the front. The reason why I chose this book is because it reminds me to stay young at heart and I think fairytales in it's core are the base of a lot of romance written. I can use them as inspiration to broaden my mind and invent stories in my mind's eye so that I will be able to sort of still read a lot of stories, just in a different way.

    Natascha / Ashleagh

  15. Cheeky Girl - LOVE LOS, definitely one of my faves.

    Pixie 13 - Ah, the Bard. A perennial favorite for many people. I confess I haven't read him for a while.

    pattepoilue - That's a second vote for P&P. :-)

    Maija P. - Zarek is a terrific tortured hero. :-)

  16. Natascha / Ashleagh - Not only are fairytales a great read, but they provide the basis for some of my favorite romances.

  17. Fun interview! I would think world building would be what I would like too (if I wrote!)

    Umm..what book to giveaway off my keeper shelf..eek!

    Breaking Dawn..anyone want it..HA. Didn't like that one:)

  18. Mandi - I have Breaking Dawn and could never bring myself to read it. Heard too many negative comments. I'm determined to read it one day, though.

  19. I guess it would have to be one of my signed Jim Butcher books. It would be horrible to have to give up most any of my books!

  20. Oh, that's like having to choose just one of your children - it can't be done! I would have to keep my books by Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris, and I love Ann Aguire's Sarantha Jax series, and my fave SciFi author of all time, Robert Heinein. Sorry, I simply can't come up with just one book to keep.

  21. Kimberly - Oooh, a signed Jim Butcher....

    Barbara - it is a tough call, isn't it? It's great that you have so many favorites to choose from!

  22. One, really only one. I dont think I could do one. Maybe Pride and Prejudice, such a great classic story, or The Black Jewels Trilogy, its all in one book that has to count as one. I dont know, that would be one very very hard decision.

    Drawn into Darkness sounds great. Thanks for sharing.

  23. Donnas - Very tough decision, I agree. P&P got a good number of nods here.

    Leontine -- Thanks again for having me as a guest. You made everything terrific fun.

    Thanks to everyone for their comments and for making that tough call on only one keeper. I'm armed with a great shopping list--though I'm happy to say, I already own most the books mentioned. :-)

  24. omg...what a nightmare thinking of losing all of my books!! how about one series?? It would have to be the sookie series or the otherworld series! I can't just pick of them because they all add up to the whole!

    A Blog with Bite!

  25. oh, how cruel!!!
    just one book? mh...maybe...or... argh... can't decide...ok, here we go: Bitten by Kelley Armstrong - it THE books that opened the paranormal books for me and without it I would never have entered that great world!
    Have a nice day!

  26. @Mandi - Never heard of Breaking Dawn...don't think I need to add that one to the TBR pile :)

    @Natascha - sis, found it with the little help of a birdie telling me where it was :D

    @Kimberly - Jim Butcher...is he the wife of Shannon K Butcher?? I think I have her on my shelves but not her partner.

    @Barbara - YAY I can sink my teeth in Ava Gray (aka Ann Aguirre) SKIN GAME, finally have a taste of this author I keep hearing so much of the good stuff of.

    @Donnas - Black Jewel trilogy...sigh, one of my alltime favorites...Daemon. Yes, I so heart the trio (Saetan, Lucivar & Daemon) but he leads the bunch for me :)

    @Froggy - I wondered when Sookie would come up in the list of keepers *wink*

    @Ina - Welcome here and Kelley Armstrong, wow an author for me to explore further!

  27. That would be a hard choice but I would have to go with Swan Song by Robert McCammon, the best book I ever read! Looking forward to your release also. tWarner419@aol.com

  28. @Tetewa - Hi there, you've got another new author, hhhmmm Swan Song, sounds like fantasy :)

  29. Ok I'm trying again to leave a comment and this question is still not fair. That's like asking which cat(if I had more than one lol) I would prefer to give away. What will I do when they hear the answer and pout and run away. My books are very sensitive.
    OK I will whisper: I would choose The 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear by Walter Moers. It's a German fantasy book but feels like a fairytale. It's one of the most funniest books I ever read and so I can't part with it.


I love to hear all your voices and opinions so thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.