Thursday, February 21, 2008

Writer's Wednesday with Annie Burrows

The Pink Heart Society is glad to welcome back Historicals author Annie Burrows to share with us a glimpse into her year of firsts.

Hi! This is the second time I have blogged on this site since I got my first novel accepted for publication. That was “His Cinderella Bride” which appeared on the shelves in the UK in September 2007. I expect you’ve read it often on this site, but it came as a surprise to me – getting a book published is only the first step. There is so much more to learn, especially about marketing and promoting your work.

Looking back over the time since I signed that first contract, it dawned on me that it has been a year of “firsts”. First novel, first editor, first writer’s conference, first literary festival (at an Oxford college, no less) as well as first attempt at blogging.

First Novelist’s lunch.

I have always been rather an insular person – quite content to crouch in my writing cave inventing my characters and weaving stories for them, but once I felt entitled to call myself a writer (that is, on getting that first contract) I also felt entitled to join a writer’s group. I joined the Romantic Novelist’s Association, and began to attend the local chapter meetings. At the very first lunch, I met up with (amongst others) Roger Sanderson, who asked me if I had registered my book for PLR. I did not even know what PLR was. For writers living in England, it is a scheme whereby a small amount is paid to an author each time their book is borrowed from a public library.

First Conference.

Encouraged by the warmth of the people I met at the chapter meeting, I signed up for my first novelists conference, held at Leicester University.


It was the most overwhelming experience to stand in a room full of women who were on the same wavelength as me. Usually, if you tell people you are a writer, they want to know who you base your characters on, or where you get your stories. They often have no concept of what it is like to have a Technicolor imagination. But these women all totally “got” me. It was fabulous, exhausting, inspiring, and I am saving up already for next year’s conference at Penrith.

First cyber loop

The RNA has its own cyber loop, which I joined up quickly. But then, I discovered all sorts of other ones, too. The Mills and Boon authors, the Mills and Boon sub-set of just the historical writers (who describe themselves as Hussies), UK novelists, and, of course, the Pink Heart Society. Pretty soon I discovered that I could easily while away my entire writing day browsing through all these sites, and had to restrict myself to only dipping into them once I had reached my daily writing target.

First AMBA lunch

I felt a bit of an impostor when I went to the Association of Mills and Boon Author’s lunch last September, because my first book had only just hit the shelves. There I was, in a room full of ladies whose books I had read and enjoyed for years. But they were absolutely lovely, welcoming me to their midst with a jar of honey (courtesy of Michelle Styles), which she gave out to all first timers. For the first course, I was seated between Louise Allen and Carol Townend, (pictured) with whom I got on like a house on fire. But for dessert, those of us who were there for the first time had to swap seats, and I found myself sandwiched between Catherine George and Karin Stoecker. Totally overawed, my flow of conversation dried up completely.

First trip to the chiropractor

OK – this is another topic often covered on this site – the importance of a good chair. I learned the hard way that if you sit on a garden chair, with a lap top on your knee, your head permanently at a weird angle to consult notes which are spread out all over the bed, you will end up having to visit a chiropractor. The first thing he told me was that I should not type for more than 15 minutes at a time. 15 minutes!! I can’t break my concentration every 15 minutes! However, I was not about to argue with a man who had my head tucked in the crook of his arm. Then, after he did that thing you see in comedy sketches, but never believe really happens, (where the man in the white coat takes your head and wrenches it sharply to one side, to the sound effect of bones crunching) I decided to get myself a kitchen timer. There was no way I was going to go through that again.

Later on this month, I will be experiencing another batch of firsts. My first appearance as an Author at a library (fortunately in the company of Penny Jordan and Susan Stephens. I am relying on them knowing what they are doing.)

My first ever radio interview, to publicize the event which Blackburn library are running to promote romantic fiction. Oh, yes, and I’m running my first ever competition on my website, in conjunction with Annie West and Margaret McDonagh, to promote our anthology “Mills and Boon presents…” It starts on 1st March, if you want to take part.

**But in the meantime, I have one copy of my current novel “My Lady Innocent” up for grabs. I will put the names of everyone who leaves a comment about this post into a hat or something. **

For more about Annie Burrows or her latest release My Lady Innocent, be sure to check out her website (and don't forget to enter the contest!)


  1. Thanks for blogging... Your cover is just gorgeous :)

  2. I had a smile as I read all your firsts with your book.

  3. Can totally relate to your firsts, Annie - my debut book came out in December and yesterday was the first anniversary of my call (and yes I toasted myself with a glass of red). But as for the chiropracter... hmmm.... I like your idea of the kitchen timer.

  4. LOved your list and could just imagine how it would feel to be surrounded by all those authors you'd heard of and admire.

  5. Annie's book is very bit as wonderful as her cover btw. I read it earlier this month.

  6. Hi Annie,
    The cover of your book is gorgeous - it promises a great read - and as I've now finished it I must say that the story inside lives up to the cover. Really enjoyed it, 'My Lady Innocent' effortlessly (or so it seemed) transported me away from the here and now.
    Thanks also for your kind comments after patiently listening to my babble at the AMBA lunch!
    Best wishes
    PS No need to put my name in the hat, as I ready have a copy :)))

  7. Hi annie

    Last year was a year of firsts for me too after getting my first contract with Modern Heat in Sept 06. I even spotted myself in your AMBA lunch photo (looking like a bit of a hussie on the other side of Carol Townsend. Wasn't that honey delicious btw).

    Isn't it a shock to discover there's so much more to being a published author than just writing the books. I'm dead impressed you've managed to line up a library talk and a radio interview. So far all I've managed is lunch with the local newspaper reporter, and then all he wanted to talk about was writing sex scenes (somewhat disconcerting over smoked haddock and mashed potatoes!)

    Good luck with your next year.


  8. Thanks everyone for dropping by and leaving comments.
    Nathalie and Michelle - I've got to say I love the cover to My Lady Innocent too. When I opened the box and saw my author copies the hairs on the back of my neck stood up...that man IS Sir Geraint!
    Carol, you did not babble. We had a fluid, interesting, and lively discourse!
    Heidi - yes, it was you in my photo. And btw I did nothing to organize the library talk and radio interview. There is just a lot of promo going on in the North West at the moment from the libraries "Pure Passion" competition and I think I've just got caught up in the tail end of it.
    Nicolette - if I was overawed by meeting and chatting to fellow authors, just imagine what I'm going to feel like sitting in a library, between Penny Jordan and Susan Stephens, pretending to be A Real Author, and having to answer questions!
    Ann - I've taken the decision to accept everything I am asked to do as an author, and try it once. If I can't cope, I won't do it again. That is why there have been so many "firsts". Only time will tell what I decide I can do a second time!
    catch you again later today,
    Annie B

  9. Hi Annie!
    Congratulations on you exciting year of firsts. I like your cover, it's very sweet.

  10. Yes, Maureen, this year has certainly been exciting. I have to pinch myself sometimes!

  11. I totally understand about the chiropractor; I abhor the sound when my neck gets cracked and yet my Massage Therapist says I should(need to)go to a chiropractor now. Yikes!!!
    A colorful cover(very nice).

  12. Lovely post Annie! I was smiling a lot because last year was a lot of firsts for me too, and the AMBA lunch was one. I felt so very welcome.

    You will be grand at the library. One of the things I learned last year is that it's so much more fun to do those things with other authors! Saves on some performance anxiety if you have friends....

    Tomorrow night I'm doing my first reading. I've done signings before but never reading. Oh my. :-)

  13. Hi Robyn - hope it goes ok at chiropractor. I know I always felt much better afterwards. Just wish I hadn't had to go in the first place!
    Donna - yes, wasn't the AMBA lunch great! Looking forward to next year already. Thanks for encouragement re: library. Like the chiropractor, I'm sure I will feel better once it's over! Hope your reading goes well,
    Annie B

  14. Congratulation on your year of firsts. :)

  15. Congratulations on your new release. Looks wonderful. Loved reading the list of firsts. Very interesting and fun.

  16. Congratulations on your list of first milestones. Your library presentation sounded great and your book looks amazing.

  17. Wonderful news about your release and it looks intriguing. Enjoyed reading your list.

  18. Must feel great to have accomplished this writing success. Best wishes on your future success. Lists are fabulous.

  19. Thanks to ruth, anne, pearl and diane for sending congrats, and for saying you enjoyed reading my post. As a writer, that is just what I want to hear!
    Well, the Thursday post is up now, so it's time to put all your names in a hat and draw one winner....

    anne m - your name rose to the top.
    congratulations, and I hope you enjoy reading "My Lady Innocent".
    luv Annie B

  20. Anne can tell I've never run a comp. before! I need you to email me with your address so I can post you a copy!
    Use the links on this page to contact me,
    Annie B
    (with a lot still to learn)