Annie Seaton is off on a touring adventure of a different kind at the moment; she’s touring the internet on her blog tour for debut print novel Kakadu Sunset which is out now through Pan Macmillan. We were able to find out a little more about Annie and her career in this interview as part of her blog tour.
Hi Annie, welcome to Beauty and Lace and thanks for talking with us.
What inspired you to become a writer?
Ever since I walked into my first library when I was a very small child in Brisbane, the desire to write stories has consumed me. There is nothing like the feel and the smell of books and the crackling of the pages when you first open the cover knowing that an author is going to transport you to a world that you can lose yourself in for many hours.
As I grew up I solved mysteries with the Famous Five and Secret Seven, I learned about friendship and belonging with the Anne books by L.M. Montgomery. I wrote my first little novel when I was eleven; unfortunately it was lost in a family move, but I do remember the heroine’s name was Julia!
My early career years were happily spent in libraries and working with books further fuelled my desire to write my own stories. My reading tastes changed to historical sagas, and then to the classics as I studied English literature at university.
Life intruded and my desire to write was put to one side as I studied and worked, married and raised a family and followed a career path through education.
However inspiration was still there as the beauty of our natural world always evoked deep emotion in me: a sunset, a sunrise, a misty dawn, the breaking waves at the beach. I wanted to set stories in those beautiful and exotic settings. At the same time I people-watched and made up stories in my head as I shopped for groceries and picked up children…and now grandchildren… from school.
Eventually the desire to write took precedence and I retired early to follow my lifelong dream. Being a writer is as satisfying as I always knew it would be, and I am blessed to have been successful.
Kadadu Sunset is not your first book, but it is the first in print. Can you tell us a little about how the road to publication for Kadadu Sunset was different?
My first twenty books were either accepted or published by digital publishers in the United States, or self published by me; however my dream was always to see my books available for purchase in a bricks and mortar bookstore. Those first books as a way of honing my craft and flexing my writing muscles. I was very busy with editing deadlines and putting out four to five books a year, but the market was predominantly in the United States, although the books are available in Australia. My dream was to write Australian stories for Australian readers and an author friend told me that Pan Macmillan were actively seeking new authors.
I had written five thousand words of my first ‘long’ story so I subbed it to the commissioning editor of Pan Macmillan a week or so before I left for a writing workshop in Tuscany in 2014. (Yes, my author life is wonderful!)
I was at Dubai airport waiting to transfer to a flight to Rome, when I received the email saying that the editor loved it and was taking it to an acquisitions meeting the next week.
To cut the wonderful long story short, I was in London meeting with editing clients when I received the email to say that Pan Macmillan were contracting my three book series on the first five thousand words of Book 1, Kakadu Sunset! That was a moment to cherish.
Can you tell us a little about Kakadu Sunset, and what your inspiration for the story was?
Kakadu National Park is one of Australia’s special places—World Heritage listed for both its environment and its living Aboriginal culture. Two years ago on the way to the Northern Territory, we crossed the vast outback through three states, travelling through ancient landscapes and many of those landscapes had been scarred by various types of mining.
Visiting Kakadu and experiencing the spirituality of the land made me wonder what would happen if mining occurred in that pristine environment. The idea for Kakadu Sunset was born. I guess you could call it Crocodile Dundee meets Erin Brockovich! I love including places that I have travelled to in my writing to share the experiences, and the beautiful landscapes, with readers who cannot travel to them.
How do you select your settings?
Every winter my husband and I travel to a different part of Australia and camp. Everywhere we travel there are settings that are suitable for a story, whether it be a dry and red dusty road or a tropical island. However to remain consistent and to be able to explore various issues, I choose my settings carefully. I was recently pleased to hear my work described as eco-adventure romance!
Kakadu Sunset is the first of a trilogy, will the books stand alone as well?
Yes, Kakadu Sunset, Daintree Sunrise and Kimberley Moonlight will stand alone, but do have some common family characters.
What do you like to do most when you aren’t writing?
Now that I have created a back list of books and have more time, I have finally developed a green thumb and I spend a lot of time in my garden. I love to walk on the beach and I am also a keen photographer…another way of capturing those beautiful settings. I also work with aspiring authors, mentoring them and editing manuscripts
If you had to choose, what would be the favourite book you have read this year and why?
That’s a hard question. I’ve done a lot more reading this year and have read many excellent books across different genres. I think the stand out one for me is Kate Furnivall’s The Italian Wife. Her writing is lyrical and poignant, and her settings are beautiful.
Is there a book you are eagerly anticipating the release of?
I love Kristan Higgins’ books and am eagerly awaiting the release of Book 5 of the Blue Heron series in January.
You also have a new digital series releasing under a pen name. Can you tell us why you’re writing under two names?
Writing under a different pen name is an experiment to see if I can transfer short contemporary romances to an Australian audience. Melody Edmonds will write specifically Australian rural romance. These stories are also a little bit steamier than Annie Seaton’s sweeter romances.
Thanks for talking with us Annie and good luck with the blog tour!
Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure!