Monday, June 4, 2012

City or Country? Annie West

As you may know, I've got a new book out this month. UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH is a Presents Extra release in North America. Romantic Times gave it a 4 star review, saying:
'Wests' twist on the Beauty and the Beast is an emotionally compelling read.'

It features another of my favourite hero types: intense and passionate. In this case Declan is also wounded - physically and emotionally, which makes opening up to Chloe and trusting in love a big ask for a man used to relying on no one but himself.

I was thinking about the book and how it fits into a couple of different segments with quite distinct features. I'd better not tell you too much about that as I don't want to give any spoilers that might ruin the story for you. But I can say that the different locations, as well as being a simple geographic change, also represent different phases in the relationship between Declan and Chloe.

I didn't plan that, it just happened as I wrote and its only now, looking back that I can see the distinction, which I find fascinating. It's amazing to look back on what you've written and find things you've done instinctively, but which work so well in the context of the story.

The book is set in Australia - partly in the city of Sydney,  near the centre of the city and the harbour, where Declan has an amazing rooftop apartment. The rest of the book is set in the Blue Mountains, a scenic area west of Sydney where small villages rest on a fertile plateau that drops away in an amazing escarpment into rugged wilderness that's World Heritage listed. This photo is taken near Wentworth Falls, looking out across the escarpment. The book opens on a cliff rather like those, while Declan and his brother are climbing together. Declan's house, which I fell in love with as I wrote, is based on some gorgeous old, rambling homes that were built in the mountains over a century ago. I could see one of them as the perfect hideaway for a recluse.

I used two of my favourite places to set this book - places I love to visit for different reasons. That got me wondering about which is better - either for a short break, or to live. Or, to set an intense Presents story.

Do you like the glamour of the big city in your reading or do you prefer the quiet of the country? Do you like to read about the opposite of where you live or doesn't the setting matter to you?

If you want to read more about UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH visit Annie's website or pop over to Harlequin, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or the Book Depository.


  1. Annie, what brilliant photos. The Blue Mountains really are beautiful, aren't they? And nothing beats Sydney for glamour and big city drama. Great combination. I love UNDONE BY HIS TOUCH - one of your best. Love the Beauty and the Beast elements. And I really loved the setting. Lovely to have you back in Australia!

  2. Anna, the photos came out well, didn't they? Really, I can't choose a have - the mountains or the city. Both are great for different things. It was terrific though, writing this, to have such a strong sense of place for both. I've discovered that's important to me as I wrote. Thanks for the welcome 'back home'. It's been a while since I wrote an Aussie-set book. So glad you're enthusiastic about my first B&B story too!

  3. Annie, gotta love the city for the shopping and the country for the peace and quiet, though not sure about the snake and bugs

    Jane Beckenham

  4. Annie,
    your new novel sounds intriguing, loving Declan already. Another one for me to check out. :)
    I love Sydney, the Harbour, the history, the restaurants and shops. There is so much to see and do there. And our beautiful Blue mountains takes my breath away each time we venture into West. :)

    As for places where stories are set - as long as it fits to the atmosphere of the story and characters, I love them all. It can be the lights,sounds and quick pace of a city, or the lay back, fresh crisp majestic scenery of the country. Not to mention the stark barren loneliness of the mysterious desert or the vast blue span of the open sea.

  5. Oh, Jane, I couldn't agree more about the snakes. Insects don't worry me but snakes definitely aren't my faourite thing. I think you're right - each has its own definite benefit. I love big city shopping but I couldn't do it too often.

  6. Mary, you're a romance writer's dream - a reader who loves them all! Actually, I do too. It's fantastic to pick up a book in a glam foreign location but then too I get excited at the idea of a story where h&h are stuck somewhere together, not necessarily somewhere glamorous. Hm, the open ocean - I haven't set a romance there. What an interesting thought!

    Gla dyou like the sound of Declan! Hope you like him even more when you check out the story.