INTERVIEW: ANNE BROOKE

Long and Short Reviews is pleased to welcome Anne Brooke, whose latest story, “The Heart’s Greater Silence,” is released today by Riptide Books. I asked her to share a little about this book.

“It’s a story about one man’s love for and obsession with two very different men. I wrote it as I’m fascinated with what people do when faced with a very difficult emotional choice and how their choices affect others. I’ve also always wanted to include aspects of my own faith in a story and this seemed like an ideal opportunity.”

Mark isn’t sure he believes in love, especially when he’s torn between two very different men: his reliable boyfriend, Craig, and his illicit lover and priest, Richard. Mark knows what he should do, but he can’t bring himself to give Richard up. The sex with Richard is unlike anything he’s ever known with Craig, and he hungers for it as much as – if not more than – the truer intimacy he finds in his boyfriend’s arms.

When Craig discovers his betrayal, Mark is forced to look at his life more closely, but the path to self-knowledge is never an easy one. Richard seeks the way back to God, but Mark finds no solace there. Can he ever discover the truth of his own soul, or is he too afraid of what he will – or won’t – find inside his heart?

Anne has written eight novels—three GLBT thrillers, three fantasies, and two romantic comedies—plus numerous short stories in a variety of genres and poems. I asked her which was her favorite.

“I think my favorite is my gay thriller, A Dangerous Man, published last year by Cheyenne Publishing and Bristlecone Pine Press as a joint venture. It was the first book in which I really hit my stride in getting to grips with the dark and dangerous voice that lives in my head. Plus I was going through a really bad time when I wrote it, and Michael (my MC) was a major outlet for all that angst. So I’ll always have a soft spot for him.”

I asked Anne how she distinguished between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance.

“I think pornography is a sexual scene that tells you only where the bits go and nothing about the characters involved. Erotica tells you about the characters but there’s no emotional relationship, or possibility of one, between them. Erotic romance, on the other hand, tells you about the characters and also the emotional connection they have together. I like to think I write erotica and erotic romance, but I’m no good with pornography – I get too involved with who the characters are, maybe!”

Characters come first with Anne when she’s writing.

“I think when your characters are strong enough, then the actions they take or decisions they make because of who they are is the plot. Much like in real life, what and who we are drives us, and the same should be true in fiction,” she explained. “I’ve often created a character, thought I knew where they were going, but then they had other ideas and ended up somewhere quite different. Part of the fun of being a writer is to trust your instinct when it comes to character and go with what you think they might be saying to you. If it doesn’t work for any reason, you can always rewrite!”

It’s also the characters who draw her to a particular author. A few who she thinks write excellent erotic fiction include Alex Beecroft, Clare London, and Finn Marlowe.

“All three of them write marvelous characters whose stories really grab the reader,” she told me, “which is what good fiction is all about.”

Her favorite erotic author, however, is Josh Lanyon.

“He is very good indeed, though I do have a wide variety of gay erotic authors I regularly read. There’s something about the way he intimately connects sex, vulnerability and personality which makes any story he writes truly sing. Also he knows how to use dramatic tension and the small subtleties of character to make for a page-turning read, every time. I can’t help but admire that.”

“What is your favorite erotic book and why?” I asked.

“This is a tricky one. There are so many I’ve enjoyed. Actually, to take a wildcard book, I really loved Maria McCann’s historical erotic romance, As Meat Loves Salt. The portrait of its dark and brooding hero and the relationship he has with his lover during the English Civil War is never less than gripping and oh so beautifully described. When I think about it, this book was the catalyst to writing my own gay erotic fiction, so I have much to thank it for. Without McCann’s story, gay modern thriller A Dangerous Man would never even have been started.”

Anne is currently working on a gay fantasy novella, The Taming of the Hawk. It’s got something of a life of its own, she told me, so she’s not sure how it will turn out. She’s also writing the fourth in her erotic m/m/m Delaneys series for Amber Allure Press and considering if she should write a sequel to gay BDSM story For One Night Only.

Anne was born in Dedham, Essex in the UK on an apple farm.

“It’s a beautiful part of the world, and widely known as Constable Country (as the artist painted a great deal of his works there). In fact in one of his paintings (sadly I forget which one, darn it!) you can actually see a distant image of our farmhouse, which was medieval in origin, over the Dedham Vale,” she said. “Looking back, I think I had quite an idyllic childhood, though you never know it at the time of course. I spent a lot of my growing up years playing in the fields and running around in the orchards, so yes I am one of those increasingly rare people who know the proper way to pick an apple. Not much call for that skill nowadays, I fear! Mind you, the one thing I did hate about living on an apple farm was the huge number of really enormous spiders there were – like saucers, honest! I definitely don’t miss them.”

“What is the most embarrassing thing your mother ever did to you?” I wondered.

“Ah, now here I could make a HUGE list (bless her!) but I think the most embarrassing thing – and it went on for a LONG TIME – was when in my early twenties, she’d always ask me how my bowels were, no matter who else was in the room,” she admitted. “Yes, I was a … um … delicate child, but I didn’t necessarily want other people to know it, especially if I was trying to impress them! And I’d grown out of it by then – honest … Still, as I’ve admitted it here, then I suppose it’s not a secret any longer, is it. Whoops!”

If Anne were stranded on a desert island and only allowed to have five modern conveniences, I asked her what she would take.

“Ooh, love this question! I’d take a working toilet. Well, I was, literally, born in one (my mother will kill me that I’ve told you that …) and they say your first experience in life is the one that stays with you. Plus I’d have to be wary in case those bowel problems ever came back … Hmm, say no more,” she said. “I’d also make sure I had a computer connected to the Internet – that way I could carry on writing and keeping up with what’s going on in the big wide world. My next item is definitely a dishwasher – we got one for the first time ever last year and, I tell you, that thing is seriously my friend. I love it! I even love unloading it – ah, the warmth, the joy of it all – which everyone says I shouldn’t. I swear it saves me a load of time. My fourth convenience would be my Kindle. I wouldn’t be without it and just think of all that reading I could catch up with on the island. My TBR pile would surely then be a manageable size. We live in hope, eh! Finally – if I can’t have my husband who probably doesn’t come under the label of ‘modern convenience’ – then it would have to be a cappuccino machine. I can’t exist without coffee, and if it’s frothy then it’s the nearest thing to heaven. Plus I’ve never had a cappuccino machine, and I’d love to (hint to husband, here …) especially if I’ve been stranded, as surely then I deserve some pampering on the caffeine front.”

“What makes you happy?” I wondered.

“Having an evening at home when it’s just my husband and me. That I love. Yes, it’s great to see friends and I’m very fond of them, but I do love my own company, and my husband’s the same. We kind of count being together as being alone, which is possibly quite strange. Or cute. But probably just strange.”

Other things she loves include an evening of good TV—”nothing better than slumping on the sofa in front of the box and staying there all evening, bliss.”

She continued, “I also have a really deep relationship with the cake counter at our local John Lewis store, and it makes me so happy in fact that when I die I would like my ashes scattered over their home-made passion cake, the eating of which has lifted me to the heights of Nirvana. Which isn’t half bad for a dyed-in-the-wool Anglican girl. Well, I’m all for the ecumenical movement. Speaking of which, similar levels of happiness have always been achieved in the crypt café in Exeter Cathedral, who offer the best cream teas in the whole of England, no contest. Mmmm …”

About the Author: Anne Brooke’s fiction has been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Novel Award, the Royal Literary Fund Awards and the Asham Award for Women Writers. She has also twice been the winner of the national DSJT Charitable Trust Open Poetry Competition. She is the author of six published novels, her latest being the first of her fantasy trilogy, The Gifting, published by Bluewood Publishing. In addition, her gay and literary short stories are regularly published by Amber Allure Press and Untreed Reads respectively. Anne is very excited about being part of the Second Wave of authors at Riptide Publishing and is still performing her happy dance, much to the neighbours’ dismay. She has a secret passion for theatre and chocolate, preferably at the same time, and is currently working on a gay fantasy novella, The Taming of the Hawk. More information can be found at www.AnneBrooke.com.

You can find the author online at:

http://annebrooke.blogspot.com

https://www.facebook.com/annebrooke

https://twitter.com/#!/AnneBrooke

Comments

  1. Many thanks indeed! I did so love those questions :))

    Anne
    xxx

  2. I enjoyed the post; it was a great read. I look forward in reading The Heart’s Greater Silence.

    Thanks,
    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  3. Many thanks, Tracey – great to see you here! :))

    Anne
    xxx

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