Saturday, August 11, 2007

Great Big Blog Party 57 - Anne McAllister

There is another great writer friend that you must very important to me. And if you don't then you haven't been paying attention and Sid at least will be shocked to the ends of his whiskers. Because not only is Anne McAllister a very special and Dear friend of mine, she is also the Cat of Superior Breeding's beloved Lady Across the Pond.

The lady who knows just where to rub his head in exactly the right place, who brings him treats of salmon and occasionally greenies when she comes to visit. She is also the LATP who appreciates the long emails he sends her and replies to them in person.

Anne is another author whose books I 'met' before I met the author herself. And I loved those books.Again I still do. Anne is an author who can put a subtly different slant on a Presents book - she creates a hero who is so clearly an Anne McAllister hero. (To those who say that the books are all the same, I'd suggest you take a look at these two special authors -Anne McAllister and Michelle Reid and see how differently that Alpha hero can be created). And not just in the Presents novels -Anne's Code of The West books for Silhouette have that unique, individual slant that marks out a brilliant writer in my mind.

As a friend, Anne is another for whom the term 'soul mate' was invented - and the scary thing is that without the internet she and I would probably never ever have met. And so our husbands would never have met - perhaps and even more scary thought because if they hadn't then who would they ever have talked to quite so much!

If you check back in this blog you'll read about trips I've taken with Anne -research trips but at the same time trips that have been so much fun as we investigated either her ancestors or the Prof's - or occasionally mine. Seeing things through her eyes is a great way to refresh my own ideas and to look at things anew. As a result, I can never ever drive through the nearby village of Spital in the Street without thinking of explaining to Anne where the name came from

( The first part of its name, "Spital", comes from the ancient hospital for the poor which was situated there, this had its origins in a Hermitage. The Hermits or “Eremites” dwellers in the Eremos or wilderness, commonly placed their Hermitages in remote spots, often on lonely highways in order to extend hospitality to travellers)

Anne is the friend I shared a wonderful tour of Ireland with, who shared a fantastic seafood meal with me (and Marion Lennox) in Coogee , Sydney, Australia - And of course Anne is the other half of the Hugh-in-a-towel promotion campaign.

If you want to read more about my meeting with Anne then you'll find it here when I celebrated her books and our friendship back in 2006. And if you visit the Pink Heart Society today you'll find that she's writing about some of her favourite writing books in her first article as a PHS Columnist who's topic this week is FindDaBoo .

And here's Anne McAllister herself

(Kate crosses fingers that the paragraphing in this post works out right)

It all began with a castle. Maybe it was in Scotland. Maybe not.

It was close to ten years ago now, I know that. We authors had a Mills & Boon authors loop going and we were heady with the ability to finally contact each other instead of living in our isolated little garrets where we wrote our books and never saw another soul (well, another writerly soul at any rate). And in this headiness of instant contact, I asked for recommendations of castles to visit in Scotland as a son of mine was looking to visit Britain and thought focusing on castles would be a good way to go. Actually, I believe he thought focusing on whiskey would be a good way to go, but he didn't tell his mother that.

Anyway, I asked. And this Kate Walker person answered. I had known Kate's books for years (we began writing for Mills & Boon at about the same time), but I didn't know her personally. That began to change with the castles.

Then it turned out that we shared a childhood obsession with actor Robert Fuller in his role as Jess Harper in Laramie (and if you share a hero with someone, it means that you are On The Same Wavelength for sure), and since this has now evolved into an on-going international involvement with a certain man known as Hugh-in-a-towel, it's clear that Our Wavelength is strong indeed.

It also seems that we married men who never say a word to anyone for a year at a time (well, the BM basks in the glow of his admirers' fond glances and smiles, and even speaks to them, I suppose), but the minute they get together (hers and mine), they Never Shut Up. They have talked their way around England several times, from Guildford to York, from Millom to Bole. They have talked their way around a very large pond (a very large pond indeed) in New Zealand while mine was getting progressively later for a plane he had to catch. They have endured RWA and RNA conferences together. They have even talked all the way from Chicago to Denver (in a car, not on a plane) -- and all the way back. They apparently have a lot to say (to each other). Who knew?

So, this has given Kate and I even greater cause to bond. And talk to each other.

I have met a lot of wonderful writers and friends over the course of the last 25 years. I don't have enough fingers and toes to count all of them. But there are some -- like Kate -- who stand out as the ones who will be life-long friends, who have a generosity and kindness and enthusiasm and genuineness to make you thank God every day for bringing them into your life. They enrich your life in ways you never imagined (who'd have thought that I'd have a several volume correspondence with a cat, for example -- or an overhead projection of you-know-who-in-a-towel or memories of wandering up and down the hills of Millom and going into the bookshop which was formerly my gg-grandparents' house or of a house party in an Irish manor house that brought my book to life). Kate is responsible for all those things . . . and many many more.

There are far more than 50 reasons that I'm delighted to call Kate Walker friend -- and I can get there without even mentioning those 50 wonderful books. Congratulations, Kate! Here's to many many more -- and many more years of friendship as well.

ps: if this doesn't paragraph, would you please go back and put in the Hecks' "nevertheless" between each of them. It's a brilliant idea. Tell Sidney he deserves an extra cat crunchy (or ten) for that suggestion.

pps: I have just realized that I need to come up with a question. So here it is: You are an an Irish manor house having a weekend houseparty. You can invite whomever you want (up to ten people). Who would you invite? Why?
Yes, I know it's two questions, but I'm always interested in the reasons (what writer doesn't want to know about motivation and inspiration?). And who knows, I might want to invite them to my next houseparty!

Two winners will get copies of the book that started my latest mini-series, The Antonides Marriage Deal.

Anne's next book is The Boss's Wife For A Week which is out in September. You can read more about it on her web site or on her Blog


Anonymous said...

i hope its ok to invite people i
dont know.and will never know.
my husband because i love son he is now a teenager and i would love to spend more time with him.while i still sister in law.she is always laughing and in a good mood.larry the cable guy .he s just funny.racheal ray i would love to get some cooking tips from her.chipper jones my favorite baseball player.zz top to make my son happy.he plays the guitar.and i know he would love to play with them.julia quinn. maybe she would give me a few clues about her next book.i think this would be a fun dinner party .a little mix for every one............ (peggy)

Anne McAllister said...

What a great idea, Peggy! A nice mix of people makes a great house party. I completely agree.

Anonymous said...

Ok, needless to say first and foremost that there will be NO Eamon's at this party. So with that made clear from the start I would invite: George Clooney (because I'm convinced he would take one look at me, realise that we ARE soul mates and bring me back to his villa immediately in Lake Como); A good Irish priest friend of mine called Father Pat Claffey (so he could come to Italy to marry me and George); Goran Visjnic (So I can have a last fling before settling down with George); My best friends Susan, Lorna, Lindi and Lynn (to be the bridesmaids but as they're all gorgeous they would have to wear potato sacks and bags over their heads); A doctor (in case any of aforementioned friends suffocates and starts distracting proceedings, even though George and Goran have both acted as Doctors of course I know they're not really); A pilot with his own plane (so that he can fly us all from the undoubtably draughty and freezing Irish manor to Lake Como); A hypnotist (see next bit); My Editor (who the hypnotist will hypnotise into being convinced that she never has to ask me for revisions again...
that's all.
x Abby Green (not demanding much at all)

nathalie said...

If I was an Irish manor, who would I invite? I wish I could say I would invite the characters of my favourite novel - it would be nice to be able to see them in motion, but I know I would like to invite some medical personalities - I am after all a med student! I would have Elizabeth Blackwell attend, she was the first American woman to become a doctor, went to England to practice when no institution wanted to employ her and founded the first hospital for women and children in New York City, even if she had lost the capacity to see in one eye. It would be great just to listen to her amazing journey, to learn about perseverance and the power of following your dreams. Of course, I would add some famous doctors (as Sir Osler, Dr. Morton – the first to use anaesthesia and Dr. Lister who invented asepsis) and just listen to their views towards medicine and taking care of their patients.

Dena said...

Hi Anne,
Well I think it would be a lot of fun to have a few gorgeous guys;Matthew Maconaghy,Brad Pitt[alone and unattached]and Eddie Cibrian. My bestfriend and my sister.Also a great band to play and entertain us,how about U2 I believe there from Ireland.

Virginia said...

I would invite my hubby of course and my son because I would like them to see Irland. I would invite, my sister and four other good friends of my to come to the party because that has always been our dream to go to Irland and I still hope to see it one day in my furture.

Anne McAllister said...

No Eamons, Abby? Aw rats. Wouldn't you like George to have to fight him off and win you? That might make a very entertaining house party.

I wouldn't mind it being shifted to Lake Como, either. But I was pretty fond of Ballyvolane House near Cork.

Nathalie, I love your guest list. That would indeed be a fascinating bunch of people to have a chance to visit with. So much intelligence and drive and insight in one room. Boggles the mind!

Dena, I think your house party would be pretty amazing, too. All those guys! And U2 for the music. Oh, yeah! (and very thoughtful of you to include your best friend and your sis). Can I come, too?

Anne McAllister said...


Sounds like it would be a great house party. I hope you and all your family get there someday. We certainly had a great time.

Jenny Haddon said...

Hi Anne

Well, I'd want one of your gorgeous competent cowboys to check the chimney, light the fire, mend the stairs when they collapsed; and stop me getting in a stew before people arrived.

Then good friends - like you and Kate,Sara Craven, Marion Lennox, Liz Fielding, Julie Cohen, Anne Gracie, Katie Fforde . . .

I always had a secret hankering to hear Pierce Brosnan reading a ghost story. It's not just the fab voice; he has the profile for looking haunted in guttering candlelight. So maybe this could be his chance.

I'd also want some travellers' tales - so maybe Ranulph Fiennes, Matthew Flinders (who mapped Australia's coast line and wrote wonderful letters home to his wife); possibly Marco Polo.

I reckon George Clooney might cause a cat fight, Abby. But I'm not hostile to scrummy men in principle - expecially if they make me laugh. Apart from the dreamy Mr Clooney, that could include Dougray Scott, Dennis Quaid and David Tennant . . . oh dear, too many to choose.

Music - either the Chieftains or the Cuban All Stars. This is going to be a great evening, so I wanna DANCE!


Christina Hollis said...

I love parties, but sadly my beloved OH isn't a 'people person'. He only enjoys close family gatherings. Luckily, my sister will soon be providing me with the ideal answer: she's expecting triplets! So in additon to the OH and our own son and daughter, I'd invite Sis, her husband and the delightfully nicknamed 'Pip, Squeak and Wilfred' - as soon as they're old enough to appreciate a traditional Christmas in a fairytale castle!

Anne McAllister said...

Ah, Jenny, I knew there was a reason we were going to have a house party when we went to Cornwall! And since we couldn't do it last year, I guess we'll have to do it sooner rather than later. And you get to do the guest list because I like it a lot! Just add in Hugh-in-a-towel please, and we'll be all set.

Anne McAllister said...

Ah, Christina, what a great idea to make you and your husband happy -- provide the people from within the family! Triplets, yikes. We have two and a half year old twin grandsons. I just went out to eat with them. I think I'll wait a while on the house party. But when they're old enough, I'm sure Pip, Squeak and Wilfred will have a blast there -- and the rest of you will, too.

Amanda Ashby said...

Anne - I'm coming in far too late to enter the comp but just wanted to say that I loved your post about the friendship you and Kate have - it's great. Oh, and if I was going to enter the comp, I'd invite all my fav hm&b writers because they sure know how to party (and because I write paranormal books I'd manage to get that 10 magically turned into 100 since Irish manors are notoriously large and accomodating!!!!)

Anne McAllister said...

It's NEVER too late to propose guests for the Irish houseparty. In fact, I told Kate that I wanted her to keep it up and up and up because I was getting so many great ideas. You guys really know how to have a good time.

And yes, I think getting all sorts of great authors together is a brilliant idea. And if you can tear yourself away from Down Under NZ style and come back for a visit, that would be even better.

Thanks for stopping in, Amanda!

Kate Hardy said...

My copy of 'The Boss's Wife for a Week' arrived this morning. :o)

House party.


Would have to have my DH and kids there. But if I could go wild... John Donne and Shakespeare so they could declaim some poetry; Kathryn Williams and Peter Green for the music - oh and Jon Lord because I'd want some piano too; Antonio Banderas because he's gorgeous (!), ditto Rufus Sewell and Richard Armitage; my M&B author mates because they're all good company (but they would have to swear not to fight over the next guest); and finally Hugh-in-a-towel to keep certain people happy...

Talking of which - happy birthday, Anne!

Sue A. said...

I wanted to be sure you read this today!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNE! I hope it's a great one!

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Birthday Quote
The person born with a talent they are meant to use will find their greatest happiness in using it.

Michael Althsuler: Birthday Quotations
The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot.

Bernard Shaw: Birthday Card Sayings
Use your health, even to the point of wearing it out.

Jonathan Swift: Birthday Sayings
May you live all the days of your life.

Anne McAllister said...

Kate, Love the sound of your party. Great music, great people, not to mention the man in the towel. Oh, yeah. Works for me.

Glad you got the book! Didn't think it was out yet. Hmmm.

Sue, thanks for the good wishes and the quotes. I like 'em all. Good words to live by.


Cherie J said...

I would invite my immediate family and my husband's immediate family since they never get to spend time together and I think it is important they get to know each other better.

Anne McAllister said...

Cherie J,
That's a really smart idea. Always good to get the families in the same place so you can knit the relationships together and create a real thriving family out of two.

Thanks for stopping by!


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