Sunday, July 28, 2013

40 for 40 - Anna Sugden

It's pretty typical of the way that the internet has connected the world now,  and the way those connections work in the romance writing that I actually met lovely Anna Sugden in America before realising that she was in fact a Brit and that she had lived  not too many miles away from where I live now.

Anna will tell you all about that in her post. She'll also tell you why she  is a special guest today. She is another of my friends who is celebrating  her wedding anniversary - and the celebrations are today.
Anna has another special reason to be celebrating - a little early today perhaps, but what's a few days when you're celebrating your  first sale, with  your very first book  - A Perfect Distraction  - coming out on September  1st. So I'm delighted that Anna could join us to mark bother these wonderful events.

Congratulations x 2 Anna!  And welcome -

our wedding 002

I’m thrilled to be part of Kate’s 40 for 40, celebrating her 40th anniversary with her fabulous hubby aka The Babe Magnet.

Kate is one of the nicest, kindest and most generous people I know. I first ‘met’ her over at eHarlequin, when I joined the awesome ‘Brit Pack’ contingent of the Struggling Writers thread, and we bonded over our love of cats! Kate was always the voice of calm and experience, helping us newbies through the torturous journey of writing and attempting to get published with sound advice, big hugs and a kick up the backside when needed *g*.

our wedding 001
She’s supported me ever since, keeping me going through all the ups and downs of this crazy journey, so it’s particularly fitting that I can celebrate the release of my debut novel for Harlequin Super Romance -- A Perfect Distraction -- which is out Sept 1, at the same time as Kate and The Babe Magnet celebrate their wonderful anniversary!

Today is also particularly special for me - 12 years ago today, on a day that was just as hot as it has been here in England over the past few weeks, I married my very own romantic hero. So, happy anniversary, Doc Cambridge and thank you for twelve amazing years.

Doc Cambridge and I both appreciate tradition -- you can’t fail to being Brits! However, we’ve also always marched to a different drummer. For example, I’ve never found a bouquet of red roses particularly romantic, preferring instead gerbera daisies. As Meg Ryan said in “You’ve Got Mail”, they’re so cheerful.

And you can keep your diamonds -- they do nothing for me. Instead I love the fire and colours of opals.

When Doc Cambridge proposed, he broke with tradition too. He didn’t do the ‘down on one knee’ thing. He surprised me with a proposal poem that he’d written himself!

Our wedding wasn’t very traditional either. At that time, the only places you could get married in England were your local church or registry office. We’re not religious and the registry office wasn’t exactly romantic, so neither appealed. Luckily, the laws had just changed to allow us to get married in a beautiful, local country house hotel -- so we did.

I didn’t wear white or ivory, but oyster pink. My dress wasn’t long and meringue-like, but knee-length and fitted. No veil or hat, but gerbera daisies in my hair, to match my bouquet. My ‘bridesmaids’ didn’t have the traditional awful dresses, but wore their own outfits - which amazingly, actually matched. I didn't arrive in a limo, but in an antique car. Instead of sherry <blech> we had Pimms and champagne.
cupcakesOh, and for those of you who know my love of shoes - they were hand-made for me by Jimmy Choo!

Although my father did ‘give me away’, he didn’t give a speech. And although we did have a top table, it wasn’t the formal family arrangement traditionally found at English weddings - we had our dearest friends. No towering wedding cake either; partly because I can’t stand the heavy fruit cake that is traditional at our weddings. Though it’s common now to have cupcakes, at the time, we were one of the first.

Even our wedding photos weren’t traditional - we did have all the formal posed shots, but we also had a wonderful array of casual black and white shots too capturing the details, heart and the happiness of our wedding. We also put disposable cameras on each table so people could take happy snaps of the wedding - still some of our favourite pictures.

Ah, but just to be sure - I did follow one wedding tradition. My old was an embroidered hankie from my mother, my new was my wedding set of jewellery, my borrowed and blue was a blue garter from one of my best friends.

How about you? Are you one for traditions and everything done according to the ‘book’ or do you like to be different? Did you do something unusual for your wedding or did you stick strictly to tradition?

In honour of so many celebrations, I will give one lucky commenter a prize package that includes a signed copy of A Perfect Distraction, a presentation pack of special Royal Mail stamps commemorating Jane Austen, Cadbury’s chocolate and some Anna Sugden goodies.

My website is: and I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest – links on my website.

A Perfect Distraction can be bought at all good book retailers including


For those in Australia, it will be out as an Essence Duo in Sept, but I don’t have a link yet.


Michelle Styles said...

Oh the Brit Pack! How I missed our adventures and the pvc suits. They were good times.
I'm so pleased for your debut Anna!
Congrats on your wedding anneversary as well!

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Michelle! I miss those times too! Don't forget the rocking boots too ;)

Thanks so much - I still can't believe it. Perhaps when I actually hold a physical book in my hand it'll be real.

Tawny said...

Anna, I love your wedding photos and love how beautifully you not only broke tradition, but have made that a lifestyle *g* And Doc Cambridge? Love him, too :-D

I am so excited to wish you a happy anniversary, and maybe even more excited about your awesome book hitting the shelves soon. I can't wait!!!

Anna Sugden said...

Aww - thanks, Tawny, my fellow-tradition-breaker ;)

You had to know I married a good guy when you saw the shoes, didn't you? :)

Doc Cambridge sends his love back - we miss you! xx

Jane said...

Hi Anna,
*waving madly* Happy Anniversary to you and Doc Cambridge. Is he a Devils fan, too? Love your Jimmy Choos. I'm not one for tradition and I definitely enjoy going to informal weddings. My cousin got married in Vegas and it was less stressful for everyone because it wasn't too formal.

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Jane *waving back* - thanks so much! Yes, Doc Cambridge is as big a Devils fan as I am LOL

I knew we had more in common than just hockey - we enjoy being non-traditional ;)

Laney4 said...

When I wed in 1981, my mother took over. I was 22 and didn't care about traditions; I just wanted to be married. Since one of my sisters had married without telling family until afterward, I knew it meant a lot to my mom to organize as much as possible. My husband and I chose/paid for all but the hall (which my parents paid for, including the meal) and the rehearsal meal the night before (which his parents paid for), as per "tradition", but Mom made sure the flowers arrived that morning, the bridesmaids all came to her house to change, the photographer took photos where SHE wanted them taken, etc.

If I were to wed today, my vote would be to have a church wedding again (presuming that I hadn't divorced but instead had been widowed, which is a terrible thought in itself), with anyone and everyone allowed to share that moment with us. However, I wouldn't want to do the hall/meal thing again (if my fiance agreed), but instead would opt for marrying AFTER suppertime (if the minister agreed), followed by a dance for anyone who wanted to come. Since I'm in my fifties now and trying to downsize, the invitations would say "your presence is our gift" and "please dress comfortably, in shorts or jeans, if preferred".

When my husband turned 50 and I turned 40, we hosted a "90th birthday dance" in a local hall, where we wore jeans/shorts and I wore slippers. (Wish I could do that today, but my orthotics wouldn't coordinate, LOL.) People paid for their own drinks (as their gift), but we covered the hall and DJ, while family insisted on covering the snacks. Since then, we have hosted summer parties in our backyard (and carport and garage if it rained) for about 50 people each year, complete with croquet, ladder ball, washer toss, and hockey in our double-wide driveway. It works best by being a potluck, so it doesn't matter if people are a "no show" or if a bunch show up unexpectedly (which always happens). It doesn't hurt, thoguh, that we call it a "wine party", as we share homemade wine my daughter and I win every year at our local badminton club. On our 30th wedding anniversary, three friends who form a local band decided to share their music with us until 11 pm (re noise bylaw); what a lovely and generous thing to do, and something we'll always treasure.

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Laney4! Great to see you here!

I love the sound of your wedding, if you were to do it again. Though obviously I wouldn't wish divorce or death on your hubby :) - perhaps you could do it as an anniversary celebration instead!

Your birthday party, anniversary and summer parties sound awesome - I'm all about having fun and being casual too.

bn100 said...

a little of both

Anna Sugden said...

Intriguing, bn100 - what are you traditional about and what are you not so traditional about?

kimmyl said...

Congrats on your anniversary! I'm all for breaking tradition. I love keeping some things the same but then I've always had to add my own to it. I think that's what makes it so special and not so boring.

Anna Sugden said...

Thanks Kimmy! It's been a lovely day!

A woman after my own heart - adding your own touch is indeed what makes it special and stops it from being boring ;) I also like creating my own traditions.

pjpuppymom said...

Happy Anniversary, Anna! What lovely photos. I like the sound of your wedding. I'm all for the non-traditional. My late husband and I got married at sunset in a gazebo overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. My dad officiated and one of my brothers sang. It was small, attended by the people who meant most to us and just the way we wanted it.

You know how excited I am about your upcoming book. Can't wait to read it!

traveler said...

Congratulations on your wedding anniversary. The photos are lovely. I am totally traditional since I am old school and have been married for 43 years.

petite said...

Tradition is meaningful and important since it lasts and is always in our memories and the photo albums.

Fedora said...

Oh, Anna! How VERY lovely! Thanks for sharing a bit about your own wedding, traditions and new directions and all! I think we were a little bit traditional and a bit not--we had both American traditions and Chinese ones to ponder. We did go with a big church wedding, cream dress with train, attendants, and so on... And we had a 10-course banquet, red chipao (traditional red bridal outfit) with toasts and all. But we skipped the garter/bouquet tossing (which I'd always disliked even as a single person), dances, and tea ceremony...

It'll be 16 years in a couple months, and maybe time to pull out the video and photos to bore the kids with ;)

And huge congrats on the upcoming debut, Anna--can't wait to read that and all the books to come!

Mary Preston said...

Congratulations on your Wedding Anniversary!!

I think that traditions are very important. Especially traditions that have been created by the family. Something unique to them. In my Mother's family the bride always wore a sprig tucked inside her bodice from her 'maiden' home. The groom would remove it on the wedding night when she became his, as it were.

Anna Sugden said...

PJ! It was so lovely to see you in Atlanta ... those chocolate turtles are to die for!

Your wedding sounds gorgeous - I think it's so important to have a day that is just how you want it, just for you, because it's so special and it goes so quickly!

Aww thanks - you'll get your copy as soon as I get them!

Anna Sugden said...

Hi traveler! If traditional is what makes you happy, then that is perfect! :)

Congratulations on 43 years! We're at 12 and counting!

Anna Sugden said...

Having the memories and the wonderful photos is a great part of the tradition, for sure!

Anna Sugden said...

Fedora! *waving madly* Great to see you!

Aww thank you so much for the congrats and the book love.

Your wedding sounds fabulous - the perfect blending of cultures, traditions and your own personalities! Happy 16th :)!

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Mary! :) Aww that sounds like a lovely tradition. Now, that's the kind of tradition that I do like to keep - something that is special to you or your family. Much more important than whether or not you have fruit cake, I think ;)

Eli Yanti said...

Hi Anne *waving :)

Congrts to your Anniversary and your book :)

I have not marriage yet, but probably once I find him, the marriage will be according with our tradition :)

Anna Sugden said...

Hi Eli! *waving back* Great to see you!

Many thanks! Hope it wont' be too long before we're hearing all about your special day!


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