Hi there, a fellow writer at Romance Writers NZ has released a new book, and it sounds amazing. I asked Anne how she came up with the story. I’ll let Anne tell you about it:
Hi Catherine, thanks for the opportunity to hang out with you today. I’m pretty excited about having a new book to tout to prospective readers. “Worlds Collide” is a clean but not chaste story suitable for 16+ readers. (I’ve begun using this phraseology when describing my stories rather than risk offending a reader. There are wide variances in interpretation of the description “clean romance” and while I believe I write clean stories, my referencing such things as ‘tightening trousers’ and ‘peaked nipples’ are considered a little too graphic for purists of the sweet/clean genre.)
You’ve suggested I explain how I came up with the idea for Worlds Collide and how I turned that idea into a whole story. Okay, I’ll give this a bash.
Worlds Collide is set in USA, primarily Alexandria, a city on the southern edge of Washington DC. It’s a beautiful area I’ve visited many times. Justin Titirangi was ‘born’ in my first story, Worlds Apart. He was a secondary character who played a small part in securing Raven’s happiness with Greg. I had little need to explain why Justin had left New Zealand and exiled himself from his family and friends in Worlds Apart. But for this story I needed the detail.
Some years ago I read an article about a young Maori boy (early teen) having a dream featuring a taniwha who predicted a family death. He returned to visit the boy’s dreams for some nights, issuing the same warning. The article focused on the boy’s initial disbelief through to his acceptance (with kaumatua help) of a taniwha’s power when a relative did in fact pass away. I remember thinking this would be a cool idea to share, particularly with overseas readers. Would they be surprised, scoff, disbelieve a grown man would be so affected by a mythical entity? My heroine in Worlds Collide definitely is.
I enjoy writing reasonably lengthy stories so I needed another source of angst to keep my characters apart. A taniwha would provide the black moment. I latched onto the idea of money and social status when Justin turned out to be the “stereotypical Kiwi bloke” with no airs or graces. He’s the maintenance man at our Embassy in DC and has never experienced real social snobbery. I don’t touch on any possible racial issues because my book is a romance, not an attempt to discuss more divisive societal problems. Justin takes a shine to his friend’s sister and thinks nothing of showing his interest. But he sees being repulsed by the mega-rich Nicole as an indictment of his social status and reacts accordingly.
I needed to force them together again so had Nicole suffer a temporary cash flow problem which meant she asks to stay with her brother. Unbeknown to her, Justin is her brother’s flatmate. Living ‘together’ gave me the chance to slowly develop their relationship from antagonists to lovers. I used Raven’s appearance, her mother’s wedding and Justin and Nicole’s interest in a local youth club to show how wrong the characters had been about each other. I brought them together only to have the taniwha return and ruin everything.
I spent considerable time with a lovely kuia who suggested possible reasons for the presence of the taniwha and what might be needed to release Justin from its hold. I am very grateful for her guidance. While I don’t go into great detail, I trust my explanation about the taniwha is true to cultural beliefs.
Here’s the blurb to Worlds Collide:
Although a secret dread lays buried deep inside New Zealand tradesman Justin Titirangi he appears content. He enjoys his life in Washington DC. He never dreamed a casual invitation to attend Thanksgiving with a friend’s family would impact his life so disastrously. Previously untouched by social snobbery, he’s blasted with both barrels.
Nicole Campbell is ashamed of how she’d treated her brother’s friend, but is smarting from the demise of a long term relationship. She never exp ects to see Justin again anyway. A need to escape her smothering parents but without ready funds, Nicole temporarily moves into her brother’s house in DC, unaware Justin also lives there.
Sparks fly when Justin and Nicole come face to face but will they manage to control the blaze before it engulfs them both?
Anne Ashby grew up in a very small coastal town in Southland, New Zealand. An eagerness to travel, fostered by her mother, led her to join the Royal NZ Navy where she enjoyed a very satisfying career. She has travelled extensively and lived in Singapore and Maryland USA. Anne likes to bring something of her beautiful country to romance readers everywhere by using New Zealand as the setting for most of her clean/sweet contemporary stories. If not set in NZ, Anne has kiwi characters filling her books. Anne has a keen interest in genealogy, an obsession for rugby and a definite dislike of housework. When not reading or writing, Anne finds plenty to occupy her time with her family commitments and her role as the National President of the Royal NZ Navalwomen’s Association. She currently lives in Auckland with her husband and one of their four children. She’s blessed to have her four grandchildren living close by.
Thank you for coming by Anne 🙂