Interview with author Anne Armistead

 


Welcome Readers to another installment of our author interview series. Today we have the pleasure of chatting with Anne Armistead, author of historical fiction, historical fantasy, time travel and contemporary romance.

JMR-Welcome to the Books Delight, Anne. Tell our readers where you live, what you do for fun and what does the perfect day look like?

AA- Hi, Jeanie! Happy New Year. I live in Peachtree Corners, Georgia, a small town north of Atlanta and part of the Metro Atlanta Area. For fun, I spend time with my precious grandsons and my “grand pups.” Parks is two and Max is three months. I have four grand pups, all rescues, named Jobe, Mazzie, Buddy, and Goose. I also enjoy walking, listening to podcasts, watching BBC television, reading, and of course, writing. A perfect day is one during which I do all my fun things!




JMR-What’s your favorite historical time period? Why?

AA- I love old movies from Hollywood’s Golden Era of 1930s-1940s, so I would have to say that’s my favorite historical time, especially the World War Two era. Second to that would be 1920s because of the Lost Generation authors and poets and of course, their time in Paris.

JMR-Who is your favorite historical figure? Why? If you could ask them one question, what would it be?

AA- As an American Literature major, I studied Ernest Hemingway and his approach to his writing craft. I would love to ask him about how he really felt when he learned his wife at the time, Hadley, had packed all his writing in a suitcase, including carbon copies, to bring to him in Switzerland and then lost the suitcase at the Gare de Lyon. I once lost the most recently revised version of a manuscript on my computer and cried for hours. When I began revision again, I rewrote the scenes so much better. Did Hemingway believe losing all his work made him a better writer? A different kind of writer? (And what did he say to Hadley when he learned what happened?)

JMR- How did you come to be a writer of historical fiction?

AA- Writing historical fiction merges my two loves – literature and history. As a child, anything from the past intrigued me, including my mom’s old clothes, hats, and jewelry and her old books which comprised my first “holed up in my bedroom reading” experiences. I fell in love with old movies and loved talking about them with my mother. I always wished I could travel back in time into the setting of the historical novel I was reading or the movie I was watching. I almost majored in history as an undergraduate, but my love of literature won. However, as an English teacher, I integrated history into the study of assigned novels, so students understood the culture that shaped the writing. My creative thesis for my MFA in Creative Writing was a prose poem novel set during the Depression, and it required much historical research, which I adore. My longing to be a time traveler led me to write “A Tryst in Paris.”

JMR- You write in multiple genres; do you have a favorite? Which is more fun to write?

AA- I love writing historical fiction with elements of romance because I can lose myself for stretches of time in the research of events in history and create how to wrap the reality of those events into the fictional lives of my characters. However, I do enjoy writing contemporary sweet romance because I can write at a faster pace, which is rewarding.

JMR- Did you visit anyone of the places in your book? Where did you feel closest to your characters?

AA- For “Dangerous Conjurings,” I infused Leah’s intrigue and curiosity with my own reactions when I visited Marie Laveau’s tome and the Marie Laveau House of Voodoo in New Orleans. I felt closest to Leah when I stood on the banks of the Ogeechee River, which helped me write the scene when in emotional anguish she jumped into its water. For “With Kisses from C├ęcile,” during a trip to Paris, I had the surreal experience of re-reading Cecile’s letters while standing at the address she once lived. She became so real to me, as if she stood by me. Also, during another trip to Paris when I was writing “A Tryst in Paris,” I visited the Luxembourg Carousel, the story’s time travel portal,  and stared into the elephant’s eyes, quoting the Ranier Maria Rilke’s poem “The Carousel-Jardin de Luxembourg.” I felt swept back to 1900 as Mirabelle. 

JMR- Anne, tell us about your new book, A Tryst in Paris.

AA- When Mirabelle Montgomery visits the Luxembourg Carousel in Paris, a mysterious time shifter sweeps her into the Carousel’s time travel vortex and transports her to 1900 Paris. Her return will be allowed once she completes her mission to restore a man’s fate gone wrong. But whose?

Upon meeting dangerously sexy Jacques Thibaut, Mirabelle believes she has found her man. His life’s purpose as a stellar police detective has been derailed by accusations of his plotting with anarchists to overthrow the French government.

If she proves Jacques to be innocent, his life will be reset to its rightful providence. He will win back his job and those who once believed in him, including the woman he planned to marry.

Mirabelle’s determination to complete her mission kindles passion between them. But their falling in love will jeopardize everything, for his true destiny does not include her. Besides, even if her heart desires, she cannot remain in 1900 Paris . . . can she?

JMR- I read and enjoyed A Tryst in Paris, especially the detailed descriptions of Paris! How hard is it to get convey the real flavor of a setting given that it is set in the past?

AA- When I envisioned writing “A Tryst in Paris,” I worried about how I could place the reader into Paris of 1900. I focused first on fashion. If I were transplanted into that time era, I could not imagine going from the comfort of today (i.e., yoga pants) to the discomfort of then (for one thing- corsets!). One of my daughters majored in apparel merchandise and struggled through the required survey course of history of costume. She linked me to her professor of that course, who kindly schooled me on the 1900 fashions and designers. I learned about the fabulous Jeanne Paquin and knew she’d be important to my story. I turned to YouTube, which offers a vast collection of silent films of 1900, especially of the Exhibition, which helped me feel as if I were living in the Paris of that time. I found maps of the Exhibition and a tourist guide written for Americans visiting the Exhibition, which helped me understand the “lay of the land,” so to speak, for my 1900 setting. I researched the political scandals, news that made headlines, and celebrities of the day to see what events my character could be pulled into during her time travel. From my research, I chose to integrate into the story what I found the most intriguing and compelling. I tried to shape the details as interestingly as possible to appeal to the reader. I hope I succeeded in pulling the reader in!

JMR-What projects do you have in the pipeline?

AA- I am researching for Book Two of The Carousel Time Traveler in which Mirabelle again time travels to Paris, this time during 1925. I am writing a sweet contemporary Christmas “grumpy-sunshine trope” romance between a firefighter and a social media influencer, tentatively titled “Hearts Aglow Under Mistletoe.”

JMR- Tell our readers how to find you on social media and the web.

AA- Readers can visit my website https://www.annearmisteadauthor.com

 to find my social media links and learn more about me and my books. You can also find my social media links at https://linktr.ee/annearmisteadauthor

 

JMR- What question were you hoping I’d ask but didn’t?

AA- I love sharing about the charities I support, especially The Feeney Legacy Project (FLP, https://www.feeneylegacyproject.org ), on which I serve on its advisory board. FLP’s mission is to advocate being someone’s second chance by calling 911 and administering CPR to a person in cardiac arrest. FLP also educates about the protection of the Good Samaritan and 911 Amnesty Laws when making a good faith effort to save a life. FLP is dedicated to the memory of my nephew Feeney Armistead, who could have had a second chance at life if a bystander had taken such action.

To learn about other charities I support, visit my website at https://www.annearmisteadauthor.com/charity

 

JMR- Thank you, Anne, for stopping by. Your books look really great! Readers, I’ve included a link to Anne’s books below. Please be sure to check them out.




 




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