The Mistress of Pennington's Tour

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Welcome Choc Lit author, Annemarie Brear...

Hi, Annemarie! It's so great to have you visit my blog again and have the chance to catch up with you and your latest release, Where Dragonflies Hover (great title!). Let's start with my questions...

1.)              What is the strangest talent you have?
I don’t think this is a talent, or at least not one I’m proud of but I forget people’s names as soon as they tell me. I’m dreadful.

2.)              What is the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn?

Being an Australian, Halloween wasn’t very big when I was growing up. We saw it as an American thing. So, I can say I am one of those rare people who have never dressed up for Halloween.

3.)              Are the titles of your books important?
Yes, I think they are quite important. I know it isn’t always easy to think of a title, and two of mine have changed over the years, but the rest are usually spot on to what I feel the story is about.
One of my titles, Kitty McKenzie, hasn’t changed. I felt the story was Kitty’s story, and she is such a strong woman that the title couldn’t be anything flippant or flowery, even the sequel, Kitty McKenzie’s Land, needed to simply state her name and the fight for her land, and it was enough. Her story, her name.
However, I do like some titles that have flair and meaning. My historical, To Gain What’s Lost, is about Anna and her journey to find all that had been taken from her by her cruel mother, a home, a fulfilling life and happiness.
My split era novel, Where Dragonflies Hover, was originally titled The Diary, but my publisher Choc Lit, felt the story, (or two stories,) deserved to be given a title that was more evocative, and I agreed. I love it.

4.)              If you’re struggling with a scene or difficult character, what methods help you through it?
Chocolate. Lots of chocolate.
Coffee. Lots of coffee.
Then I’ll re-read previous chapters and have a think. Then I usually throw a curve ball in to up the stakes. Someone will die, get sick, have a fight, get pregnant, fall in love, etc. Then suddenly the story starts flowing again.
I once wrote death scene while listening to sad love songs, and I ended up a little emotional, but the scene was so good. I was pleased with the result.

5.)              Do you prefer dog, cats or none of the above?
Definitely dogs, especially well trained dogs. I don’t like cats. I’ve always had dogs in my life until the last few years when I relocated from Australia to England.

6.)              Who’s your favourite author? Why?
Such a tough question, and I have no clear answer as there are too many. I will read every book Elizabeth Chadwick releases. Her work is exceptional. When I was younger I read all of Catherine Cookson’s books, and later all of Audrey Howard’s book. Audrey Howard, I feel, is a bit of an unsung author in my opinion. I have laughed and cried reading her books, not many authors has done that. The Woman from Browhead and The Juniper Bush, especially, are fantastic books.
Other than those author I read a variety of authors, including a lot of small indie authors.

7.)              Do you have a pet peeve?
Just one? I have loads. LOL
Lack of respect shown to others and property.
I can’t abide the amount of money footballers get for kicking a ball and are called heroes, yet the armed forces and emergency services are the true heroes and earn nothing close to such money.
The list is endless. I’ll stop now.

8.)              Do you remember your dreams when you wake up in the morning?

Most of the time yes. I’ve always been a dreamer, and had nightmares frequently as a child (the kind where my Mum would find me climbing out of the bedroom window, etc).
My dreams are hardly ever nice and romantic. For some reason my dreams are dramatic. I wake up startled, as I’m usually running for my life or something just as traumatic. It’s exhausting. :o)

Where Dragonflies Hover blurb:

Sometimes a glimpse into the past can help make sense of the future …

Everyone thinks Lexi is crazy when she falls in love with Hollingsworth House – a crumbling old Georgian mansion in Yorkshire – and nobody more so than her husband, Dylan. But there’s something very special about the place, and Lexi can sense it. 
Whilst exploring the grounds she stumbles across an old diary and, within its pages, she meets Allie – an Australian nurse working in France during the First World War.
Lexi finally realises her dream of buying Hollingsworth but her obsession with the house leaves her marriage in tatters. In the lonely nights that follow, Allie’s diary becomes Lexi’s companion, comforting her in moments of darkness and pain. And as Lexi reads, the nurse’s scandalous connection to the house is revealed …

The late sunshine enveloped the house in a golden glow. Again, it seemed to call to her, begging for attention. A path on the left of the drive looked inviting as it meandered through a small strand of poplars. Lexi grabbed her keys, locked the car and took off to explore again. She had nothing to rush home to now, and if she got caught for trespassing, then so be it.
The overgrown pathway brought her out on the far side of the grounds near the end of a small lake. She gazed over the water towards the back of the house and noticed a paved terrace area. From there the lawn then sloped down to the water. She’d not been around the back before and fell even more in love with the property. She could imagine the serenity of sipping a cool drink on a hot summer’s day and looking out over the lake.
Lexi stepped out along the bank. A lone duck swam by, its movement serene on the glassy, dark surface. This side of the lake was in shadow from large pine trees, and she stumbled on fallen pinecones hidden in the long grass. On the opposite side of the water were some small buildings, a garage, fruit trees in early blossom, and an overgrown vegetable patch, complete with a broken, rejected-looking scarecrow.
She wandered over to a narrow shed on her left and peered through its sole, dirty window. Unable to make out much in the dimness, she walked around to the front and was surprised when she was able to pull the bolt back on the door. Why didn’t people lock things? A covered rowboat took up most of the space inside. She smiled, seeing herself rowing it on the lake. Growing more excited, Lexi edged around it to peer at the workbenches and the odd assortment of tools and useless things one found in abandoned sheds. It was like treasure hunting in an antique shop. She used to love doing that with her grandfather.
She glanced about and spied a dusty painting leaning against the wall. The scene was of a child and a brown dog. Behind the canvas were more paintings, some framed, some not. Lexi flicked through them. The ones that caught her attention she took out and set aside.
She looked for somewhere to sit and study the paintings. A small tin trunk wedged under a workbench seemed the only offering. Thinking it empty, she went to tug it out, but it remained fast.
Using both hands, she heaved it out and was showered in a puff of dust. Squatting down, she inspected the latch that was held tight with a small lock. ‘Why are you locked?’ she murmured. The shed was open to anyone passing by, yet this ugly little chest had a lock on it. The trunk was nothing special, plain and in parts rusted. No ornament or writing hinted at its use.
Intrigued, she grabbed a hammer from the workbench, but then hesitated. She had no right to open someone else’s property. Lexi closed her eyes momentarily. What was she thinking of breaking into the trunk? What am I doing? Never had she broken the law and here she was guilty of trespassing and breaking and entering! She looked around the rowboat as though expecting someone to jump out and arrest her.
Something inside urged her on. She knew she couldn’t stop now. Sucking in a deep breath, she bent and hit the lock hard. The ringing sound was loud in the quiet serenity of the garden. The metal dented and with another few solid whacks the lock gave.
Shivers of excitement tingled along her skin. Gently, she eased up the lid.

Buy links:
Also available in Apple ibooks, etc.

About Annemarie Brear:
Australian born Annemarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances. Currently living in England, her passions, apart from writing, are reading, researching, genealogy, roaming historical sites, buying books and gardening. She is an author of historical women's fiction, contemporary romance and several short stories. Also lover of chocolate, good movies and her family!

Annemarie Brear on the web: 
   Twitter @annemariebrear.


  1. Loved your book, Annemarie. I suffered nightmares as a child too, in technicolor. I wonder if that's a creative mind at work.

  2. I think it might be, Maggi. Shall we say that it is? LOL

    Thank you for having me, Rachel. x