Friday, May 13, 2011

Interview with Anita Clenney

I’d like to welcome our guest today, Anita Clenney. It’s a pleasure having you come visit us at Much Cheaper Than Therapy, where chocolate is plentiful and advice is free. So grab some chocolate and a lounge chair. Your therapy session has begun.

Oooh, sweets and lounging, two of my favorite things.

I understand you have a new release out called Awaken the Highland Warrior. Can you tell us a little bit about your fabulous new book?

Mis-adventurous historian Bree Kirkland discovers a 19th century Scottish warrior buried in a crypt behind her house. But Faelan, the warrior, isn’t dead. When he awakes, he has no choice but accept the help of this modern-day woman who’s rescued him, but she’s more fearsome than the demon trying to kill him. If he’s not careful, she’ll uncover every secret his clan has bled and died to protect.
The attraction between Faelan and Bree is instantaneous, and for a good reason, but so is the frustration, because they’re from vastly different cultures. Faelan can’t fathom a female being so bold and rash. The woman attracts danger like a bloody magnet. And she won’t let him protect her; he, a renowned warrior since before she was born. If he could drive that bloody thing she called a car, he’d toss her over his shoulder and get her away from her house before the demon who locked him up comes looking for him.

Bree feels something for Faelan that goes frighteningly beyond attraction, but on the other hand she’s ready to stick him back in the time vault if he doesn’t stop with this over protective nonsense. It’s not the 19th century, for God’s sake, and he’s treating her like a child. Women are tough and independent. But after she finds out what has this big, bad warrior so worried, she’s glad to have all that muscle close by. And she’d give her pinkie toe to get her hands on that talisman hanging around his neck.

Awaken the Highland Warrior is a very interesting title. How did you arrive at that name?

Originally, it was Awaken the Warrior. He’s the most powerful warrior of his time, and he needs to be awakened or the earth is doomed. The publisher added “highland” of course.

What made you decide to write in this genre?

The concept of the story started with a dream, but I’ve always loved romance and mysteries and adventure. Throw in a paranormal twist and it’s even better. This story seemed to capture it all.

Where did you get your idea for this particular book?

As I mentioned, the basis of the series started with a dream, well the demon part did, and I had been playing around with the idea of a buried warrior who wasn’t dead. I combined the dream with the idea and the book was born.

What are your favorite historical research books and why?

I don’t know what I’d do without Google. I’ll dedicate a book to it one day. This story is actually set in modern times, but Faelan has been sleeping since the 19th century, so we’ve got a little time travel going on. Since it isn’t historical, I didn’t have to do as much research as I would have otherwise.

Which character did you like writing about the most, and why?

Faelan. His story was so compelling. He lost everything he knew and loved and woke in a time he knows nothing about. He’s grieving over his family, his brothers and sister, and trying to figure out who this woman is who woke him. If she’s a demon or a prostitute or just an innocent soul who has opened the gates of hell in her backyard. He carries the responsibility of all the deaths that occurred because he didn’t destroy the demon in 1860, and now he can’t fail again or the entire world will be doomed. And he has feelings for Bree that are driving him crazy but seem impossible. It just made him such an interesting character to write.

Tell us about how you develop your characters. Do you create character sheets, do interviews, that sort of thing? How does your research affect your character development?

I don’t really do character sheets. I just have lots of notes and lots of info in my head. I do a lot of brainstorming before I write, then lots of notes and mulling things over.

What are some common speech terms, dress modes, transportation or housing facts that you found interesting for your time period?

The interesting thing about Faelan is although he’s a highlander, and as he tells Bree, he’ll be a highlander forever, his job as a warrior has taken him all over the world. So he’s kind of a covert highlander. His exposure to other countries and cultures has had an effect on him, allowing him to blend in when needed, play any part. It’s part of the warrior’s weaponry, allowing him to keep a low profile while hunting demons.

Do you have any authors that inspired you?

I can’t think of any particular authors that inspired this book, but I do have favorite authors and their writing does inspire me in a general sense. Diana Gabaldon, Kristan Higgins, Elizabeth Peters, just to name a few.

What do you feel is the most effective promotion you have done for your book?

I’m still learning. It’s shocking how much there is to do. When I started writing, I thought would just get to write the book and the publisher would handle that. Ha! Not so! I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Redroom. I had a glorious booksigning recently with Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kristan Higgins, and some other wonderful authors, and I sold out. That was pretty wonderful.

What do we have to look forward next?

Embrace the Highland Warrior, the second book, will be out in November, and then the third book, Unleash the Highland Warrior will be out in Fall 2012. Here are blurbs for each.

Embrace the Highland Warrior

When the powerful demon that left Shay for dead discovers her empty grave, he comes seeking retribution, believing she possesses an ancient book he has sought for centuries. Knowing she can’t fight the demon alone, Shay returns to her clan and the Scottish Warrior who betrayed her…the only man she’s ever loved, where she discovers that betrayal isn’t always what it seems. Sometimes it’s far worse.

Unleash the Highland Warrior

A talisman belonging to Tavis Connor’s brother is the only weapon powerful enough to kill the demon hell-bent on destroying the world. But the demon has captured Tavis’s brother and the talisman, locking them in a time vault that won’t open for 150 years. In desperation, the Scottish warrior breaks the clan’s sacred rules and uses another time vault to travel forward so he can rescue his brother, or bury him and finish his quest. But when Tavis finally wakes in modern-day New York, he discovers he’s the one in need of help.

Thanks, Anita!

You’re welcome! Thanks for having me. And thanks for the chocolate!

To celebrate her book release, Anita’s publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca is offering a free copy of Awaken the Highland Warrior to two lucky commenters on today's blog. (please check the blog Monday night to see if you won. Chances of winning determined by the number of entries.)
She will be around all day today. I'm sure some of you have questions or comments for her, so please ask away...


Anita Clenney grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel--lasted half a day)…she realized she'd missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids. Learn more about her writing at You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Bree’s fingers tightened around the metal disk as she ran through the graveyard, zigzagging past leaning headstones. Her lantern swayed, throwing shadows on the crypt looming before her, its stone walls the color of bones. Thick vines crept over it, sealing in cracks left by time, while gnarled branches from the twisted oak hovered like outstretched arms. Protecting… or threatening?

An owl screeched overhead as she scurried up the crumbling steps, wishing night hadn’t fallen, when shadows twisted into monsters and spirits came out to play. The burial vault lay open near the back of the crypt, waiting. Blood rushed past her ears, a sound like all the angels’ wings beating in unison. She moved closer and peered at the chest inside. It was ornate, made of metal and wood, with green gemstones embedded in each corner. It looked ancient, like it belonged in a museum or a pyramid, or perhaps Solomon’s Temple. The beauty of it struck her again, as it had when she’d first discovered it.

She set the lantern on the edge of the burial vault and studied the markings on the chest. Swirls and shapes like writing shifted in the amber glow. Stretching out a finger, she touched the surface. Warm? She yanked her hand back and hit the lantern. It crashed to the floor, throwing the top of the crypt into darkness. Dropping to her knees, she scrambled for the light. A sound cut through the silence, scraping, like fingernails against stone. She grabbed the lantern, not daring to blink, then remembered the wind outside and the claw-like branches of the old tree.

She placed the lantern securely on the vault cover she’d pushed onto the alcove and unfolded her hand. The metal disk she held was three inches in diameter and appeared to be made from the same metal as the chest, not silver, not gold. One side had deep grooves; the other was etched with symbols. With trembling fingers, she lined up the disk with the matching grooves on top of the chest and pushed. There was a series of clicks as the notched edges retracted.

A voice rushed through her head. What lies within cannot be, until time has passed with the key.

Bree whirled, but she was alone. Only stone walls stood watch, their secrets hidden for centuries. It was sleep deprivation, not ghosts.

She pulled in a slow, steadying breath and tried to turn the disk. Nothing. Again, this time counterclockwise, and it began to move under her hand. She jerked her fingers back. A loud pop sounded and colors flashed… blue, orange, and green, swirling for seconds, and then they were gone. Great, hallucinations to go with the voices in her head.

Her body trembled as she gripped the lid. This was it. All her dreams held on a single pinpoint of time. If this ended up another wild goose chase, she was done. No more treasure hunts, no more mysteries, no more playing Indiana Jones. She’d settle down to a nice, ordinary, boring life. She counted.




She heaved open the chest.

Terror clawed its way to her throat, killing her scream.

The man inhaled one harsh breath and his eyes flew open, locking on Bree. A battle cry worthy of Braveheart echoed off the walls. Bree jumped back as metal flashed and a rush of air kissed her face. Petrified, she watched him crawl out of the burial vault, a wicked-looking dagger in his hand. Her scream tore loose as she turned and fled.

Fingers grazed her shoulder, and she glanced back. The last thing she saw before her feet tangled with the shovel was the dead man reaching for her.

Awaken the Highland Warrior is available at most bookstores, including the following:


Anonymous said...

Good morning Anita. Thanks for joining us today. Sorry for all the technical difficulties this morning, but Blogger seems to be cooperating--for now. I like the sound of finding a Scottish warrior in my back yard. With my luck, I'd find a scorpion! I love google, too. Don't know what I'd do without it. :) Enjoy your day.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Kim. Thanks so much for having me. Blogger has had the blogging world in knots today. Maybe because it's Friday the 13th. At least, now it's working.

Donna Hatch said...

Sounds like a great book! I love your excerpt and the concept.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Donna. Thanks so much. I appreciate you dropping in.

Alexis Walker said...

Anita, I'm so glad your publisher added the "highland" word because I have to admit that attracts me first when I'm looking for a new author to read :-) Your series sounds excellent! I'm going to have to tell my sister about your books too because she's looking for a new author to read :-)So glad you came by today.

Pam P said...

Will have to get your book, Anita. I love both historicals and paranormals, so a story with both even better. Have to agree that Highland in the title gets my attention, too.

Emma said...

Great interview. Awaken the Highland Warrior sound wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.Thanks for the wonderful giveaway.

Estella said...

The word Highland makes me look at a book twice.

Cara Marsi said...

This book sounds terrific. I love the whole concept. I love Highlanders.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Alexis. Thanks so much for the the kind words. I would be delighted if you passed on the word to your sister. Awesome!

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Pam, so glad you stopped by. Actually it isn't a historical, even though he's historical. LOL. He's been sleeping for a really long time.

Anita Clenney said...

Hi Emma, glad you stopped by.

Anita Clenney said...

Estella, I love highlander books as well.

Anita Clenney said...

Cara, there is something larger than life about the highland stories.