Welcome, today we are talking with Anni Fife! I would like to thank you for taking time out of your busy writing schedule to answer a few questions. First, I think it’s important for readers to get a little insight on an author that they don’t necessarily get from your professional bio. You’d be surprised at what readers connect to, and sometimes the simplest ‘I can relate to that’ grabs their interest where nothing else can.
Can you share a little something about Anni Fife that’s not mentioned in your bio on your website?
Several years ago, I booked a yoga retreat in the rainforests of Thailand. It was only after I arrived that I learned it was a silent meditation retreat. Shock! Shock! But the unexpected can often lead us down paths that change our lives in profound ways. This was one of those times. After days of meditation accompanied by the song of gibbons floating over the lake, my mind stilled. And in the silence, I reached a clarity of thought I didn’t realize I’d been searching for, for most of my life. Ever since, meditation has become part of my daily life. It keeps me grounded, and forever reminds me of the unique experience gifted to me deep in the Thai jungle.
What is your favorite:
Animal – Wild dogs
Food – Pizza—with ham and mushroom and extra avocado—and a glass of red wine, or two, or three…
Movie – Shawshank Redemption
TV show – Grey’s Anatomy
Actor – Meryl Streep
Singer – Bruce Springsteen
Author – Wally Lamb and Kristen Ashley
What are your pet peeves?
People who think their way is the only way….you know what I mean?!
Who is your hero?
Lisbeth Salander, the awesome protagonist from the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo trilogy. She always brings the baddy to justice using her nerves of steel, a photographic memory, killer computer skills, and lateral thinking that threads all the pieces of the case together. Love her! I wanna be her!
Give us one thing on your bucket list.
Scuba diving in the Galapagos Islands. I dream of floating over schools of Hammerhead sharks!
What would readers find surprising about you?
I can cook! I’m busy in the final stages of opening a new business selling home-cooked country favorites to go, like Chicken Coq au Vin, Lamb Coconut Curry, and Beef Bourguignon.
If you could go to heaven, who would you visit?
Amy Winehouse. Hopefully, she’ll have written a new song, and I can coax her to play it just for me.
Any bad habits?
When I start reading a book from a favorite author, I always miss my deadlines! I also have a lazy habit of slipping my shoes off wherever I happen to be sitting, and leaving them lying there for days. LOL!
What’s the funniest thing that ever happened to you?
It’s my wedding day and I’m walking down the aisle. A thread from the lace edging of my long white dress catches under the heel of my shoe. The more I try to release it, the tighter the thread pulls. The wedding march is playing insistently, my father’s tugging my arm, but with my dress folded under my shoe, I’m not going anywhere. Stage-fright has my dad in its grip, but thankfully, one of my dear friends leaps to my aid, grovels on the floor under my dress, and releases me to continue on my journey to my husband-to-be. At the time, I was terribly embarrassed at my undignified ‘walk down the aisle’, but in hindsight, it was hilarious!
Now that our readers know a little bit more about Anni Fife, let’s get down to the business of your book, Gray’s Promise (King Security Book 2). How long did it take you from beginning to end before your novel was completely finished, and how did you decide on the topic and title?
From outline to writing, editing, and release, took fifteen months. The titles of my novels tend to reveal themselves early in the outline stages, and my subject matter most often opens up during long walks on the beach.
But with Gray’s Promise, my intricate suspense plot didn’t go quite as planned. I hadn’t even reached the end of Chapter One, when I realized Gray and Zoey’s journey to their happily ever after was going to be so painful and intense, and so darn beautiful, that a complicated plot was only going to distract from their explosive love story. Without hesitation, (but after two shots of Tequila), I threw out my the plot that had taken me months to plan and research, and replaced it with an evil much closer to home. I think it achieved what I hoped it would, but I would love your thoughts…
Please tell us a little bit about Gray’s Promise.
Zoey Morgan seems to have it all as a successful surgeon in Boston. However, perfection lies only on the surface. Plagued by nightmares and amnesia from a tragedy that ripped her family from her fourteen years ago, she finds the courage to reach out to the only man who can make her feel safe. She’s buried the memory of their love, but her heart—and her body—responds to the ex-marine in ways that are all too familiar.
Grayson “Gray” Walker’s heart shattered when Zoey chose another man over him. Since then, he’s built an impenetrable wall around his emotions. But from the moment she implodes back into his life, her vulnerability breaches his defenses. His skills as an elite member of the King Security team cannot shield him from the devastation of learning he might have left Zoey high and dry when she needed him most. Now, Gray must navigate the tripwire of helping her heal while protecting himself from being hurt again.
As the embers of their potent love reignite, an old threat awakens, leading to greater danger than ever before.
What was your hardest challenge writing this book?
I think it was building the physical relationship between Gray and Zoey. Complicated emotional factors (clear in the story when you read it) dictated I delay the sexual consummation between them. This presented a huge challenge because I had to find a way to make their sexual encounters smoking hot without them actually doing the deed until the final chapter of their story. Unwittingly, the love scenes between Gray and Zoey have ended up being the hottest scenes I’ve ever written, most likely because the emotion between these two complicated characters is intensely raw, but also because Gray is just that darn hot!
What in your opinion makes good chemistry between your leading characters?
Lots of conflict! It needs to arise from both internal emotional challenges and external events that impact on the characters individually and as a pair. There must also be a searing attraction to each other that is impossible to resist, and a love that takes root early, even if it is initially denied.
How many books do you plan to write in this series?
I always planned a minimum of six, but there might be more…
Are they standalone romances or do they end with a cliffhanger?
Any other works in progress?
I’m busy with Eva’s Peace, the story of Scarlett Eva Young and her man, LAPD Detective Tom Payne. I can’t summarize the story, as that will make me hyperventilate! When I talk about a Work-in-Progress, I always feel like I’m trapping my characters in a pre-determined plot. But I don’t mind sharing with you the opening paragraph to the brief synopsis I sent my publisher.
“Eva’s Peace begins amidst a crime that most police admit they dread more than any other—a missing child. Grace Young, eighteen months old, has been snatched from her nanny’s car. We get our first glimpse of Grace’s mother, Scarlett Eva Young, through the eyes of the lead detective assigned to the case, Detective Tom Payne of the Los Angeles Police Department. He stands alone in the observation room, watching from behind one-way glass as Eva and her ex-husband are interviewed. Tom finds Eva difficult to read. She is undeniably beautiful but her face is a blank mask. A frozen blank mask. In his experience, this meant she either didn’t give a damn. Or she gave too much of a damn. He wanted to believe it was the latter. For the child’s sake, he prayed it was the latter.”
Any advice for aspiring authors?
I couldn’t possibly advise another author, except to tell them to WRITE! I still consider myself a novice, and I’m in awe of how so many romance authors pump out books at a rate faster than I can down a bottle of red wine. Ask me again in five years time, or ten, or …..