As well as encouraging her love of books, Annie’s family taught her to love travel and the Australian bush. Often she managed to combine all three. There was the long trek to the marvellous Finders Ranges of South Australia – with Tolkien. Walking in the rugged Grampian Ranges of Victoria – with Tolstoy. And reading gothic romances while camped under the snow gums in the Australian Alps.
She got hooked on romance early. In her teens she spent long afternoons playing tennis with her best friend. Between endless games on baking gravel, they’d stagger to her friend’s house to recover, and in that house was an unending store of books, all with that distinctive rose on the cover. That’s how Annie discovered romance and she’s been addicted ever since. All those strong silent types, flashing-eyed Italians, haughty Spanish aristocrats and the rest. No wonder the boys at school just didn’t make the grade.
Fortunately she found her own romantic hero while studying at university. Despite the distraction she completed her honours degree in Classics. She was also fortunate to spend lots of time travelling, backpacking through Egypt and Greece, ‘tramping’ in New Zealand, sightseeing in Europe and living in Germany a couple of times.
Annie emerged from University with no idea of a career path and took a job in the public service. The perfect preparation for an author! In her first permanent job she spent six weeks proof-reading various versions of the Australian Government’s purchasing manual: every – single – word – of – it. Checking the text of a novel is so much more fun! For years Annie wrote and amended and redrafted and revised: government plans, letters for cabinet ministers and reports for parliament. All good grounding for a would-be author.
Then the inevitable happened. Annie decided to write romance. Those books had been a constant through the years of job change and travel. Her chance came when she took leave to spend time with her children. Between preschool and school activities she produced her first novel. At the same time she discovered Romance Writers of Australia (RWAus) – and thank goodness. Without the help of authors who knew what they were doing she might still be writing stories just as good as that first manuscript! Since then she’s been active in RWAus writers’ groups and competitions, attends annual conferences and loves the support she gets from so many other writers. She had short stories and a romance book published in Australia but it wasn’t until late 2005 that she found the success she sought with Harlequin Mills and Boon.
Annie lives with her hero (still the same one after all this time) and her children at Lake Macquarie, north of Sydney. They are neatly situated between the Hunter Valley’s marvellous wine country, some of the state’s superb beaches and the beautiful lake.
She is always thinking of possible further travel (strictly for research purposes, of course) and in the meantime fantasises about gorgeous men and their love lives. It’s hard work but she has no regrets! Her circle of writing friends and her critique partner keep her on the straight and narrow, writing stories she hopes readers will enjoy as much as she does.
Annie loves to hear from readers. You can send her an email at [email protected] or visit her website above. If you prefer to drop her a letter, you can also reach Annie at Po Box 1041 Warners Bay NSW 2282.