It gives me great pleasure to welcome author Anna Garner to MBB today. Anna is none other than our old friend, Libby Mercer, who writes sweet contemporary romance. She’s back, this time as Anna Garner, with a new novel in the women’s fiction/chick lit genre called LYING TO MEET YOU. The book looks really good. The cover is attractive and as I’m familiar with Libby Mercer’s work, I know it’s going to be a great read. I asked Anna to share about what it’s like to jump from one genre to another and she very kindly obliged. So, over to Anna now!
ANNA GARNER ON THE WEB:
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My first three books were classic romances. Well… that’s not exactly accurate. I call them quirky love stories because even though they followed the classic romance structure, they’re written in a chick lit voice. Ever since I read Bridget Jones’s Diary way back when, I’ve been writing chick lit stories. For years, I tried to find an agent and/or a publisher, but I didn’t have any luck with that. A few times I got close, but nothing ended up coming of it.
A couple of years ago, I was looking at book sales statistics when I had a radical idea. I knew the romance genre was popular, but I didn’t realize how popular it really was until I looked into it—something like every two seconds, someone is buying a romance novel. I was determined to take a crack at the romance genre, and I did (after spending several months reading back-to-back romances to re-familiarize myself with the genre) but I couldn’t help the fact that the voice was my voice—the one that I’ve been honing for about two decades now. And this voice was most definitely a chick lit voice. A bit nervous about releasing books that basically blend two genres, I created a pseudonym to hide behind and released Fashioning a Romance as Libby Mercer, which was followed by Unmasking Maya and The Karmic Connection.
Much to my relief and delight, these books were well received. And by the time they were all out in the world, I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of how the publishing world works, so I decided to release one of my chick lit novels, but to do it under my real name. That was a bit nerve-wracking! Sending my first Anna Garner book out into the world was scary, but I’ve been pleased with readers’ and reviewers’ reactions so far. Phew! I’ve got more Anna Garner books set for release—one for late December/early January and another one for sometime in 2014. I have another Libby Mercer book too (a work in progress) and in the meantime, I’ve got a Libby short story coming out in a holiday anthology entitled Merry & Bright, published by Simon and Fig.
Both genres have their advantages and drawbacks, in my opinion. On the one hand, I find chick lit is more fun to write because there are fewer restrictions. In romance, you have to keep things focused on the actual romance, while in chick lit, you can explore more facets of your character’s life—friends, family, career, dreams, quirks, whatever. Anything goes in chick lit, and your character’s love life is only one of many things
that may contribute to the plot. However, these books are much longer than category-sized romances (which my Libby Mercer books are) so they’re a lot to contend with.
Lying to Meet You is twice the length of any of my Libby books, and in the two weeks before publication, I think I read through it four additional times to check for typos. By the fourth read-through, I wanted to gouge my eyes out! And I yearned for the Libby books, which were so compact and manageable.
I’ve got so many projects in various stages of completion, it’s hard to say with any kind of certainty what’s next for Anna/Libby, but I hope to keep writing under both names and in both genres. And hopefully not to sound too silly as I refer to myself in the third person! Recently, I’ve gotten really big on reading crime fiction, and I have to say: I’m thinking about trying to write one at some point. I know this would take an
enormous amount of research and preparation, so it’s nothing that will be happening anytime in the future, but you never know. I think my crime fiction author name will be my initials plus a family name. AG McCray, perhaps, or AG Elliott. We shall see…
Thank you so much for having me on the blog today, Maria!
LYING TO MEET YOU
Does being in a relationship make you a hot commodity in the eyes of would-be suitors?
Chloe Lane is about to find out. When her childhood pal, Ethan Webster, asks her to play the part of his girlfriend in order to test this theory, she reluctantly agrees. As a work-crazed fashion designer, boutique owner and soon-to-be reality show judge, Chloe has no time for a real boyfriend, but being part of a faux pair will do just fine. Not that she has any intention of trying to attract someone else.
Opportunity unexpectedly knocks when Chloe meets fellow reality judge, William Shannon. Super successful and super sexy, this high-powered entrepreneur inspires Chloe to test Ethan’s theory herself. Now, on top of keeping her fashion business productive, carving out a new role as a television personality, maintaining a fake relationship and attempting to lay the groundwork for a future relationship, she’s lying to William, lying to her friends, lying to her family and quite possibly lying to herself. Will Chloe be able to keep it all together, or are things about to explode?