The Second Lie is your latest release, can you tells us a little about it?
THE SECOND LIE is a paranormal romantic suspense, part of my Immortal Vikings series inspired by Beowulf, classic television like Remington Steele, and my love of unusual underground places. The hero Stig is an immortal Viking thief and conman who has lived most of his 1500 years as an Englishman. Christina is from California. Although it’s part of a series, I think it can stand alone if a reader hasn’t read FIRST TO BURN. You agree?
I don’t usually talk about ‘theme’ in my books, I just try to write an exciting story that readers connect to, but if the theme of FIRST TO BURN was “family” and the theme of my novella HIS ROAD HOME was “you’re more than the label people put on you,” then the theme of THE SECOND LIE is “identity”. Who gets to define a person? Can you say who you are, or is your identity always dependent on others? What makes a person who he or she is? That’s something Stig and Christina, both of whom are living with various lies, have to work out even while they’re on the run from a heck of a lot of bad dudes.
What books are you looking forward to in 2015? Now that I’m a published author, I’m a judge for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA contest for the first time ever. My packet of books has a lot of great surprises in it, but I’m not allowed to say what, although I’ll admit to freaking out over how to score the books and how many I have to read. What else, let’s see … this week I bought The Duke of Dark Desires by Miranda Neville, which I’m saving as a treat for when I finish all my RITA judging. No other reading and no playing 2048 until I finish the RITA books. I’m also looking forward to reading Courtney Milan’s new release, Trade Me, and I think Sharon Lynn Fisher (author of Ghost Planet) has a new book this year.
Not books, but I really NEED Castle and Sherlock to start up again.
Your heroine Christina, runs a wine collection service. What was your research like for that part of the background? Many years ago Mr. Richland and I spent a long weekend in Napa, and we enjoyed a place called The Bounty Hunter, which has both a café and sends monthly or quarterly selections of wine to subscribers. For research, I studied their catalog and thought about how a woman business owner might develop a similar but smaller niche where personal connections would be really valuable, thus I built Christina’s business in my mind. The trickiest part was coming up with names for imaginary wineries that hadn’t already been used! I crowd-sourced that on Facebook, and friends gave me names of obscure birds (“Pluvialis”), obscure words for red (“Incarnadine”), etc.
Was Stig easier or harder to right than Wulf? Neither of them was particularly hard, because I heard distinctly different voices for each of them in my head. The whole time I was writing Stig, he “talked” to me in a really terrible British accent that even came out when I read his dialog out loud, something I do for all my books. I have military experience that helped make Wulf and his military team sound realistic, and my family went on a vacation to London and Belgium right before I began work on THE SECOND LIE, so I had what I think of as a good sense of both heroes. The problem is actually the hero of my current work in progress, an Immortal Viking named Bjorn, because he keeps slipping into Stig’s British accent! Bjorn is supposed to sound American but I can’t get Stig OUT of my head.
What do you love most about writing these Immortal Vikings? I really enjoy writing the Vikings’ flashbacks to events from Beowulf and their past 1,500 years. I try to find a different scene from the epic itself to retell from each character’s point of view, like Stig’s flashback to the dragon’s hoard, and I also try to include something from their life since - Stig on the Titanic, for instance. Those are really fun to write.
If you could cast any actor Stig, who would it be?
Probably Daniel Craig. He’s Stig when he puts on a tuxedo.
Even though he's a bit of a jerk I really like Ivar. Will we be seeing more
of him? Absolutely! Ivar’s in every book. I plan for his story to be the last of the series. The Immortal Viking book I’m currently writing occurs at the same story-time as THE SECOND LIE, so when Ivar leaves Belgium he goes off in his jet straight to where the other story is taking place, because Bjorn calls in a debt. Although Wulf and Theresa from FIRST TO BURN show up to help in THE SECOND LIE, I don’t think they’ll be in the third book - just Ivar and possibly Theresa’s step-father, backing up Ivar. I have to figure out if there’s an Italian word for your son-in-law’s brother, but Theresa’s stepdad would totally think of Ivar as “family.” If I had all the time in the world (HA!) I would write a short story about Theresa fixing Ivar up on a blind date, but I have to actually write the book I’m working on right now.
These were great questions - I’m glad you liked THE SECOND LIE and wanted to have me back on your blog. Thank you!
Immortal Vikings #2
By Anna Richland
Wineseller Christina Alvarez Mancini told one little lie—to reassure wealthy clients, she invented a suave British boss. With her ultimate dream, a winery of her own, close to becoming reality, she can't allow irregularities at a high-end wine auction to jeopardize her reputation.
A conman in love with a good plan.
Stig needs money, fast. An immortal Viking thief who discovered the perfect role as a fictional wine merchant, he's days away from the big payoff. Even if the California woman who created his character realizes a real person is conducting business in London, he'll disappear. That's what he does best.
Secrets that turn deadly.
Stig has success in his sights when Christina walks into his auction preview, ready to ruin his plan. Experience tells Stig to cut and run; a thousand years of boredom compel him to flirt. And when deadly Vikings from Stig's past crash the party, Christina and Stig are forced to cooperate in order to escape. Yet everywhere they flee, it's these two rivals' own lies that set the greatest traps…
She donates a portion of her book proceeds to two charities: the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing for families of wounded soldiers in the US and Great Britain, and Doctors Without Borders, which delivers emergency medical care in more than sixty crisis zones world-wide.
To sign up for Anna's newsletter, find out more about her books, and read longer excerpts, please visit her website at www.annarichland.com.