Annie, congrats on your debut sweet, contemporary romance, A MATCH MADE IN HERITAGE VIEW. You’ve said that Heritage View is a fictitious town, loosely based on the area where you grew up. Can you tell us a little bit about how that came to be?
I grew up in the picturesque Hudson Valley of New York State. It’s an area that is near and dear to my heart. The region is rich with history and boasts lots of interesting, quirky towns that have great heritage and character. The tone can be quite varied, I think due to the influence of New York City blending with the flavors of New England and Upstate New York. They all come together in a really special way. That eclectic quality made it perfect for the creation of a fictitious town that I’ve begun to populate with wonderful characters. The setting has become one of the characters and I’m looking forward to sharing and exploring more of Heritage View as the series progresses.
Did you always want to write romance?
Yes and no. I’d say it was more of a daydream because I had a whimsical, fantasy idea of what that meant. I somehow saw it as separate from real life and college, jobs, getting married, and buying a house. It was a charming wish or a secret that I carried around in a little pocket in my heart labeled “maybe someday”. I joined RWA several years ago, not really understanding what it was all about. I started a book that was a version of what this one would later become. I got about ten minutes into it and then we started our family and that was that...or so I thought. I can’t explain it, but I wasn’t ready. After our youngest child started school, something changed and I suddenly felt ready. I sat down and wrote the book fairly quickly from scratch. It felt like a switch had been flipped and my heart was ready. I took the dream out of my pocket, dusted it off, and I’m on my way. It’s been a pleasure, and I’m very fortunate that my first novel has been published.
When you are not writing, and you have a free moment to read, what do you like to pick up?
Hmm. I am pretty devoted to the romance genre, though I also enjoy more book-club type fiction and historical fiction, as long as it isn’t too angsty. I don’t do scary movies or scary books. At this stage of life with young kids and hectic days, I tend to read right before bed. I’m usually half-asleep and I want to relax and be entertained. I love historical romance. Right now, Eloisa James and Lisa Kleypas are auto-buys for me. They are deliciously escapist and entertaining reads, but the writing is really sharp, intelligent, and crisp. I have a huge TBR pile, but don’t we all? I’m the only person I know who hasn’t read any J.D. Robb books and I’m looking forward to starting them soon. For comforting, atmospheric books, Rosamund Pilcher and Marcia Willett are fantastic. I go through phases and I’m prone to glomming. I’m trying to organize my “read/to-read” list on Goodreads now. So much better than little scraps of paper all over the house.
What type of audience is best for A MATCH MADE IN HERITAGE VIEW?
Can I say mushy people? No? How about sentimental people? The optimistic dreamers, looking for a bit of a cozy, relaxing way to spend an afternoon. It isn’t real life per se, it’s life the way you might wish it could be. The houses are bit quainter, the characters are a bit more charming, the problems are a bit easier to solve than in real life. It is your favorite squishy chair, or a chat with that old friend who knows you so well. It is an ideal story for the beach or lazing by the pool this summer.
What are you working on next?
I’ve finished Book 2 in the series and I’m polishing it now to submit to my editor. I’ll start Book 3 this summer.
Thank you for sitting down with us!
Annie Stiles was practically born with a book in her hand, but the writing came later. A daydreamer by nature, Annie always secretly wanted to be a romance novelist. It wasn’t until her youngest child started kindergarten that she buckled down and turned that dream into reality. She is fascinated by characters on the page and in real life, and talks with her hands so much that people have been known to duck.
When not on her laptop, she likes to putter in her garden. Annie lives in the beautiful Capital-Saratoga region of New York State with her college sweetheart husband and their two children. They are all owned by two cats.
Annie writes satisfying, character-driven contemporary romance.
Rose-colored glasses are standard issue.