Anne Brooke Interview and Giveaway
I added this portion after I received the answers to the interview back from Anne: Anne is the ULG – or the Unofficial Literary Godmother – of On Top Down Under Book Reviews. She didn’t know it at the time, but it was Anne, a particular book, and two friend requests that helped bring Cindi and I together over two years ago. So Cindi and I are very happy to have Anne as part of our blog anniversary celebrations.
Kazza: It has been a year since we have had a discussion, when you took part in our 1st year blog celebrations. What has been happening with Anne Brooke in that year book wise?
Anne: Happy anniversary to you both! It’s wonderful to have such a high quality review site online, and thank you for all the good work you do. This year it’s been quite busy and I’ve had several books out. I’ve also tried to widen my scope and publish non-gay books under my own imprint, Anne Brooke Books. Examples include novel of childhood, The Apple Picker’s Daughter, and quirky crime novel, The Gangster’s Wife. Whilst I’ve had very little success with this so far, it’s certainly been an enjoyable experience. I’ve also produced a couple of children’s books under my pseudonym Lori Olding. The first of these is The Origami Nun, and in November Queen of the Fluffy Pens will also be published, both by Untreed Reads.
However, that said, my heart lies in writing gay fiction, and this year I’ve published the following with Amber Quill Press:
Kazza: Thanks you for the nice words about the blog 🙂
Kazza: I know that you are a strong advocate for LGBT inclusion in the church. Obviously (to some) believing in God and being LGBT is not mutually exclusive. It is good to see that Christians like yourself make themselves heard because so many hear the vocal detractors and become dispirited. What makes you so active a supporter of the LGBT community and the Church? How do you personally feel that is progressing currently?
Anne: I have a strong belief in equality and justice for all, and I also firmly believe that who we’re attracted to and/or fall in love with is part of God’s great plan and joy for humanity, not an enemy to it. I hate the fact that some people are viewed as ‘2nd class citizens’ in any respect. Actually, these days I count myself as a committed and healthily doubting Christian, rather than a church member; earlier this year, I left the Church of England for good as I am strongly against their official view that GLBTQ people are inferior in some way and cannot get married in church in the sight of God. To my mind, God’s love is already seen and celebrated in all marriages, whether gay or straight, no matter what the church says.
At the moment therefore, I’m attending a local United Reformed Church (URC) who are, as a church, currently debating whether same-sex marriages should be celebrated in their churches. They know my views on the matter! I must say that if the answer – due in 2015 – is ‘no’, then that will be a deal-breaker in whether or not I decide to actually commit to church membership, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t wish to be an official part of any church where gay people do not have the same rights and privileges as straight people, as I believe such attitudes are totally against the nature of God.
So, in answer to the question, progress in truly welcoming GLBTQ people into our churches can’t ever go as fast as I want it to!
Kazza: Call me rebellious or contrary, as my mother often did, but I do enjoy how Anne Brooke, committed Christian and all around sensible British woman, writes Christian Lit on one hand, children’s stories and Gay lit on the other…and some very sexy books about gay romance, BDSM ménage and, sometimes, even darker. How easy is it to be so diverse? And how did the gay fiction start for you, Anne?
Anne: Sensible?! Really, I’m shocked at that description and will have to lie down in a darkened room for a while to recover my equilibrium! Seriously though, I’m a great fan of diversity in all shapes and sizes – my husband says I’m a ‘good all rounder’ whereas my mother probably thinks I’m ‘too flighty’! So you will need to take your pick as to what a good description might be …
For me, gay fiction began in the books I read when young; there has always been a powerful male voice in my head so, when reading, I would invariably recast the straight couples into male couples. It just seemed to happen naturally in my head. Then I began reading authors such as Mary Renault and other more modern writers who actually had gay couples in their books, and so it was eventually a natural next step to start writing my own. I started off with comic gay romance The Hit List, and then moved on to far darker crime or thriller material such as Maloney’s Law and A Dangerous Man.
Kazza: It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t impact someone’s equilibrium at least once a day. Job done! 🙂
Kazza: Which brings us to today’s giveaway, The Beginning of Knowledge, review here – which made my Books of the Year last year. This is a deliciously dark and twisted novella. It’s also quite sexy. It’s not romance. It explores some interesting territory. I would love to know a bit more about it. How in the Dickens did The Beginning of Knowledge come about?
Anne: I’m always fascinated by the subject of obsession, especially sexual and/or romantic obsession, and how it can change everything in a person’s life. Actually I can be quite obsessive about stuff myself – though you do probably need to have a smidgeon or more of obsession to be a writer in the first place!
As a result, obsession is a key theme of many of my darker books, such as the works mentioned above. I also find the concept of submission/domination to be incredibly alluring, especially in terms of the mental and emotional responses – and this is a key theme in The Beginning of Knowledge. In fact, this story is probably one of the darkest and most frightening I’ve ever written, and probably one of the most erotic also. Which no doubt says a great deal about me, and the links I forge between sex and danger. Writing it made me very uncomfortable indeed but at the same time I couldn’t walk away from it. In many ways, it was a form of catharsis as I was able to write those kind of emotions onto the page rather than letting them spill into my own life – which possibly only goes to show how mad writers actually are … In any case, I hope that particular story manages somehow to be a real and honest look at sexual obsession, and the dark satisfaction and possibly enlightenment it can bring.
Kazza: Are there any current books out that we should be on the look-out for from Anne Brooke and any works in progress we should be keeping abreast of?
Anne: Books due out later this year include:
FREE gay short story The Rain Maker (Amber Allure, 26 October 2014) Gay fantasy The Taming of the Hawk (Amber Allure , 23 November 2014) Children’s short story, Queen of the Fluffy Pens (Untreed Reads, November 2014 – and under my Lori Olding pseudonym)
At the moment, I’m working on a straight comic romance novel, The Old Bags’ Sex Club, which I anticipate will be published under my Anne Brooke Books imprint, and later on I’m also planning a sequel to gay fantasy The Taming of the Hawk.
So, as you can see, I like to keep busy – it keeps me out of mischief!
Kazza: Oddly enough, one of my longest and dearest friends and I address each other as ‘old bag’ so I see The Old Bag’s Sex Club in our future reading.
Thank you to Anne Brooke for joining us today on OTDU
Anne: Many thanks for the searching questions as ever, Karen & Cindi – it’s been a pleasure chatting with you both. And congratulations again on being 2 years old!
REVIEWS OF ANNE BROOKE’S BOOKS ON THIS BLOG HERE.
Christian Lit: The Prayer Seeker
**THIS GIVEAWAY IS OVER. CONGRATULATIONS TO LEE.**
Anne Brooke is giving away an e-book copy of The Beginning of Knowledge today. Leave a comment below before midnight, October 26th US Eastern Standard Time for a chance to win. **Please note the review of the book and the CONTENT before entering this giveaway.