RONA Awards 2022 Celebration Drinks with… Annie O’Neil

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Continuing with my celebration of the 2022 Romantic Novel Awards, tonight I am delighted to welcome to the blog for drinks and chat, an author shortlisted in the category for the Shorter Romantic Novel Award with her novel, Hawaiian Medic to Rescue His Heart. It’s… Anne O’Neil.

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Annie, welcome to the blog and thank you for joining me for drinks this evening. First things first, what are you drinking?

A HUGE mug of coffee which probably is inadvisable considering the time. Perhaps I should’ve gone wild with an espresso martini!

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If we weren’t here in my virtual bar tonight, but were meeting in real life, where would you be taking me for a night out?

I live on a farm in the middle of nowhere, so the options for a big night out are fairly limited. My old stomping ground, however, was London and I think if we were heading out for some razzle dazzle it might kick off at the top floor bar at the flagship Waterstones store in Picadilly.

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Good choice! If you could invite two famous people, one male and one female, alive or dead, along on our night out, who would we be drinking with?

Oooo. That’s an insanely tough question. I actually used to interview famous people for a living and learnt sometimes it’s best not to meet the ones you are truly googly-eyed over. Saying that…If we’re going out on the razzle I think Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock would be excellent margarita companions!

So, now we’re settled, tell me what you are up to at the moment. How and why did you start it and where do you want it to go?

Right now I am praying the water will come on. Storm Eunice made herself heard here at the farm and we’ve been hauling firewood and buckets of water around so I feel like one of the servants in a Jane Austen novel (minus the muddied petticoats). When the power is on, however, I am just beginning work on a new RomCom that I’m writing for Lake Union Publishing (Amazon) and am really enjoying it. I’d love for it to turn into one of those laughing one minute, crying the next books, but as I’m only on the fifth page we’ll just have to wait and see! 

What has been your proudest moment since you started writing and what has been your biggest challenge?

Gosh. Winning the RoNA Rose for Romantic Short Novel on my third M&B Medical romance was pretty amazing. I’d say writing an uplit novel just after my beloved dog died was probably one of the hardest things. I don’t have children so, yes, I’m “one of those people” when it comes to dogs and boy howdy. It did show me the power of escaping into a good book, though…even when you’re writing it yourself!

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What is the one big thing you’d like to achieve in your chosen arena? Be as ambitious as you like, its just us talking after all!

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE for one (read: all) of my books to become a film or mini-series. I adore Hallmark/Netflix Christmas films, so seeing one of my books light up people’s screens during the holidays would truly become a dream come true.

What are have planned that you are really excited about?

I’m really excited about the book I’m writing, but I’m so early into it, I’m afraid no spoilers apart from the fact that if you like men in kilts…you’re in luck!

I love to travel, and I’m currently drawing up a bucket list of things I’d like to do in the future. Where is your favourite place that you’ve been and what do you have at the top of your bucket list?

One of my favourite places is Bali. I absolutely loved it there. The scents, the food, the beautiful surrounds. It really appealed to me. Right now one of my dream destinations is Japan. I am a massive foodie so am pretty sure I’d need to bring clothes with elastic waistbands!

Tell me one interesting/surprising/secret fact about yourself.

I once wore a Paddington Bear style raincoat to a white House press briefing in the Rose Garden on a bright sunny day so that President Clinton would smile at me only to become a cutaway for all of the major news organisations and my boss back in London rang me during it and asked why I was dressed so weirdly!

Books are my big passion and central to my blog and I’m always looking for recommendations. What one book would you give me and recommend as a ‘must-read’?

This week? Hamnet. I ADORED it. I thought it was absolutey amazing. I better stop there because I could go on for ages.

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TWO EXTRAORDINARY PEOPLE. A LOVE THAT DRAWS THEM TOGETHER. A LOSS THAT THREATENS TO TEAR THEM APART.

On a summer’s day in 1596, a young girl in Stratford-upon-Avon takes to her bed with a sudden fever. Her twin brother, Hamnet, searches everywhere for help. Why is nobody at home?

Their mother, Agnes, is over a mile away, in the garden where she grows medicinal herbs. Their father is working in London.

Neither parent knows that Hamnet will not survive the week.

I adored that book too. So, we’ve been drinking all evening. What is your failsafe plan to avoid a hangover and your go-to cure if you do end up with one?

My failsafe is actually my American hang-over cure which, considering I’ve been living in the UK for the last twenty-five years puts me in a bit of a pickle. It is, if you’re still interested, a long glass of cranberry juice and a packet of Fritos (a sort of corn-based crisp). So good!

After our fabulous night out, what would be your ideal way to spend the rest of a perfect weekend?

Detox yoga followed by a four hour brunch with friends and then a great movie or boxset.

Thank you so much for chatting with me this evening, Annie, it has been great fun. 

Annie’s RONA-shortlisted novel, Hawaiian Medic To Rescue His Heart, is available now and you can buy a copy here.

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Tempting the single dad!

Firefighter and paramedic Zach is looking forward to a quieter life in Hawaii and building a brighter future for himself and his son. But his beautiful, kind, vibrant new colleague, Lulu, has the potential to derail all of his plans…

Annie’s latest title for Mills & Boon is out now. It’s called New Year Kiss with his Cinderella.

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From a midnight kiss…

…to a reunion in ER!

When Dr. Carter shares a New Year kiss with a captivating stranger, he doesn’t expect a reunion. Until he walks into Saint Dolores’ ER the very next day…and discovers she’s his new colleague! Akwardly, their smoking-hot attraction hasn’t gone away! But for Carter life has meant he simply can’t lay down roots. Yet, there’s something about Nurse Avery and Nashville that’s starting to really feel like home…

For those of you who like a RomCom, Annie written a book under her new name (read: actual name) which is Sheila McClure. She’s really proud of The Break-Up Agency, which will be out late summer/early autumn.

Annie O’Neil spent most of her childhood with a leg draped over the family rocking chair and a book in her hand. Novels, baking and writing too much teenage angst poetry ate up most of her youth. Now, quite a few years on from those fevered daydreams of being a poet, Annie splits her time between raising striped cows, harvesting honey, juicing apples – but she mostly spends an abundance of very happy hours at her computer writing as Annie O’Neil, Daisy Tate and this year, as Sheila McClure. Multiple writing personalities have never been more fun!

Connect with Annie:

Website: https://annieoneilbooks.com

Facebook: Annie O’Neil Books

Twitter: @AnnieONeilBooks

Instagram: @annieoneilauthor

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