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Friday, January 10, 2014

Getting To Know R. Ann Siracusa #Interview and #Giveaway

Thank you for joining me on the RB4U Blog today. I'm giving away an RB4U tee-shirt today to a lucky commenter, so don't forget to leave your e-mail address. I have to have a way to get in touch with the winner.


1. RB4U: What name do you go by?
R. Ann:    Ann. You have to guess what the initial R stands for.

2. RB4U: Okay, Ann, tell us about yourself.

R. Ann:    The short dull version: I grew up in southern California (my father was a lawyer and a State Senator), I have a degree in Architecture from UC Berkeley, and I’m retired from a 37-year career as an architect/land use planner (which makes me older than dirt). I’ve been married to the same man for 50 years, and we have three grown children and eight grandchildren (ages 4 to 26).

This is more interesting: After graduating from UC Berkeley, I traveled to Rome to study at the University of Rome. I’d just arrived in Rome from London and went looking for an American Café I remembered—I was dying for a hamburger. The place was located on one of the five major streets that intersected Piazza Della Republica.

I intended to sit on the rim of the fountain in the center of the piazza to figure out which street to take. In those days, that where Italians sat on hot summer afternoons taking relief in the fountain spray. While I waited for a break in the traffic to cross the street to the fountain, I noticed a good looking man who looked like the Italian actor, Marcello Mastroianni. I knew he wasn't the actor, but good enough.

I skipped across the street and sat next to him. After a while, he started talking to me (HeHeHe). Despite the communication problem, I learned he was a Guardia of the Pubblica Sicurezza, a state policeman, who worked in the passport office. And when he invited me to dinner, I accepted. Oh, yeah.

We found other ways to communicate, as young people usually do. Things got very friendly on the steps of the Palazzo Della Civitá, but it was dark by then—thank goodness—and we were up a million steps from street level, under the arcade.

Under other circumstances, I would have slapped his face and left (that's my story and I'm sticking with it), but I had no Italian money and didn’t know where I was or how to get to my hotel. Well, I was young, inexperienced, and not the brightest bulb on the tree.
After that, I was smitten. A couple of months later, I had to look up the word fidanzata in my Italian-English dictionary to find out I was engaged, and in December we got married.

3. RB4U: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
R. Ann:    I'm not sure what I wanted to be as a small child, but by the time I was in the 6th grade I knew I wanted to be an architect. My biggest regret is that I didn't realize until I was in my forties, that my calling was to write. I probably wouldn't have changed my career path, but I would have joined writing groups, taken classes, and prepared myself for the time when I could write novels. I probably would have been published sooner. Now I'm too old to really consider writing as a second career.

4. RB4U: So if you didn't always want to be a writer, what inspired you to start writing?
R. Ann:    I’ve always liked to read and write stories, but I never considered writing as a profession.

I did a lot of non-fiction and professional writing in my career as an architect and urban planner, but I didn’t follow up on my interest in fiction writing until I was in my forties. I read a novel that everyone was raving about and said, “Oh, man. Even I can write better than this.” So, I read a few romance novels and then wrote one in about 8 months. It wasn’t better—learning the craft  took a while—but I was on my way. I’d been writing seriously for about ten years before I realized that fiction writing was my “calling.”

5. RB4U:       What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?
R. Ann:    In my romantic suspense series, I want my readers to be transported to interesting places in the world with exciting characters doing things and having experiences the readers wouldn't have in their real lives. In that process, I hope they'll have fun and a good laugh or two and, at the same time, learn something about other countries and cultures. I want them to feel like they've been there. Nothing deep or profound, just fun, fast-paced, and sexy. An escape from the real world that teaches you something.

6. RB4U: Do you prefer writing in the first or third person (or other) and why?
R. Ann:    How a story is told, its structure, depends on the story. Voice is one of the initial and critical decisions that needs to be made. What an author is looking for is the best way to tell that particular story.
I'm most comfortable writing in first person. I like the kind of voice it creates and the way in which it allows me to fully explore a character. And most of all, it's the way humans live their lives. We really don't know what the other person is thinking, even though we often think we do. We can't see everything that's happening everywhere. There are a lot of downsides to first person (and some people don't like it at all), and it's actually more difficult for me than third person, but I, personally, find it more realistic.

6. RB4U: Out of your entire backlist, which book has the best opening line? What's the line?
R. Ann:    I believe Family Secrets: A Vengeance of Tears has the best opening line, even though it breaks some of the "never" rules.
"It was an inconvenient time and place for her to die."

7. RB4U: As a child, what was your favorite thing about school?
R. Ann:    Chasing the boys at recess.

8. RB4U:       If you came with a warning label, what would it say?
R. Ann:    Caution: Hazardous to your health.

9. RB4U: What song would best describe your life?
R.Ann:     I'm not sure the whole song describes my life, but the title does. "I Wouldn't Have Missed It For The World."

10. RB4U:  What do you do to de-stress?
R. Ann:      My hobby is quilting. It used to be playing the piano, but with arthritis, I can't do that anymore. Bummer.

11. RB4U:  What's your latest release?
R. Ann:       Book 5 in the Tour Director Extraordinaire romantic suspense series,
All For A Blast of Hot Air
Buy Links
A secret prenuptial honeymoon, a hot air balloon safari, and a plot to kill the US president all come together at a Vatican wedding.

I'm Harriet Ruby, tour director extraordinaire. Finally, I'm tying the knot with Will Talbot, my favorite spy and the love of my life, despite my nagging concerns about his dangerous profession. He could get killed!

I don't want my children to grow up with an absentee father...or a dead one, but Will's work is his calling. I can't ask him to give it up. When he holds me in his arms, I have no doubt he'll find a way to make everything right.

To avoid the huge Italian wedding my mother is planning in California, I jump at an offer to get married in the Vatican, only to learn my whole tribe is making the trip to Rome for the ceremony. Darn. Now, I'm stuck planning a big wedding in two months without help. I freak out totally when my boss cancels my vacation time scheduled for the honeymoon.

At Will's suggestion, we get married at city hall, hire a wedding planner, and then take off on our honeymoon before the church ceremony. The first leg of our trip is a hot air balloon safari in Africa—well, it sounded like fun at the time—but afterward, we'll have two quiet, relaxing weeks totally alone.

When a member of our tour is kidnapped, I learn Will accepted an assignment from the US government to keep the kidnap victim under surveillance—after he'd promised me his full attention. All my doubts about the marriage raise their ugly heads. Sure, we love each other, but is that enough to make this marriage work?

It won't matter if we don't get out alive.

Later, sated and limp with contentment, we dozed. I awoke to him nibbling at my ear.

"Hmm. Is it morning yet?" I eased away, stretched long and hard, then curled against him again. "Will..."

I hesitated so long he pulled back and turned me so he could peer into my eyes, holding me in place so I couldn't escape.

His voice conveyed concern. "What's the matter?"

"Mmm, nothing. I was wondering if... Is this going to change when we get married?"

Will stiffened and gazed into my eyes with an unreadable nuance of expression. "If you're asking if I'm going to whip out a roll of duct tape, run a line down the center of the bed, and put my Kevlar vest and a can of Mace between us, the answer is definitely not."

I grimaced. "Mace would be risky."

He laughed with amusement and some other undefined emotion that made me fidget in place. He wasn't done with me. "With your track record, we'd better forget the Mace. But if you mean this..."

Cupping my breast, he took the swollen nipple into his mouth, pinching lightly and pulling, sending bolts of sexual desire to my core, flushing my body with heat, then trailed hot kissed down my quivering abdomen and between my legs. My body arched, and, in a heartbeat, I flew from unprepared to orgasm to spinning in space among the stars.

He gave me time to come back to earth and relax, utterly contented, and then said, "If you mean that—yes, it's going to change."

My heart seized, then slammed against my rib cage. I pushed him away and sat up. "What do you mean, it's going to change?" Confused and alarmed, I grasped his shoulders and shook him.

Gently clamping his strong hands around my wrists, he pulled me back down onto his chest, our faces inches apart. Our gazes locked in the dim early morning dawn seeping through the slats of the veneziani shutters. "As I understood it, you were asking me if our sexual relationship would change when we get married. I answered you."

"But I don't want it to change!"

"Get a grip, Tiger. You know everything changes."

I sniffed and held back the tears burning behind my eyes. "M-maybe we... shouldn't g-get married."

Sucking in a deep breath of frustration, he rolled me under him, nudging my legs apart and settling his weight in the V of my thighs, his gaze boring into me.

"Jesus, Harriet. I didn't mean that. Think! Do you remember how our relationship was when we first met in Morocco, three years ago? Do you want us to go back to how we were then?"

"Yes, I remember. It was good—really good—but I...I like things the way they are now." His erection pressed against me. Oh, yeah. I definitely like things the way things are now.

"We've both changed, Tiger. Our relationship has changed...for the better, but it's not the same. We're at a different time and place in our lives. We'll never be back there, and we'll never be back here again, either."

My lower lip trembled with trepidation and disappointment. "You're scaring me, Will. Promise me everything will stay the way it is now." Even as I pouted and sniffed like a child, I regretted my foolish statement. Of course, there was no way to stop life from evolving, no going back. I clamped my teeth on my lower lip to stop the quivering.

His face softened into a tender expression, a faint smile tweaking the corners of his luscious lips. He shook his head. "Can't. But I can promise you this. As long as I live, I will never love you less than I love you now."

Music to my ears, a silken caress to my fluttering heart. "You are so..." The word sweet came to mind, but he didn't like being called that. "Loveable." I arched my body and brushed my lips across his with feather lightness, then relaxed beneath him.

With his weight on one elbow, he pushed strands of my undisciplined hair off my face and hooked one behind my ear.

"I mean it." His pause made my heart constrict, as though his next words would be momentous. "But there are a few things I'd like to see change in the near future."

R. Ann Siracusa is involved in many activities, but her two favorite are traveling the world and writing fiction.  This talented author combines those passions into novels which transport readers to exotic settings, immerse them in romance, intrigue, and foreign cultures, and make them laugh.

Today, she is retired from a career in architecture and urban planning where she was multipublished in professional non-fiction categories. She lives in San Diego, California, with her husband and writes full time. Her first novel, a post WWII mafia thriller, was published in 2008.   

She now writes for Breathless Press who has published a five-book romantic suspense series, one sci-fi romance, and three short stories.

She loves to hear from her readers and can be contacted through her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus.

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Polly McCrillis said...

Hi Ann, Your Harriet is such a unique character. Can't think of another author who has a tour director as female protag. Writing in first person isn't something I've done outside of journal writing. From a reader perspective it can sometimes make a story too one-sided, not allowing other primary character's voices to be heard. But sometimes it really works and is on my 2014 try-something-new list. Thanks for visiting with us today and happy writing!

Tina Donahue said...

Now you have me guessing about that "R". Reba? Rebecca? Rita? :)

A lady I knew a few years back had F as her first initial and went by her second name. When I asked her what the F stood for, she said I'd never guess. I didn't. She finally told me.


Wow. Knew then why she went by her second name. :)

Sandy said...

Ann, it's been lovely getting to know you. You have great characters in your story.

My understanding is you married an Italian; is that right? If so, how did you get through the language barrier? Smile!

Paris said...


I love the story about how you found out you were engaged. You have to watch those Italian men:) Great interview! Hmmm...could the R stand for Roberta?

Nicole Morgan said...

Oooh a game! Love games! Okay, let me put my thinking cap on. I'm gonna go with:

Raucous or Rowdy (nah, you seem more quiet LOL)

I give up. What DOES the R stand for? ;)

Shared all over!

jean hart stewart said...

Love the originality of your writing....

Cara Marsi said...

Ann, your life story is very, very far from dull. It reads like a romance novel. I love the premise of your new story. Love the cover tool.

Rachel for your first name? Rose?

Melissa Keir said...

What a fun story of how you and your hubby met! I can't imagine a better romantic. It's no wonder you have such romantic stories. I'm also dying to know about the language barrier, not to mention the differences in lifestyles.

I was thinking Ruth, Robin?

Katalina Leon said...

Ann, I love every one of your beautiful posts. The story of how you met your husband is pure romance. I'm going to guess the "R" in your name is for "Romantic" Or "Roma"

Katalina Leon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Preston said...

Loved your fanciful romance there. Maybe the R is just R.

Mary M. said...

Yay, someone else who chased the boys at recess! Love the excerpt! I wonder if your hubby is a cousin of mine, I seem to be related to half of Sicily on my Dad's side. It seems like you took some good advice.... Quannu amuri tuppulìa, 'un lu lassari 'nmenzu la via.

I can't resist, is the R for Rhonda?

emmasmom AT wi DOT rr DOT com

chey said...

I like the sound of this book!

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