What's your book/current WIP about?
Celebration House is about a young woman who leaves Seattle and moves back to her childhood home in Lexington, Missouri. There, she buys and restores an abandoned Greek Revival mansion, which she then offers to the public for celebrations, such as weddings, class reunions, etc. Carrie Hansen, the main character, has a special gift: she can see and speak with the dead. This skill comes in useful because this 150-year-old house is full of spirits, especially the home’s builder who is not fond of the living. It’s one of these spirits, a soldier killed in the Battle of Lexington in Sept. 1861, who the main character develops a unique relationship with.
Care to share your favorite line(s)?
From the next to last chapter of the book:
“Beth swore she heard music, just a snippet of a fiddle. She smelled perfume and cigar smoke. Now standing at the bottom of the staircase, she turned on the foyer light. She felt afraid, another new sensation in Carrie’s home. Beth pulled her robe tighter. She switched on the foyer light and walked toward the kitchen, pausing outside the closed ballroom doors. Carrie always insisted these doors stay open. Light trickled out from underneath the closed doors onto Beth’s toes.”
What's your next project?
I’m working on A Year with Geno. It’s a contemporary romance set in Alaska about a young woman who finds herself and her two sons without a place to live. Through a set of unpleasant circumstances, she ends moving into the basement of a home owned by the male hero and his two teenage sons. It’s so much fun to write because I’m ramping up the heat level. Also, I’m giving my sense of humor a little freer reign.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?
It’s true that writers are always taking in information to flavor their books. We’re not even aware we’re doing that. While writing Bone Girl, I had a disagreement with an acquaintance. When writing about the father of the boy who bullies my protagonist, wham! I used that man’s name. I wasn’t even awareof this until I was reading the scene aloud to my critique group.
What sparked your interest in your genre?
I don’t have one genre. My debut release is a paranormal romance. I have a middle-grade novel, BONE GIRL, that I’m looking for a home for, and I’m currently writing a contemporary romance. I’m not sure what project I’ll tackle after A Year with Geno. There’s talk of Celebration House being the first of a trilogy. At first, when my editor asked me about this, I said, “NOOOOOOOOOO!” But now, we’ll see. I know how the third book starts and ends. I know how the second book starts and where it ends.
But I want to be sure there’s an audience for a second and third book. Or, I may just decide to write the books and offer it to the creative gods. I feel comfortable saying, I don’t know right now.
Describe your writing in a sentence.
My stories are character-driven and celebrate the law of unintended consequences.
Do you choose character names or do the characters whisper them in your ears?
My characters talk all the time. No. Really. All of the time!
Plotter or panster?
If I’m patient and wait, the characters reveal themselves to me and tell me what to write down.
Do you like background noise or do you prefer a quiet space when you write?
I love playing music on Pandora. I even have a specific group of songs for each book. Music captures the mood that best fits whichever the book I’m writing. I have different music for Celebration House, Bone Girl and A Year with Geno. I suspect I’ll have different music for every book I write.
What are you currently reading?
Two books: Unhallowed Ground by Heather Graham and The Sweetness of Forgetting by Kristin Harmel.
The recipes of Ms. Harmel’s book reached out and grabbed me. I’m a sugar addict. I love bakeries.
What question have you always wanted to be asked in an interview and how would you answer it?
Which character in Celebration House are you most like?
Honestly, Trina Trumbull. I admire her work ethic, and I can relate to her desire to please her future mother-in-law. I just get Trina. Everyone assumes I’m most like the main character, Carrie Hansen. No way! I don’t have her courage.
People think I'm weird because...
My dream vacation is to spend a few days at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Iowa in August? Does it get any hotter than that? I don’t think so. When I was a young girl, my parents took us to the Iowa State Fair every year. It was the only vacation we ever had. I think for that reason, I associate the fair with a sense of home. I’m attending this year, not an easy task when you live in eastern Washington, so I’m pretty happy about that.
Carrie Hansen spent her life caring for cardiac patients. Little did she know she would become a patient herself. After recovering from her own heart surgery, she realizes she has a special gift: the ability to see and talk with the dead.
Now, with her new heart failing, she leaves the bustle of Seattle behind and returns to Lexington, Missouri, the small town where she spent her childhood. Here, she sets out to restore an abandoned antebellum mansion and open it as a venue for celebrations.
Carrie’s work is cut out for her. The 150-year-old Greek revival house is in need of serious repair. Her sister, Melanie, tries to bully Carrie into returning to Seattle, predicting “her little project” is doomed to fail. Finally, Carrie’s health gives out on her, requiring emergency surgery. But she will not give up. Carrie’s unique gift allows her to build relationships with the mansion’s original occupants, especially Maj. Tom Stewart, the handsome Civil War soldier who died a hundred years before Carrie was born. He encourages and comforts her, though not in the physical way they both desire.
Then there’s the builder of the house, Col. Bartholomew Stratton. If there’s one thing this 19th century horse trader cannot abide, it’s the living trespassing on his estate. He delights in scaring these intruders away, even if they are paying guests.
Will Carrie finish restoring Celebration House or will it finish her? And how can she plan a future with a man who has only a past?
Buy it at: Tirgearr Publishing || Amazon || Smashwords || Kobo || B&N
About the author:
Annette Drake is an aspiring writer whose work is character-driven and celebrates the law of unintended consequences. Her debut novel, Celebration House, will be published this summer in e-book format for readers everywhere by Tirgearr Publishing.
Annette left high school after two years to obtain her GED and attend Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. There she earned a degree in journalism before working as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Missouri and Kansas. She earned a bachelor of science in nursing in 1994 from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, and worked as a registered nurse in hospitals throughout Missouri, Alaska and Washington for 18 years before returning her focus to writing
Annette recently completed her middle-grade novel, Bone Girl, and is hard at work revising her steamy contemporary romance, A Year with Geno. She is the mother of four children. The oldest just graduated from the University of Washington; the youngest just graduated from kindergarten. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She loves libraries, basset hounds and bakeries. She does not camp.
You can follow her writing at www.Annettedrake.com. She welcomes correspondence at: Write2me@annettedrake.com.