It's so exciting to share my interview with Author Annabella McCormack with you today! Annabelle is currently on blog tour for her novel, Windswept, and I am so grateful for her stopping by to talk more about it! I'm reading it now and it's MAGNIFICENT! Pop back on Friday to check out my review! I hope you enjoy getting to know Annabelle and don't forget to enter the giveaway.
Thank you! I’m glad to be a part of your blog today!
To begin, can you please tell us a little about yourself and your writing?
It’s always amazing how quickly I blank out when people ask me that! Haha. Let’s see, I’m a historical fiction writer who loves the combination of sweeping historical settings, lots of adventure, and a good dash of romance. I write about what interests and inspires me, which is often rooted in the more obscure, less explored parts of history. I’m also a photographer and I love exploring the world with my camera and my pen. I live in Maryland with my husband and five young children.
What inspired you to write Windswept?
The main characters of Noah and Ginger have been with me for over twenty years...but it took about fifteen for me to find the right story for them (after many, many drafts of different stories). I was reading about and researching the African campaigns of World War I and became fascinated in that theater of war. The implications it had for the modern Middle East (and therefore, the world) were huge.
What research did you undertake when writing Windswept?
I read so many books, it’s hard to list them all. One of my favorites was the diary of Ion Idriess, who was an Australian soldier in that particular campaign—his insights and details were incredible. I also dug into forums and government archives about the Great War, watched videos, and read a lot of JSTOR and old newspaper articles.
What would you like readers to take away from reading Windswept?
To begin with, I think that campaign and the motives behind it are fascinating, so it’s naturally filled with a lot of material that I’d love to see people more educated about. But also—the women who were at the forefront of the war were really doing things that were revolutionary and must have been terrifying for them, morally, physically, and socially. I think it’s great to consider what women faced within the context of “a man’s world.”
What was your favorite scene to write?
I loved writing the scenes out in the desert with the Bedouin.
What was the most difficult scene to write?
Describing a khamsin (when I’ve never actually been through one, or even a dust storm). I watched so many YouTube videos about dust storms and annoyed my husband (a US Army vet who spent a great deal of time in the Middle East) with questions.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I started writing very young to entertain myself. For me, writing was just as amusing as reading a book. In high school, classmates started asking to read my books and I realized I loved the idea of others reading the stories I had written.
What does your daily writing routine look like?
Because I have five young kids, it’s hard to have a solid routine as a full-time writer. Mostly, I write whenever I can during the day (like when they’re watching TV) and write late in the evenings when the kids are asleep.
I use weekly goals to keep me motivated.
What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it?
Writing with kids. And yes. 😀
Who are your writing inspirations?
Truly, I’m an admirer of any man and woman who starts writing as a working parent and finds the time and ability to get the words in, day after day.
What was the first historical novel you read?
Not including the classics or books for school-- Once and Always by Judith McNaught, a historical romance.
What is the last historical novel you read?
The Pharaoh’s Curse by Elizabeth Peters
What book do you wish that you could re-read for the first time again?
The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien
What are three things people may not know about you?
I was born in Costa Rica (my mom is from there), I was a professional wedding photographer for 12 years, and I used to be in SAG-Aftra and worked as an actor.
What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?
I love that they make historical time periods come alive for others in a way that isn’t as accessible by reading a history book.
What historical time period do you gravitate towards the most with your personal reading?
Anything from about 1000 AD to WWII. I know, it’s a wide range. I just like history.
What do you like to do when you aren't writing?
Bake and cook, explore nature, watch movies, paint.
Lastly, what are you working on next?
The sequel to Windswept—Sands of Sirocco—which will be out in 2022!
YESSS! I cannot wait for that! Thank you for being here today, Annabelle! And congrats on all of the rave reviews!
Windswept by Annabelle McCormack
A British nurse in WWI Egypt races to deliver explosive intelligence that could change the course of the war in this novel of suspense, adventure, and love.
May, 1917. Ginger Whitman left a life of wealth and privilege in England to train as a battlefield nurse and serve in the Great War. Working on the brutal frontlines in Palestine, she finds a wounded soldier hiding in her camp. The soldier claims to carry intelligence unmasking a secret plot against the British—and that traitors within British intelligence are searching for him. Desperate and dying, the soldier entrusts a coded message to her care.
Ginger is hurled into an unfamiliar world of intrigue and murder amidst the war-ravaged Arabian desert. She's determined to help her country but trusting the wrong person could cost her life. Then the arrival of mysterious and handsome British intelligence officer Major Noah Benson offers a chance of help. But Noah may be as dangerous as he is charming. As she’s swept away by stolen moments on the desert sands, Ginger realizes her heart may also be at risk.
Hunted by a shadowy enemy spy, Ginger must decide if she can trust Noah. But as she grapples with her decision, Ginger makes a shocking discovery: a sinister secret that threatens to shatter the world she thought she knew.
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Praise"Chock-full of secrets and spies, love and betrayal, danger and adventure, all of which is set against the devastating backdrop of WWI, Windswept by Annabelle McCormack is a sumptuous, fast-paced, and riveting read that'll have you cheering for the heroine until the very end." -Hannah Mary McKinnon, internationally bestselling author of Sister Dear and You Will Remember Me
"A neophyte nurse becomes an accidental but effective spy in this gripping adventure." -Kirkus Reviews
“Windswept is a whirlwind of an adventure. From the edge-of-your seat suspense, to the passionate romance…you won’t be able to put this book down!” -Lisa Boyle, author of Signed, A Paddy
"Windswept is a delightful, ripsnorting adventure with a feisty heroine, a breathless pace, and endless adventure, intrigue, and romance. You will smile from cover to cover. This will remind you how enjoyable a good book can be." –William Bernhardt, bestselling author of the Ben Kincaid series
“Suspenseful, sexy, and moving, Windswept is a great choice for those looking for strong female leads in their historical fiction. Ginger will inspire you; the story will enthrall you, and the passionate romance will win you over.” -Samantha Hui, Independent Book Review
About the Author
She was born in San Jose, Costa Rica to a Costa Rican mother and American father. She moved to the US at the age of 4, but remains fully bilingual in English and Spanish. She studied at the Johns Hopkins University, where she obtained a Master of Arts in Fiction in 2010. Afterward, she dedicated herself to her photography business, while continuing to work on her writing as a long-term goal. In 2018, she received the award for Best Novel at the 2018 Red Sneaker’s Writer Conference (now Writer-Con). She lives in Maryland with her husband and five children and writes as a staff blogger for Inkitt Writer’s Blog.
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Blog Tour ScheduleTuesday, September 21
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Review at Booking With Janelle
Feature at Books, Ramblings, and Tea
Wednesday, September 22
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Thursday, September 23
Review at Books and Backroads
Friday, September 24
Review at Jessica Belmont
Saturday, September 25
Review at Reading is My Remedy
Sunday, September 26
Review at Reader_Ceygo
Monday, September 27
Review at Bibliostatic
Review at Novels Alive
Interview at Reader_Ceygo
Tuesday, September 28
Excerpt at Donna's Book Blog
Wednesday, September 29
Review at A Girl Reads Bookss
Monday, October 4
Review at Michelle the PA Loves to Read
Tuesday, October 5
Review at Amy's Booket List
Wednesday, October 6
Review at Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
Friday, October 8
Review at Niki Loves to Read
Monday, October 11
Review at Little But Fierce Book Diary
Wednesday, October 13
Interview at Passages to the Past
Friday, October 15
Review at Passages to the Past
Monday, October 18
Review at Gwendalyn's Books
Tuesday, October 19
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Friday, October 22
Review at Coffee and Ink
GiveawayEnter to win a paperback copy of Windswept by Annabelle McCormack!
The giveaway is open to US addresses only and ends on October 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.