Photo Credit: Phivos Aristides
Award-winning author Anna Richland is a former military officer turned romance writer. She lives with her quietly funny Canadian husband and two less-quiet children in a century-old house in Seattle, Washington. Her two favorite parts of being an author are that it’s okay to have imaginary friends talking in her head and that her office is frequently a coffee shop.
Because writing about herself in third person is awkward, she’ll resort to a question and answer format below.
What do you write?
First to Burn is Book One of The Immortal Vikings, my paranormal romantic suspense series. The series continues with The Second Lie and I have plans for three more books in that world
My contemporary military holiday story His Road Home won the 2015 RITAtm Award for Best Romance Novella from Romance Writers of America. I’m working on a sequel culminating in Rey and Grace’s wedding and a future story about Jenni, Grace’s sister.
Excerpts of my current and upcoming books are available on my Books Page.
Where can readers find your books?
At your preferred e-book retailer! My publisher Carina Press is a division of Harlequin Enterprises Limited, so my e-books are sold everywhere. Mass-market print versions of First to Burn and The Second Lie are also available directly from Harlequin.com.
Did you base your heroine Theresa’s Army experiences on your own?
Me in 1988
Although I also joined Army ROTC to defray tuition, that’s the total of my resemblance to Theresa, the tall, athletic, dark-haired, super-organized heroine of First to Burn. (Actually, I once lost a 9mm Beretta down my cargo pants, like Theresa — try driving with that bumping your boot — and the suitcase full of cash scene is based on another story, but to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never met an immortal Viking.).
I served a decade earlier than my characters, and was fortunate to work with excellent role models in places as varied as Panama, Japan, Germany, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Kosovo, and home in Washington State. After reaching the rank of major, I left the army in 2004.
Where do you get ideas?
Personal experiences only go so far to create a 100,000 word novel. When I was the librarian at my son’s preschool, for the Scandinavia-themed week I chose several children’s versions of Beowulf. Reading them, I wondered about the other men in the illustrations – Beowulf’s crew. Who were they? What happened to them? Those questions circled in my brain alongside Warren Zevon’s lyrics for Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner. What if Beowulf’s crew had become immortal like Roland from the song? Where would they be today? First to Burn is my answer.
His Road Home was also inspired by a song – Brandi Carlile’s Hard Way Home – and by news accounts describing the challenges facing veterans at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
What’s the hardest part about writing?
I find that editing, revising, and polishing is excruciating. I spread the whole book on the floor to study its structure. Too bad we don’t have a cat to help!
I also suffer over selecting character names and comma placement. The Social Security Administration website’s list of popular names by birth year is helpful for the former. No amount of lectures from contest judges or guidance from my husband seems to fix the latter, so I’m happy to have professional editors keep a sharp eye on me.