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Anna J. Stewart | Exploring the Beauty of Hawai’i


1--What is the title of your latest release?


2--How did you decide where your book was going to take place?

Well, this is the third book in a series that I specifically placed in Hawai’i, so the setting came before everything else. That said, Hawai’i is one of my favorite places on the planet and, after writing a dozen or so books for Heartwarming that were set on the California coast, I wanted a bit of a change. I love everything about the islands. The slower pace of life, the feeling of Ohana/family. The absolute beauty of the place. It’s a perfect place to write about.

3--Would you hang out with your protagonist in real life?

Absolutely! Daphne Mercer is a botanist (and nature hike guide), so she’d have to have patience with me. I can only identify roses, daisies and carnations, LOL. But she’s super laid back, devoted to her friends and loves helping people. I’d also hang out with Griffin Townsend, Daphne’s hero. He’s such a dedicated father to his two kids (he hand-washes his daughter’s favorite stuffie!) and always puts them first. That makes him a good guy in my eyes.

4--What are three words that describe your protagonist?

For Daphne, I’d choose: laid-back. Devoted. Smart.  For Griffin? Tenacious, loving, conflicted (for this story at least)

5--What’s something you learned while writing this book?

Griffin is a photojournalist, so I got to do some more research into photography (I’ve written a lot of photographers, LOL). Learning about the various fauna natural and native to the islands was really interesting. Again, I couldn’t necessarily recite any of the information, but I loved getting to add those details to the story.

6--Do you edit as you draft or wait until you are totally done?

I edit as I go, mainly because I’m usually writing right up to deadline and don’t have time to edit when I finally write “The End.” Sometimes it depends on the book, though, but for the most part, I edit as I go. It’ll drive me nuts knowing there’s something that needs to be fixed. I don’t think I could move forward.

7--What’s your favorite foodie indulgence?

Brownie or coffee bean M&Ms. Cheetos. Sourdough bread (OMG!). Yeah, carbs pretty much. It’s why I don’t get them in the house.

8--Describe your writing space/office!

I write in a dedicated space in my kitchen (hoping to get a home office done soon tho!). It’s in a bit of a nook at the front of the house. I’ve got my writing laptop (that’s about 20 years old and does NOT go online) on one desk and behind me is another table with a second laptop for research while I write. There’s a lot of “stuff” that is probably non-writing related—I collect Barbies, Wonder Woman figures, Disney stuff. It’s a happy space—I need it to be so doing the work doesn’t feel so painful.

9--Who is an author you admire?

So many. Seriously, there are countless. But, and I say this as someone who worked as her assistant once upon a time, Brenda Novak is the Energizer Bunny of authors. There’s nothing she hasn’t done to promote not only her books but also the genre in general. She’s also incredibly kind and always looking to reinvent herself within the industry. And she balances it all with her family life. It’s inspiring. And a little bit daunting to witness.

10--Is there a book that changed your life?

Partners by Nora Roberts. It was a Silhouette Intimate Moments from back in the mid-80s. It was the first romance I ever read and by the time I turned the last page (yes, it was a print book, LOL), I knew writing romance was what I wanted to do. So yeah. Definitely a life-changer.

11--Tell us about when you got “the call.” (when you found out your book was going to be published)/Or, for indie authors, when you decided to self-publish.

I was so lucky that I got “the call” from one of my best friends, author Melinda Curtis. She’d pitched an anthology idea to the then Heartwarming senior editor, and she asked if I’d like to write a novella for it. It sold! And Melinda called me on Christmas Eve in 2013 and said, Congratulations, you’re a Harlequin author.” Really wasn’t any better way for that to happen.

12--What’s your favorite genre to read?

I’m still a devoted romance reader. But I also love thrillers, the darker the better. And I’m starting to read horror again. One of the first “big person’s” book I ever read was Carrie by Stephen King. It’s still one of my favorite books—and I’m dabbling with the idea of writing in that genre. Just to see what I can come up with.

13--What’s your favorite movie?

If I had to only pick one? Oy. I’m such a huge movie fan. I’d have to go with The Adventures of Robin Hood. I could watch it 24 hours a day. It’s adventure, romance, a spunky heroine, a gorgeous hero with a fun supporting cast. It’s just… perfect. But seriously, I’d need a top 100 list to share my most loved films.

14--What is your favorite season?

Spring or fall. Anything that’s not temperature extreme.

15--How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

Well, it’ll be different this year. It’ll be the first one without my mom, so I’m going to plan to do something I’ve never done before. Maybe travel somewhere? Not sure. But I’ll definitely do something that would make my mother smile and say “you go, girl!”

16--What’s a recent tv show/movie/book/podcast you highly recommend?

I listen to a lot of Disney focused podcasts, but I adore The Categorically Romance podcast. Bree is always so up and happy and enthusiastic, and she reads voraciously so she just is on top of everything. I also listen to Supernatural: Then and Now because I’m still an obsessive fan of that show.

17--What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

I’m a big foodie, so I love everything. Right now, I’m on a bit of an Indian kick. And I’m never disappointed with sushi.

18--What do you do when you have free time?

I watch a lot of TV, but these days I’m less of a risk taker and tend to re-watch my comfort shows. If I’m out of the house, I’m usually with my best friend at the movies or heading to Disneyland!

19--What can readers expect from you next?

It’s a bit of a busy year for me with releases. After A SURPRISE SECOND CHANCE, in August, I have a new Colton romantic suspense coming out (HUNTING COLTON’S WITNESS), then there will be a brand-new Heartwarming Blackwell series beginning that same month. My installment comes out in October (A COWGIRL ON HIS DOORSTEP). I’m HOPING book 3 in my Circle of the Red Lily series (BURIED) will be out by the holidays, but… deadlines are a bit challenging for me right now, so… fingers crossed I can get it finished in time!


A Surprise Second Chance

Could a secret…

Bring them together?

Lush rainforest, magical sunsets and a welcoming community—Nalani has everything botanist Daphne Mercer needs…except the only man she ever loved. Griffin Townsend broke her heart years ago. Now he’s in Hawai’i on vacation, a single dad with two kids. Daphne is charmed by Griff’s little family, and he longs for a second chance. But will she forgive him when she learns his true reason for seeking her out?


Romance Contemporary [Harlequin Heartwarming, On Sale: March 26, 2024, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781335475701 / eISBN: 9780369737298]

Buy A SURPRISE SECOND CHANCEAmazon.com | Kindle | BN.com | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Play | Powell's Books | Books-A-Million | Indie BookShops | Ripped Bodice | Walmart.com | Target.com | Amazon CA | Amazon UK | Amazon DE | Amazon FR

About Anna J. Stewart

Anna J. Stewart

Anna J Stewart is the USA Today bestselling author of more than fifty sweet to spicy romances. Primarily writing for Harlequin’s Heartwarming (sweet romance) and Romantic Suspense (spicy) lines, she also writes for Arc Manor’s Caezik Romance. Her first single title romantic suspense, EXPOSED, releases November of 2022 and will launch the Circle of the Red Lily romantic suspense series.

In addition to being a Daphne duMaurier, National Readers’ Choice, and Holt Medallion finalist, in 2019 one of her books (RECIPE FOR REDEMPTION) was optioned for a TV movie by Brain Power Studios and aired as a Christmas move that same year. No matter the genre, Anna’s books are always about the family—both the ones we’re born to and the ones we create on this crazy life journey we’re all on. Anna lives in Northern California where she loves going to the movies, attending fan conventions, and heading to Disneyland, her favorite place on earth. When she’s not writing, she is usually cooking, baking, binge-watching her newest TV addiction, re-watching her all-time favorite show, Supernatural, and wrangling two monstrous cats named Rosie and Sherlock. You can read more about Anna, her books, and her workshops for authors at her website.

Tremayne Family | Lantano Valley | Butterfly Harbor | Honor Bound | Nemesis Files | Blackwell Sisters | Heartwarming Christmas Town | Circle of the Red Lily





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