Annie spent her formative years on the east coast of Australia and grew up in a book-loving family. One of her earliest memories is of lying tucked up in bed, listening to her father read ‘The Wind in the Willows’. As soon as she could read she was investigating books for herself, reading adventures and poring over fairy tale illustrations. In her mind she was one of the dancing princesses, and Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty, and, of course, Cinderella. Do you see a trend here? Trips to the library became a regular treat, where Annie could enter faraway worlds and daydream about being the heroine of whatever book she was reading.
As well as encouraging her love of books, Annie’s family taught her to love travel and the Australian bush. Often she managed to combine all three. There was the long trek to the marvellous Finders Ranges of South Australia – with Tolkien. Walking in the rugged Grampian Ranges of Victoria – with Tolstoy. And reading gothic romances while camped under the snow gums in the Australian Alps.
She got hooked on romance early. In her teens she spent long afternoons playing tennis with her best friend. Between endless games on baking gravel, they’d stagger to her friend’s house to recover, and in that house was an unending store of books, all with that distinctive rose on the cover. That’s how Annie discovered romance and she’s been addicted ever since. All those strong silent types, flashing-eyed Italians, haughty Spanish aristocrats and the rest. No wonder the boys at school just didn’t make the grade.
Fortunately she found her own romantic hero while studying at university. Despite the distraction she completed her honours degree in Classics. She was also fortunate to spend lots of time travelling, backpacking through Egypt and Greece, ‘tramping’ in New Zealand, sightseeing in Europe and living in Germany a couple of times.
Annie emerged from University with no idea of a career path so she became a public servant. The perfect preparation for an author! In her first permanent job she spent six weeks proof-reading various versions of the Australian Government’s purchasing manual: every – single – word – of – it. Checking the text of a novel is so much more fun! For years Annie wrote and amended and redrafted and revised: government plans, letters for cabinet ministers and reports for parliament. All good grounding for an author.
Then the inevitable happened. Annie decided to write romance. Those books had been a constant through the years of job change and travel. Her chance came when she took leave to spend time with her children. Between preschool and school activities she produced her first novel. Then, after years of trying, she found her niche, writing Harlequin Presents stories. That was a dream come true for her.
She is always thinking of possible further travel (strictly for research purposes, of course) and in the meantime she fantasises about gorgeous men and their love lives. It’s hard work but she has no regrets! She hopes readers enjoy her stories as much as she enjoys writing them.