Onirik : You’ve already written 3 books in the “Ice” serie ; how do you manage to make each novel so different but with such close screens to the others ?
Anne Stuart : Not quite sure what you mean by close screens to each other? I make the novels different because the characters are very different. They’re all potentially deadly, but they come from different backgrounds, there are different reasons for the way they are, and of course they fall in love with very different women. Their circumstances are also different, so I don’t have a problem with things sounding similar. At least I don’t think I do.
Onirik : Many of your novels take place in France with half French heroes (black Ice or seen and not heard for example) but you skip the clichés that we often see in so many authors. It’s kind of obvious that you know our country well, do you ?
Anne Stuart : I’m good at faking it. I haven’t spent much time in France, but when I was young I was madly in love with Yves Montand and Charles Aznavour and Jean Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon and Jacques Dutronc, so I immersed myself in French movies and music at a very impressionable age.
I also started at a private school where we learned French in nursery school and kindergarten (in most US schools you don’t start learning another language until third grade). I just have an affinity for the French. As I demonstrated, my French is absolutely lousy, but I chatter on without embarrassment. I can even think in French.
Onirik : The quality of Face to face between the two heroes is undoubtedly what readers of your books (me included) appreciate enormously : How do you manage to create such a tension in these “closed doors”
Anne Stuart : The intensity of the relationship is what drives the book for me. Other people who started out writing when I did have moved on to straight thrillers, but for me the interaction between the man and the woman is what’s most exiting. Love and sex are very basic needs, and I just put them up front.
Onirik : It seems that you like to push the limits somehow static of the romance genre. Indeed, your heroes never communicate their feelings that the reader knows. Why ?
Anne Stuart : If my hero suddenly explained his feelings to the heroine (or to anyone else) most of his problems would be solved, and there’d be no book. Looking inside yourself is one of the hardest things to do, and my heroes tend to be very cynical about everything, including themselves. Being able to communicate is part of the healing process/redemption for my troubled heroes.
Onirik : Some have said that your heroines have a tendency to be weak (Into the fire or The widow) which is absolutely not the case for me, what do you think about it ?
Anne Stuart : I love my heroines, and identify with them. They react the way I would — when things get really tough I’m tempted to run or cry, but I also tend to stick it out. My heroines put up with more than many smart women would do, but it’s because underneath it all they know they’ve found their soul mate, and sooner or later it’s going to work out.
Onirik : You seem to like to play rather maliciously on the taboos, thus your hero, Peter, in « cold as ice », uses sex as a mean to the end with either men or women with absolutely no remorse. In the same way, in your last novel, « ice blue », your hero is half Japanese, is it a way for you to renew the hero of the romance genre ?
Anne Stuart : Well, actually I have to admit that I have an extreme case of lust for Asian men, in particular androgynous Japanese rock stars. So I had to figure out a way to write it. I’ve written Japanese heroes before but just never identified them as such. I don’t want to go overboard trying to write extraordinary characters just for shock value. I write the characters that interest me. I didn’t set out to make Peter (in COLD AS ICE) use sex with men. I’d set him up in the first book and hadn’t planned to write a series, and he was the logical choice for the hero of the second one. It made it very interesting to play around with, though. I had to be careful not to overdo it, and not to ignore the issue.
Onirik : In Takashi O’Brien background many zones of shade remain, for what reasons? Why this mystery? To make it more mysterious or did you just thought some details to be somewhat unimportant ?
Anne Stuart : I think it’s a little of both. In the first draft there was more of his background, but that got cut, and the story takes place over such a short period of time that there’s not much time for background. Also, he was someone who was caught many worlds (the Committee, the Yakuza, the United States and Japan) so he was fairly rootless.
Onirik : Your fans are dying for the translation of the Ice serie in French. Do you have any information about it ?
Anne Stuart : Hmm. Not yet. It’s been in Spanish already, plus some other languages, but I haven’t seen it in French. The problem might be that Black Ice is set in France and it’s been a belief in publishing that French publishers don’t like to publish books that are set in France but not written by the French. I wouldn’t think that was true with Mira, but it may be an issue. With most of the book taking place in Paris and Bastien being half-French, I would think it would be a perfect fit.
Onirik : Isobel will be the next Ice heroine, what do you have in store for the beautiful but unhappy Isobel ?
Anne Stuart : She meets up with someone from her youth. We get some flashbacks of their travels in France in a Citroen DV, and when she meets up with him in the present she thinks he doesn’t know who she is. But he does. He’s « the most dangerous man in the world » and she has a lot of anger towards him, but he’s not really who he seems to be. Bastien and Chloe, Peter and Genevieve and my lovely Reno also appear in the book and it’s one of my all-time favorites.
Onirik : I know that you have multiple projects going on, one of them is an erotica romance written with Jennifer Crusie and Eileen Dreyer. How is this work going? Can you give us some hints about these novels ?
Anne Stuart : The romance I wrote with Jenny Crusie and Eileen Dreyer isn’t actually erotica, though there’s plenty of sex. It’s more magic and smart-ass women and beautiful wizards and car mechanics and such. We took the story of three sisters with special gifts (mine is an alchemist, trying to turn straw to gold and failing miserably) and the men who come into their lives. We each took a sister but wound the stories around each other, so it comes off as one novel instead of three novellas, and it was so much fun! It’s called The unfortunate miss Fortues and comes out in July over here.