Message From The Author

Anne Stuart

Genre: General Romantic Suspense, Romantic Suspense

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Author's Message

When you live in the hills of Northern Vermont, in a town of just 400 people, where do your fantasies take you? To someplace as removed from the peaceful, pastoral life as possible, which is why I chose L.A. as the setting for SHADOWS AT SUNSET.

Book ideas come from a variety of places. I was listening to Warren Zevon singing cynical songs about Hollywood on my car CD player (though Id put it on to howl along with Werewolves of London). Then I went out to L.A. to go to BookExpo Americathe huge publishing trade showand somehow L.A. crept beneath my radar and planted itself in that tangled, moss-draped section of my brain that houses my imagination. One of those old houses in the hills, fallen to wrack and ruin, I thought. A heroine who thinks she has to take care of everyone and everything (since Im a mother and the child of a dysfunctional family, I identified with that role in life). And a luscious, dangerous man out for no good, and using sex to get it. What more could a writer ask? I put Warren back on the CD, alternating him with Chris Isaak (who can sound a bit like a werewolf himself) and set to work.

La Casa de Sombras is a huge, decaying mansion on Sunset Boulevard, haunted by memories, haunted by emotions, haunted by ghosts. Jilly Meyer loves the house almost as much as she loves her needy sister and
brother. Shes a born caretaker, and no match for a man like Coltrane.

Hes a con man, a liar, up to no good, and Jilly cant trust him. She also cant resist him. Knowing he works for her father, the one person she really despises, doesnt make things any easier.

Her sister, Rachel-Ann, is a wounded beauty whos slowly putting herself back together after a lifetime of bad habits. Her brother Dean is another seemingly fragile soul, battered by his fathers indifference. Jillys determined to protect and save them both, as well as la Casa de Sombras.

But the house holds secrets of its own. The murder-suicide of a famous star of the fifties and her director-lover still haunt the place. The drug-dazed sixties when the abandoned house served as a commune witnessed another murderone that touches everyone in the houseeven though the truth is shrouded in mystery.

The people, living and dead, and the past come together one dark night in this house of shadows, where no one is quite who they think they are. Coltrane isnt as wicked, Jilly isnt as strong, Rachel-Ann isnt helpless and Dean isnt weak. And the depth of evil knows no boundaries.

I had a glorious time writing SHADOWS AT SUNSET. Ghosts drifted in and out. Coltrane, my hero, who looks a bit like Brad Pitt with a few years on him, proved to have a hard time being totally wicked even as he tried to resist Jilly, then tried to use her, then thought he might have to destroy her. And Jilly, through it all, keeps trying to take care of everyone but herself, but in the end succumbs to Coltranes wicked ways and her own needs, leaving her siblings to take care of themselves. I even gave her sister an equally good man to help her with her recovery (it was going to be Ricky Martin at first but then I decided she needed a nice doctor). And there you have it, SHADOWS AT SUNSETfull of lies and betrayal, desire and despair, sex and sin and redemption. Enjoy!

Now Im back in Vermont, where the skies are blue
and the air is crisp, wondering where Ill go next, and what characters will go with me. Maybe to an old farmhouse in Tuscany with a hero who looks like Russell Crowe and a vulnerable, sexually timid young widow and a houseful of murder suspects. Sounds like fun! So watch for THE WIDOW in June of 2001 from Mira books.

You can write to Anne c/o Mira Books, 225 Duncan Mill Road, Duncan Mills, Ontario, CA M3B 3K9.

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