Writers On Writing / ‘Honour and courage’: romance writing with Anna Campbell


‘Personally, I like heroes with all the old-fashioned virtues of honour and courage, with a good sense of humour and a sharp brain.’


Photo credit: Robyn Hills

Ahead of her one-day course, we spoke to novelist Anna Campbell about finding your next idea and lessons to learn from the romance genre.

Throughout your career, you’ve written 11 award-winning romance novels and 18 novellas. How do you find the idea for the next story?
Ideas are everywhere – things people say, things you see, things you experience or things other people have. Ideas grow on trees! I find when I get an idea, other ideas come along and stick to it to make it richer and more interesting before I start writing. The problem is finding time to turn all those intriguing ideas into stories! I also read a lot of nonfiction, especially history, biography and travel, and that often sparks story ideas – how would this particular situation work in the Regency era, for instance.

What sort of character makes for a compelling love interest?
Personally, I like heroes with all the old-fashioned virtues of honour and courage, with a good sense of humour and a sharp brain. I bet you thought I was going to say something about a sixpack! I also think it helps when the character has somewhere to go – a redemption arc to follow, or something they need to learn or change before they find fulfilment.

What lessons can writers working in other genres learn from romance writers?
Good writers in other genres already achieve this, but I find romance novels pack great emotional power and delve deeply into character and motivation in a way that makes for a satisfying reading experience.

Write a Great Love Story will take place at Writing NSW in Callan Park on Saturday 16 June, 10am–4pm. Book here.


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