Anne Barwell on Winter Duet ~ Interview Local Giveaway

Prism Book Alliance® would like to thank Anne Barwell for stopping by today. Please give them a warm welcome.

Title: Winter Duet
Author: Anne Barwell
Publisher: DSP Publications
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Genre: Gay Fiction, Historical, Mystery/Thriller
Release Date: 12/27/2016


Echoes Rising book 2 – Sequel to Shadowboxing

Germany 1944

Hunted for treason and the information Kristopher carries, he and Michel leave the security of their safe house to journey across Germany toward Switzerland. Caught in a series of Allied bombings, they stop to help civilians and narrowly escape capture by German forces.

While investigating a downed aircraft in the Black Forest, the two men discover an injured RAF pilot. After they are separated, Kristopher and the pilot are discovered by a German officer who claims he is not who he appears to be. Determined to find Michel again, Kristopher has to trust the stranger and hope he is not connected to those searching for him and the information he carries. Meanwhile Michel is intercepted by one of the Allied soldiers he met in Berlin. His help is needed to save one of their own.

Time quickly runs out. Loyalties are tested and betrayed as the Gestapo closes in. Michel can only hope they can reach safety before information is revealed that could compromise not only his and Kristopher’s lives, but those of the remaining members of their team—if it is not already too late.

Recent Release Spotlight with Anne Barwell 

Thanks for hosting me.

We are here today to talk about Winter Duet.  What can you tell us about it?Winter Duet is book 2 of my WWII Echoes Rising series.  The first book, Shadowboxing, was set in Berlin in 1943, and book 2 continues the story into 1944 and is more of a road trip across Germany with the SS in pursuit.  The final book—Comes a Horseman—will be published by DSP Publications in 2017.

In Winter Duet, Kristopher, Michel, and the members of the Allied team find themselves at ground zero as the Allied bombings of Germany intensify, and their pursuer SS Standartenführer Holm closes in. The story is a mix of action and drama, with a dash of romance.

Please tell us more about our main characters.
Kristopher is a German scientist working on his country’s atomic bomb project, He fled the institute after the death of his superior, and is the only person with the formulae needed to complete the plans. Michel is French and a member of the Resistance. He and Kristopher met while Michel was undercover at the institute and helped Kristopher escape Berlin. They are now a couple.

Matt is American and the leader of the Allied taskforce sent into German to retrieve the plans. His lover, Ken, is also American but part Japanese. The surname he’s using is his father’s whom he’s never met.

Liang is British and half Chinese. He was recruited for the mission as he holds PhDs in Physics and Linguists. It’s his job to verify that the plans are authentic. He is in love with Juliane, who is the half-sister of the man pursuing them.

Added to the mix for this story is Leo Dawson, an injured RAF pilot whom they meet in the Black Forest. Leo is from New Zealand.

What do you want to tell those who may be new to the series (if applicable)?
Although Winter Duet is the 2nd book in the series, I’ve written these books so that they can be read out of order and still make sense. One of my betas came into the series on this book, having not read the 1st book and had no problems following along.

What about Winter Duet makes you the proudest?
When I first had the plot for this series, I knew it would need to be either one very long book or a series. Given the amount of research required, I feel a sense of accomplishment that I’ve stuck with it and told their story. I learn something new with each successive book.

I also feel strongly that a country should not be judged by the actions of a few. As these characters travel across Germany they are helped by civilians. Kristopher is German and loves his country but he does not agree with what Hitler and his Nazi party are doing. One of the reasons I wrote an ensemble cast of varying nationalities was that the war was fought by many men and women from different countries and I wanted to reflect that—and honour it—in the story.

What is next for these characters? Is there more to this series?  If so who will we hear from next?
I’m just about to start edits for Comes a Horseman, which is book 3 of the series. It takes the team to France on the final part of their journey. Here’s the draft blurb (being a draft it is subject to change):

France, 1944

Sometimes the most desperate struggles take place far from the battlefield, and what happens in secret can change the course of history.

Victory is close at hand, but remains frustratingly just beyond the grasp of the brave group of men fighting to keep atomic plans from the Nazis. The team reaches France and connects with members of Michel’s French Resistance cell in Normandy. Allied troops are poised to liberate France, and rescue is supposedly at hand. However, Kristopher is no longer sure that the information he carries in his memory is safe with either side.

When Standartenführer Holm and his men finally catch up with their prey, the remaining members of the team are left with few options. With a traitor in their midst, who can they trust?  Kristopher realizes he must become something he is not in order to save the man he loves. Death is biding his time, and sacrifices must be made for any of them to have the futures they want.

If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?
Write every day and put aside time to do it; it doesn’t matter how little you write, it all adds up.

What part of a new story comes to you first? Characters? Plot? A scene? A theme? Or does it vary from book to book?
It varies from book to book, but my stories are very character driven, so they tend to show up either first or very early on in the process. I tend to write linearly although I’ll outline out of order as I’m a mix of a plotter and pantser.

What tool do you use to plan scenes? (such as index cards, white board, ouiji board, etc)
I have a notebook for each story or series, and I use them to jot down ideas, character notes, plot points and research as I get them. For fight scenes, I’ve also used plushies in place of the characters. My betas and I have had way too much fun doing that, and even took photos!

Do you have a character in your head that you have yet to write a story for?
I have several characters who have wanted their story told for a couple of years. Unfortunately between working full time and other commitments I only manage to write a couple of books a year. These guys live in New Zealand and have psychic powers. I’m planning to write Liam and Callum’s story – First Draught – in 2018.

How do you keep characters consistent through a story? Do you write out extensive character bibles?
Characters tend to turn up complete with back stories, although they do surprise me with bits of information I didn’t know about as I write. If those new bits of info contradict what I’ve written before, I tweak the older information. I do however, tend to keep character notes and as part of my outline, I have bullet points about the main characters. The latter though is more for making life easier when checking continuity in a series, and for having the information on hand when filling in publisher forms for blurbs and covers.

What do you keep on your bedside table?
The books I’m in the middle of reading, tablet, notepad, pen, radio/alarm clock, bedside lamp, hand cream, torch, and a little card made for me by Julie from the Colouring In Group at the library.

If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
Teleportation. I’d love to meet some of my online friends and go to conventions but because I live in New Zealand it would cost a lot, and I’d have to spend over 24 hours travelling just to get there. Teleportation would save me a lot of time and money and I’d finally get to visit friends I’ve known for years but have never met in real life. Not only that but closer to home it would save the hassle with parking wardens at work.

If you had to be a cat, dog, or a rat, which would you choose and why?
A cat – they rule the world, and they know it. As the saying goes – dogs have owners, cats have staff.

Do you remember a character talking about a particular food and it made you want to eat it RIGHTNOW? and if yes, what was it?
Sultana Scones. Not just eat them, but I ended up having to make them. Whenever Heidi, one of the characters in Cat’s Quill made scones I put on a batch myself. I’m not sure whether I inspired her baking or she mine, or it was a mix of the two.

What are you reading right now and what is next on your to-be-read list?
I’m reading The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch which is book 4 in the Peter Grant/River of London series.  Think Harry Potter meets The Bill.  A police detective in London works for The Forge, the Wizarding division of the London Met.

I’m also listening to Fiesta of the Damned, which is a 7th Doctor/Ace/Mel full cast audio from Big Finish. I’m a huge Dr Who fan, and got hooked on Big Finish a few years ago. Their audios are like watching an episode with the picture turned off.

Next up is This Wish Tonight which is an MM anthology. I’ve read some other stories by some of the authors in this so really looking forward to it.

Rapid Fire Time
Batman or Superman? – Batman, extra points if it’s Dick Grayson under the cowl
Ice Skating or Ice Hockey? – Ice Skating (Yuri!!! On Ice)
Cinnamon or Maple? – Cinnamon
Larry or Sterek? – Sterek
Tardis or DeLorean? – Tardis
Light saber or a Sonic screwdriver? – I have to choose?
Tennant or Smith? – Troughton and Davidson
Shifters or Vampires? – depends on my mood, and who they are
Favorite beverage? – tea
Favorite flower? – rose

What are you working on? What is next?
I have two new releases coming out next year. The first is Sunset at Pencarrow which is a contemporary romance set in New Zealand, and co-written with Lou Sylvre. It’s part of Dreamspinner Press’s World of Love series.  The second is Comes a Horseman, which is the third and final story of Echoes Rising.

I have two writing projects on the go. The Right Note is a contemporary romance set in Wellington for Dreamspinner’s Dreamspun Desire series.  I’m also working on another co-written book with Lou called The Harp and the Sea which is set on Skye in 1746, which is an historical romance with a dash of magic.

After that I’m writing the final book in my Dragons of Astria series. A Sword to Rule is the sequel to Dragons of Astria and will answer a lot of the questions I left open at the end of that book.



Winter Duet on Goodreads
DSP Publications
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble

Local Giveaway

I’m giving away an ebook copy of book 1 in the Echoes Rising series – Shadowboxing. Comment on the post to be in to win.

About the Author

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards.  She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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12 thoughts on “Anne Barwell on Winter Duet ~ Interview Local Giveaway

    • Congratulations, Debby, you’re the winner of this contest. Could you email me at darthanne at gmail dot com with your email address for your bookshelf at DSP Publications and I’ll arrange to get the ebook of Shadowboxing added to your shelf.

  1. I lean more toward regency era historicals but really I enjoy all historical ficition stories. It’s fascinating how people in those time periods lived and act compared to the present.

    • Yes it is, although often there’s not as much difference to people’s reactions as I’d think there would be. I read a lot of SF and often though it might sound weird, it feels like reading historical can be similar in some ways.

    • Thanks and no it wasn’t. It’s always going to be a bittersweet win though as they will never be able t openly be together. 🙁

  2. Congrats and thanks for the giveaway. I also love history, and gay historicals, especially the revolutionary and WWI-WWII eras. I need to get started on this series, and I’m intrigued by book 3 now going to France.

    • Thanks. Writing about France was a bit of a change of gear as book 1 and 2 are set in Germany. As with the first two books though, I learnt a lot.

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