HEIDI'S PICK SIX: Anita Clenney


Anita Clenney

1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Faelan is my favorite character. He lost everything he knew and loved and woke in a time he knows nothing about. He’s grieving over his family, his brothers and sister, and trying to figure out who this woman is who woke him. If she’s a demon or a prostitute or just an innocent soul who has opened the gates of hell in her backyard. He carries the responsibility of all the deaths that occurred because he didn’t destroy the demon in 1860, and now he can’t fail again or the entire world will be doomed. And he has these intense feelings for Bree that he has no idea what to do with because the basis of them seems impossible to him.

2. Tell me about your travels.
I haven’t traveled much. I had some fun times traveling with a group of Aztec Fire Dancers, but it was here in the US. I’ve never been outside the country. I would love to travel to Scotland. After the kids are grown, my husband and I plan to do more traveling.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Tea. Diet Coke or Pepsi, even better.

4. What else can you do besides write?
I’m a great bargain hunter. I love designing jewelry, but in a bizarre sort of way.

5. Who are you reading right now?
Kristan Higgins. Love her writing.

6. Pop culture or academia?
Somewhere between.

7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?
I don’t prefer writing love scenes. I don’t like flowery, overdone, and it’s hard to get the right mix.

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
In everything. Dreams, reading, movies, driving. I’ve had some incredible dreams. In fact this series started with a dream.

9. Food you could eat everyday.
Mexican and Krispy Kreme donuts.

10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
I enjoy watching hockey, but I don’t really care to play sports. My son is into everything. Incredibly athletic. I do love being outside, just observing nature at work.

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
I love Loreena McKennitt. Her music really speaks to me. I also love Evanescence and Nickleback.

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I don’t really outline, but I do a lot of brainstorming ahead of time and I write lots of notes.

13. Celebrity crush.
I don’t think I have one. However, I loved LOST, (my all time favorite TV show) and I loved the Josh Holloway’s character of Sawyer.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
I don’t think I’m influenced by anyone in particular, but in general, my favorite writers inspire me to write. Diana Gabaldon, Janet Evanovich, Elizabeth Peters, Kristan Higgins.

15. Do you still watch cartoons?
No. I don’t have time to watch a lot of TV. What I do watch is limited to things my hubby likes to watch in the evenings. He likes Justified, and some reality shows like Ax Men and Deadliest Catch. But I have to say Sponge Bob is really funny.

Anita Clenney grew up an avid reader, devouring Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books before moving on to mysteries and romance. After working as a secretary, a Realtor, teacher’s assistant, booking agent for Aztec Fire Dancers, and a brief stint in a pickle factory (picture Lucy and Ethel--lasted half a day)…she realized she'd missed the fork in the road that led to her destiny. Now she spends her days writing mysteries and paranormal romantic suspense about Secret Warriors, Ancient Evil and Destined Love. Anita lives in suburban Virginia, outside Washington DC, with her husband and two kids. You can learn more about her writing at www.anitaclenney.com.

Read an excerpt of Awaken the Highland Warrior, the first in the HIGHLAND WARRIOR series:
Bree’s fingers tightened around the metal disk as she ran through the graveyard, zigzagging past leaning headstones. Her lantern swayed, throwing shadows on the crypt looming before her, its stone walls the color of bones. Thick vines crept over it, sealing in cracks left by time, while gnarled branches from the twisted oak hovered like outstretched arms. Protecting… or threatening?

An owl screeched overhead as she scurried up the crumbling steps, wishing night hadn’t fallen, when shadows twisted into monsters and spirits came out to play. The burial vault lay open near the back of the crypt, waiting. Blood rushed past her ears, a sound like all the angels’ wings beating in unison. She moved closer and peered at the chest inside. It was ornate, made of metal and wood, with green gemstones embedded in each corner. It looked ancient, like it belonged in a museum or a pyramid, or perhaps Solomon’s Temple. The beauty of it struck her again, as it had when she’d first discovered it.

She set the lantern on the edge of the burial vault and studied the markings on the chest. Swirls and shapes like writing shifted in the amber glow. Stretching out a finger, she touched the surface. Warm? She yanked her hand back and hit the lantern. It crashed to the floor, throwing the top of the crypt into darkness. Dropping to her knees, she scrambled for the light. A sound cut through the silence, scraping, like fingernails against stone. She grabbed the lantern, not daring to blink, then remembered the wind outside and the claw-like branches of the old tree.

She placed the lantern securely on the vault cover she’d pushed onto the alcove and unfolded her hand. The metal disk she held was three inches in diameter and appeared to be made from the same metal as the chest, not silver, not gold. One side had deep grooves; the other was etched with symbols. With trembling fingers, she lined up the disk with the matching grooves on top of the chest and pushed. There was a series of clicks as the notched edges retracted.

A voice rushed through her head. What lies within cannot be, until time has passed with the key.

Bree whirled, but she was alone. Only stone walls stood watch, their secrets hidden for centuries. It was sleep deprivation, not ghosts.

She pulled in a slow, steadying breath and tried to turn the disk. Nothing. Again, this time counterclockwise, and it began to move under her hand. She jerked her fingers back. A loud pop sounded and colors flashed… blue, orange, and green, swirling for seconds, and then they were gone. Great, hallucinations to go with the voices in her head.

Her body trembled as she gripped the lid. This was it. All her dreams held on a single pinpoint of time. If this ended up another wild goose chase, she was done. No more treasure hunts, no more mysteries, no more playing Indiana Jones. She’d settle down to a nice, ordinary, boring life. She counted.




She heaved open the chest.

Terror clawed its way to her throat, killing her scream.

The man inhaled one harsh breath and his eyes flew open, locking on Bree. A battle cry worthy of Braveheart echoed off the walls. Bree jumped back as metal flashed and a rush of air kissed her face. Petrified, she watched him crawl out of the burial vault, a wicked-looking dagger in his hand. Her scream tore loose as she turned and fled.

Fingers grazed her shoulder, and she glanced back. The last thing she saw before her feet tangled with the shovel was the dead man reaching for her.


  1. Anita:

    I'm with you on how difficult it is to write love scenes. I labored over one for a month because the emotional pay off had to be as important as the sensuality. It is a tough balance.

    Thanks for sharing!

    :) Heidi

  2. Love scenes really can be difficult. Knowing how far to take them, getting the right blend of emotion and sensuality. I can easily believe you spent a month writing one.

  3. First off, Happy 4th of July to everyone. And having read this book, I can say Faelan is my favorite, too. I loved him.

  4. Happy 4th, Liz! Thanks for stopping by. Hope you had a great time with your family at the lake.

  5. Faelan is a fascinating character. Your love for him shines through your writing and the reader can't help but love him too. Great interview. Great excerpt. I hope you're enjoying a happy 4th of July :)

  6. Awaken the Highland Warrior is a great read. Thanks for sharing, Anita!

  7. Hi Clarissa, thanks for stopping by. Hope you're having a great 4th.

  8. Leigh, thank you! I owe some of this success to you for being a great instructor! Happy 4th.

  9. Liz and Clarissa: All of your talk about Faelen and Anita's teaser made me move AWAKEN THE HIGHLAND WARRIOR up on my TBR list for the summer.

    :) Heidi

  10. Maybe soon when you are famous, you'll get tickets to go to Scotland to speak!

    Take care,


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