Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spotlight/Interview: Celebration House by Annette Drake

About the Book

Carrie Hansen spent her life caring for cardiac patients. Little did she know she would become a patient herself. After recovering from her own heart surgery, she realizes she has a special gift: the ability to see and talk with the dead.

Now, with her new heart failing, she leaves the bustle of Seattle behind and returns to Lexington, Missouri, the small town where she spent her childhood. Here, she sets out to restore an abandoned antebellum mansion and open it as a venue for celebrations.

Carrie’s work is cut out for her. The 150-year-old Greek revival house is in need of serious repair. Her sister, Melanie, tries to bully Carrie into returning to Seattle, predicting “her little project” is doomed to fail. Finally, Carrie’s health gives out on her, requiring emergency surgery.

But she will not give up. Carrie’s unique gift allows her to build relationships with the mansion’s original occupants, especially Maj. Tom Stewart, the handsome Civil War soldier who died a hundred years before Carrie was born. He encourages and comforts her, though not in the physical way they both desire.

Then there’s the builder of the house, Col. Bartholomew Stratton. If there’s one thing this 19th century horse trader cannot abide, it’s the living trespassing on his estate. He delights in scaring these intruders away, even if they are paying guests.

Will Carrie finish restoring Celebration House or will it finish her? And how can she plan a future with a man who has only a past?


But there was something else. The house itself seemed strange to townsfolk. There were whispers of lights coming on and off and tales of unexplained accidents. A real-estate entrepreneur from Kansas City bought the house on the courthouse steps for delinquent taxes. When he inspected the property in person, he fell down the stairs and broke his leg. He told anyone who would listen that he’d been pushed. He put the house back on the market.

Teenagers gathered for drinking parties at the house. Or they did until the night when two boys dared each other to go sit on the front porch and drink there. With a few 12-ounce cans of courage already behind them, the two pimply-faced youths strode up the brick walk, jumped over the waist-high picket fence and made themselves at home on the front porch. Their friends shouted cheers of encouragement from outside the gate. The two boys sat there, grins on their faces, and clinked their cans together to toast one another. After a minute, they heard a loud whisper.

“Leave this place,” the voice said, like a mother scolding a naughty child in a church pew.

They looked at one another.

The wind whipped up, and the branches of the willow tree in the front yard beat against the wooden fence. One boy reached down for his beer can and felt something. He turned and saw an old man standing next to him. The man planted his leather boot on top of the teenager’s hand.

“Get off my porch!” he bellowed.

The two boys ran, stopping to unlatch the front gate, but it wouldn’t open. The wind whipped the willow branches through the air, striking the boys on their faces and shoulders. Finally one of the boys kicked the gate open, and they bolted for their pickups. They drove off as fast as Chevrolet could take them.

Author Bio

Annette Drake’s work is character-driven and celebrates the law of unintended consequences. Her debut novel, Celebration House, premiered on August 1st in e-book format for readers everywhere from Tirgearr Publishing.

Annette left high school after two years to obtain her GED and attend Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. There she earned a degree in journalism before working as a reporter and editor for newspapers in Missouri and Kansas. She earned a bachelor of science in nursing in 1994 from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, and worked as a registered nurse in hospitals throughout Missouri, Alaska and Washington for 18 years before returning her focus to writing

Annette recently completed her middle-grade novel, Bone Girl, and is hard at work revising her steamy contemporary romance, A Year with Geno.
She is the mother of four children. The oldest just graduated from the University of Washington; the youngest just graduated from kindergarten. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators. She loves libraries, basset hounds and bakeries. She does not camp.

You can follow her writing at She welcomes correspondence at:


I’d like to take a moment to welcome author Annette Drake to the Socrates’ Review Blog. She debuts with her new romance “Celebration House” and has graciously agreed to do an interview for us. Thank you, Annette, and welcome!

To start things off…

1) What made you decide on a writing career? Did you ever want to do anything else?

Writing or rather storytelling is my passion, but it’s not how I make my living. I work full-time as a registered nurse. I think as great as it sounds, staying home and writing full-time would not be a good fit for me. I need to hear other people’s voices, their stories.

2) Who is your greatest influence in your writing career?

Ray Bradbury. He said so much with so few words. I admire that skill. I have quotes from him taped up on the walls of my office (read spare bedroom). My favorite quote right now: “You fail only if you stop writing.”

3) Why did you choose the romance genre?

I love reading them! They’re fun. They’re like shortbread cookies. Delicious.

4) Do you intend to write or have you already written for any other genres?

I have written a middle-grade novel, Bone Girl, which has been rejected by some mighty fine publishers and agents. I’ve also written far too many picture books and a chapter book. I am Mom to four children, so kids books are near and dear to my heart.

Once I finish with my current WIP, I want to write a murder mystery that takes place at a state fair. I want to kill people! Wait. That didn’t come out like I meant it.

I also have a time-travel romance in mind, but that’s going to take so much research. All of these things I want to do…

5) Do you have any favorite romance authors? Or authors from other genres?

I love Jude Devereaux, Kristan Higgins, Teresa Medeiros, Julia Quinn. Oops! I guess that’s enough.

6) Where do you do most of your writing? Describe the setting for us.

My writing nook is the spare bedroom, which I also refer to as the library. I have a couple of desks and two computers because I am such an impatient person that I can’t wait for pages to load. I also have a monster monitor. It’s actually a small television that my husband has rigged up to use as a monitor for my desktop and laptop. My kids’ photos covers the walls, intermixed with quotes from Ray Bradbury and Stephen King. It’s a quiet, cozy place.

7) Do you outline your books or do you just sit down and let the words flow?

I start with an idea, and then I take it one scene at a time. There’s been talk from my editor of turning Celebration House into a trilogy. The second book would be Beth’s story; the third and probably the most powerful would be Melanie’s tale. With this in mind, the characters have already started telling me their stories. In fact, I know how Melanie’s book begins and how it ends. Spoiler alert: tears will flow!

8) How did you feel knowing your first book would be published?

Humbled. The thing that struck me most was that with Celebration House published, complete strangers would have access to my inner thoughts and daydreams. That still seems so powerful to me.

9) With all the various social media outlets around, do you communicate with your fans often?

I try to blog weekly. I tweet. I love to hear from readers and have an email for just that purpose:

10) Do you have any other books on the horizon that we can look forward to reading?

No publisher yet for Bone Girl, but I continue my search. I’m polishing my contemporary romance, A Year with Geno, and I hope it will see the light of day next year.

Thank you so much for being a guest on my blog, Annette!


  1. Thank you, Yvonne, for hosting me. Much appreciated. Happy Halloween!

  2. Thank you for hosting Annette today. Celebration House is certainly a special story.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Great post! The authors bio made me laugh "She does not camp".
    Celebration House sounds like a nice story to settle into.


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