Romantic Novelists' Association

Annemarie Brear – Beyond The Distant Hills

16 September 2021

We are delighted to welcome AnneMarie Brear to the blog today to talk to us about her new release, Beyond the Distant Hills. AnneMarie, could you tell us a little more about it?

My new release Beyond the Distant Hills is out October 1st. It’s the sequel to A Distant Horizon. The first book starts in Ireland towards the end of the potato famine in 1851 and tells the story of Ellen Kittrick and her struggle to keep her children alive when their crops fail and her husband’s intention to go away to work proves easier said than done. The first book shows Ellen’s strength of character and her ability to adapt to tragic circumstances which ultimately means she makes the decision to emigrate to Australia and begin a new life. The sequel, Beyond the Distant Hills, continues the story where it ends in the first book. Ellen has to forget the past hardships in Ireland and forge ahead to create a successful life for her children. She is eager to give her children everything she didn’t have. Of course, nothing ever goes to plan. Ellen is faced with her past following her from Ireland, the man she marries isn’t the man she loves, she is betrayed and challenged and confronted with lies and deceit. But her determination, her sheer force of will brings her through.


What was the inspiration behind your book? What prompted you to tell this story?

The inspiration came when I was researching my family tree. I knew I wanted to write a book set in Ireland as my ancestors on my father’s mother’s side come from County Mayo. When searching my family tree, I learnt that my great grandfather Patrick Kittrick came from Louisburgh, County Mayo and his father Michael was born at the start of the potato famine. The more I researched the potato famine and County Mayo I realised how much the blight would have impacted on my own ancestors, which was why perhaps Patrick left Ireland and moved to Yorkshire. Suddenly, I had Ellen in my mind and the story began to emerge.

How did you decide on the names for your characters and the setting for your book?

Again, I use family tree inspiration. I set the book in Louisburgh on the coast of County Mayo where my Kittrick family are from. I used the same surname of Kittrick to honour my family and then used several first names in my family tree for the characters.

How long did the book take to write? How much re-writing do you normally do?

I wrote A Distant Horizon in three months and Beyond the Distant Hills also in three months. I’m lucky I can write full time. After I have written the rough first draft, I set it aside for a few weeks and work on something else. Then once I’ve had a little break, I start the second draft. Once the second draft is finished, I send it to my editor and when she sends it back, I do a third edit and send it to an author friend to read and critique. I also send it to my kindle for another read through. Finally, it has a last polish and I’m done.

What is your writing day like?

I am in my study early and while eating breakfast I’ll be reading emails and catching up on what’s happened overnight around the world and check social media, etc. Then I’ll do an hour or so of promotion until about 9am and then I start writing until 2pm. The afternoon is more promotion, admin stuff, researching, answering emails, etc until 5pm when I turn the computer off.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

My advice would be to write the story you want to tell – one that is in your heart. Don’t write a book just because that genre is selling, and you want to jump on the gravy train. We are story tellers. We create stories that readers pay for to entertain them. That’s our job. Write with passion. However, being an author is also business, so be clever and smart. Make sure you have educated yourself on the business side of things, such as promotion and marketing, author branding, tax, etc. Learn your craft, but above all, remember to tell a good story.

Can you tell us what you are working on now?

Right now, I am finishing writing a Christmas novella (sequel to The Slum Angel) and then I will begin writing The Call of the Swallow – my 30th book, (that blows my mind!) which is the second contracted historical saga for Boldwood Books.

About the Author:

AnneMarie Brear was born in a small town in N.S.W. Australia, to English parents from Yorkshire, and is the youngest of five children. From an early age she loved reading, working her way through the Enid Blyton stories, before moving onto Catherine Cookson’s novels as a teenager.

Living in England during the 1980s and more recently, AnneMarie developed a love of history from visiting grand old English houses and this grew into a fascination with what may have happened behind their walls over their long existence. Her enjoyment of visiting old country estates and castles when travelling and, her interest in genealogy and researching her family tree, has been put to good use, providing backgrounds and names for her historical novels which are mainly set in Yorkshire or Australia between Victorian times and WWII.

A long and winding road to publication led to her first novel being published in 2006. She has now published over twenty-seven historical family saga novels, becoming an Amazon best seller and with her novel, The Slum Angel, winning a gold medal at the Reader’s Favourite International Awards. Two of her books have been nominated for the Romance Writer’s Australia Ruby Award and the In’dtale Magazine Rone award.

AnneMarie now lives in the Southern Highlands of N.S.W.

Find Me Here – AnneMarie Brear


Amazon pre-order link for Beyond the Distant Hills


AnneMarie was talking to Ruby Moone.

Ruby Moone lives in the wilds of Lancashire with her husband and writes historical and contemporary romance. At school, her teachers said that she lived with her head in the clouds and if she didn’t stop daydreaming she would never get anywhere. She never did stop daydreaming, and after years of happily living in the clouds, decided to write the stories down.