I am excited to have Barbara Bettis visiting today. She is celebrating a special month with a great sale and agreed to answer some interview questions for me. Please help Barbara feel welcome!
Thanks so much for having me here, Abigail. This is a special day—it begins my Birthday Month Celebration! Throughout March, my book THE HEART OF THE PHOENIX is on sale for only $0.99!
What draws you to historical romance? And what is your favorite part about writing it?
I’ve always loved history, stories of people of earlier times. Maybe that started as a child, reading myths and fables. But for as long as I can remember, the fascination has been there. As for romance? Well, I love straight historical, but romance gives an HEA. And that, I definitely love.
The childhood friends to lovers is one of my favorite story lines. What makes this one unique?
Evie idolized the older Stephen, who was a good friend of her brother’s. But Stephen had been betrothed to another when he was very young, so Evie knew her fascination was all that could ever be. When he finally returned from Crusade and was available, the king had ordered Evie to wed another. So it seemed there was no way they can ever be together.
Which was your favorite chapter or scene to write? And why?
I enjoyed writing the very first chapter, because it was a challenge to set everything up yet leave enough mystery to entice readers to come along on the journey to discovery. I wanted to show Evie’s feelings for Stephen and her hurt at his rejection, and Stephen’s conflicted reaction to her attempt at friendship.
Share a little on your writing process?
With every book so far, I’ve started with a character in the midst of a scene that seems to pop into my mind, and that includes a bit of a storyline. It builds out from there, adding characters as the plot develops. I usually write a scene or two, sometimes a chapter, then do a two or three page, single spaced, plot summary. That works as a very rough kind of synopsis that is an overview of the story, including the ending. But it’s general enough so that I don’t feel as if I’ve already written it and lose interest. Of course, the actual book usually ends up different from that original summary.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
Criticism? What to pick from? J Oh, here’s one. I was working on my very first book (which will never be published J) and a contest judge decimated me for backstory dump in the first chapter. But…but…that was important information, I thought! Ah, the learning process. The best compliment? Readers emailing me to say they remember the characters long after reading and hope they’re still doing well.
I love your blurb! Writing the blurb… love it or hate it?
First of all: thank you! Second: Hate writing blurbs. It takes me forever and a jillion drafts.
If you could have an intimate lunch with anyone in history, who would it be? And why?
I’m so sorry. I tried to pick just one person, and I can’t. I’d love to be insightful and profound, but I can’t—so many fascinating people I’d love to meet.
What’s your favorite love story? And why?
Can’t pick just one. Sorry.
This or That: Read the book or watch the movie?
I assume you mean which first? I think if given a choice, I’d better see the movie first, because when I read a book I create the world of that book in my mind. Then I have such a preconceived idea of how the characters should look and behave, I’m inevitably disappointed.
Now for the speed round (ala Actors Studio). Answer each with one word:
- What turns you on? Sincerity
- What turns you off? Rudeness
- What is your favorite word? Love
- What is your least favorite word? Snake (Me and Indy)
- What sound or noise do you love? My grandchidren’s indoor voices
- What sound or noise do you hate? Spinning tires (as in I’m stuck again)
- What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Archaeologist
- What profession other than yours would you NOT like to attempt? Airplane pilot
- What is your favorite swear word? Damn
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you as you enter the Pearly Gates? “Here are the answers to all those questions you’ve wondered about.”
THE HEART OF THE PHOENIX
by Barbara Bettis
Some call him a ruthless mercenary; she calls him the knight of her heart.
Lady Evelynn’s childhood hero is home—bitter, hard, tempting as sin. And haunted by secrets. A now-grown Evie offers friendship, but Sir Stephen’s cruel rejection crushes her, and she resolves to forget him. Yet when an unexpected war throws them together, she finds love isn’t so easy to dismiss. If only the king hadn’t betrothed her to another.
Can be cruel
Sir Stephen lives a double life while he seeks the treacherous outlaws who murdered his friends. Driven by revenge, he thinks his heart is closed to love. His childhood shadow, Lady Evie, unexpectedly challenges that belief. He rebuffs her, but he can’t forget her, although he knows she’s to wed the king’s favorite.
When his drive for vengeance leads to Evie’s kidnapping, Stephen must choose between retribution and the love he’s denied too long. Surely King John will see reason.Convict the murderers; convince the king. Simple. Until a startling revelation threatens everything.
Evie could tell Stephen was angry now by the way he glowered and roared in that whispery sort of way no one else could hear, but left her with no doubt of his displeasure.
“Your betrothed.” He bent and scooped her off the floor.
“What? What about him?”
“That’s the identity of the illustrious lord who’s sharing passage with us.”
“You’re drunk. And put me down. I’m perfectly capable of getting up on my own.”
“Be quiet. You have blood on your leg.”
“Of course I do. I tripped and fell trying to answer your pounding when you could easily have opened—” His words finally penetrated her throbbing head. “I’m bleeding?”
Oh, blast. The contents of her—empty—stomach churned. She attended the villagers’ hurts, bound the cuts and scrapes of servants and their children. The sight of their blood bothered her not a whit. But her own? Black spots danced at the corners of her vision, becoming larger and larger until she heard Stephen’s voice.
“Evie, Evie. What the hell?”
His voice echoed so far away. If she didn’t know better, she’d vow he sounded alarmed. Perhaps she’d close her eyes for a moment. As the ringing in her ears crescendoed, she recalled his words. Betrothed.
Her betrothed was on board?
Dear Lord, just let me die.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Award-winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math.
She now lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a mild-mannered English teacher, and by night she’s an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for—and heroes to live for.
Visit her at:
So glad to be here, Abigail. The sun is finally out and it feels like spring. What a good day 🙂
A pleasure to have you. Best of luck with the sale and happy birthday month!!!
I read “The Heart of the Phoenix” and loved, loved, loved it! Can’t recommend this story highly enough. Barb, I too hate the sound of tires spinning on the ice–and, at this point, pretty much everything else about this winter. But … gives us time to stay in and read, right? And what could be better company than a Barbara Bettis romance?
Oh, Laura, thank you so much! Hugs.
Great interview, Barb! Lovely to learn more about you. I would have a hard time picking just one person to dine with too. 🙂
Thanks Marin. I know–kind of depends on the mood at the time, doesn’t it.
What a fun interview! I would like all my questions answered too;-)
Yes! Of course, by then, it probably wouldn’t matter. We’d be faced with the reality 🙂
I want to be an archaeologist too, but I don’t want to dig in the dirt. I’ll sit in the tent and examine the artifacts.
I’ve read The Heart of the Phoenix it was wonderful. I loved every minute of Stephen and Evie’s journey together. I highly recommend it.
Marlow, we’d have made great archeologists. Exactly what I’d like, too–examine the finds and make connections among all the civilizations.
Enjoyed your interview and your book sounds like just my sort of thing. I hope to do a medieval binge this summer and will put it on the list.
Great, Mary. Now’s the time to plan–because once you have that period mapped out, you can give yourself permission to relax and read for as long as you like. Well, maybe not quite that long, but a good while, nevertheless. 🙂
This sounds like my kind of book! Best of luck, Barbara.
Oh, thanks so much Jana. I appreciate your dropping by.
enjoyed the interview. i hate snakes too. even phobic about them. good luck with your story. write on.
Yes, Larry, phobic is a good way to describe my feelings, too. When my husband and I lived in northern Arkansas, way out in the country, I was taking a walk alone one fall day and stepped on a snake under some fallen leaves. Didn’t realize it until the ‘earth’ started moving beneath my foot. I remember thinking, ‘If I lift my foot, it’ll reach up and bite my leg.’ (Copperheads abounded in that area.) When I finally moved, a huge blacksnake zipped off through the leaves. Well, it looked huge to me, anyway. LOL. (No bites)
Oh, Barb, that is a great excerpt! Hope it does well!
Thank you, Ilona. I really appreciate your good wishes.
Loved the interview, Barbara. I shudder each time I have to write a blurb. Keeping fingers crossed that my latest will get approved. Wishing you all the best with your sale. Love your stories.
I appreciate the kind words, Mary. As for blurbs: I’d be willing to employ someone to do the job!
Great excerpt. Good luck with your sales.
Thanks Judy! Glad you liked it.
Loved Heart of a Phoenix. What a novel idea, a birthday month celebration. Wishing you a lot of sales!!!
Great interview, Barbara! I kind of like writing blurbs for my books, but my publisher always changes part of it. Enjoyed the excerpt too! Best of luck with your book.