I know quite a few authors, but Barbara Bettis is one I know face-to-face. She’s a member of the Ozarks Romance Authors and I got to know her better at the RT Convention in Kansas City. She’s here today to talk about Silverhawk, set during the rule of Richard the Lionheart.
Cara Bristol: Hi, Barbara! It’s a pleasure to have you here today. Please tell us about your current release
Barbara Bettis: Thanks for such a great welcome, Cara. Silverhawk is my debut. It’s a medieval romance about a mercenary and the one lady on earth he should never desire. Let me share the blurb with you.
He’s everything a proper lady should never want; she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.
Sir Giles has come to England to kill his father, who seduced and betrayed his mother. First, however, he’ll seek sweet revenge—kidnap the old lord’s new betrothed. But when Giles uncovers a plot against King Richard, he faces a dilemma: take the lady or track the traitors. What’s a good mercenary to do? Both, of course.
Lady Emelin has had enough. Abandoned in a convent by her brother, she finally has a chance for home and family. Yet now she’s been abducted. Her kidnapper may be the image of her dream knight, but she won’t allow him to spoil this betrothal. Her only solution: escape.
Rescuing the intrepid lady—while hunting traitors—is a challenge Giles couldn’t anticipate. But the greatest challenge to Giles and Emelin is the fire blazing between them. For he’s everything a proper lady should never want, and she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.
Cara Bristol: Who is your favorite character in your current release and why?
Barbara Bettis: I’d have to say it’s a toss up between Giles and Emelin. I love a wounded hero with a sense of humor and a strong, feisty heroine who can stand up to him. And, of course, their HEA.
Cara Bristol: What kind of research did you have to do?
Barbara Bettis: The story is set in the later years of the 10-year rule of King Richard I (Richard the Lionheart), although he isn’t a character. Since life in 1197 was very different from now, we have to search for books that contain various information about the life and times, both for ordinary people and for the nobles and fighting men.
Some sources are well known and the information from them have become standard lexicon, although not all of that ‘well-known’ information is the complete story. For example, I have Giles wearing a kind of armor that isn’t particularly common—I found reference to it in only a couple of places. I ran a risk of using it because since it isn’t that well-known, some readers may think it’s wrong.
I also researched: transportation, clothing styles, fabrics and colors (peasants could not wear certain colors, fabrics or certain furs.) Castle layouts and castle life in general, peasant life and life of the nobles.
Most of my research came from books, although I did do some online. The University of Missouri and St. Louis University have very interesting research material for medieval times.
I also consulted several biographies of Richard.
Cara Bristol: Is Silverhawk part of a sequel or a series?
Barbara Bettis: Silverhawk is actually part of a loosely connected series. The second book follows two characters from this one. I can’t say who, or it would give away a plot point. J A novella follows another character.
Cara Bristol: Is writing your sole occupation or do you have a day job?
Barbara Bettis: I do have a day job. I’m a teacher.
Cara Bristol: What else have you had published?
Barbara Bettis: This is my very first fiction and I’m so thrilled. At one time, I was a journalist, so I’ve had several non-fiction pieces and new stories published.
Cara Bristol: Who are you when you’re not writing?
Barbara Bettis: I’m mom (two adult sons) and grandmother (six and one step g/daughter).
Cara Bristol: How much of yourself do you put into your writing, and how much of it is pure fiction?
Barbara Bettis: Since I write historical, very little is put in. However, I think every author puts something of himself or herself into a book. Either what he or she is—or would wish to be.
Cara Bristol: What are your hobbies and interests?
Barbara Bettis: I love reading, of course. And writing. They’re both hobbies and interests. I like to travel, and I love to spend time with friends and shop with granddaughters.
What are you reading now? Grace Burrowes’ Beckham.
If you were stranded on a desert island what one luxury item would you wish you had? I don’t consider books a luxury—I’d have to have them. An air conditioner.
If you weren’t a writer, you would be a…? ….very sad person 🙂
What is your favorite dessert? Cheesecake
What was your first job? I was a file clerk in an insurance office the summer before I entered college.
Do you have a motivational quote you like? I have one motivational and one quirky : “Trust in God’s timing; it’s always right.” And from Snoopy, writing atop his doghouse: “Boy meets girl. Stuff happens. The End.” If only it were so simple.
Barbara Bettis: Thanks again for having me here, Cara. I loved talking with you.
Cara Bristol: Thank you for being here, Barbara.
Excerpt from Silverhawk:
Lady Emelin tucked her heavy brown wimple beneath her chin and watched the wounded knight.
Swollen eyelids, a puffy cheek, and bloody scrapes couldn’t hide his handsome features. Waves of midnight hair fell across his wide forehead to brush one side of his square, stubble-darkened jaw. Grit clustered on the high bridge of his nose. What shame such a strong, rugged man should be cut down. Her pulse fluttered, and she sucked in a sharp breath. Ashamed of such reaction, she squeezed shut her eyes.
Would Stephen have been so handsome, had he lived? She hardly recalled what her youthful first betrothed looked like when he joined his foster father on King Richard’s crusade. If only he’d returned, she’d be wed now, with the family she craved.
She sighed, reached for a leaf on her patient’s cheek—and found herself staring into the palest gray eyes she’d ever seen. His mouth moved; she leaned forward.
“What is it?” she murmured.
“Before…I…die,” came the hoarse whisper.
“Yes? What would you like before you die?” If it were in her power, she would provide the poor man with his wish. Drink? Food?
A strong hand gripped the back of her head, pulled her forward. That close, she saw his eyes weren’t gray, but layered like a winter pond winking with ice. They were silver.
“To…kiss…a nun,” came the outrageous reply before his lips met hers.
His warm mouth robbed her of breath for an instant. Then she snapped back with a gasp. And, with inborn reflex, slapped him. His head jerked, his eyes closed, and he lay motionless.
“Oh, Sweet Mary,” Emelin whispered, “I’ve killed him.” Leaning close, she saw his narrow, beautifully molded lips relax. His mouth curved at the corner.
At least he died with a smile on his face.
Follow Barbara at:
The book will be in wide release in November.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Please visit the other authors of Historical Week. Yesterday’s interview was with Celeste Jones. She’s multi-published, but her Regency romance, Lady Katherine’s Comeuppance, is her first historical. Tomorrow, Karla Tipton, another debut author, will talk about Rings of Passage, a medieval romance featuring Richard III as the hero. And Friday I’ll feature Renee Rose who writes in a variety of historical time periods. Celeste and Renee both write spanking fiction. Barbara and Karla write nonspanking fiction. So far. 🙂