Bernadette Rowley is on my blog today to talk about her recently release book, The Lady’s Choice and all things writerly. Hi Bernadette. Thanks for being a guest on my blog. It’s really exciting to have you here.
BR: Thanks for the invitation, it’s great to be here.
LL: The Lady’s Choice, your new novel in the Princess Avenger series, follows on from the first with the lovelorn Squire Ramon and a feisty new heroine – I’m so glad to see Ramon get a story and win a worthy love. Can you tell those who’ve not read it a little more about it?
BR: In The Lady’s Choice, we get to catch up with Squire Ramón Zorba who was infatuated with Princess Alecia (in Princess Avenger). He is determined to find Alecia and is working on his fighting skills so that he can best the man Alecia ran away with, the dark and dangerous Vard Anton. Ramón is focussed on this objective when Lady Benae Branasar arrives in Brightcastle intent in winning the hand of Ramon’s employer, Prince Zialni. Benae makes quite an impression on Ramón and when the two are thrown together on a trip to fit Benae’s wedding gown, neither of them can ignore what is developing between them.
LL: I’m fanning myself already. The Lady’s Choice is part of a fantasy series – I love a good series. Can you tell us if you have anything more in store for this series?
BR: I love series too, and new ideas keep cropping up, or rather new characters who are ideal for their own love story. Readers will be especially pleased to hear that Alecia and Vard’s love affair is far from over. At the moment I’m almost finished a related story, set in Wildecoast (the king’s seat) which spins off from The Lady’s Choice although both hero and heroine are brand new. Each story fits in with previous stories so that readers can follow a timeline and some of the stories overlap others. I get a buzz out of the cross references and I hope readers will as well.
LL: Sounds fascinating. And I’m glad to hear you get to see more of Alecia and Vard – they were compelling characters. I love fantasy books and have bookshelves full of them. What inspires you to write fantasy? What’s their appeal to you? Where do your ideas come from?
BR: Up until the last few years fantasy was all I ever read. I started with Terry Brooks and the Sword of Shannara and moved on to Tolkien and then Eddings and Feist.
LL: I love Feist – he’s my favourite. Oops, sorry, I’ve interrupted – my enthusiasm got the better of me. Who else do you love?
BR: I’ve enjoyed Sara Douglas and Robert Jordan and more recently Harry Potter and paranormals like the Twilight series. What I really crave are ‘coming into power’ stories where the hero begins as an innocent and ends up the most potent being in the world. In my stories, the heroes and heroines are all learning about themselves and growing through their trials. I also love a tortured hero. Ramon from The Lady’s Choice is a beta hero so he is pretty perfect already but he is growing into his sexual self (yes, he is a virgin) and navigating questions of right and wrong and honour versus love. The ideas for my stories just come to me but I think they are distilled from the fantasy authors I’ve read. All those characters and worlds have influenced my books.
LL: I know what you mean. You are a veterinarian and mother in your ‘other’ more normal life. Tell us a little more about yourself and what led you to writing fiction.
BR: I loved writing at school but then university got in the way. Even through all that study, I read a lot of fantasy so I guess I was in training then. I work two days a week as a vet and devote the rest to my family and writing. I find that my love of animals and my healing resonates in my writing. Lady Benae has a special bond with her horse Flaire and she is a gifted healer as well. I think readers will enjoy that aspect of The Lady’s Choice almost as much as the romance. What led me to writing fiction? I realised about fifteen years ago that I had a book in me. It was after a goal setting workshop but I began from a very different place to fantasy romance.
LL: Ooh, that sounds interesting and leads onto my next question. Writers are always being given advice to diversify and write in different genres – although this doesn’t work for everyone. Aside from fantasy, do you write or have aspirations to write any other genre? What genres do you read other than fantasy?
BR: I started with a Children’s writing course and wrote a picture book, soon learning that I had selected a most difficult genre. I moved then to junior fiction and have two books written in that genre, inspired by my oldest son. That series centres on a magical plant and the boy who discovers it and tries to protect it from exploitation. I love that series and still hope to have it published one day. Then my husband had an idea for a science fiction/space opera series that looks to be nine books long – I’ve written two of those and there is a strong romantic thread. When I started writing romance, it just had to be fantasy and a series. I can’t help it! And other than fantasy I read lots and lots of romance – whatever my fellow authors are publishing – I especially enjoy regency and suspense.
BR: I kept missing a call from a NSW number on my mobile while at work. I didn’t bother phoning back as I assumed it was a telemarketer – wrong assumption. It was actually Carol George (Destiny Romance) who finally had to email me, asking me to call her. After a bit more phone tag, we hooked up and she made me the offer for Princess Avenger – my first ever romance. It was pretty special.
LL: I know that feeling – one of the best days ever! What’s been the most surprising aspect of your writing career so far? What have you had the most difficulties with and learned the most from?
The most surprising aspect is how good it feels when someone enjoys your book. I love making a connection with readers. It’s so much more important than how many books you sell- though I’m always happy to sell more books. I’ve had the most difficulty with getting my head around promotion of myself and my books – still working on that. I’ve learned the most from two things – working with two incredible mentors AND working with Penguin editors.
LL: They’re pretty special, aren’t they? Well, thanks so much for being a guest on my blog today, Bernadette. It was fun finding out a little bit more about you and your writing.
You can buy Princess: Avenger and The Lady’s Choice from:
The Lady’s Choice:
With her people on the brink of starvation, beautiful Lady Benae Branasar has the perfect plan. She will marry the powerful Prince Jiseve of Brightcastle and use his fortune to save them. But first she must compete against three princesses equally determined to win his hand.
When she finds herself irresistibly attracted to her reluctant escort, the handsome Ramon Zorba, her plans begin to unravel. Ramon is dealing with problems of his own, but as he begins to thaw, Benae begins to glimpse the devastating man underneath. The more time they spend together, the harder Benae finds it to focus on her objective. Will she stay true to her people and pursue the prince? Or will love and fate intervene?
Find Bernadette at: