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Sunday, March 27, 2011
Guest Author Interview: Terri Brisbin
Alexis: Hi Terri. Welcome to Happily Ever After Thoughts. Thank you so much for coming. Your website is so beautiful. It puts me in the mood for one of your many books right away! Why did you decide to write historical? I mean, besides the hunky men and strong willed women :-)
Terri: I have always loved history and loved reading historical romances, so I’m not sure it was a choice? Actually, my first book (which is now hidden away in a closet) was a contemporary and I discovered quickly that I enjoyed writing historicals more and that my voice is definitely historical.
Alexis: As a lover of historical romances, I have to say I’m glad you found your voice in historical :-) And speaking of, you have a new romance being released this month. Can you tell us about HIS ENEMY’S DAUGHTER?
Terri: HIS ENEMY’S DAUGHTER is a story of a man who has survived a horrifying battle wound fueled by hatred and the need for vengeance who discovers that vengeance isn’t enough to live on.
Soren lived on his looks and was called the ‘beautiful bastard’ but all that changed at the Battle of Hastings. Seeking out the family of the man who destroyed all that he was, Soren finds the daughter who has been blinded in his attack on her home. And he finds the only woman who cannot see the monster he has become.
Sybilla knows she is the only one who can protect her people from this conqueror’s wrath but she wonders if she can survive blinded and as his wife. Slowly, the man within the monster begins to live again and she falls in love with him, helping him even more than he helps her.
But, when her sight is restored, Soren knows he will lose her and the love he never expected to find. Can love overcome the terrible wounds of the flesh and the soul and help him be the man he should be rather than the monster he is?
Alexis: Wow, I’m so hooked on this. What a wonderful, emotional plot. Where did you get the idea for this story?
Terri: Hmmmm. I’m not sure where the idea of the three bastard knights fighting for William the Conqueror came from but once I got that idea, I began thinking about who the knights should be and what linked them together. I knew they must have been raised together and then began playing ‘what if…?’ with that idea. When Harlequin asked me to write a short story (A KNIGHT FOR HER PLEASURE) to introduce them before the trilogy began, I got the chance to show Soren before the battle. And when I did, I realized he would have to lose everything in order to become the hero I knew he could be. What better way to bring that hero out than to take away the one thing that made him who he was – his looks? So I did that and Soren came to me as he is in his story – wounded, damaged, half-blind and not knowing who he should be. Sigh…. I guess I love ‘beauty and the beast’ stories so much, they just run to me now? LOL!
Alexis: Those are my absolute favorite types of stories as well. What are your favorite character traits of Soren and Sybilla?
Terri: I think both of them are fiercely loyal and I like that about them. I think what drew me to them is that they’re both lost and damaged and seeking a way to be a better person.
Alexis: What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?
Terri: I had to do lots of research about the time period and specifically about William the Conqueror, Normandy, Brittany, warfare, England and so much more to write this series (there are three novels and the short story all connected as the Knights of Brittany). I did discover that the Bretons got a bad rep in the Battle of Hastings for running and nearly causing William’s defeat, but I decided to change history a bit for my stories after meeting a very sexy Breton harpist and deciding that they were a noble, courageous breed of men! LOL!
Alexis: I guess that is one advantage to writing fiction; you can make your characters how you want them. Now, you just released a Scottish Romance KIDNAPPING THE LAIRD. You are one busy lady. Can you tell us a little about that book? I have to admit to loving a good Scottish romance.
Terri: Actually KIDNAPPING THE LAIRD is a short story that was released in the print collection – MAMMOTH BOOK OF SCOTTISH ROMANCE in January. Since I retained the digital rights to the story, I decided to make it available to readers. So, it’s now available for Amazon’s Kindle and B&N’s Nook. It should be available for Sony ereaders and in iBooks later this month!
KIDNAPPING THE LAIRD is about a marriage of (in)convenience which fails miserably on the wedding night. The laird and lady live almost separate lives, each though secretly wanting more. Catriona, the lady, finally decides she’s had enough and wants a husband. . . HER husband and kidnaps him in order to give him her ultimatum and to find her happily-ever-after.
I set this story in a location I visited while in Scotland in late 2009 – there really is a ‘lady’s house’ of stone next to the River Moriston just before it meets Loch Ness. I realized it was a perfect location for a kidnapping and the designer even used one of my photos from my trip in the background of the coverart!
Alexis: I love Scotland and have been inspired myself by the buildings and scenery there, so I can understand the draw. How wonderful that your cover is so in-line with your story!
You have over 16 romances published now, right? Which one has your favorite hero?
Terri: Actually, I have had 25 or so romances published since 1998! Overall, I would say that I have 2 favorite heroes – Orrick of Silloth (from THE KING’S MISTRESS and “Love at First Step”) and Rurik Erengislsson (from SURRENDER TO THE HIGHLANDER and all the HIGHLANDER stories). Orrick was a real beta-hero in an alpha-male and I just loved him! Rurik. . . well. . . sigh. . . Rurik is just a man who loves women who love him and I fell hard for the half-Norse/half-Scot warrior who lives life to its fullest!
Alexis: Hmm, they do sound perfect, at least for those of us who love historical men :-) Do you have any other men, I mean, romance novels in the works that we can look forward to?
Terri: Yes! I am currently working on the first book in a new trilogy for Harlequin Historicals – I’m returning to the Highlands with a kind of ‘Highlanders-Next Generation’ series about the children of those relationships from my previous HIGHLANDER books! The first one features the daughter from POSSESSED BY THE HIGHLANDER – Ciara – and the Highlander she swore to marry when she was five years old! No titles or release dates yet but I’ll post info on my website when I know it.
Alexis: I love continuation stories and Ciara sounds like my kind of heroine.
We like to give our readers some great stories to check-out, but we also like to learn a little about the wonderful authors who create them. Could you share something about yourself with our readers that they may not know about you?
Terri: Hmmmm….not sure if there’s anything readers don’t know? LOL! But I’m open to questions!
Alexis: Thank you so much for visiting Happily Ever After Thoughts. We like talking about romance novels here and learning about the writers who create them :-)
Terri: Alexis, thanks so much for having me visit today! I hope readers will check out my website – http://www.terribrisbin.com/ or friend me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/terribrisbin
Alexis: Ask Terri a question or make a comment and you will have a chance to win one of her romances. Terri will be giving away TWO of her stories so you have double the chance to win :-)
Check out Terri's excerpt from HIS ENEMY’S DAUGHTER:
Sybilla, Lady of Alston, stood up straight and moaned as her back spasmed in response to the movement. Pressing her fists into her lower back, she tried to ease the pain caused by leaning over too much and by carrying too many large rocks to the wooden palisade. They must shore up the defenses, Gareth said. So, she helped as much as she could. Lady or not, another pair of hands lightened the work of all and gave her the hope that the wall could be strengthened to protect the keep from the coming invader.
Sybilla accepted a cup of water from the servant girl passing by, tightened the leather ties around her braid and began anew. They had little time to finish this task before the invader king’s pawn arrived at their gates. After receiving the message that he traveled there to claim the lands of her father, Sybilla and her late father’s steward and the commander of those who yet defended her and the keep decided to protect themselves from the devastation committed on their neighbors and kin when faced with the same situation. She did not believe they could hold out long, but if they presented their strength, she and they hoped to negotiate a peaceful transition—one that allowed her people to live and her to travel to her cousin’s convent and live out her life there in peace and contemplation.
With her father and her brother dead, with no other Saxon kin able to come to her rescue or to stand against these invaders as they moved inexorably north towards her lands, Sybilla knew she and her people had few choices and little power.
They worked until nightfall, taking advantage of every moment of summer’s daylight to build the wall as high and strong as they could. Gareth had nodded his approval of their efforts in that stern, serious manner of his, but Sybilla knew it was not enough. Still, they had two days, possibly three, before the invaders arrived and they would take every moment given to them to prepare.
The birds’ song that heralded the dawn also brought terror to their doors, for the invaders crested the hill across from the keep and formed their lines to attack. Sybilla quickly gathered the children and took them to the back of the keep and carried out whatever Gareth ordered. Though she’d lived there for all her life, never once had they needed to defend it from outsiders. Even when her father and brother went off to fight alongside their king, her brother to Stamford Bridge and then her father to Hastings, their defenses here were perfunctory and never needed.
Now though, it meant the difference between life and death.
When things were settled in the keep, she climbed to the top of the wall to see what forces they faced. Gareth ordered her away, but Sybilla thought that meeting the enemy face to face might ease the situation. If the duke’s man thought them no threat, he might not attack before they could negotiate. Holding her hand over her eyes to shade the growing light of the rising sun, she shivered when she saw him.
Black. Everything he wore was black, except for the slash of red on his shield, angling to the left that she understood spoke of his bastardy. Or his duke’s? She knew not which, but once more her body trembled. His armor was black, not reflecting the rays of the sun above him. His horse, a huge, monstrous destrier, was the color of midnight, without any markings to lighten his coat. And Sybilla felt as though death stood before her on the field.
Or the devil incarnate?
Alexis: Don't forget to leave a comment for a chance to win one of two of Terri's stories!