Sunday, 15 March 2015

Q&A with Barbara Bettis

I'm very excited to have fellow medieval romance and The Wild Rose Press author, Barbara Bettis, visiting me today. Please give her a huge, warm welcome!

Thank you so much for having me here today, Louise. I’m especially happy because I’m having a 99 cent sale on my latest book THE HEART OF THE PHOENIX. It’s part of a March Birthday Celebration and in celebrations, I’m also offering a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one commenter here today.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Do not give up. Ever. Have confidence in your writing. Don’t set impossibly high standards for yourself. Keep studying your craft and keep writing. But don’t rush to publish. Take your time and make sure your story is in as good a shape as possible before submitting to an agent or publishing or before putting it out yourself.

What comes first, the plot or characters? 
In every story so far, the characters have come first. I’ve usually seen them in my imagination in a particular scene or situation that defines (or partially defines) them as people. Then that scene is set in a larger context and the plot builds out from there in a circular motion.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.  
Evie appeared as the younger sister of Henry and Alyss in the very first book I wrote (Alyss and Roark’s story, which remains unpublished.) The family became so dear to me that I had to use them in the second novel, my first published, SILVERHAWK. In that book, Evie and Henry were secondary characters. Also a secondary character? Sir Stephen. After SILVERHAWK was published, I heard from readers, asking for Stephen’s  story. What better heroine for him than an all grown up Evie? But the course of true love never runs smoothly, and Stephen’s mysterious past was bound to get in the way of his happily-ever-after. Where Did he disappear for seven years?

Are you working on anything at the present?
I’m happy to say I’m nearly finished with a novella that tells Lord Henry and Lady Katherine’s story. With him a hero—he saved King Richard’s life three years before this story takes place—not just any lady will do. She must be just as brave and resourceful as he is (That’s my opinion, not Henry’s J. He’s much to humble to think that!)  I’ll just say, Kate has a few surprises in store for Henry.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I love to read. I love the theatre. I love to travel. I love spending time with friends and family, and I love to volunteer. But I’m domestically challenged. I can’t grow things, indoors or out. (My own son once said, “Mom, you might consider artificial plants.”) I can’t sew a straight line. My cooking is problematic. I hate housework (Why can’t we just clean once a month?) And as for crafts *snort*. Do not turn me lose with glue gun.  

What was the last picture you took with your phone?
My car. Specifically the front end of my car before I submitted an insurance claim. My g/son had run an errand and on the way home, hit a deer. Thank the Lord he wasn’t hurt and the deer even ran off minus only a few clumps of hair/fur? that were tucked around the bumper.

Would you be willing to eat a bowl of crickets for $50,000?
Deep fry them and dip them in chocolate—I have an insurance deductible to meet. Actually, no. Sorry. Not even for $50,000.

When was the last time you were nervous?
I was really nervous before the giant booksigning at RWA Nationals in San Antonio last year. However, once I actually got in the room and set up my table, everything was fine. Except--Then I find I’m sitting next to one of my favorite authors in the world—Jo Beverly. When I worked as a newspaper reporter, I interviewed entertainers and a president or two. Not a problem. Totally coherent. But sitting next to Jo Beverly, I went mush-minded. I managed not to gush, but I probably sounded like a total idiot when I managed to speak at all.

Have you ever made your own Ice cream?
Don’t ask a farm girl that. LOL When I was young, we made ice cream so often it was common. Mom always made the custard “from scratch” and my dad got out the old crank ice cream bucket. That thing was so old, I don’t’ know how it managed, but the best ice cream came out of it. Our extended family always gathered for holidays, and on the Fourth of July, we always had at least three ice cream buckets going. The “older generation” wouldn’t use the new, electric makers. But the memory of my uncles and my dad sitting under a tree, turning the cranks, is priceless. I have made my own since then, but it’s never as good as the perfect ice cream on those long-ago, hot July days

Do you lick the spoon clean after making something sweet?

Isn’t that one of the rules of baking? Unfortunately, when my grandchildren aren’t around to perform that important task, it’s left to me. Never let it be said that I shirk my duties. :-)

Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion? 
False eyelashes. Maybe now I could learn to apply them. J

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.

And deadly                                                                                                                                         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.

“I don’t believe you heard me, Sir Stephen.” Evie’s words dripped honey. “I’m going home on orders of my brother. If the travelers Davy were to join haven’t appeared, then he can accompany me.” She shot a glance toward the youth, deep in conversation with the maid.

The back of Stephen’s neck tingled, and he clenched his hands. God’s blood, she made him so angry he longed to grab those soft arms and shake some sense into her

“You are not remaining at the monastery, and you are not traveling to England.” His words came out in a growl. He stepped forward, and she tilted back her head to meet him eye to eye. “Must I tie you to that horse?”

She leaned in. “Just you try, Sir Stephen-the-Bully.”

He glared and crossed his arms against his chest, daring her to continue.

“Do as you think you must.” She echoed his stance, her crossed arms pushing her plump breasts higher.

Not that he noticed, blast her.

“I vow I will return the moment I’m free,” she added. “You have no authority over my movements, for you are no relative of mine.” 

“And I thank God for it. How Henry has put up with you all these years I do not know. A more
troublesome, contentious wi...woman I’ve never seen.”

“Did you call me a witch?”

BUY LINKS: Amazon  The Wild Rose Press

Author Bio:

A former health insurance claims adjuster, a former journalist, a former journalism teacher, Barbara Bettis plans never to be a “former” author. Currently, she supports her writing habit as an adjunct English instructor at a community college near her home in Missouri.

Visit her at:                                               


  1. Barbara, thank you so much for being my guest. It's great to have you here!

  2. Hi Louise, I love being here. You're such a terrific host. Wish I could drop by and visit in person, but I don't know if I could make that long flight :) Thanks so much.

    1. The flight is a killer. I've made several from OZ/UK - I'd rather watch paint dry!

  3. Barb, if you ever miss turning that ice cream churn, you can come on over to my house--I've got an antique butter churn you can use ;-) Great interview, ladies--good luck with the book, Barb. Sounds fantastic.

    1. How antique is that church, Andi? My g/mother had a large glass jar-like container with paddles built in to the metal lid that she used to churn butter. But if you're thinking of the old fashioned wooden ones with the stick going up and down--I'll just have to say thanks so much for the kind offer :) But oh, homechurned butter is So delicious. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Oh Barb, your talent is in your writing. Absolutely loved the interview! :)

    1. Thank you, Mary! I'm always surprised what I end up revealing about myself and I'm ordinarily a quiet, reserved person.

  5. Lovely Interview, ladies. I am also domestically challenged, Barbara. I don't do crafts, I buy them. :) I wish I had started writing when my hubby was stationed at Whiteman AFB because now I found many of my favorite authors live in Missouri. I agree with your advice to new writers about not rushing to publish. Learning the craft and having the best possible product going forward saves a lot of heartache later.

    1. Absolutely! Such fantastic advice.

    2. HI Angelina! Where to you live now?? Yes, we do have some excellent writers her in the Heartland. For a couple of years, I lived just down the road from Whiteman in Warrensburg. Thank goodness I'm not the only craft-challenged person. You're a brave lady to stand up beside me :)

  6. Lovely interview, ladies. And I enjoyed this excerpt, too. It's one I haven't seen before. All the best!

    1. Hi Jana and thanks for stopping in. It is a challenge to find different excerpts that can work independently, isn't it? Glad you enjoyed it.

  7. I loved the excerpt. Stephen and Evie were one of my favorite book couples.
    Great interview. I agree with the advice and your attitude towards housework. There's always something more important to do :)
    Happy Birthday.

  8. Exactly! Oh if I could afford a maid. But then I'd have to clean the house before she came, so that's just another layer of stress LOL. Thanks Marlow. I'm so glad you like Stephen and Evie. Hugs.