Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Interview with historical fiction author Barbara Bettis

Please welcome today’s guest, historical fiction author Barbara Bettis as she shares about her new novel, The Heart of the Phoenix.

During her virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions, Barbara will be awarding a $25 Amazon Gift Card to a randomly drawn winner. To be entered for a chance to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit her other tour stops, and enter there, too!

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.

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.

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.

Welcome, Barbara. Please tell us about your current release.
Sir Stephen is consumed with revenge. He and his band of mercenaries The Brotherhood of the Phoenix, have identified a group of renegade knights who have pillaged and murdered their way from the Holy Land. But Stephen is hampered in the final confrontation when his childhood nemesis, Lady Evelynn, turns up and he is forced to take her home.

Here’s the blurb:
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.

What inspired you to write this book?
Sir Stephen lost his betrothed in a previous book, and readers (as well as my editor) asked for his story. I had already started on it. Stephen’s experiences with King Richard I in the Third Crusade disillusioned him so much, I couldn’t get him out of my mind. I had to give him his HEA. And who better than Lady Evelynn, the sister of his dear friend. Plus, Evie had loved him since she was young. It seemed they belonged together. She, too, had appeared in earlier books.
Hmmm. Seems like I speak of them as if they are real. That’s because they are—to me, anyway.

“You were able to find a ship?” she asked.

“Yes.” He gestured with the empty wooden spoon. “We won’t be alone. An emissary for King John bespoke it, but he agreed to share quarters with us.”

Her head tilted to one side. “How did you manage that? I can’t imagine a knight with such authority condescending to share anything with strangers.”

“I told him your brother had ordered you home and would be furious if you delayed. You and the maid will share a small cabin, while the lord occupies the captain’s quarters. I have no idea how large your chamber will be, but we’ll make the best of it.”

“We?” She didn’t look up as she took another bite.

Damn her, what did she find amusing in what he’d just said, for there was no mistaking the humor in her voice. She looked up as he stalked toward the bed. Yes, a mischievous light glimmered in her eyes. He loomed above her and slowly leaned in.

“You’d best try to appear the anxious maiden, in fear of her brother,” he warned. “Or questions might arise that none of us want to answer.”

The amusement faded. “What questions?” Her breath caressed his cheek.

He reared back. “Just behave yourself during the passage.”

“This is the second time you’ve warned me about my conduct. Do you fear I will ride off with one of the guards?”

He clenched his teeth to hold back a retort. Let her have her say. She’d be easier to deal with on the morrow if all her complaints were aired.

“We both know my behavior has been perfectly appropriate. And I’ve accepted each of your edicts calmly.” Her gaze flicked away, as if she knew that statement stretched the truth.

“But that’s not the problem, is it?” she added, her voice low, intent. “Why are you really on this journey, Stephen? We both know it’s not to protect me.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m half finished with the story of Evie’s brother, Henry, and the fascinating Lady Katherine who captures him, thinking he’s a traitor. It’s a novella, tentatively called Lady of the Forest.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
That’s difficult to answer. I spent several years writing non-fiction (news and feature articles), so the idea of being a writer wasn’t a difficult one for me to accept. What was, however—calling myself an author. Semantics, I know. But, really, I wasn’t comfortable saying, “I’m an author,” until almost time for my first book to come out. Ironic, because I use the two terms interchangeably when speaking of others.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I wish I could write full-time, but I do have a day job as an adjunct English teacher at a local college. This semester I have only three classes and the schedule has changed, so I do get a couple of solid days in there to write—when I don’t have essays to grade, of course. I must get back to a regular daily output, which I fell away from when I began editing this book.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk.
I’m not sure they’re quirks—more like bad habits. When I’m at the computer, I always have something to sip on, usually hot tea or coffee. No wine or I fall asleep. When I’m plotting or trying to work through a difficult scene, I munch while I think. And then I wonder why I’m perpetually on a diet!

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Thin. Seriously, I was always making up stories or writing (very bad) poetry, but I never thought, “I’m going to be a novelist when I grow up.” I never had one specific career goal. I loved history, learning about other people in other times, reading their myths and folk tales. Not until I was in high school did I start “trying on” career options.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Never say never. In college, there were two careers I knew I’d never undertake: writing for newspapers and teaching. Let’s see…I was a full time journalist for 12 years, and I’ve been a teacher for more than 20.

Never stop pursuing your dream. I have a little pillow in my bedroom that has the following written on it: Dreams Have No Expiration Date. Believe in yourself and never give up.

Visit her at:

Buy Links:
Amazon | TWRP 

Thanks, Barbara!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Mary Preston said...

I enjoyed the interview.

Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Barbara Bettis said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today. I enjoyed your questions, which made me really think. What an exercise! :)

Barbara Bettis said...

I wanted to mention that I'll be in school all day, so I won't be able to say 'Hi' until mid-afternoon. But I'll see you then! Have a terrific mid-way-through-week day!

Nancy Fraser said...

I really enjoyed your thoughtful answers. Good luck with the rest of your tour.

Unknown said...

Beautiful interview! I love your series The Brotherhood of the Phoenix! After reading one, I'm always anxious and excited to read the next one! Keep on writing them!

J C. McKenzie said...

I loved the blurb and excerpt! Can't wait to read the whole thing. It's definitely on my TBR list!

denise smith said...

i like what she is working on and the excerpt the book sounds sooo good cant wait to read this one

Beppie Harrison said...

Love what you had to say, and what a fascinating career you've had!

Beppie Harrison said...


Unknown said...

Dreams have no expiration date, I love it!

Ella Quinn - Romance Novelist said...

Great post. I shared on FB and twitter.

MomJane said...

Really enjoyed your interview. Great excerpt.

Barbara Bettis said...

Hi Everyone,
I'm so sorry I had to be gone throughout the day, but I surely appreciate your stopping by. Lisa has such a lovely blog, I've enjoyed visiting!

Barbara Bettis said...

Nancy, I always feel self-conscious when I answer interview questions, but Lisa's were lovely to think about. Thanks for the good wishes.

Barbara Bettis said...

Hi Nicole, I'm so glad you stopped by! It's always a delight talking with you. Thanks for the wonderful support!

Barbara Bettis said...

Hi J.C. I do hope you like Stephen and Evie as much as I loved writing about them. Thanks for stopping by!

Barbara Bettis said...

Thanks, Denise! I'm enjoying getting Henry and Kate together--he's been a good brother and a loyal baron for the king--he deserves his own story!!

Barbara Bettis said...

Hi Beppie. Fascinating career, I guess. But one I didn't mention was working as an insurance claims adjustor when I was an undergraduate. That was fascinating! :)

Barbara Bettis said...

Shannon, that little pillow really encouraged me at a time when I was feeling very low. Glad you like it, too!

Barbara Bettis said...

Oh, Ella, I do so appreciate your support. Thanks for sharing!

Barbara Bettis said...

Hi MomJane, glad you liked this excerpt. Finding different ones is such a challenge. Appreciate your coming by!!

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the excerpt. Sounds like a great book.

Lani said...

Lovely interview, Barb! You made me laugh several times! And I had the same ambition when I was young--thin. Oh, if only my thighs would have listened.

Jan Hougland said...

I liked Evie's cheekiness in this latest excerpt. Hopefully, Stephen finds her to be a very cute minx and not a troublemaker. I think both of them will lead each other a merry courtship dance. :-) Thanks for the post.

bn100 said...

Nice interview

am_1_2_5 said...

I'm really looking forward to this & Barbara's future works!!