"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
Anniversary Issue ~ February 2001
Collaborations --When two heads are even better than one!
PNR Poll: We Want More............Romance!
Special Interview: Barbara Sheridan, One Year Later
I did more short stories along with book reviews and soon realized that each piece, whether it featured ghosts, vampires or aliens always had a romance or romantic elements included.
sold a Timeless Wish (time travel) and Silver Rain (reincarnation) to
Jove, a short contemporary to e-publisher Book-On-Disc.com and I have
an historical Bittersweet Surrender which was released March 2001 from
Avid Press. Bittersweet Surrender is the book that "inspired"
Timeless Wish and I'm thrilled that it's now in print.
Paraphernalia is celebrating its first anniversary. Youve done some great interviews, but as everyone knows you are also a paranormal romance writer. So we thought it would be fun to put the PNR interviewer in the hot seat again and find out what youve been up to in the past year.
PNR: Barb your first book, the time travel - Timeless Wish, won a Golden Leaf award for best first book. Both Timeless Wish and your second paranormal, Silver Rain, a Jove Magical Love, were PEARL award finalists. That had to be encouraging for a new author, no?
Barb S: The award and nominations were VERY encouraging especially for a newbie author. As I told the coordinator of the Golden Leaf when she called to tell me Id won---winning an award was as big a high as selling the book. And Id like to give a big hug of thanks to all the PNR listers who nominated and voted for both Timeless Wish and Silver Rain. The biggest thrill for writers is having people love your book and characters as much as you do.
PNR: When Jove announced that they were cutting back on their paranormal lines. What was your reaction? Do you think the demand for paranormal romances is declining?
Barb S: <Laughs> Im one of those over-reacting types so of course my first thought was Im doomed.
Seriously though, I think the demand for paranormal stories will always be strong. After all look at how well people react to things such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Sixth Sense, and of course the Harry Potter books. I really wish the big deal NY publishing types would realize that if you print it, readers will buy it. At the last RT convention in Houston many booksellers stood up to say that their customers crave new paranormal stories but they cant find them. The publishers dont seem to realize that the lack of sales for pnr books is because the supply is so low .
PNR: Your next novel will be Bittersweet Surrender, published by Avid Press. It is a straight romance. Lest the readers get the idea that youve abandoned paranormal romance, I will point out that Bittersweet Surrender is actually the prequel to Timeless Wish, correct?
Barb S: I wrote Bittersweet Surrender before Timeless Wish and had hoped to sell it first, but the editorial folk had other ideas <g> Bittersweet Surrender is one of those books of the heart you hear authors speak of. I really love that story and the characters. It came about after I read a short article in a history magazine about the Choctaw code of honor. It granted convicted criminals who were sentenced to be executed their freedom for a specified number of days to tie up their affairs. At the end of the time allotted the convicted invariably showed up to receive their punishment.
The last convicted man to be granted that privilege was Silon Lewis who was the only one of many arrested who was sentenced to die for taking part in political assassinations following the tribal elections in 1892. The article I read got so many what if questions flowing. You see, Lewis was Choctaw through and through and was one of those who wanted the Choctaw to be a sovereign nation and not become part of the Oklahoma territory. He ended up surprising everyone by marrying a white woman around the time of his trial. And at his execution the sheriff ordered to carry out the death sentence refused on grounds of having been life long friends with Lewis. Other lawmen also refused until it came to the last deputy who also wanted no par but when Lewis said he wanted this man to do his duty under the law. He did.
The questions raised by that article wouldnt leave me alone. I wondered about Lewis and the white woman he married. I wondered about the man who fired the fatal bullet at his old friend and how the hard task affected him and I wondered about the social climate of the time, how those Choctaw for and against statehood were divided .
PNR: Youve moved to one of the newer and smaller publishing houses, do you have an eye to writing more paranormals in the future?
Barb S: Kate Gleason, my Avid editor, has been super and I was thrilled that she loved Bittersweet Surrender as much as I do. I cant seem to help paranormal elements from coming into my writing. (yep, even Bittersweet has its taste of pnr in the last section.) It must be something in my astrological makeup. I think we Aquarian types are drawn to all things paranormal.
PNR: I love the proposed cover for Bittersweet Surrender. It is simply lovely. Now am I correct in my thinking that this is THE house, the one that propelled Laura Bennett back to the past and into the arms of Corby Hillhouse? The same house that's represented on the cover of their story, Timeless Wish?
Barb S: Thats the one! I really think that the artist did a pretty cool job of bringing my imaginary building to life.
PNR: Now as I recall, the house was built by Jason Hillhouse, ancestor of Lauras friends Jake and Galen Hillhouse, and the cousin of Corby. In Timeless Wish Jason is already happily married to Star (McNamara) and living in it. The house is symbolic for Jason. He builds it all with his own hands. Tell us about the house.
Barb S: Its a big old Victorian/Queen Anne place with a wrap around porch and a corner turret. Its actually based on a house in my neighborhood that I've loved from afar since I was a kid .(I have this dream of becoming rich and famous and walking up to the front door, mega bucks in hand and buying the house on the spot
PNR: Sounds like the plot for another story <g>.
S: The house is conceived
and built by Jason (and his many male relatives)
PNR: Of course we realize that Star and Jason's HEA was not achieved without some strife or heartbreak along the way. Bittersweet Surrender is set prior to Timeless Wish, in a turbulent time for native Americans. Star and Jasons people are experiencing political turmoil within their Choctaw nation, as you mentioned. Does this have an effect on the relationship between Star and Jason?
Barb S: But of course. Star and Jason have been looking at things differently since they were kids. At the time of Bittersweet they are on opposite sides of the situation. Star wants no part of statehood, and wants things to remain as they have been, but Jason sees it as inevitable and thinks that having a say in the assimilation is better than having it all forced upon them, as happened with the removal of the Choctaw natives in Mississippi.
PNR: Star is a bit ahead of her time. Jason wants a traditional wife and family, Starr is a career woman, and not willing to give that up. Do the couple have other differences as well that would make their union difficult?
Barb S: Star is one of those shout it from the rooftops rabble-rouser types who wants things her way when she wants them, while Jason is more reserved, preferring to persuade people to his way of thinking in quieter ways.
PNR: The turning point for these two, the act that rips them apart, and ultimately puts them back together, is gut wrenching. Do the secondary characters involved play a major role throughout the story or is this merely a catalyst to make the pair realize that their differences are not as major as they believed?
S: The secondary characters
are there early on. Theyre involved closely with both Star and
Jason and I think that proximity brings the real life political situation
of the time close to the hero/heroine and also the
PNR: The HEA is a given but you really took the reader down to the wire. Have you ever thought about writing romantic suspense <g>? There was some serious tension there, but the last scene was absolutely wonderful. Did you enjoy writing it?
Barb S: As you said the HEA is a given but that doesnt mean that we authors cant make our characters work for it. <eg>. I love endings when things finally work out. Even if all in the characters world still isnt perfect , at least by then they know they have each other to turnto and try and make sense of it all.
of course, being able to add a wee touch of paranormal to the HEA is
PNR: Stars step sister, Lucy, has become a young widow, with a child on the way. That would make a great story. Have you considered a new romance for her? Will you be revisiting the modern day Hillhouses , a possible story for Galen <hint>. She is clearly a throw back to Star <g> no?
Barb S: Actually I have Lucys story already done. Its set about a year before Timeless Wish takes place. I havent really tried marketing it yet, though Kate from Avid is interested in reading it when they reopen to submissions.
Id love to do more Hillhouse family stories. I have a proposal for Galens story (another time travel) with an agent now. I thoroughly adore her brother Jake and know hell make an appearance. On a side note, you guys have to check out the pictures from the RT convention where Leslie and I met the real life lookalike of Jake Hillhouse, cover model contestant Ryan Taylor <swoon & drool>
PNR: Yes, and he answered to Jake by the end of the conference too <g>. (Yep that's Barb with Ryan in the lower right corner of the RT contestant's page, grinning from ear to ear) Of course I was totally dignified <g>
Speaking of series, I loved your second book, Silver Rain, the secondary character of Mckenna has great potential for matchmaking humor. Will we be seeing more of her or perhaps Danis relatives?
S: Mckenna is a very cool character
who just loves matchmaking. I imagine
PNR: Ive heard you were a great fan of the Dark Shadows series. Do you enjoy gothic romance novels? What do you think about the resurgence of this type of romance? The Silhouette Shadows series is being re-released as Dreamscapes and Dorchester has launched the new Candleglow Gothic line with some great authors, among them several wonderful paranormal romance writers, have you ever considered writing a gothic romance novel?
Barb S: I still love Dark Shadows, on screen bloopers and all and watch the reruns on the Sci-fi channel every chance I get. It was soap ahead of its time. I love gothic romances and like so many others grew up reading Victoria Holt and Norah Lofts and watching great gothic inspired movies like Rebecca and Dragonwyck. Im thrilled to see the Candleglow line and have a proposal for one with the agent looking at the Galen story.
I also tried my hand a carrying on the Dark Shadows legend with a bit of fan fic. Anyone interested can check out the links section on my web site (near the bio).
PNR: What are your plans for the future?
Barb S: Id like to win a few million on the lottery, get a mega-makeover and run off to Tahiti with young Ryan Taylor, but with the odds of that being slim and none <g>, I think Ill keep pitching story ideas and hope to interest an editor enough into publishing them.
new year - a new novel.
title has been rereleased
Newspaper editor Star McNamara would like nothing better than to see all non-Indian "intruders" ejected from the territory.
Lawman Jason Hillhouse
is every bit as independent and proud of his heritage as Star, but he
believes women belong at home and that the future of the Choctaw Nation
lies in obtaining United States citizenship. Although at odds since
childhood, Star can't deny the sizzling attraction that pulls them together,
but will Jason take her heart or break it?
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