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by Barbara Sheridan
Leslie Tramposch: Managing Editor - Sara Reyes: Marketing and Publicity
To submit articles of interest to our readers Email Barbara.

April 2003 Issue

When Worlds Collide!
Part II

C. J. Barry

C. J. Barry, an earthbound wife and mother of two, lives with her family and cat in a small town in Upstate New York. While her imagination ranges far into the universe to conjure wondrous worlds and miraculous gadgets, she is foremost a storyteller whose tales chart the infinitely fascinating workings of very human emotions and relationships.

She works as an Information Technology Manager and is an active member of the Romance Writers of America, the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapter, and Vice President of the Central New York Romance Writers.


An Interview with C. J. Barry

PNR: What influenced you to become a writer? To choose the romance genre, and science fiction in particular. What kind of book do you enjoy?

C. J. B.: I've had stories running through my head like movies for as long as I can remember. I can't tell you how many times I was told as a child, "stop daydreaming!" But I never did. I grew up reading science fiction because it took me into a realm of infinite possibilities. I guess I'm an explorer at heart and if I couldn't leave Earth, at least I could dream about it.

I didn't discover romances until much later and my first was a futuristic--SWEET STARFIRE by Jayne Ann Krentz. I was hooked and quickly ran out of futuristics to read. That's when I decided to write my own.

Most of my reading these days is for research but when I do get a chance to read, it's something humorous or history-based. Jennifer Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, JAK and Clive Cussler are some of my favorites.

PNR: Do you feel the romance industry has become more receptive to science fiction and futuristic storylines?

C. J. B.: Dorchester has always been interested in futuristics but I see the industry as a whole becoming more open and willing to branch out into the subgenres. I think readers have had much to do with that. We really have them to thank.

PNR: Lets talk about your upcoming release UNEARTHED. The story begins on present day Earth. The heroine is Tess McKenzie a struggling singer. For Tess singing is an integral part of who she is, yet at 29 she is just getting her career off the ground. Tell a bit about Tess's life before she meets our hero.

C. J. B.: Tess was the youngest of three children in a family the owned and operated a small family business. She watched her siblings leave home and go on with their lives but when it came time for her to leave, she couldn't abandon her parents alone with the business. She knew how hard they worked and how much they needed her there. So she basically gave up her promising career and her love of singing to support them. The deaths of her parents freed her to pursue her own dreams and she's just begun to get her career on track.

PNR: When Tess leaves a late night engagement, she is accosted by a mugger. Common sense would indicate that she hand over her paycheck. What does Tess do and why?

C. J. B.: Tess really needs that money and it is more than just cash to her. It’s the last payment on her first CD and symbolic of her determination to re-establish herself and her desperation not to fail. Besides, she really doesn't believe "Keg-on-Legs" will shoot her. He may be a mugger but he's not a killer.

So she uses the hairspray in her bag because it's handy. It also fits into her personality of reacting with her emotions without really thinking the consequences through-a character flaw that gets her in trouble more than once and one that she eventually comes to grips with at the end of the story.

PNR: Her response sets the stage for her response to our hero and his mission. What is Tess's first reaction to her would be rescuer, alien adventurer Cohl Travers?

C. J. B.: (a) He's gorgeous and (b) he's trouble, LOL. At first she is thrilled to have another person there who she feels will discourage her first mugger. And like any red-blooded woman she notices his good looks. But when his robot incapacitates Keg-on-Legs, she finds herself facing a danger far bigger than a common mugger.

PNR: Cohl has come specifically for Tess. What is his mission and why does he need Tess?

C. J. B.: Cohl's mission is to retrieve the Amulet for the Traka-Nor. They believe that this Amulet had the ability to "control" people and could be used as a weapon to win the war between the two brothers. Cohl is an Indiana Jones type character and difficult acquisitions are his specialty and his challenge. He initially refused their offer, knowing the legend of the Amulet and wishing to have nothing to do with their war. So in order to coerce him to help, the Traka-Nor kidnap his father and hold him for ransom. The Amulet was hidden away by the Demisians before their final collapse and is housed in a chamber with several traps including the final one-encased in a crystal case that can only be shattered by sound waves and a specific voice and song. Cohl has the specifications for the voice and it must be human. He finds Tess's match via radio waves over Earth and unearths her. And he thought that was the tough part!

PNR: What is his first reaction to the woman behind the voice? How does he respond to her refusal to cooperate with his plans?

C. J. B.: Cohl had some time to listen to Tess's unique voice and visualized a very delicate, ethereal creature as the singer. Wrong! So he is really taken aback by the fighter he found instead.

As you can imagine, she's not exactly happy to be put in this situation. Besides the whole kidnapping thing, she's trapped in space with an alien on a treacherous mission while her career does another crash and burn.

And Cohl isn’t very pleased with her resistance. He needs her and he’s going to get her help one way or another, even if she drives him crazy in the process.

PNR: Okay, Cohl is intrigued by Tess's contradictions, and not about to give up on his mission. He makes a decision to take her to his home world to give her a better understanding of what is at stake. Why is returning home a difficult decision for Cohl.

C. J. B.: His decision to take her to his home planet is two-fold: to find a safe place to repair his ship, which has just been attacked, and to see if his mother can guilt Tess into helping him. He knows Tess's history and her sense of duty and he's betting that she'll fold if she can see his planet firsthand.

If he doesn't secure the Amulet, he'll not only lose his father, he'll leave his planet with no ruler or successor. Cohl doesn't want the job. He grew up royalty and lived a very restricted lifestyle ruled by obligation. He wanted out partly because to chart his own life but mostly because he never felt he could be a successful ruler like his father or the other great rulers of Yre Gault. So he left and this will be the first time he's returned in ten years. The memories are painful but so it the reminder that his planet could be doomed if he fails.

PNR: As planned this is a turning point for Tess, but not for the reasons Cohl might expect. What does she see in him that he doesn't see in himself?

C. J. B.: Well, he can't fool her. <g> She knows he feels a strong sense of responsibility to his world. She sees how much he cares about his people. He might say he doesn't but it's pretty obvious in his eyes and his actions. Eventually she will find out why he doesn't want to rule, even though she doesn't fully understand it. She's never run away from her own responsibility. As the story progresses, she becomes Cohl's conscience.

PNR: The focus of this story is mostly on Tess and Cohl's romance and
their journeys of self discovery. But there is also a strong element of
intrigue. Cohl, his father, Tess, and the kidnappers, are mere pawns in a
larger game perpetrated by a mysterious puppet master. Yet this master
player does not do this for sinister purposes. How do you reconcile this for
the readers when lives, and in fact an entire planet, are at stake?

C. J. B.: Yes, Nish is the puppet master. He is an old man and a descendent of the doomed Demisie planet, where the Amulet is hidden away. He has heard the stories of the downfall of Demisie and believes that this is the fate for his own home planet of Trakas. He sees an opportunity to save Trakas and hatches a plan to get the brothers face-to-face to solve their battle instead of using their people as shields and weapons. However, it was beyond his ability to see Cohl’s initial refusal, the kidnapping of Cohl's father Tess or the amount of danger that his plan has placed both Cohl and Tess in.

And he knows that if he fails, he will be executed and Trakas will be destroyed by war. Taking all those issues into account as well as his genuine love for Trakas, I think gives Nish virtue and even sympathy. He was a fascinating character to develop.

PNR: I understand that UNEARTHED is the first book of a series. We got a
glimpse of two other adventurers, Rayce and Zain, friends of Cohl’s who make
cameo appearances at critical moments. UNRAVELED will be released in October. This is Rayce's story? Is his heroine also an Earth woman?

C. J. B.: Yes, this is a series and UNRAVELED is Rayce's story. I didn’t choose an Earth woman with his book because I wanted a very specific society that I couldn't find on our planet although it could happen, I suppose. Tru is part of an isolated intellectual repository. She's determined to stay there by hiring Rayce to help her locate a vast treasure collection and thereby earn her place permanently.

Rayce is knee-deep in the investment of his life and running seriously low on funds. He stands to lose everything. So he takes Tru’s offer but he's not happy about it. She belongs to a group that he despises. But when she goes toe-to-toe with him on every level, he knows he's in serious trouble. They are really great together.

Zain’s story will be next, tentatively titled UNLEASHED and I'm writing that one now. That will bring in a sassy Earth woman who he accidentally strands with him on a dangerous planet that houses a deadly secret and a whole lot of aliens running interference.

PNR: What is next for C. J. Barry?

C. J. B.: I'm writing as fast I can, LOL! Dorchester recently bought UNRAVELED as well as two more books in the UN series. So for the first time, I'm under deadlines. Scary but exhilarating. After that, I hope to continue the series and maybe try some Earth-based futuristics. I’m just thrilled to have the privilege to write the genre that I love. I mean, how lucky can an Earth girl get

And you know, its been a long time since anyone told me to stop daydreaming. <g>


C. J. Barry

Website

 Books



Buy it now!

Love Spell
May 6, 2003
320 pages
ISBN: 0505525402

UNEARTHED - Tess MacKenzie was a successful singer/songwriter. Then Cohl Travers picked her up.

Of course, it wasn't exactly how she was used to being "picked up." Cohl dropped down from outer space with his robot Pitz and zapped her--so that they could save his father by acquiring a magical amulet, he said. All Tess had to do--supposedly--was sing some strange song on some ancient mystical planet they still had to find. But her abductor was hiding something else, something besides the gorgeous body beneath his space suit.

Something pretty darn bizarre was going on, and Tess vowed that she'd uncover everything. Very soon, it wouldn't be just her or an ancient artifact but some powerful feelings: By the end of this crazy ride, everything was going to be...UNEARTHED.


More Paranormal Novels

New Concepts Pub.
ebook - Dec. 2002
ISBN: 1586080628

Trade pb. - July 2002
255 pages
ISBN: 1931696624


Coming in October!

Love Spell
October 7, 2003
ISBN: 0505525623

To continue her father's life's quest, Tru Van Dye had to leave the insular colony of Majj scientists where she was raised. She had to find Rayce Coburne. Yet the virtual-reality program she acquired to gird herself against the man's touch, his innuendoes, his alien maleness was for naught--his presence overwhelmed her. With Rayce, all Tru's clever plans, her control, everything she knew was coming...

UNRAVELED

...that's how Rayce Coburne felt. He'd tried to give up treasure acquisition. It wasn't the danger that put him off; he despised dealing with icy customers like the Majj. And Tru Van Dye was worse than the usual-a prissy woman who would blackmail him with all his hopes and dreams. Still, while she was smarter than he, there was a way he could fight back: a kiss. A kiss a day was the perfect strategy. Unless the spinning he felt inside was Tru unwrapping his heart.

 

 

Featured in this Issue:

Interviews with:
C. J. Barry
Jeanine Berry
Stobie Piel
Catherine Spangler
Angela Verdenius

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All book synopsises are copyrighted to the authors/publishers.
~ interview questions prepared by Leslie Tramposch


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