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by Barbara Sheridan
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July 2002 Issue

Fated to Mate - A Date with Destiny!

Update: Deb Stover

Early in life, Deb Stover discovered a passion for writing and an unwavering respect for honor and fairness. She left a journalism career to pursue her dream of writing romance, and also worked as a professional advocate for students with disabilities, including one of her own children. Deb’s novels often include characters with disabilities. Her belief that individuals with disabilities must be included in society as people first is reflected in her novels. She strives to write characters readers will love, and imperfection is a fact of life.

A founding member of Pikes Peak Romance Writers, Deb is active in many writers' organizations. She joined Romance Writers of America (RWA) in 1991. In 1994, Deb received Pikes Peak Romance Writers' Volunteer of the Year Award. She’s also served as director of the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, held annually under the umbrella of the Kennedy Center Imagination Celebration. She’s currently fulfilling a two-year term on the RWA Board of Directors.

Since publication of her first novel in 1995, Deb Stover has received many awards for her unique work, including the 1999 Dorothy Parker Award of Excellence, a 1998 Heart of Romance Readers' Choice Award, two Colorado Book Award nominations, and six ROMANTIC TIMES nominations. At last year's Booklovers Convention, she received the Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Innovative Historical. She has won more than a dozen other Readers' Choice Awards. Many of her novels have earned the ROMANTIC TIMES "Top Pick" rating, and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY called her "clever, original, and quick-witted."

An Interview with Deb Stover

PNR: Though you have written several romances outside the paranormal sub-genre including your first contemporary romance in 2000, to paranormal lovers, the name Deb Stover is synonymous with Time Travel. MULLIGAN STEW, a contemporary romance with definite paranormal elements, is a departure from that expectation. What influences led you to write this book?

Deb S.: While MULLIGAN STEW is not a time travel, it does incorporate the lives of historical characters through reincarnation. I can't quite seem to let go of history even while writing contemporary, and history does affect our lives, of course. When I first sat down to plot MULLIGAN STEW, I had a historical in mind. Imagine my surprise when Bridget and Riley Mulligan introduced themselves to me and said, "It's *our* story." <g>.

PNR: Your previous novels have been set in the American West, an area you are personally familiar with. MULLIGAN STEW is set in Ireland. What factored into
this change of setting?

Deb S.: My great-grandmother lived with us when I was a teen-ager, and she was from Ireland. I always loved her stories about her home country, and when I started researching Ireland, I fell in love with the country. It's really that simple.

PNR: Let’s talk about the heroine, Bridget Mulligan. She an American woman, and a single mother. When the tale begins she has just discovered that her late grandmother had gambled their home out from under her and her son. Just when things are looking truly dismal, Bridget receives and invitation which could give her son, Jacob, security and a new family, her husband’s. The circumstances surrounding Bridget’s marriage are, shall we say a bit unusual. Tell us what happened.

Deb S.: Bridget met and fell in love with Culley Mulligan seven years before thebook begins. He was an Irishman visiting America after graduating from college. This was a case of love at first sight, and just a few days after their elopement, Culley was killed in a car accident. At that point, no one knew about his elopement, and Bridget believed he had changed his mind and left her. The authorities only knew they had a dead Irish citizen on their hands and notified his family in Ireland. Bridget didn't learn about his death until seven years later, after Culley's grandmother's death.

PNR: Years of resentment melt away when Bridget learns why her husband never returned, or even agreed to a divorce. How did the Mulligan’s learn about Bridget and Jacob?

Deb S.: Culley's mother found the divorce papers Bridget had filed hidden among
the grandmother's personal belongings. The old woman had believed the family was better off not knowing about Bridget, than knowing Culley had married a woman who would "stoop" to divorce--at least in her mind.
Upon learning about Culley's marriage, Fiona Mulligan--his mother--contacts the attorney who filed for divorce on Bridget's behalf. Through that contact, Fiona invites Bridget and her grandson to Ireland.

PNR: The timing couldn't’ be better for the two of them, and it seems that Jacob would have a substantial inheritance, a cursed castle?

Deb S.: Yes. Caislean Dubh is the Mulligans' ancestral home. It was sealed over a century ago in hopes of stopping centuries of death and misery caused by a curse placed on the castle following a tragedy in 1783. A young peasant girl--Bronagh--who was also a servant in the castle fell in love with Aidan Mulligan. When he was forced to marry the woman his family wished for him to marry, Bronagh threw herself from the castle tower. Her aunt was a witch, and she cast a spell designed to give her niece a second chance.

PNR: Culley’s mom and sister are delighted to have the two of them stay with them, but Culley’s older brother Riley doesn’t trust Bridget at all. What reasons does he have for believing her to be a con artist? What is his reaction to the child?

Deb S.: Culley was engaged to a local girl, and Riley doesn't believe his brother would ever have betrayed her that way by marrying Bridget. However, Riley is unable to deny the boy's resemblance to his brother, and it is that growing love between uncle and nephew that breaks through his crusty exterior and helps him not only accept Jacob and Bridget, but also to come to terms with a terrible tragedy from his past.

PNR: Like you said, Riley certainly isn’t any more immune to Bridget’s charms than his brother had been. How does he deal with his conflicting feelings? What is Bridget’s reaction to her late husband’s brother?

Deb S.: Riley and Bridget have an immediate physical attraction, which is compounded
by supernatural elements. They fight against their feelings fiercely, though they both have erotic dreams that seem to take place in the sealed castle.

PNR: Lets go back to that cursed castle, Caislean Dubh. Why is it cursed, and how has the curse affected the current generation of Mulligans?

Deb S.: Once the clan moved out of the castle and into Mulligan Cottage, the tragedies seemed to stop. They lived a good life as farmers in their small village until Riley's father entered the castle and died. At age ten, Riley found his father inside the castle. From that day forward, he declared himself the man of the family, and he took his responsibilities soseriously, that he forgets about being a child. He also forgets about being happy, which is something Bridget and Jacob bring back into his life, though the brooding Irishman fights it.

PNR: Because of its history and own personal tragedy, Riley has forbidden anyone to enter the castle. Yet, the structure calls to Bridget, and fills her with visions of her future. Riley hears the whispers as well, although he’d only been able to do so, since his brother’s death. Does this phenomena have a significance for the two of them? Is Jacob affected by the castle in any way?

Deb S.: I can't answer too much of this without it being a spoiler, but I'll try. It's important to note that Culley also heard the castle's whispering. Yes, this phenomena has a significance for Bridget and Riley. Jacob seems immune to the castle's curse. His interest in it is for his mother's benefit and also simple curiosity.

PNR: Fair enough, Anyway destiny takes its course and of course the tale ends happily. The book has gotten rave reviews, proving this departure to be risk well worth taking. Will this encourage you to branch out further? Will you return to time travel romance in the future? What is next for Deb Stover?

Deb S.: Thank you. My next release revisits the Mulligans and Caislean Dubh in
MULLIGAN MAGIC. The heroine of that story is Maggie Mulligan--Riley's younger sister. By the time this story opens, the Mulligans have restored the castle and started their restaurant--Mulligan Stew, of course--and a bed and breakfast. However, when Maggie returns home after graduating from college, she senses some changes, and they're all within her. She hearsvoices, has an unreasonable fear of certain locations in and around thecastle. Then a mysterious American--a former NYC police officer--comesto Ballybronagh, and he has strange experiences as well. Are they connected? MULLIGAN MAGIC is scheduled for April 2003.

As for time travels, I can't say at this point. I would love to write more time travels. In fact, I have one included in an anthology this September--SOME ENCHANTED EVENING (Zebra). I also have a fantasy novella in an anthology called VENGEANCE FANTASTIC (DAW) in October, and another one for Roc in February 2003 titled IRRESISTIBLE FORCES.


Coming Soon!

Order it now!


"Citizen Daisy" by Deb Stover

Zebra Books
September 2002
ISBN: 0821772643

352 pages

Order it now!


"Punkinella" by Deb Stover

Daw Books
October 2002
ISBN: 0756400848
320 pages




Featured in this Issue:

Interviews with
Carla Cook

Ann Lawrence
Catherine Snodgrass
Deb Stover
Special Feature:
PNR Career Achievements Award:

Nora Roberts











Deb Stover



Previous Interview

Nominated for:

Best Fantasy/Magical

Buy it now!

June 2002
320 pages

Star-crossed lovers, a dark Irish Castle, a witch's curse, and destiny...

MULLIGAN STEW - Years ago, when Culley Mulligan, an Irish immigrant, took off the day after his wedding, he left his American bride, Bridget, behind - and with child. Many years later, however, she learns a jarring secret about him that changes everthing - and fate finds Bridget and her son embraced by the extended Muligan clan in Ireland. Here, everything is going well for her: Bridget basks in the love of her newfound family, and her new bed-and-breakfast bodes some success. There's only on problem: while her life is falling into place, Bridget is also falling for her brother-in-law.

Look for the sequel
Coming in 2003
from Jove Books

Other Paranormal Romances

Nominated for:

Best Time Travel

Buy it now!

June 2000
320 pages
ISBN: 0821766201

Nominated for:

Best Novella/Short Story

Buy it now!

"The Enchanted Garden"
Penguin USA

February 1999
320 pages
ISBN: 0886778255

Buy it now!

January 1999
384 pages
ISBN: 0821761005

Buy it now!

Pinnacle Books
November 1997
384 pages
ISBN: 0786004533

Buy it now!

Pinnacle Books
April 1997
384 pages
ISBN: 0786003820

Buy it now!

Pinnacle Books
October 1996
ISBN: 0786003340

Pinnacle Books
June 1995
ISBN: 0786001437

All book synopsises are copyrighted to the authors/publishers.

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