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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.

1st Anniversary Issue ~ February 2001

Collaborations -- When two heads are even better than one!

PNR Poll: We Want More............Romance!

Elizabeth Keys
a.k.a. Emily Baker

Elizabeth Keys is the pseudonym for the multi-award winning writing team, Susan C Stevenson and Mary Lou Frank. As lifelong friends who finished each others sentences and shared a love for reading romance fiction, it was natural for us to begin the adventure of creating our own stories together.

People frequently ask us how two people manage to write as a team, and the best answer we've been able to come up with is that we cannot imagine writing without one another. It truly helps to have another brain to bounce ideas off or park characters and thoughts in.

Members of both New Jersey Romance Writers and Romance Writers of America for seven years, we currently juggle life and beginning our professional writing career with the support of our two husbands, six children and assorted pets. Susan is the Vice President of a local bank and Mary Lou works
part-time as a grant writing consultant/administrator for local non-profits.

The Irish Blessing series we are creating for Zebra Ballad Romance highlights our belief in achieving your heart's desire through love's special magic. The Reilly brothers:
Bryan, Devin and Quin, are heroes on a mission to save their family shipyard and preserve the livelihood of all the people who live on their home island at the mouth of Ireland's beautiful Shannon River.

Each brother has his own reason for wanting to be the one to set things right during their father's illness. Each finds the path toward their goal and the one fate has in mind are not the same. And with the help of an ancient family heritage, each discovers their true destiny in the arms of an enticing stranger with an agenda all her own.

Strong characters with deep motivations and conflict, twisted together with a little magic and a lot of passion--Just the kind of stories we like to read ourselves!

We hope you will enjoy them!

An Interview with Elizabeth Keys

PNR: You ladies are lifelong friends. Have either or you written/published individually?

Elizabeth K: Not fiction, although Mary Lou was previously the managing editor
of a Gannett newspaper.

PNR: How was the collaboration formed and how does it work? Do you brainstorm? Take individual aspects and work on them separately?

Elizabeth K: Our love of reading romance novels naturally led us into discussing
them together and then finally into coming up with ideas for our own stories.

Yes, we brainstorm continually until we know the characters and basicplot,
conflicts, etc. for each story we write.

We do work on separate parts (we like to think of them as story arcs) but we
exchange them regularly and are each free to make any changes we need
to make. In the end, we can no longer tell who wrote what.

Does your long lived friendship make it easier or more difficult to be critical of each others ideas?

Elizabeth K: Oh, definitely easier! There's is a special trust between us that
makes it understood we each want the best for our characters and story. Our
egos were parked at the door a long time ago. (But then when you've known
someone since the age of three it's next to impossible to let ego get in the

PNR: Your series is the "Irish Blessing" series. Can you tell us something about the blessing, how it came about? What effect it has on your characters?

Elizabeth K:
The Reilly Blessing is a gift bestowed on the Reilly family by the
Druids after they were saved from Viking raiders. The Reillys know when
they have reached one of life's great turning points, the crossroad where
the right choice changes everything and the wrong leads to life-long

They experience The Blessing in different ways, but it is unmistakable--the
catch is in knowing which choice to make.

Your books seem strongly family oriented as well as goal oriented. The heroes are brothers. I like the "soft approach" to presenting values in your story. Is this a conscious decision or just a reflection of your writing style?

Elizabeth K:
The family orientation was deliberate. We knew we wanted brothers and the family connection needed to be strong, because they don't "appear" in each others books.

The values are just a reflection of our writing style. We like heroes who are strong and honorable, despite themselves. And we knew we wanted heroines who could take care of themselves, even if they didn't realize it.

PNR: This series takes place in the mid nineteenth century, not a time in which magic is a part of everyday life. Of course Ireland does have it's legends <g>. Do the brother's readily accept the blessing or fight it?

Elizabeth K: Each brother is denial about his situation. But there is
ultimately no denying The Blessing. Plus, these men were raised on their Granny's stories of Ireland's myths and magic, so they've been prepared almost from birth to accept their heritage.

PNR: In addition to the blessing, shipbuilding is a major part of the brother's heritage. How important is this to the storyline?

Elizabeth K: Shipbuilding is integral to each brother's drive to succeed in the tasks they set for themselves in order to save Reilly Ship Works from bankruptcy. It's in their blood and sailing in their bones. They are all "Reilly born and Reilly built."

PNR: I assume that since Reilly's Pride is already set to print, you have completed the series. Are more Reilly family books planned or is there another series in the works? Do you think you will be trying other venues besides Historical? Will magic continue to be an important part of future works?

Elizabeth K: Actually we are working on book 4 in the series as we speak.
Reilly's Heart is the tale of little sister Meaghan as she seeks her own blessing three years after her brothers's stories. Reilly's Heart will be a
December 2001

We really are historical at heart, but have previously written an unpublished contemporary so its not out of the realm of possibility. As for the magic, there is always magic where there is love. <G> Our first love is paranormal, hence The Blessing in a series we originally intended to be straight historical. The Reilly's had other ideas.

PNR: What's next for Elizabeth Keys?

Elizabeth K: We're working on a variety of story proposals at the moment.
There are a couple of historicals set in Ireland. A series in America (offshootsof characters from Reilly's Gold) and a further Reillys series detailing the origin of The Blessing. Among others....



Featured in this Issue:

Interviews with:
J.M Jeffries
Christine Holden
Elizabeth Keys
One Year Later
Barbara Sheridan

Romance News:
Sandra Dugas and John DeSalvo present:
Fan Appreciation

Media News



Elizabeth Keys
Susan and Mary Lou



Buy it now!

Book #1
Zebra Books

July 2000
ISBN: 0821766473


A straight-laced solicitor, Bryan Reilly refuses to believe that members of his estranged family of shipbuilders possess a special gift—the ability to recognize life's great turning points. But then a mysterious woman throws herself into his arms just before his ship sails for England and Bryan feels the power of Reilly's Blessing reborn in her bewitching lips.

Emilynne Wellesley will only reveal that she is desperate to flee Ireland for the safety of the two children who travel with her. Bryan knows that helping Emilynne will ruin his last chance to reconcile with his kin, but can he deny the path that destiny has chosen for him .... protecting the golden-haired beauty who has captured his heart.

Buy it now!

Book #2
Zebra Books
December 2000
320 pages
ISBN: 0821767305


Young Irishman Devin Reilly had just arrived in America seeking riches to bolster the family business, Reilly Ship Works. But his fortune was about to change. After rescuing fiery Maggie Brownley from a runaway carriage and gazing into her stormy brown eyes, he knew that "Reilly's Blessing" bound them toegether.

Then Maggie made a bold promise: if Devin escorted her to Maine, where she planned to flee an unwanted engagement, she would give him the money he needed to reach California. But the trip north would teach Devin that in Maggie's embrace he had found a love more precious than gold.

Coming in 2001!

Book #3
Zebra (Ballad)
March 1, 2001
ISBN #0821768115
346 pages

Quin's Story

Book #4
December 1, 2001
ISBN: 0821772260
352 pages

Meaghan's Story

All book synopsises are copyrighted to the authors/publishers.

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