"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
May 2000 Issue
Tea, Crumpets, and......Paranormal?
Jo Beverley was born and raised in England, and has a degree in English history from Keele University in Staffordshire. She and her husband emigrated to Canada, where they now live. They have two sons.
Though she started to write as a young child, it was only in the eighties that she began to think that it was something ordinary people can do, and after a talk at a local library, she settled to seriously writing her first historical romance. As we enter a new millennium, she is the author of twenty romance novels.
Jo Beverley is a Canadian NYT Bestselling author, Four-time RITA winner, Multiple RT award winner, and a member of the Romance Hall of Fame.
Barb S: PNR Editor, Leslie T., has told me that she discovered your writing while reading your novella in the Faery Magic anthology.
She was then surprised to learn that you weren't known as a paranormal author but as a Regency romance writer. I've heard that you also wrote a novella for Writer's of the Future, Vol. IV - The Fruit Picker?
Jo B: A short story. That's a collection put out of the finalists of the Writers of the Future SF contest. I was a finalist in 1988.
Barb S: Do you relegate your paranormal efforts to anthologies or do your single title historicals feature paranormal elements as well? Take for example "Forbidden Magic", that sounds well, magical.
Jo B: Forbidden Magic is magical, yes. A key element in the story is an ancient Celtic statue that can grant wishes, but always at a cost.
I think I've mostly kept my SF&F writing and my romance writing separate, but as I'm a person who believes that we are surrounded by things we cannot see or explain, a bit of it is going to creep in. For example, in my first historical, LORD OF MY HEART, a secondary character, Hereward the Wake has prophetic abilities, and another, Waltheof Siwardson is rumored to be descended from the faery bear, and able to change into a bear at night. Both these elements come from legends about these characters.The middle ages are full of mystery and magic. Along with religion, such things are so much a part of the period they have to play a part.
I have done the most direct wyrd romance in novellas, however, because it seems a more open format. There's Faery Magic, as you mention, and also a story in the collection Moonlit Lovers from Avon way back when. That's Georgian, and wrapped around an ancient ritual to raise an earth spirit in order to Promote agricultural fertility.
Barb S: I believe you have written historical romances that take place in the Medieval, Regency, and the Georgian periods. I take it you like to vary your writing.
Jo B: Yes, I find writing in three periods makes life more interesting. Each period throws up different situations and stories as well, which is good.
Barb S: I think that will appeal to the paranormal romance readers, after all most enjoy the variety of reading experiences our sub-genre offers them. Do you find that sales are higher for some periods more than others?
Jo B: Industry lore says that Regency is the most popular period, but they seem to lump Georgian in with that. It also says that Medieval is less popular. Unfortunately this seems to be true. It's a minor difference, but it's there. I'm not sure why. I think medieval is very romantic.
Barb S: What about paranormal romances, do you feel that there is a market for them?
Jo B: Clearly there is, but it doesn't seem to be huge. Again, I'm not sure why, since the delight of paranormal romance is that we can create a world where a particular situation or conflict is real. I think there aren't enough readers who are comfortable with "unreal" elements. I'm sure there has to be a way to guide them into it, but I'm not sure what it is.
Barb S: Perhaps the key is for best-selling authors such as yourself to take the risk. Do you think that the readers or editors try to pigeon hole you, or do you find that most of your fans enjoy your writing regardless?
Jo B: Readers have a natural tendency to want their favorite authors to do more of the same. As a reader, I'm the same.
Editors would like successful authors to keep selling, and get nervous if they want to change what they do, which again is quite reasonable. But I think most editors respect the fact that authors have to change and grow.
I do think an author has a responsibility to her readers. It would be wrong to make a drastic change in style or content and sell the book just as before. It would be better to take a pseudonym.
Barb S: Ah different audiences for different works, therefore a different name to identify them with. Do you think you will include paranormal elements in future works?
Jo B: Oh, I'm sure, whenever they fit. I do also have a fantasy novel, which is finished but always in the process of being changed and adapted. The trouble with it is that it's too too out there for romance, but way too romantic for the fantasy genre. Now and then I'm working on another about a dragonmaster and a princess, which might turn out to be commercial in romance one day.
Barb S: Oh well, romantic sci-fi appears to be catching on particularly with the small presses and e-publishers, so who knows. Tell us about your recent release "Devilish" I understand it was greatly anticipated by romance readers for sometime previous to the release. It's the final book in the popular "Malloren" series, correct? I started seeing Waiting for Rothgar buttons over a year ago at Celebrate Romance in Philadelphia. What is it about this particular hero that has the readers all atwitter?
Jo B: Yes, Devilish is Rothgar's book. When the first Malloren book, MY LADY NOTORIOUS, was published, I started getting letters from people saying that they loved the book, loved the hero, but were "waiting for Rothgar." Of course they were hoping he would be next, but I'd already decided he would be last. This was mostly contrariness. I'd seen that in most family series, the oldest sibling married first, then the next, etc. etc. and I wanted to do the opposite. But then it turned out that Rothgar had good reason not to marry.
When he was young his mother went mad and murdered her newborn child, his sister. The other Mallorens are his half-brothers and sisters, and he has decided not to pass on his mother's madness. Rothgar, aged three, was present when his mother murdered his sister, and was traumatized by it. Then, when he was 19, he brought sickness back to his home, leading to the death of his stepmother, then his father. Thus he became marquess, with sole responsibility for keeping his family together and raising them, and he also had this almost obsessive desire to protect them all.
He ruthlessly built the power and wealth of the marquisate in order to provide for them and keep them safe. Of course, his five half-brothers and sisters, though loving him, find his guarding of them rather oppressive, and sparks are always flying. By now, however, they are all well settled, and he can turn all his formidable energies to the cause of England, which is struggling through the early years of the reign of George III. But then he becomes entangled with the affairs of Diana, Countess of Arradale, a countess in her own right, used to ruling her part of the remote north.
Unfortunately, she has come to the notice of the young, conservative king, who wants her married off to a man who will control her. Rothgar comes to mind. Rothgar has no intention of being part of the king's plan, but he does agree to escort her south to court, and he promises Diana that he will send her home to the north, safe and free. But that's before he spends a long journey in her company, and before enemies attack and wills shatter.... I do get long winded when I talk about Rothgar, don't I? Clearly I'm as fascinated as everyone else.
I think it's that his early tragedies have shaped him into such an interesting man. He's very gifted, and disciplined. Some people think of him as a rake, but he's not. He's no saint, but he's in control of all his appetites. Until Devilish, of course.
I've created a Rothgar page at: http://www.members.home.net/jobev, which includes Rothgar scenes from the previous books, so people who'd like to see what all the fuss is about can read them and see if their interest is stirred. I've also put up part of chapter one, and other excerpts from Devilish will be there soon.
Barb S: What's next for Jo Beverley?
Jo B: The very next thing will be a novella in a collection next January called IN PRAISE OF YOUNGER MEN. That was my idea.
NAL wanted an anthology idea, and when I suggested that, they went for it. I had a story in mind -- a young medieval champion married off to an older, and rather jaded widow. However, NAL suggested I write a story to link into the next novel, which will be out in February 2001. That seemed like a good idea, and I already had two linked stories going, one of which was an older woman/younger man story.... So that one is Imaginary Heaven. And the novel will be, I hope, THE PRICE OF HEAVEN, with the following novel HEAVEN FOR A ROGUE.
Readers familiar with my books might guess that I'm sliding over back into my popular Rogues series. THE PRICE OF HEAVEN is about Clarissa Greystone, who got all Lord Deveril's dirty money at the end of THE UNWILLING BRIDE. HEAVEN FOR A ROGUE will be about Con Somerford.
Which reminds me that AN UNWILLING BRIDE will be re-released in December this year. That is my most hard-to-find book, and the second of the Rogues. It won a RITA for best regency, and the Golden Leaf award for Best Historical. (They didn't have a regency category, but this isn't a traditional regency. It's longer, and quite sexy.)
None of the above are paranormal, I'm afraid, except that many people seem to think that Rothgar is devilishly omniscient! But there is that dragon story one day, and if I get another chance to do a story set in Faerie, I'll grab it.
title was rereleased in
FORBIDDEN MAGIC - Left penniless after her parents' death, Meg Gillingham was in dire straits. Her cruel landlord threatened to turn her and her siblings out of their home by the New Yearunless she surrendered her sister to his lecherous whims. Only a miracle could save her: a magic statue that granted wishesfor a price...
never expected the statue to bring her a marriage proposal, especially
from the handsome Earl of Saxonhurst, who needed a bride to keep
his fortune. Her heart raced wildly, for she was held spellbound
by her desire for this man. But a villain was determined to destroy
their union with mistrust, and see them dead. Now Meg had to put
her faith in a more powerful magicthe magic of love...
This unique collection was put together on-line and features linked stories set in Georgian England in the boundaries between the human world and that of Faerie.
Lord of Elphindale"
Gwen Forsythe is startled, to put it mildly, to be told that she's part Faery, and that it is her duty to marry into the human family of Elphinson to strengthen the Faery bond there. It's not that she doesn't want to marry Sir Andrew Elphinson, her childhood friend. But Drew doesn't care for her, and is about to offer for another lady. Can she really seduce him at Faery's command?
Featured in this Issue:
PNR Managing Editor Talks About
The Marquess of Rothgar
From the moment he appeared in "My Lady Notorious" , the tale of Cyn Malloren released in 1993, readers have been waiting for Rothgar. Beowulf Malloren, the Marquess of Rothgar, is everything one could want in a romantic hero. He is tall, dark, handsome, powerful and dangerous. He is also vulnerable and very human. His tale runs throughout four Malloren novels featuring his half-siblings and rightfully so, for he is the backbone of the Malloren family. Fans of the Malloren series have sported buttons reading - Waiting for Rothgar and Rothgar 2000, I'm ready and waiting. The wait is over! The much-awaited fifth story, "Devilish" (Signet; April 2000) is his own story.
Rothgar's character is formed by tragedy when at the tender age of three he witnesses his own mother strangle his newborn baby sister. He grows up determined never to marry and risk introducing madness into the line for the title. Dwelling in the back of his mind is a question as to whether he could have done something to save his sister. This, and a second tragedy - the deaths of his stepmother and his father (from an illness he brings into the home)-leaving him both the title and the care of his younger half-siblings at age nineteen, forges in him a fierce protective streak. No one crosses or harms a Malloren without having to deal with Rothgar. His duty and the love he bears his siblings is the glue that keeps the controlled Marquess together.
At long last all of his siblings have formed families of their own and at age 38, the Marquess is left alone to face the demons within him. He is an intimate of the king and one of his chief advisors. Perhaps directing the course of England would have been enough to satisfy Bey had he not met Diana, Countess of Arradale (a peer in her own right and a match for any man). Because of her unique situation, she too is determined not to wed and give a man power over her or her holdings. She is strong, beautiful, intelligent, passionate, and as intrigued by Lord Rothgar and he is of her.
When ordered by the king to bring the countess to court, Bey realizes that the things that he most admires about Diana will ultimately defeat her goal to remain independent if the king becomes aware of them. It isn't long before Bey's protective instincts are transferred to Diana. It is clear that they are in love and if things were different they would be together, but as things stand the best that can be hoped for is that they will be allowed to remain single and independent. One immediately doubts that Bey will let Diana go to another, but the king has other ideas. An event occurs which leaves Rothgar in doubt that Diana will ever safe as an independant woman and therein lies his dilemma. Should he hold fast to his oath never to wed or follow his heart to keep his love safe in his arms. Must he spend his life alone and incomplete? Can he ask Diana to make the same sacrifice?--
Devilish is to be reissued, January 2006
The Wait is over!
miss the Rothgar reception dinner to be held at
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