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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.

June 2002 Issue

The Hot and the Humorous!

PNR Poll: We Want More...Hot and Humorous Romance!

Update: Nina Bangs

My one regret in life? I wish I'd started writing sooner.

Talk about misspent youth. What did I do during those lazy summer days of childhood when I could've been honing my writing skills? Nothing. Okay, so I spent a lot of time dreaming I was a cowgirl with a trusty black stallion. Oh, and I read every Walter Farley horse novel. I was an only child so I relied on my imagination to supply the excitement in my life.

By high school, I'd decided to trade in my lariat for a trench coat. I was into dark and dangerous. As an intrepid foreign correspondent, I'd stalk the mean streets of the world. Did I actually write anything? No, but I did read all of Agatha Christie's mysteries.

I worked at a department store during college. My short stint in the accounting department taught me a lot about math. Three hundred-dollar shortages plus hysterical tears equaled instant move to gift-wrap. A career in math was not in my future. I didn't care because I'd discovered "real" literature. I plowed through James Joyce's Ulysses and Tolstoy's War and Peace. If it didn't make my eyes cross then it wasn't worth reading. Yes, I admit it, I was a literary snob.

But there's just so much "real" literature one person can take. I graduated from Rutgers University with a degree in English Literature and a determination to avoid books that induced eye crossing or had tragic endings. The only things I managed to write during those years were research papers.

I taught second grade for several years then spent two years in Dublin, Ireland. A friend and I supported ourselves by singing folk songs in Irish pubs. We weren't great, but we were young, enthusiastic, and wore short skirts. It was obviously my destiny to be the next Judy Collins. I spent a lot of time pouring through music books.

Returning to New Jersey and reality, I taught elementary school until I grew restless again. My cross-country odyssey included stays in Arizona, California, and Texas. Along the way, I indulged my love of horses. No black stallions, but I did have several beautiful Arabian mares. I read tons of books on breeding and showing.

Somewhere between California and Texas I grew addicted to romance novels and cats. The cat's independent attitude was exactly the quality I admired in my romance heroes. And once I decided to try writing my own romances, I made sure a cat crept into each story.

Texas is my permanent home. I've come full circle. Born in San Antonio, I spent most of my life in New Jersey. Maybe the Texas in my blood accounts for my attachment to strong men, fast horses, and wide-open spaces.

My love of cats? Haven't a clue.

An Interview with Nina Bangs

PNR: Your first three novels are consistent in that they contain three elements that together seem to create an unbeatable combination. First they all include time travel. This is great for comedic situations, that fish out of water aspect. What inspired you to write this type of romance?

Nina B: A song by Meat Loaf inspired my first time travel. It gave me the idea for Ganymede, a bored cosmic troublemaker, who thinks it would be a hoot
to bring the two most incompatible people who ever lived together in the
present. After encouraging them to fall in love, he’ll separate them forever. I’m always looking for great conflict, and after writing AN ORIGINAL SIN, I realized that time travels have a built-in conflict. The very act of traveling to a different time immediately puts a character in conflict with his new environment and everyone in that time. Beyond the conflict, time travels give me a chance to exercise my sense of the ridiculous. And no one will ever accuse me of coloring inside the lines.

PNR: You seem to enjoy variety in your time travel scenarios. AN ORIGINAL SIN features a heroine from the future and a hero from the past sent to the same point in our present by Ganymede. In THE PLEASURE MASTER the imp sends a contemporary woman back to the past. And in your recent release, NIGHT
GAMES, your hero comes to the present from the future. Do you find that variety is important in keeping the writer fresh? What are the different challenges presented by these different scenarios.

Nina B: I don’t purposely set out to change the time travel patterns with each new book. When an idea hits, I run with it. The characters dictate which one will travel through time, or if both of them will. I probably will never write a book set in the future because I’m not good at world building, but I’ll continue to set my books in the present or past. Of course, I’m partial to the Highlands and men in kilts. What can I say, it’s a weakness. The biggest challenge for me is to take a premise as far as I can and still retain the reader’s willingness to suspend disbelief.

PNR: Humor is the second aspect of these novels. AN ORIGINAL SIN pairs a woman who lives in a time when men are extinct and whose job it is to create
synthetic men for the pleasure of women, with a 18th century Scots warrior, a real man. THE PLEASURE MASTER sends a woman who has had an awful marriage and is finished with men for good, straight into the arms of a man whose stock in trade is teaching women to give and enjoy pleasure. NIGHT GAMES features a hero who lives in a world where sex is vicariously enjoyed through Monday Night Sex games. Of course he’s the star, and his heroine is a woman who had made a name with her books regarding keeping one’s mate happy. She’d just been dumped by her husband and has no intentions of pleasing a man ever again. Irony is certainly one aspect of your humor. What do you think this element adds to the plot? To the romance? Do you find that humor is inherent to time travel romances?

Nina B: I don’t think humor has to be inherent to time travel romances, but it is inherent to my books. I enjoy the outrageous. For example, when I first conceived the plot for NIGHT GAMES, I tried to think of a future culture where sex games would be perfectly acceptable. As I thought about how fanatic football fans are, it occurred to me that sex games fans would be a lot like football fans. From there I started to think about plays in the sex games that would parallel football plays. I guess I got a little carried away by things like a four-play, Monday Night Sex, and the Sex Super Bowl. Someone rein me in.

PNR: LOL, I guess its pretty clear from the previous questions what the third element is, SEX! These books are hot, spicy, toe curlers. Do you think the demand is increasing for sexier story lines? Readers want to know that there is love between the hero and heroine, how does a writer insure that this aspect doesn’t overshadow the romance?

Nina B: I definitely think the market for sensual romances is growing. Humor comes easily to me, but I sweat blood over my sensual scenes. The scene has to move the plot and romance forward, but still retain a distinctive sensual flavor all its own. It can’t be the same-old-same-old. Writing a good sensual scene is always my greatest challenge in a book.

PNR: Your heroes are definitely alpha, very confident. Women are beating down their doors, but they always seem to choose the one woman who isn’t biting. Why? Is it the challenge, or because this is the one woman who might be able to see the real him, accept his vulnerabilities? How do you ensure that the hero’s cockiness doesn’t become plain annoying?

Nina B: I love alpha heroes, but I always try to make them vulnerable in some way to soften their sharp edges. In both The Pleasure Master and Night Games, the heroes know everything about sex but nothing about love. Hmm, do you see a pattern forming here? Anyway, I try not to make my heroes cocky. Confident, yes. Cocky, no. I always choose a heroine who’s going to challenge the hero to grow and change as the story progresses. And challenge is the operative word. The conflict is greatest where the challenge is greatest. Does that make sense?

PNR: Absolutely! Lets talk about your new release, NIGHT GAMES. Tell us about the hero Brian Byrne and the world he lives in. How is the future different? How did Brian becomea Sex Games player? Why and how does he travel to his

Nina B: In the year 2502, there are two very different human cultures. The people who live on Earth are pampered and wealthy, while those from the outer planets have to fight for everything they get. On Earth, all contact sports are banned, and sex is the hottest game in town. Brian Byrne is a product of the outer planets. Abandoned by his mother as a child, he survives any way he can. His agent, who recognizes his potential for stardom in the sex games, saves him from a life of crime. Brian is now at the top of his sport. He’s just been proclaimed MVP of the Sex Super Bowl. Then why does he feel burned out? Brian decides he needs some down time away from the game, his fans, and women. A trip back to 2002 so he can visit his family’s ancestral castle in Ireland seems like a good way to relax for a few weeks. He books the trip through his time travel agent, and one of the magical white stags from Sirleen leads him back.

PNR: The heroine, Ally O’Neill, is also taking a break from her career. Tell us about her. Why does she end up in Ireland? What is her reaction to Brian’s appearance?

Nina B: Ally O’Neill is having a career crisis. She’s the best-selling author of a series on how to be the perfect wife. Unfortunately, she’s just gone through a messy divorce, so her perfect-wife theory must need some fine-tuning. Her series is based on the premise that the woman should go the extra mile to please her man. Ally is determined to never try to please a man again. When her great-aunt decides to travel to Ireland in search of paranormal phenomena so she too can write a book, Ally accompanies her. Her great-aunt is over seventy and leans toward the impulsive. This trip will achieve two things. Ally can keep her great-aunt out of trouble and escape all the ugliness back home. What she doesn’t expect is to meet Black Liam Byrne, the evilest vampire in all Ireland, as her aunt and she skulk around a ruined Irish castle at midnight. She soon discovers her vampire is really Brian Byrne, and he’s a lot more dangerous than a piddling vampire.

PNR: Oh my! What is Brian’s reaction to her? What makes them decide to pursue each other’s acquaintance in spite of their cross purposes?

Nina B: The last thing Brian wants on his vacation is a woman, but something about Ally intrigues him. She needs him for something other than his body. Ally has just gotten a call from her agent saying that her publisher now wants her to write about life as a single woman, starting with a book about a hot night of sex. What does Ally know about sex as a single woman? Nothing. She needs a consultant with sex-god credentials. Who better than Brian to give her every sensual detail? But she’s determined to keep their relationship purely business. Soon Ally’s hands-off approach has Brian ready to break the no-sex-during-the-off-season clause in his contract.

PNR: A bunch of secondary characters add to the comedic aspect of this tale. Ally’s Aunt Katy is a trip. Brian is followed by his agent, his shape shifting alien
team owner, who decides to intimidate in the form of a pet cat (how funny is that <g>) and a rival team owner, whose interference just adds to the fun. I
suspect that the romance would have resolved itself far sooner had the two been left alone. Brian is used to performing in front of a crowd, yet he no doubt finds them frustrating. What inspired you to use other characters to extend the sexual tension in this story?

Nina B: I love minor characters. They can do or say whatever they please. They can offend whomever they choose to offend, and hopefully readers laugh with them. They often expose truths about the hero or heroine that we can learn about in no other way. They also add to the conflict. For example, in Night Games, the Old One is Brian’s team owner. She’s a shape-shifter, and has taken the form of a cat so she can make sure Brian returns to lead her team to another Sex Super Bowl. She spends a lot of time trying to keep Brian and Ally apart. In one scene, she is the catalyst for one of the most sensual scenes in the book.

PNR: In addition to the aforementioned aspects of your romances, Brian’s ancestral castle is haunted, and it appears the pair must have some role in the resolution of its past. There is an element of mystery and suspense in NIGHT GAMES which involves a series of unexplained accidents which seems to indicate that someone is gunning for either Brian or Ally. And there is also a time travel paradox involving Brian which indicates that his decision regarding Ally might affect his entire existence. Whew! How do you put all the pieces together to make one action packed cohesive story?

Nina B: How do I pull all the strands of the plot together? I’m not sure. Each minor character has their role, and I try to keep track of how they’re moving the plot forward as I go along. When I finish the first draft, I usually have to go back and change many parts because my vision of the story has changed as the book progressed. I don’t use a detailed outline, so the whole story becomes a discovery process. For example, the ghost in Night Games didn’t originally have such an integral part in the castle’s past. But as the story developed, so did the ghost’s importance. Oh, and did I mention that I have an incredible critique group? They ferret out every inconsistency and lapse of logic. Nothing gets past them.

PNR: What is next for Nina Bangs? Will you continue to write hot and humorous paranormal romances?

Nina B: Hot and humorous will definitely be part of all my future books. My next book is a departure from my time travel romances. Dorchester is debuting a series of James Bond spoofs in January. My book will be the second book in the series. The title is From Boardwalk with Love. The heroine is the Bond character and she’s one of the women of B.L.I.S.S., an international crime-fighting organization.

I’ll also be part of an anthology for St. Martin’s entitled Burning Up. It’ll be another hot and humorous time travel. After that? I’m hoping to do another time travel with Ganymede, my favorite cosmic troublemaker. Right now, life is good.

Nina Bangs


Previous Interview

Buy it now!

Love Spell
May 2002
368 pages
ISBN: 0505524805


Sex. Rules of the game: play hard, play to win, and play with a passion for the game, never for the woman. In a world where lust is a spectator sport, Brian Byrne is the undisputed champion. His is every woman's fantasy, his face and form recognized on the farthest plantet, his you-can-toufch-my-body-but-never-my-heart attitude a challenge no female can resist. So why doews he feel burned out, used up, and in desperate need of a long vacation to a simpler time?


Ally O'Neill -- American tourist, divorcee, and author of a best selling series on how to be the perfect wife -- is that rarity Brian has never before encountered: a woman who wants no part of him. Before he knows it, her hands-off approach has him eager to break his contract's off-season no sex clause. In a world where no one has even heard of the Testosterone Titans, Brian is about to discover that scoring is a lot less fun than falling in love.

Other Titles

Buy it now!

Love Spell

June 2001
368 pages
ISBN: 0505524457

Buy it now!

Love Spell
July 1999
400 pages
ISBN: 0505523248

Special Order!

PARADISE - Novella: "Hunka"
Leisure Books

July 1999
368 pages
ISBN: 0843945524

Buy it now!

Novella: "Sweet Sin"
Leisure Books

January 2000
368 pages
ISBN: 0843946679

Buy it now!

UNWRAPPED - Novella: "The Man with the Golden Bow"
Love Spell

October 2000
368 pages
ISBN: 0505524031



Featured in this Issue:

Interviews with:
Nina Bangs
Katherine Deauxville

Sandra Hill
Local Coverage:
Wisconsin RWA Convention

Featured Website:
Goth Rom
















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