"New Worlds Are Our Oyster."
September 2000 Issue
TIME.........For a Good Romance!
After being a voracious reader all of her life and a writer for most of it, Terri Brisbin found romance novels (again) when she read Julie Garwood's "The Prize" in 1991. Then, in late 1994, she began writing romance fiction. Her first novel, "Secrets in the Game" remains in place in the bottom of her closet waiting for a good time to come out. However, it was her second novel, "A Love Through Time," that made its debut in November 1998 from Jove Time Passages.
In "real" life, Terri is a wife to Chris, a mom to Matt, Dru, and Mike. A native of southern New Jersey, Terri lives in Berlin. During her 24 years as a Registered Dental Hygienist, she also served as editor of several professional newsletters and journals.
Terri is a member of Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey and the Valley Forge local chapters, and the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal chapter. She's also one of the organizers of the ToBeez (aka the Rising Stars of Romance) --an email loop/support network for romance authors who have sold their first book and are yet-TO-BE-published.
Medieval history, time travels and settings in England and Scotland are particular favorites of hers both in writing and reading. When looking for some great romances to read, Terri picks up a novel by Jill Barnett, May McGoldrick, Gail Link, Charlene Cross, Johanna Lindsey, Susan Paul Spencer, Hannah Howell and Karen Ranney. The proud owner of substantial ABR already-been-read) collection as well as a TBR (to-be-read) pile, she can always find a romance novel to interest her! (pssst - please don't mention that TBR pile if you meet her hubby! Surely you romance readers understand!)
Featured in the New York Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Camden Courier-Post, Terri appeared on Lifetime Cable TV's Our Home Show in the spring of 1997. The show's theme, Taking a Chance, presented the then-unpublished author along with best- selling author Debbie Macomber. Terri is now working on other romance novels. A Matter of Time, the sequel to A Love Through Time, was a Jove Time Passages release in November 1999. Another Time Passages release--The Queen's Man--follows in September 2000 and a historical romance will launch a new Scottish imprint for Jove in late 2001.
Barb S: Your latest time travel romance, The Queen's Man, is set in the Elizabethan period one of the more fascinating periods in history, yet few romances take place in it. Do you find that publishers are becoming less restrictive about adhering to specific time periods for romance novels, or do you feel that more leeway is given within the paranormal romance sub-genre as opposed to traditional romances? What influenced your decision to set the story in this era?
Terri B: I think that most 'major' time periods in English history will always Be 'acceptable' to publishers. Elizabethan England has just not been as popular as medieval or regency periods but there have always been writers such as Bertrice Small, Susan Wiggs, Patricia Grasso, Iris Johansen, Virginia Henley and others who have written in the period. Elizabethan England is such a wonderful, colorful, intriguing time with so much in the way of setting band background already in place.
I decided to set TQM there more due to the storyline that developed than anything else. I had the idea of a legitimate male heir to Henry VIII and in plotting it out, it became clear that it had to happen at a time to challenge Elizabeth. And Elizabeth had to be on the throne for it to work.
Barb S: The peril of backward time travel has always been the concern that the traveler will change history with their knowledge of future occurrences. You took a different tack by providing the heroine, Sharon Reynolds, with a piece of information that no one is aware of but by its very nature could have major repercussions. What inspired this idea?
Terri B: Well, I think that a quest is the basis of most or all time travel stories -- the traveler is trying to find something or someone, prove something, accomplish some task, etc. So, usually in planning out my stories I try to come up with the reason for time travel, and it has to be crucial to the story or the romance could be set as a contemporary or historical.
In TQM, Sharon believes her task to be helping Fate to right a wrong, while Fate actually has something else in mind. She needed to have the evidence with her for many reasons -- to carry out her 'task', to find the real heir, etc. And, the parchment plays such an important role in the plot and the conflict so it needed to be there!
Barb S: Sharon is a textile expert; does this occupation serve her in her new situation?
Terri B: Her profession gives her the education and training she needs to be where she is and doing what she's doing. I needed the heroine to have a legitimate reason to be in England and to be called into the situation. She also needed some historical background without being a know-it-all.
I also set up a delicious situation with Sharon actually working on clothing for Elizabeth that she recognized from a portrait!
Barb S: The hero, Richard Granville, is aware that his sire was King Henry the VIII. By nature of his relationship to the queen he can have any woman he wants. What is it about Sharon that appeals to him?
Terri B: Sharon is different and doesn't know about his parentage and the benefits it should give him as a babe-magnet. She doesn't fall for his good looks or his lines -- although of course she does! He senses her vulnerability and her loneliness and that appeals to him, too.
Barb S: Sharon is unaware of Richard's origins. She knows him only as the handsome, flirtatious, Master of the queen's stables. Is this by his design or just coincidental?
Terri B: It was definitely on purpose -- knowing too early would have thrown the story off. Even when she finds out he is Henry's bastard, his explanation works for her. She also could not find out the truth until she fell in love with him and committed in a physical way or the conflict over giving him the proof would not be as strong.
Barb S: Does Sharon actively search for the heir? The information she possesses does present a dilemma. Is she torn between sympathy for the rightful heir and concern for the future?
Terri B: Her mixed feelings about changing history is what makes her drag her feet a bit in searching for the right person. She even thinks about simply giving the proof to Elizabeth to solidify her place on the throne. But deep in her heart, she knows that fate has sent her to find the rightful heir.
Barb S: Is she resigned to her situation or does she attempt to return to her own time?
Terri B: Sharon knows that no matter what she does with the proof, she can't stay in that time period. She just doesn't know if she can return to her own time. She even has a contingency plan thought out about using her sewing skills and blending into history if she can't return.
Barb S: Though presumed a bastard, Richard was taken to be raised with the king's legitimate children. By that I mean children by the women he married. Richard has seen his three half-siblings seated on the throne. Has Richard ever had ambitions to sit on the throne himself?
Terri B: Richard has seen his siblings go from bastard to legitimate depending on the whims of their royal father and the politics of the time so, yes; he harbors a deep hunger for also being legitimized. Of course, his mother (he thinks) was not married to Henry so his chances of ever being considered for the throne are small. But it's these hopes that the Catholics play on to draw him into their plot. So, the evidence that Sharon has will really complicate things for him!
Barb S: This is a turbulent time in British history as the Anglicans attempt to establish themselves permanently and the Catholics attempt to regain power. Elizabeth had to be extremely vigilant. Is she wary about having her half-brother so close at hand? He is a Catholic, correct?
Terri B: In my story, Elizabeth and Richard were raised together through turbulent and dangerous times and share a bond in that. I used the real relationship of Elizabeth and Dudley as a model for this -- they met while children, spent much time together imprisoned and in danger, and their relationship was stronger in the face of accusations than many had hoped. You also have to remember that at this time in England, Elizabeth was rather accepting of those practicing their Catholic faith in private, she had even practiced Catholicism while her sister reigned. Until forced to it by Catholic plots, her government did not persecute Catholics as harshly as they could have. And, like many people in power, Elizabeth believed in keeping her enemies in clear view.
Barb S: Naturally if either Richard or Sharon learns the truth about whom Richard really is it will affect their romance. Is Richard conflicted about his ambitions and his feelings for Sharon?
Terri B: Richard is absolutely torn by his desires for the throne, his protective feelings for his sister and the effect that becoming king would have on Elizabeth and on his relationship with Sharon. If he were king, Richard would have to marry someone royal and Catholic to solidify his hold on the throne. If he were king, Elizabeth would face execution. Sharon could have no place in his life other than as his mistress and he knows she would not accept that. So, in taking his rightful place on the throne, he would be forced to lose Sharon and execute the sister he swore to protect. How's that for conflict?!
Barb S: What's next for Terri Brisbin?
Terri B: I'm working right now on my fourth romance novel -- a historical that 'fits' between my first two MacKendimen time travels. I am finally going to tell Anice's story! I'm calling it HEALED BY LOVE, but that's just a working title and will change before its release late next year. I am excited because this 'book of my heart' will help launch a new limited Scottish series from my publisher Jove.
I'm also in the planning stages of other historical romances - one set in medieval England and another set in 1692 Scotland after the massacre at Glencoe. And, I have a few ideas swirling around for another MacKendimen story or two if that all works out.
Present Day, England
Textiles expert Sharon Reynolds is examining a treasure trove of Elizabethan clothing when she discovers a bit of parchment containing an astounding piece of information. But before Sharon has a chance to share the find with her colleagues, she stumbles through a hidden door to another time...
Sixteenth Century, England
Richard Granville, master of Queen Elizabeth's stables, is acknowledged only as the queen's half-brother --- Henry VIII's illegitimate son. A dramatic first meeting sparks an attraction between Sharon and Richard, who recognizes a kindred spirit in this strange woman who seems to have appeared out of thin air. But only after they fall in love does Sharon realize that Richard is the heir described on the parchment -- and that he, not Elizabeth -- is the rightful ruler. Now Sharon must make a choice, aware that her actions will determine the fate of a man and his country...
Additional Time Travel Romances
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