Thursday, June 20, 2013

Interview with NYT and USA Today bestselling author Brenda Joyce about her latest release A Rose in the Storm––"HQN asked me if I was interested in doing some Highlander novels. I immediately asked if I could do medieval—and the answer was yes!"

Here’s what the experts say about Brenda’s novels:
"Truly a stirring story with wonderfully etched characters, Joyce's latest is Regency romance at its best"-Booklist on The Perfect Bride
"Sexual tension this sizzling, action-packed adventure."—Library Journal on Dark Seduction
"As dangerous and intriguing as readers could desire. This is a tale reminiscent of genre classics, with its lush and fascinating historical details and sensuality."-RT BookReviews on Surrender

Join New York Times bestselling author Brenda Joyce for an epic story of undying love and forbidden desire in the Highlands When Rivalry Becomes Passion With warfare blazing through Scotland, the fate of the Comyn-MacDougall legacy depends on one woman.
I’m so honored and pleased to welcome NY Times and USA Today bestselling author and a personal favorite to my blog, the incredible storyteller Brenda Joyce.

Brenda welcome to my blog!

Your upcoming novel looks really great and I love the cover.

Tell us a bit about A Rose in the Storm.
HQN asked me if I was interested in doing some Highlander novels. I immediately asked if I could do medieval—and the answer was yes!
Medieval happens to be my very favorite time period, and yes, it is a period of knights in shining (or rusty) armor, damsels in distress, war, bloodshed and betrayal…It is a period chock full of historical drama and crisis! For an author like myself, who loves history and loves to set her characters in actual history, it is perfect. But mostly, it is a world dominated by men, and women have incredible challenges to face. The one theme that has been a constant in my twenty -five year career has been the journey of a woman to find courage and strength during great trial and tribulation, in the face of male power. This theme is heightened in medieval times.
I researched and wrote A Rose In The Storm first. What a great time period to set a pair of lovers from rival clans, during a war when a kingdom is at stake! Margaret Comyn is the niece of the earl of Buchan. She has lost both her parents and three of her four brothers in the wars between England and Scotland. And now her family is at war again—with England, against Scotland, for Robert Bruce has murdered the family chief, Red John Comyn, the lord of Badenoch. To further her family’s current interests, Margaret is engaged to an English knight, the half brother of one of the most powerful men in England. She returns to Castle Fyne, a very strategic stronghold, which is her dowry. And it is attacked.
Her mother is a MacDougall. Clan Dougall and Clan Donald have been at one another’s throats for generations. In any war, they can be found on the opposite sides. Now, Margaret is attacked by the mighty Wolf of Lochaber—Alexander MacDonald.
Although terrified, undermanned, and only 17, Margaret tries to defend her castle. She fails. She quickly becomes a valuable hostage, and so A Rose in the Storm begins.
This is a story about Margaret. How she tries to navigate her way through a terrible time of war, in which the kingdom of Scotland is at stake, when she has lost all her value—for without Castle Fyne, she has no value! Yet she also, slowly, comes to respect and admire the man who has captured Castle Fyne—the man who keeps her hostage. And as she falls in love, her struggle increases, for they are at war, and she cannot betray her family…
The Warrior and The Rose is a prequel to A Rose In The Storm and is available in ebook now in the anthology, The Highlanders. Set in 1287, during the time when Robert Bruce’s grandfather fought John Balliol for Scotland’s crown, it is the story of two actual historical figures—Juliana MacDougal and Alexander MacDonald. (A different Alexander.) Although from rival clans, and on opposite sides of the struggle for Scotland, Juliana and Alexander married sometime before 1295! How did this happen?
How did they meet? Was it love at first sight? Did he abduct her? Did he think to use her? How were they allowed to marry? Were they allowed to marry? Was it a forced marriage?  And so The Warrior and The Rose was born! I decided to tell their story, but of course, other than the events they are set in, I have made up their romance completely.

I am currently working on the third book, which is the story of an illegitimate Comyn daughter, and one of Alexander’s cousins, in the period when Bruce decided to destroy the mighty Comyn family, once and for all. Alana Le Latimer has been forgotten by her father, Sir Alexander Comyn, and left in the care of Duncan of Frendraught at Brodie Castle. But that is not why she is unwed. No one will have he in spite of the small dowry she has been given because she can foresee the future. Alana is a witch.
War has returned to the land, for Bruce has raised another army and has come out of hiding. He has taken and destroyed Inverlochy, Uqruhart and Inverness, in quick succession, all Buchan strongholds. Alana has a vision of battle like none other, in which she sees a Highland warrior she does not know—and she never has visions of strangers! When she is summoned by the earl of Buchan, her uncle, to meet him at Nairn, she comes across the very battle—the very Highlander—she envisioned. When he is wounded, as she foresaw, she is compelled to succor him.
And when her uncle imprisons her for failing to prophesy his victory in the war, Alana finds herself increasingly drawn to her enemy, a man she cannot help but admire and desire….

You’ve written historical, paranormal and contemporary novels.
Do you have a favorite time period to write about?
Medieval! But I would love to do some Viking novels, and I also love the Norman Conquest and Elizabethan. After I finish these three Highland novels (Medieval Scotland) I may do Elizabethan.

You have won multiple awards, including two lifetime achievement awards from RT Book Reviews.
Is there one that would make your trophy shelf complete?  
To be honest, after along twenty -five year career-June marks the 25th anniversary of the publication of my first novel, Innocent Fire—I do not covet awards. What I do covet is the peace to continue to be creative, and to be allowed to express my specific visions for each novel, even if that means crossing over into the genre of historical fiction.

Is there a common thread in your heroines?
In your heroes?
As I mentioned in my first answer, the common thread is a woman’s journey when faced with great adversity and male power, a journey to find strength and courage in order to triumph in life and love.
I have recently moved in a different direction with my heroes. While I like men to be men, I am staying away from cliché and stereotypes. My current heroes are wise, strong, grounded and not all about anger and lust. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t lusty and that they don’t get angry!

Many authors belong to a writer’s/critique group. Do You?
Absolutely not. I am extremely busy, and the year is scheduled right down to work days, training days, competition days. And I am a loner. Even if I had a ton of time, I march to my own drummer, always have, always will…

Can you share with us your personal road to becoming an author?
Is it something you always wanted to do or something totally different?
I was expected to be a lawyer, or to go into the family business of real estate development. I went to three top schools, and dropped out of each one. (I was an A student.) When I was about to graduate, instead of going to finals, I wrote the novel that was later published as the Darkest Heart. Clearly, I did not want to graduate and go to law school!
In between school, I was a bartender, waitress, and truck driver. After my last stint, I sat down and wrote several novels at once, handed them to an agent, and was called back ten days later with a deal from Avon Books. My first novel, as I said, was Innocent Fire (launching the series the Bragg Sagga) published in June 1988.

Are you a reader?
What types of books do you like to read?
Who are your favorite authors?
My favorite author bar none is James Clavell—Tai Pan, Noble House, Shogun. I don’t have the time to read fiction  these days, and I don’t enjoy reading fiction the way I do writing it. I read a lot of history, and a lot of news, including the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal. When I do pick up fiction it tends to be something like Sandra Brown, whom I have long admired. I am currently getting ready to read some historical fiction by Carolly Erickson, whom I consider an amazing historian and biographer.

You also have a passion for horses.
Have you always been a horse lover?
How long have you been showing horses and what type of events do you participate in?
I have loved horses since I was a little girl living in NYC.  I rode a bit as a kid. I have always been an athlete, hiking and cycling.  When I moved out West I decided to become a really good rider. Being from the East, I spent the first year learning to ride doing Hunters. Hated it! So I decided to try a discipline called reining.
This is the ultimate challenge. I have never done anything as exciting or as difficult. We do patterns at controlled speed, each pattern requires ten maneuvers, so we are constantly asking our horse to do something different. I train three days a week without fail. Our horses are athletes and have the best care available. I travel from OK and TX to CA to compete.  Anybody interested in seeing what I do can go to and look at a video of the sport!

Brenda, thank you so much for taking the time out of your incredibly busy scheduled to answer some of my nosy questions. And good luck with your new novel!!!

Visit Brenda's website here  and watch a video with Brenda and her horses!

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  1. I am not going to lie, just the word Highlander makes me drool! Great interview and I added this to my list!

    1. Yeah I'll raise you one Highlander and just say the word Kilt. brwaahahahah
      yes I'm evil