Today we have Beth Barany in the hot seat, chatting about her love of the great outdoors and her time travel, Touchstone of Love, one of three enchanting romance novellas in the Gargoyle anthology! Read on for a really fun interview, a great excerpt and a chance to win your own copy of these really fun time travel novellas.
Beth's Quick round:
Coffee, tea or…what’s your vice?
Coffee! All the way.
Favorite Movie: La Femme Nikita
Favorite Color: dark royal blue (according to the Benjamin Moore online color chart)
Favorite book/author: It’s a toss up between Elizabeth Moon, Sharon Shinn, or Dana Marton, depending on my mood.
How do you feel about bacon? YES absolutely.
The REAL questions…
Tell us a little about yourself.
I like to garden, but grow only wildflowers and herbs. I also keep a compost pile and tend that more than I do my wild-like garden. I have two cats with whom I have daily vocal conversations. Yes, my cats answer back. I live with another writer , my husband, so we spend most of our time talking about writing, writing, critiquing each other’s writing, or watching our favorite TV shows and fun movies. When we’re not focused on our own writing, we help novelists in theirs. I run a coaching business now for the last seven years and help novelists write, market, and publish their books.
I do the dishes to relax, and have been practicing capoeira for the last 15 months. Capoeira is a Brazilian martial art. I love it because it combines music, community, a workout, dance, and fighting. I like to sweat and work out as much as I like to write.
What’s under your bed?
Really?! J Boxes of winter clothes, I think. Blankets? Old magazines? I haven’t checked in a long while. You’re inspiring me!
What comes first, plot or characters?
Characters, always. But the plot comes trotting fast on my characters’ heels.
Pantser, plotter, or hybrid? Tell us about your writing process.
Oh, talking about my writing process is one of my favorite topics. I start as a pantser. My main character jumps out at me first, then the setting rolls in. I love fun locations. I’m inspired by cities and by ancient cathedrals. Once I know WHO, the heroine, and WHERE the story takes place, then I brainstorm the hero, making sure he’s the best match for my heroine. I spend lots of time doing character sketching, back story, answering my customized questionnaire until I feel I know them as well as I can at this stage.
Then my pantser self steps up to the plate. I do a short synopsis. From there, I draft a scene-by-scene outline. Then I start writing! And the pantser takes over again. I go back and forth between following my gut and following my outline, or taking bits and pieces from that outline, like lines of dialogue, or details, or just heading my characters in the direction I’d already decided. But my characters don’t always behave as I’ve planned! So ultimately I’m a pantser.
Oddest thing on your desk?
An old coffee cup with a rainbow collection of sharpies I rarely use.
What’s your most interesting writing quirk?
Interesting to whom? LOL I love writing my first drafts while sitting in the sun outside, especially with sun on my back and on the back of my neck. I’m a happy cat when I do that.
What’s your favorite thing about the genre you write in?
In romance, I love writing about how two strangers become a loving couple. I also write young adult fantasy, and there I love exploring the boundaries of what’s possible for my kick ass heroine.
What is the hardest thing about being an author?
Editing. Hands down. I go through so many internal tortures and external edits, asking myself, “Does this work? Is this good?” I spend so much of my writing time editing because I want my work to be excellent, but it’s hard. And, that’s my job.
What’s the easiest thing about being an author?
I love coming up with fun new ideas for stories and getting to know my characters. I also love writing my first drafts.
What do you wish someone had asked you for an interview question?
I’d like to be asked, “Why are stories important?” Maybe readers know why in their gut and so read a lot! (Yay!) But I’d still like to address this. Humans are story-making creatures. We can’t exist without a story about who we are and where we came from and where we want to go. Fiction is so important to helping us imagine in a new way where we come from, who we are, and what we can create. I love writing fiction because I like exploring what could be, and hopefully helping readers have that experience too.
Tell us about your latest release!
Sure! Thanks for having me on your site, Mia!
My latest release is the novella, “Touchstone of Love,” a time travel romance, in the new collection: GARGOYLE: THREE ENCHANTING ROMANCE NOVELLAS.
The mysterious lives of gargoyles. They don’t just hang out on buildings. They right wrongs. They wreak havoc. And they change the lives of unsuspecting people who never see them coming.
ON A WING AND A PRAYER BY Kay Keppler (Humorous Contemporary)
Craig knows that Bea is in trouble. But Craig can’t do anything about it—because he’s a garden gargoyle and Bea can’t hear his warnings. When unexpected visitors arrive to help, Craig finds the power he had all along. Now the neighborhood will never be the same.
TOUCHSTONE OF LOVE by Beth Barany (Time Travel)
When a thunderstorm transports software expert Rose Waldman to thirteenth century France, she meets hunky stonemason Julien, who is secretly creating a gargoyle in defiance of his master mason. Can independent gadget loving Rose trust her life and heart to Julien, and can she really never go home again?
THE MILLER’S DAUGHTER BY Patricia Simpson (Historical)
And the freak just trying to get along...
Sentenced to burn at the stake for sorcery, Merofled volunteers to help jaded warrior Alaric kill a gargoyle that threatens her village. But Merofled soon discovers the gargoyle is not a monster at all. It’s a misfit just like her. Can she persuade Alaric to spare the gargoyle–and herself?
EXCERPT OF “TOUCHSTONE OF LOVE” BY BETH BARANY
Julien of Beauvais stomped through the edge of town, through the fields and the stormy dark. He didn’t care about the wet and wind. He needed to find peace, he needed to find inspiration. It was time that he showed Master Stonemason Bernard de Chantilly all of his skill and artistry and present his master work to the community and get his approval, even if the master stonemason said Julien could not present his work at Michaelmas in five days.
The master stonemason didn’t like him and had not allowed him to present the previous year. But this year would be his. It was time he showed Master Bernard that he was ready to become a master mason and travel as a free man. His training was complete. He’d become a journeyman and done a short trip to Paris with Master Bernard a few years ago. Yet, most men at his age of twenty-six years had already started their own houses and were busy at work on the new cathedrals sprouting all over France.
He wanted to travel to Amiens, or Rennes, and direct his own house, with a woman at his side, and his own apprentices, and a passel of children. The time was now. His time. Oblivious to the cold and the wet, Julien stomped through the field in anger.
Not only was Master Stonemason Bernard a barrier to his dreams, but so was also Marie-Jeanne, his intended. She’d betrayed him with that farm boy from the count’s household. How was he going to create a home when his betrothed was ready to run off with another?
That was why, in his anger, he’d messed up the day’s stone carving work and had been relegated to sorting and breaking granite blocks for the other apprentices.
The rain pelted his face as Julien stumbled over something. He lost his footing and slipped to his knees. He put out his hands to brace himself and felt something soft. Soft and warm.
As gently as he could, as if he were handling a new-born lamb back at his parents’ farm, he felt for the shape of the soft and warm, and unmistakably touched a breast. A woman fallen in the fields. In the cloudy night with no light of the moon or stars, he reached out to learn more about her. She was alive by the warmth of her, and by the strong pulse at her throat, and not long outdoors, as her skin wasn’t completely chilled. He couldn’t leave her, so he scooped up her unconscious, naked form and headed for his workshop hidden in a copse of chestnut trees outside the walls of the town.
Once inside his small workshop, he stoked the fire under the cook pot. He rushed to cover her with his blanket and rubbed the hands and feet of the woman, something he’d seen the old midwife do to women who sometimes fainted in the fields. The woman breathed deeply, but remained asleep.
She was naked, curved in all the right places. Clearly well fed, luscious, but quite improperly dressed for a fall night, as if she’d been bathing and wandered off from her task.
Maybe she was under some spell that made her sleep. While he was a god-fearing man, and worshipped Mother Mary, he knew magic was in the land. He felt it when he worked the stone every day, but never talked about it.
The woman appeared calm, even peaceful as she slept. Definitely a woman, not a girl. Her long golden locks had come loose from her tie. She had rosy cheeks, pink lips, an angular nose, and a long column of a throat. Her chest rose and fell with even breaths.
What color were her eyes? He pulled the wool blanket up under her chin, and tucked it around her body to keep her warm. A tiny waist, a warm shapely rump, long legs, strong feet—he noticed all that as he chastely tucked the blanket around her. He’d noticed that her palms were strong, with callused, long fingers, almost as big as his. She must be a farmhand from a neighboring village, but he didn’t recognize her.
She was almost angelic in how she slept. His troubles forgotten, he made for his worktable on the other side of the one-room shed and picked up his chisel.
He’d found the inspiration he needed to start his work of art.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Award-winning author, Beth Barany has been making up fantasy
and adventure stories all her life. She writes magical tales of romance and adventure for women and girls to transport them to new worlds where anything is possible. When she’s not writing, or helping novelists in her author coaching business, she loves to garden, play with her cats, or practice capoeira, a Brazilian martial art. Beth lives in Oakland, California, with her husband, Ezra Barany, also an author.
To learn more about Beth and her fiction, visit...
Amazon (international) (Print and ebook)
Barnes&Noble (print and ebook)
Contest! Woot! Woot!
Beth's a giver, so she's got 1 copy of GARGOYLE: THREE ENCHANTING ROMANCE NOVELLAS, in print (US only) or digital (worldwide) Just answer the question... What is your most favorite city in the world and why?
Leave your email addy, too. We'll keep the contest open until next Sunday, 10/11. Void where prohibited, must be 18 or older, winner will be chosen by random.org, and whatever else you can think of for official stuff. :) Good Luck!