Please welcome today’s guest, historical fiction author Barbara Bettis as she shares about her new novel, The
Heart of the Phoenix.
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author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college
freshman, she considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there
likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math.
former health insurance claims adjuster, a former journalist, a former
journalism teacher, Barbara Bettis plans never to be a “former” author.
Currently, she supports her writing habit as an adjunct English instructor at a
community college near her home in Missouri.
now lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a mild-mannered English teacher, and
by night she’s an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for—and
heroes to live for.
Welcome, Barbara. Please tell us about
your current release.
mercenaries The Brotherhood of the Phoenix, have identified a group of renegade
knights who have pillaged and murdered their way from the Holy Land. But
Stephen is hampered in the final confrontation when his childhood nemesis, Lady
Evelynn, turns up and he is forced to take her home.
Evelynn’s childhood hero is home—bitter, hard, tempting as sin. And haunted by
secrets. A now-grown Evie offers friendship, but Sir Stephen’s cruel rejection
crushes her, and she resolves to forget him. Yet when an unexpected war throws them
together, she finds love isn’t so easy to dismiss. If only the king hadn’t
betrothed her to another.
Stephen lives a double life while he seeks the treacherous outlaws who murdered
his friends. Driven by revenge he thinks his heart is closed to love. His
childhood shadow, Lady Evie, unexpectedly challenges that belief. He rebuffs
her, but he can’t forget her, although he knows she’s to wed the king’s
his drive for vengeance leads to Evie’s kidnapping, Stephen must choose between
retribution and the love he’s denied too long. Surely King John will see
reason. Convict the murderers; convince the king. Simple. Until a startling
revelation threatens everything.
What inspired you to write this book?
well as my editor) asked for his story. I had already started on it. Stephen’s
experiences with King Richard I in the Third Crusade disillusioned him so much,
I couldn’t get him out of my mind. I had to give him his HEA. And who better
than Lady Evelynn, the sister of his dear friend. Plus, Evie had loved him
since she was young. It seemed they belonged together. She, too, had appeared
in earlier books.
because they are—to me, anyway.
wooden spoon. “We won’t be alone. An emissary for King John bespoke it, but he
agreed to share quarters with us.”
did you manage that? I can’t imagine a knight with such authority condescending
to share anything with strangers.”
you home and would be furious if you delayed. You and the maid will share a
small cabin, while the lord occupies the captain’s quarters. I have no idea how
large your chamber will be, but we’ll make the best of it.”
in what he’d just said, for there was no mistaking the humor in her voice. She
looked up as he stalked toward the bed. Yes, a mischievous light glimmered in
her eyes. He loomed above her and slowly leaned in.
anxious maiden, in fear of her brother,” he warned. “Or questions might arise
that none of us want to answer.”
questions?” Her breath caressed his cheek.
yourself during the passage.”
warned me about my conduct. Do you fear I will ride off with one of the
retort. Let her have her say. She’d be easier to deal with on the morrow if all
her complaints were aired.
perfectly appropriate. And I’ve accepted each of your edicts calmly.” Her gaze
flicked away, as if she knew that statement stretched the truth.
she added, her voice low, intent. “Why are you really on this journey, Stephen?
We both know it’s not to protect me.”
What exciting story are you working on
I’m half finished with the story of Evie’s brother, Henry, and the fascinating
Lady Katherine who captures him, thinking he’s a traitor. It’s a novella,
tentatively called Lady of the Forest.
When did you first consider yourself a
non-fiction (news and feature articles), so the idea of being a writer wasn’t a
difficult one for me to accept. What was, however—calling myself an author.
Semantics, I know. But, really, I wasn’t comfortable saying, “I’m an author,”
until almost time for my first book to come out. Ironic, because I use the two
terms interchangeably when speaking of others.
write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other
than write and how do you find time to write?
adjunct English teacher at a local college. This semester I have only three
classes and the schedule has changed, so I do get a couple of solid days in
there to write—when I don’t have essays to grade, of course. I must get back to
a regular daily output, which I fell away from when I began editing this book.
What would you say is your interesting
computer, I always have something to sip on, usually hot tea or coffee. No wine
or I fall asleep. When I’m plotting or trying to work through a difficult
scene, I munch while I think. And then I wonder why I’m perpetually on a diet!
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
bad) poetry, but I never thought, “I’m going to be a novelist when I grow up.” I
never had one specific career goal. I loved history, learning about other
people in other times, reading their myths and folk tales. Not until I was in
high school did I start “trying on” career options.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
college, there were two careers I knew I’d never undertake: writing for
newspapers and teaching. Let’s see…I was a full time journalist for 12 years,
and I’ve been a teacher for more than 20.
bedroom that has the following written on it: Dreams Have No Expiration Date.
Believe in yourself and never give up.