It is my pleasure to introduce my guest, the incomparable Barbara Devlin.
Where were you born, Barbara? Fort Worth, Texas
What do you like most about where you live now? I love the mild winters. Of course, come August, I’ll be asking myself why I live in N. Texas.
What’s your favorite season? I love winter, primarily because I am a Christmas fanatic. My family calls me Mother Christmas, and I’m fine with that.
Any college memories you’d like to share? I completed part of my undergraduate work at the University of London. I was just a kid, straight out of high school, living an ocean away from my family, and I never felt so invincible, knowing I could survive in the world without my parents. It was a very liberating experience, and I love London.
It’s a coincidence. I too attended the University of London. Do you have any personal heroes/heroines? My hero is my husband, a 32-year veteran firefighter.
I have great admiration for firefighters. What is the worst job you ever had? In high school, I worked for a chain Mexican restaurant. That was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done, and I was paid minimum wage, which was $3.35 an hour, back then.
Have you had any unusual or noteworthy occupations? I am a retired/disabled-in-the-line-of-duty police officer.
Sounds like that’s a whole other story for another day. Do you have any hobbies? I’m way too busy for hobbies.
What is your feeling about social media? I have a love/hate relationship with social media, which I consider a necessary evil for any author. For the most part, it’s a time hog.
What’s your pet peeve? I have a low tolerance for ignorance.
Do you like animals? Okay, my husband swears I’m Doctor Doolittle, in the flesh, because I feed everything. We live in the country, and I feed all the wildlife. We also have five dogs. We used to have a cat, but Smokey died of lymphoma, and I’ve never been able to bring myself to get another kitty. Instead, I brought two of our Brittanies into the house, much to my hubby’s dismay. But Mike is gone for 24 hours, every third day, so Libby and Rufus keep me company, while Gus, Sadie, and Chilly guard the yard.
I understand completely how impossible it is to replace a beloved pet. What do you enjoy most about being a published author? I love the freedom and control of being an indie author. I developed my branding and built my world, and I’m very proud of my work.
Yes, your brand is very distinctive and recognizable. To what do you attribute your success as a writer? I produce quality work, and I think my readers know that, which is why they come back. As for naysayers, and we all have them, it’s impossible to please everyone, and there are some who won’t appreciate my books. I’m fine with that, too. The bottom line is I have to obey my vision and stay true to my voice.
I agree. Where do you find inspiration for your stories? I would estimate that all of my books are inspired by some footnote in my research or a particular incident in my life. When I put pen to paper and plot, and I’m a ruthless plotter, you can bet there’s something driving the story. For instance, My Lady, the Spy is inspired by the real-life Spanish ladies Wellington used as spies to seduce secrets from French generals. In The Lucky One, Dalton’s lucky coin is inspired by the real-life story of a man who found a Roman brothel token on the banks of the Thames during a record drought.
Fascinating. I’ve often said history helps us write our plots. Tell us about your latest release. Demetrius, book 2 in the Brethren Origins series, continues the tales of my original Templar Knights turned Brethren of the Coast.
Do you enjoy writing series? Yes, I write series, because I love returning to the same world and revisiting my characters.
Thanks, Barbara, and may I say your covers are always stunning.
Here’s an excerpt:
As the sun rose on his wedding day, Demetrius studied his reflection in the long mirror, practicing various expressions intended to convey in a convincing fashion his surprise, shock, and dismay at being rejected and abandoned at the altar. Given his dedication to faith and honor, he struggled with such rehearsed dissemblance, but he had no choice in the matter, as his audience included His Majesty, and Demetrius could not fail.
Resolved to stay his course, he pondered Athelyna’s current location and prayed she made it to her destination safe and sound. Thus he had to play his part to perfection, in order to protect her, else the consequences could be fatal, should their hastily sketched conspiracy to flout the Crown be discovered. So he altered his countenance, as he deemed appropriate.
At first, he flinched, opened wide his eyes and mouth, and gasped. Just as quick, he scowled. “Thou dost look ridiculous, and no one will believe ye art genuine in thy distress.”
Rolling his shoulders, he eased the tension investing his frame and made several attempts to compose the right mix of emotions. Varying between smiles and frowns, along with wild hand gestures for added authenticity, he thought he found a suitable combination and chuckled, until a pounding at the door had him jumping in earnest.
“Art thou ready to meet thy fate, brother?” Arucard peered around the edge of the heavy oak panel and grinned. “It is time to depart for the abbey.”
“Must ye appear so pleased by the prospect?” Demetrius scrutinized his dark blue velvet doublet trimmed in gold embroidery, the matching mantle, and the black chausses. Then he recalled his role in the dangerous game and grumbled a complaint, to which his fellow Nautionnier Knight laughed.
“In truth, I have been awaiting this day since I wed Isolde.” Then Arucard glanced at the table. “Thy trencher is empty.”
“Yea, what of it?” As a final touch, he donned the latest fashion, a livery collar of Esses wrought of gold, from which the badge of his new earldom hung. Of course, on the back had been etched the eight-pointed wind-star of the Brethren of the Coast, the order created to accommodate the exiled Templars.
“I mean no offense.” Arucard arched a brow. “But I chose to forgo a meal on the morn of my nuptials, as I did not wish to be ill and embarrass myself, because I was nervous as a virgin on her wedding night.”
“But thou were a virgin on thy wedding night.” And Demetrius remained similarly afflicted, but he refused to share that bit of information. “Shall we remove to the Chapter House, as I would not be late?”
“After thee.” With an exaggerated flourish, Arucard bowed, and Demetrius just resisted the urge to kick his old friend in the arse.
A carriage bearing the coat of arms associated with his title conveyed him to Westminster Abbey. With a calm façade, he strolled the cloister walk, until he reached the now familiar double-door entry topped with a Portland stone tympanum. On the steps of the Chapter House, the archbishop loomed as the specter of doom, but Demetrius reminded himself of the drama about to commence and swallowed his apprehension.
“Welcome, Sir Demetrius.” Archbishop Cobham flipped through the pages of a leather-bound tome. “Now that all parties are present, shall we begin?”
In that instant, Demetrius clutched his chest and, for a few seconds, sheer terror rang in his ears. Panic danced a merry jig down his spine, when his veiled bride, gowned in blue, the traditional color of purity, and escorted by her brother, marched forth. To Demetrius’s everlasting shame, he bent, vomited in the bushes, stumbled backwards, and fainted.