Monday, October 22, 2012

Fabulous Interview with the Fabulous Blythe Gifford



 JACK: Oh, thank goodness, I thought we were never going to have another Fabulous Interview with the Fabulous and Fantastic Captain Jack Sparrow—

HELLION: You’re dropping a lot of F-words there, Jack, you need to watch yourself. Today we’re interviewing a lady. *arranges a tea set on the wooden table on the ship* Do you think she’ll one lump or two?

JACK: Of rum? I didn’t know they made them in lumps.

HELLION: Sugar, Jack. For tea.

JACK: Who wants to drink tea?

BLYTHE: Hello?

HELLION: *rushing to the door* Blythe! We’re in here! Welcome! I have tea ready. Please ignore Jack, and I wouldn’t recommend his rum either, but that is totally up to you.

BLYTHE:  I’m afraid the Fabulous Jack is impossible to ignore! *She turns aside.* No lumps, please.

JACK: *sweeping Hellion aside and escorting Blythe to the overstuffed red chair, kissing her hand as he goes* Welcome, my fair Blythe. I’m so honored you wished to conduct this interview with me today. What would you like to ask me?

HELLION: We’re interviewing her, Jack. I realize it’s been a while, but that’s what the interview is about—the fabulous authors—not you.

JACK: *pouting* Fine. *reaches into his velvet jacket and pulls out some notecards* Be predictable. What do I know about fun, flair, and skyrocketing hoards of people clamoring to meet me?

HELLION: Not nearly as much as I imagine Blythe’s newest hero does. Blythe, do tell us more about your new book, RETURN OF THE BORDER WARRIOR, and its hero, John Brunson? And most importantly, does he wear a kilt? Do share in slow, descriptive detail.

BLYTHE:  A kilt, alas, no.  But he does have the most beautiful blue eyes… *sighs swooningly*  In fact, John Brunson is the only blue-eyed Brunson.  He’s the returning warrior, coming home after spending half his life at the court of the young king of Scotland.  And at court, he’s had a reputation of having a way with the women.

JACK:  *gleefully*  Like me!

BLYTHE:  *Rolls eyes.  Bites tongue*  Let’s just say John Brunson has never met a woman who wasn’t open to persuasion.  He’s come home to force the king’s peace on his family.  After that, he plans to leave home forever.

JACK: Enough about the hero. His ancestors wear skirts for crying out loud. Tell me more about the girl. *holding up the book so we can see the cover* She knows how to hold a man’s sword. Carefully, but without hesitation. Do tell me more about her, will you? She’s not really serious about this plaid-wearing knave is she?

BLYTHE:  Certainly not at the beginning.  She’s a woman who knows how to use a sword. 

JACK:  *smiles broadly* Now that’s what I’m talking about.  I could tell that about the lass…

BLYTHE:  I mean, a real sword.  And she turns it on John when first they meet.  She even threatens his…uh, manly parts.

JACK: *makes a subtle display of crossing his legs and putting his hands in his lap* Definitely a misunderstanding.

HELLION:  But it all ends happily!

BLYTHE:  Of course!  You see, she’s set on revenge against the rival clan, and unless John persuades her to set that aside, he’ll never get the peace he’s come to enforce. 

JACK:  And he does, right?  She’s just a woman, after all.

BLYTHE:  Let’s just say she’s a woman unlike any John has known before.  And he discovers he’s more of a Brunson than he ever thought.

HELLION: The book is out right now—thank goodness—but even better there are two more to follow in this trilogy. What are they about, and where were the joys and challenges of writing them?

BLYTHE:  CAPTIVE OF THE BORDER LORD will be on the shelves December 18.  It’s the story of Bessie Brunson, the youngest and the only sister.  She’s taken to the court of the Scottish king by a man she is sure has betrayed her family and then, she is forced to wed him.  TAKEN BY THE BORDER REBEL (March 2013) is the story of Black Rob, the head of the clan.  When he takes the daughter of their hated enemies hostage, he finds he’s met his match.  In more ways than one!

The challenge, in addition to the fact that I’d never written a trilogy before, was that I set myself six months to write each book.  Yikes!  Fortunately, because they are all tied together, I made it!  I truly got to know and love (and torture) these characters.  Let’s just say they had some family squabbles to resolve as well as romantic ones.

JACK: Yes, yes, yes. All this writer speak, but the real question is: did anyone eat any haggis? Just how historically authentic are these novels anyway?

BLYTHE:  No haggis.  But yes, I do get a little obsessive compulsive about my history.  It’s a great way to avoid writing, if you have to look up the exact procedure of Truce Day on the Borders during the early Tudor era.  The Brunson family is imaginary, but the real king of Scotland does show up in the series doing things he actually did.  You would have liked him, Jack.  He had nine illegitimate children, three of those before he was twenty.

JACK:  *jaw agape* By how many women, these nine children?  For historical accuracy’s sake, I mean.

HELLION: I find it comical you care about historical accuracy now, Jack. Ignore him. Do share with us about The Call. How did you get into writing? What does a typical day look like for you?

BLYTHE:  I started writing seriously after a corporate layoff.  Ten years and one layoff later, I sold my first book to Harlequin Historical.  (Overnight success!) And I most vividly remember getting The Call wearing only one contact lens.  Disorienting!  I still have a day job, but I’m self-employed, which means I work at home and juggle both careers.  Usually, I write in the morning and do my consulting in the afternoon.

JACK: Hellion, bless her heart, is so dreadful with her line of questioning. Now I, I know a good question. On a rainy day, what are you drinking, what are you wearing, and what are you reading?

BLYTHE:  Probably drinking an oaky Chardonnay, although I’ve been known to sip some rum, on occasion, Jack.  I’m probably reading history or a good serial killer thriller.  And I’m known for wearing the color turquoise from shoes to hose to nail polish! 

JACK: *looking intrigued* Really? That’s what you’re wearing? I’ll tell you what I’m—

HELLION: I’m sorry, but we’re just about out of time with our Fabulous Interview with the Fabulous—

JACK: And FANTASTIC!

HELLION: Blythe Gifford.

JACK: Hey! I was going to say that.

HELLION: Blythe, do you have any questions or comments for the crew before we turn the interview over to them for questions?

BLYTHE:  First a thank you for having me.  Would love to see some of you visit my webpage (www.blythegifford.com) where you find an excerpt from the books, links for my newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, et al.  But I’d love to ask the crew what some of their favorite series are – and what they love about them.  As a little incentive, I’ll pick a random commenter to win a copy of RETURN OF THE BORDER WARRIOR.

16 comments:

Maureen said...

Big fan of Jennifer Ashley's MacKenzies and her alter ego, Ashley Gardner and her Captain Lacey Regency Mysteries. The characters are really the it of why I'm hooked on both of them.

And I can't put Jim Butcher's Dresden Files down. Or Craig Johnson's Longmire series.

Marnee Bailey said...

I love series. I loved Julia Quinn's Bridgertons and I'm enjoying her Smythe-Smith. I just finished Sherry Thomas's Fitzhugh trilogy this weekend and it was fabulous.

I've read JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood for years but I'm going to probably take a break from it and her Fallen Angels. I feel like the story has become more mystery/suspense than romance and I read for the romance.

I love Scottish romances. I haven't read any in a while but I'm definitely going to give your clan a try.

Great interview and welcome!!

TerriOsburn said...

Thank you for visiting today, Ms. Gifford. What a fun interview. Kudos to anyone who can be that patient with Jack.

Alas, I have not read a Scottish clan book in ages. Must rectify that. *makes note* Two authors stand out for me in the way of series. Eloisa James and Nora Roberts. I've read all of Eloisa's books and I'd have to say the intelligence of the characters together with the gut-wrenching emotional torment she puts them through.

But Nora would be the queen of series for me. From Ireland to the Chesapeake Bay. Just doesn't get any better.

TerriOsburn said...

Oh, and I love that 10 years was an overnight success. LOL! Time flies when you're having fun and all that. ;)

MsHellion said...

One of my favorite series is the Dark-Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The reasons I love this series are: 1) the world building is phenomenal and intricate. I always feel like I'm learning something new about pantheons all over the world, not just the Greek pantheon the series started with; 2) the heroes are always very broken, very heartbreaking--and I do like the individual angst that has created the hero we have at the beginning of the story, how they overcome their horrific experiences and allow someone to love them.

I also have to second Eloisa James' series--and I love her writing because it's cerebral and witty, and the sex/lovemaking isn't necessarily something out of a well-shot HBO movie. It's flawed and funny and messy--but it all turns out wonderful eventually.

Currently my favorite "Scottish" series is the Highland Guard series by Monica McCarty. Absolutely fabulous. I love them much for the same reasons I love the Dark-Hunters--the history that McCarty includes that's true is well-done, yet the fiction blends in seamlessly. You feel these people could have really existed, even if they've been "sanitized" for modern readers. And the heroes are so heroic...and broken and lovable. Can't get enough of them.

I too enjoyed that you took 10 years to be an overnight success. Hilarious honesty. :) Thank you for agreeing to come on the ship. Fabulous interview! :) (As Jack would say...)

Anonymous said...

Hi Blythe I am a big fan of Mallory family By Johanna lindsey and bridgerton family by Julia Quinn. The least but not the last is the Hathaway family by Lisa kleypas. Can't wait to read your book, it sounds like a very fun read , arethazhenATrocketmailDOTCOM

Haleigh said...

I hear series and immediately think Bridgertons. That's one of my favorites. Also the "Slightly" series by Mary Balogh with the Bedwyn family. In fact, I may actually like the Bedwyn's better than the Bridgertons.

I generally love series romances, because I get the full romance arc, but get to re-visit characters in other books. For me, it's more satisfying than a mystery series where the character arc is spread between book (though I have some favorites in that category too).

I haven't read a Scottish historical in forever, but this one sounds amazing. I'll definitely track it down - thanks for stopping by the blog!

juanita decuir said...

O' MY! THERE ARE TOO MANY SERIES THAT I ENJOY IMMENSELY FROM O' SO MANY WONDERFUL AUTHORS, I HAVING BEEN READING FOR ABOUT 3.5 YEARS MOSTLY IN HISTORICAL ROMANCE AND ITS SUB GENRES AND IF I WERE TO SAY MY FABVORITE SERIES IS WELL WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT'S NOT A HISTORICAL ROMANCE...IT'S THE ''FEVER'' SERIES BY KAREN MONING...I KNOW, WHAT A SURPRISE!

quantum said...

Hi Blythe .... welcome aboard!

I do enjoy a good medieval romance and already have one of yours waiting to be read (His Border Bride) which is set in the 14th century I think.

Have to say that I think the Tudor period is more interesting. I'm intending to read Hilary Mantel's (Booker prize winning) series on the Tudors. The latest 'Bring up the Bodies' gives the low down on Thomas Cromwell during Henry 8ths reign.

These are not romances though and your new Tudor series, away from the English court, sounds scrumptious. Maybe I'll try it before Hilary Mantel, just to get things in the right perspective with a dash of romance!

Glad to see that Jack hasn't lost his touch.
You handled him beautifully! LOL

Janga said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Janga said...

I'm a series addict and have been since childhood when I reread the series of Alcott, Montgomery, Ingalls, and Lovelace countless times. As for romance series, I'm another Eloisa James fan. I just named her soon-to-be-released novella, "Seduce by a Pirate," a spinoff of My Ugly Duchess, my #1 fun read of 2012. I also loved Sherry Thomas's Fitzhugh trilogy, Manda Collins's Ugly Ducklings, Meg Benjamin's Konnigsburg books, and Molly O'Keefe's Love trilogy. These are just recent favorites. My keepers include series by dozens of authors, icluding Balogh, Beverley, Brockway, Carr, Chase, Dodd, Gracie, Kleypas, Medeiros, Putney, Quinn, Roberts, Ross, Wiggs, and many others--some of whom have been writing series I've been joyfully reading for more than a quarter century. Then there are the mystery series--Maron, Spencer-Fleming, Force, Hart, Sprinkle, etc. Did I say I'm a series addict? :)

Di R said...

I love a story where the hero learns he doesn't know as much as he thinks he does. I cannot wait to dive into Return of the Border Lord!

Series are great because you get to touch base with characters you already know and love.

Di

Blythe Gifford said...

I can tell I'm dealing with a savvy crew, here! And that you all know your series. I'm taking note of your recommendations. Thanks for the warm welcome!

sheryl said...

I love the Guild Hunter series by Nalini Singh, Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward, Darkest London by Kristen Callihan, and so many others.

catslady said...

Kathryne Kennedy has an Elvin series that I love - fantasy/historical romance!

bn100 said...

Nice interview. I like Lisa Kleypas' Hathaway series for the characters.

bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com