Tuesday, August 7, 2012

For Love of Gwynneth: An Interview with Author Gerri Bowen


What is your favorite non-writing pastime? 

Reading.

What has been your greatest challenge as a writer? Have you been able to overcome it? 

I intend to do a blog on this one day. In 2008 I was in a car accident. It was over a year before I could create anything in my mind let alone type it out. Everything jumped around and I lost my train of thought. All the novellas published during that time were written pre-accident. My concentration gradually improved, and my first breakthrough came when I created a book video. It took me over a week, and I was pleased, even though pre-accident I knocked them out over the weekend. I learned I could no longer listen to conversations or TV when I wrote, but I continued to try and write. It came back after a long while.

Is writing a full-time career for you? If not, how else do you spend your work day? 

I consider it a career. At this time though, I also watch my grandtwins during the day. Writing is now evenings and weekends. They start first grade August 28th, and then I will have seven uninterrupted hours to write, keep up with email, on-line classes, take walks, etc.

If you had to sum it up your book in 30 or less words, what would you say?

That loves gives us the strength to overcome obstacles.

What inspired the idea behind your book?

I saw the heroine, Gwynneth, in my mind. And then Richard popped in beside her.

What message do you hope readers take away from the book?

Love and marriage are wonderful, can be wonderful, but you have to see people for who and what they are, not what you want them to be.

What three words would best describe Gwynneth.

Stubborn. Loyal. Determined to be with Richard.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

All my imagination! Gwynneth possesses Wild Blood and so has the ability to Shadow Blend, meaning she can gather herself into the small Shadow, nearly becoming invisible. She does this many times in the beginning to hide from Richard.

Which character in the book will be the most difficult to part with?

There were several, so I have their own books planned for them, with Richard and Gwynneth making brief appearances in each.

Do you have to be alone or have quiet to write?

I now need quiet to write.

What do you have in store next for your readers?

I have three books to follow in this series: The Way of Things, Della, and The Lady Anne. They are not yet complete. Nor do I have a title for the series. I do have a time-travel with my publisher, Audrey’s Love, and a Viking paranormal, Love’s Blood, that I’m still editing.

What has been your greatest pleasure or personal success as an author?

When people genuinely like my work.  

What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?

My imagination has free reign to create.

What is the best piece of writing advice you’ve received?

When writing, keep your internal editor out of the room.

Does where you live or have places you’ve been influenced your work?

I now live outside of Hanover PA, and Gettysburg is quite close. Every time I drive there, the skeleton of a story, a time travel, fleshes out a bit more. When visiting England and Ireland, scenes and names jumped out at me.

Do you have any interesting writing quirks?

I write best at home. I need to get up and walk around when I write, so when I’m home I can get things done around the house. My very first writer’s retreat, with some of my chapter mates from the Central Pennsylvania Romance Writers, was this past spring. It was great! But it was then I realized I could not sit still for more than one-half hour. I kept looking for things to do, and ending up taking many, many walks during the day.

Laptop, desktop or notebook and pen for writing?

Desktop.

Is there a book you’ve ever read more than five times? Which book and what drew you back to it?

Flowers From the Storm. I loved how Laura Kinsale had a Quaker woman and an aristocrat finally find love and happiness, but only after overcoming their reluctance to understand the others beliefs and way of looking at the world.

Have you ever literally deleted or thrown away a book you’ve written?

Yes, my first. I plan to use parts of it for others stories.

Favorite place?

By traveling, I find new favorite places.

Best Christmas present?

A table with four chairs, all my size. I was nine.

Favorite smell?

Rain.

Favorite movie?

Cold Comfort Farm, Make Mine Mink, The Fifth Element.

Favorite color?

Green.

Favorite quote?

The mill of God is slow, but exceedingly fine.

Your best trait?

Listening.

Your worst trait?

Impatience.

The Book

It is 1135, and everything Gwynneth and Richard thought they wanted is put to the crucible.

Gwynneth's innocent desire to spy on her secret love, brother to the man her father says she will wed,  spirals out of control when Richard captures her.

All Richard wanted was a quick tryst with a Wood Nymph. He never imagined he would be forced into a marriage. Richard is not pleased. Everything goes wrong, starting with his plans to avenge the deaths of his father and uncle, not to mention that his brother had planned to wed Gwynneth. A powerful baron from the north claims he has a signed betrothal contract between his son and Lady Gwynneth, which the baron intends to enforce. Then there is the matter of his new father-in-law and his unceasing efforts to end Richard’s life. The only good to come from the marriage, Richard finally realizes, is Gwynneth. Then she’s taken from him.

Richard's journey begins to reclaim his wife. For love of Gwynneth.

  

Where can your readers find you? 


Twitter: @gerribowen
Is your book in Print, eBook or both? This one is eBook only.

An Excerpt
Western England, June 1135

Lady Gwynneth stilled where she sat, a niggle of unease slithering up her spine. She straightened and closed her eyes; lifted her nose to sift out the unnatural. The roughness of the tree against her back she ignored whilst studying the sounds of the forest.
Nay, was but her imagination, the busy sounds were there. Naught of the brigands, thrashing loudly about as they were wont to do, advising all to their presence. Still, she was uneasy. Someone or something might be out there. 
It might be Richard.
Hadn't he tracked her these past two days? Just how he’d found her gave pause, for she knew herself superior in the art of shadow blending.
The Da TamPanni knew her sweet feelings for Richard, and had informed her he was visiting his mother and family at Aven. He had shown her where Richard was hunting, and assured her Richard could never catch her, yet he had almost caught her, thrice the first day at that! The second day as well. Today she confined her roaming close to home. Surely he’d not venture this far into her father's wood. Not that it would be unpleasant to see him again, she decided with a deep sigh.

Her father's visage sprang into her mind's eye and warm thoughts of Richard fled. She’d been warned not to allow Richard see her roaming the woods. She sighed, wishing she knew how to growl, and arose cautiously, her fingers easily finding the handle of her gathering basket.


Inching his way soundlessly toward her, Richard FitzHugh kept sight of the beautiful, yet stubbornly elusive wood nymph. The Da TamPanni promised if he was vigilant he might espy a beautiful, lusty forest nymph.

And so he had. He’d caught glimpse of the woodland beauty three mornings ago as she gathered flowers. He watched as she sat and fashioned garlands for her fair hair, and necklaces for her neck. Deciding he looked long enough, he hadn’t been able to get close enough before she heard his approach and that of his squire and horses, and vanished before his eyes. Twice more that day he spotted her, and twice more she vanished once she heard his approach.

After much brooding on the subject, he decided his sudden appearances must have frightened her. Everyone knew wood nymphs were shy. The next day he called out when he sighted her, explained who he was, and asked her to remain. Still, she vanished.
Today would be the day, he promised himself. Had taken all morning to find her, but he had two days to understand her movement and anticipate which trails she’d follow. Had taken near all his patience to creep this near, get her boxed in so there was but one way out and that would lead straight to his waiting arms. He would succeed. Yea, today he’d know her.

Gwynneth turned to movement at her left, and began to gather herself in. An odd cry caught her attention and she paused, her mind trying to place an image of exactly what sort of beast made such a sound. She jumped at noise from the brush close behind, and turned to run. Hands grabbed her, and she managed a short scream until a large hand clamped over her mouth. She bit down hard, kicked her feet, and heard an oath as she struggled.

"I'll not hurt you, be still!" The words were of the common tongue, causing her to fight harder. The voice now growled in her ear. "What do you in my wood?"

She ceased struggling, and turned her head to see who was so bold as to claim her father’s wood as his own. Torn between delight at being this close to her secret love and fear her father might find out she'd disobeyed him, delight quickly won.

Eight years had passed since Richard rescued her from the forest floor after she fell from a tree and broke her arm, but she’d not forgotten his gentleness. How he’d wiped away her tears and coaxed a smile to her lips by calling her a clumsy little wood nymph. She remembered the roughness of his calloused fingers against her face, yet his touch had been gentle. Nine years old at the time, yet Richard’s handsome face imprinted clearly in her mind as what a gallant knight should be. Now his scent wafted to her, of leather, horse, and musk. Whenever she looked at Alden, his younger brother, she saw Richard, with his dark hair, and the dark, thick lashes that framed his grey eyes.

She gazed into his eyes. They were a soft grey, the color of a dove’s wing. His hair was longer than was normal, and some of it fell across his brow, the rest swept behind an ear. The lines of his jaw were strong, the dark shadow of a beard quite noticeable against his lips.

She thought his lips very fine, the lower lip full and…kissable. Not that she’d ever kissed a man, but the sight of his lips turned her thoughts to kissing. Why didn’t the sight of Alden’s lips affect her this way?

He pulled his hand from her mouth, turning her to fully face him. "'Tis you!" She spoke in the common tongue as he had, believing he’d been teasing. "I thought you a brigand. You frightened me!" His chest and shoulders were broader, larger than she remembered. His grip was firm, but she noted with approval, still gentle. Richard had a manly presence that Alden...well, not lacked, for Alden was manly. Nay, she decided Richard had an abundance of manly presence about him. Had it been Alden holding her...well, Alden never would have grabbed her.

He released her, and she wondered at the disappointment in his eyes.

The eyes smiling at him were blue, Richard noted, blue the color of some gem whose name he couldn’t remember; went well with her blonde hair. Even better, her skin, if one ignored the smudges of dirt, was like the color of cream. Her cheeks showed a faint blush, her lips full and rosy. For a mortal woman, she was a beauty. His earlier disappointment about her nymph-lustiness fled.

With a smile to answer hers, he anticipated this interlude would be as pleasant as TamPanni promised; he could tell by the welcome in her smile, and the warmth in her eyes. It no longer mattered she wasn’t a wood nymph. "You recognize me?"

"Of course."

His smile widened. “Good. Who are you?”

Gwynneth cast down her eyes, her pride pricked. He didn’t remember her. Again, her father's warning came to her, and knew it unwise for Richard to find her here. Her betrothal to his brother was still unsettled. Nay, her father would definitely not like this. "I am Gwynneth," she replied in the gentle tongue, looking him in the eye. "Nor is this your wood."

Grey eyes narrowed. "When I spied you three days past, you were in my wood.”

Seeking to hide her blush, she busily studied the contents of her basket. Did he suspect she’d been spying, trying to catch glimpse of him? Such unseemly behavior on her part would not bode well for the coming marriage negotiations.

He sighed loudly. “You must belong to Renard of Penclyst."

Her eyes remained lowered whilst she winced at his words and sigh of annoyance. Well, there was naught for it now but leave with what little dignity she could muster. When her father learned they had met, well, it wasn’t her fault, was it? Richard had entered her father’s wood. She looked over his shoulder into the distance and curtseyed. "My lord, I bid you good-day. Pray give my—"

"You would leave me?" He grabbed her arm.       

Surprised at his sudden friendliness, when she saw his broad smile she smiled in return. "Yea." When a frown crossed his brow she was quick to continue. "We shall see one another soon, my lord. Of that, I have little doubt."

With his head cocked to one side whilst he retained his grip on her arm, his gaze traveled from her head to her booted feet and back up again. "Nor do I doubt it," he replied with a large grin.

His gaze lingered. Unwilling to meet his eyes for more than a moment at a time, she moved her gaze from his eyes to the side, aware an amazing degree of tingling taking place throughout her body, the cause of which she attributed to her close proximity to his overwhelming manliness. She tried to pull her arm away, but his grip was firm. "Release me, my lord, for I must go."

"I have a mind to talk." He wrapped his arm around her waist, smoothly seating her down beside him.

"Talk?" She looked about in alarm. How did she come to be sitting on the ground next to Richard?  "Alone? Without my father?"

His smile was broad as he leaned back and pressed her down beside him. "Yea." He picked up one of her hands, his fingers caressing her dirt-caked fingers. He winked. "Methinks that best."

She pulled away her hand, tried to rise, but was held firm.

"Will you tell me what you do here?" His voice was soft.

Ahh! She nodded in sudden comprehension and settled back down. Of course he’d be curious about her wandering the wood! He wouldn’t agree for his brother to marry a woman who roamed the wood for no good reason.

"I was gathering herbs and roots." She raised her hands in evidence. "My hands and nails aren’t always so dirty." She gasped in surprise when he softly kissed the crook of her elbow. "My lord—" she shrugged her arm away from his lips—"you mustn't—"

"'Tis not safe for you to be alone in the wood, Gwynneth.”

“I’m able to avoid danger."

"You couldn't avoid me, could you?"

She cast him a quick look and pulled her arm from his gentle touch. "I have naught to fear from you, my lord."

“Nay.” He leaned closer to her face.

“I needs must leave.” Why did he act thus to his future sister-in-law?

“Not just yet.” His laughter was soft as he poked her gently in the ribs until she laughed. “Has taken me too long to capture you for you to fly away so soon, Gwynneth.”

Capture me?

“Tell me about Lady Gwynn. What does she have to say about wedding my brother, hmmmm?”

She smiled at his choice of words, liking his teasing. Of course, she liked everything about him, didn’t she? “Lady Gwynn,” she replied in kind, “has naught to say in the matter. As any good daughter, she will do as her father bids.”

“I would know what she says about Alden.”
She frowned at his question. What did it matter? Did he and her father come to an agreement she would wed Alden, then she would wed Alden.
However…
The Da TamPanni had expressed his concern about Alden. Asked if she thought him strong enough to keep her father out of Breen. She didn’t. She oft witnessed how quick Alden was to yield to her father’s demands, and foresaw a mighty prickly problem there for the future.
The Da told her a man like Alden’s brother, Richard for instance, was the type of man she should marry, someone able to stand up to her father. She agreed, but if her father said she would marry Alden, then she would have to marry Alden. Except now the Da was pressing her to defy her father. Defy her father! The very thought had her stomach clenching.

“You frown. She doesn’t confide in you?”

“She?”

“Your mistress.” He leaned up on his elbow.

My mistress? She exhaled sharply at the implication of his words. He didn’t realize who she was! She looked down at her tunic and groaned. He must think me a villein! She forgot she wore her gathering clothes, the old, torn wool, covered with dirt and grass. Her father would be furious!




15 comments:

  1. Thank you for inviting me on your blog, MK. I appreciate the time and effort you put in with all your guests.

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  2. Thank you for joining us today Gerri. I enjoy having such a wonderful variety of authors visiting and showing readers all of the great new books out there to read!

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  3. Fascinating Gerri. Great interview and excerpt. I also liked Cold Comfort Farm and the Fifth Element, among many other films. Love Agatha Christie, of course. I also write at home--can't think most anywhere else. Like you, I have to get up and take breaks, do stuff. Enjoyed it!

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  4. Thank you, MK. There are so many wonderful writers out there, and reading blogs is one way to find them. Thank you for this opportunity to help me reach new people.

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  5. Thank you for stopping by and commenting, Beth. It's funny but I can edit in other places, but when creating something new, I do best at home. Oh, and I love Agatha Christie, too.

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  6. Great interview and excerpt. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. lovely interview ladies. Gerri, I had no idea about your accident. I'm so grateful you're healed and better.

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  8. Fantastic interveiw, ladies! Love the excerpt, Gerri....

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  9. Thank you, Cynthia. I hope you enjoyed.

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  10. I'm much better Louise, thank you. Good of you to have stopped by.

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  11. Thank you Sara, wonderful of you to stop by. Glad you enjoyed.

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  12. Fabulous interview, Gerri. I enjoyed reading your great excerpt!

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  13. Thank you, Carol, I appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

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  14. Sounds like a great book Gerri! :)
    Nice interview. :)

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