CSP: Berengaria, it's great to have you here today! I want to talk about your medieval books for a minute. What inspired you to write the “Elinor’s Stronghold” series?
BB: I’ve always loved historical romance and have published half a dozen Regency-set romances. But then I got to thinking about castles, women in flowing gowns, and half-naked warriors with long swords. What’s not to like about medieval days? It all started as the story of a young woman who’s left alone to care for her people when her father and two brothers are killed in battle. Then another woman arrived on the scene, the villain refused to be defeated, and, just when I thought the series was finished, I remembered my love of Robin Hood stories and realized one hero still didn’t have his happily ever after.
CSP: I always felt that way about Robin Hood, too! Which element of story creation is your favorite and why?
BB: When the ideas flow, the characters are talking to me, and I can’t type fast enough for all I want to say.
CSP: Isn't that a wonderful feeling? Now, can you tell us your writing process?
BB: I don’t begin writing until the characters are clear in my head and I know what they want. I need a beginning and an end, and some midpoints to reach on the way through. Then I begin typing.
CSP: What do you enjoy the most about writing?
BB: When the book is finished and I know I’ve done my best.
CSP: Is there a certain type of character or theme that you find yourself coming back to again and again?
BB: Summer, vacations, and water seem to recur in my books. Even in the middle of winter in the “Elinor’s Stronghold” series, the river has its part to play in the plot.
CSP: What’s next for you?
BB: I don’t know. There’s nothing begging to be written right now. I have a book out with a publisher I’m waiting to hear back on, and it’s been a while, so I’m guessing that’s likely a no-go. I may self-publish it. I’ve already indie published a couple books.
CSP: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?
Reading, hanging out with friends, eating chocolate.
CSP: Do you read the same genre that you write?
BB: Yes and no. I read anything and everything, and I write across multiple genres: contemporary, paranormal, historical. When I’m actually in the midst of writing a book, I only read nonfiction because I don’t want to lose my train of thought.
CSP: What’s the first book you remember loving?
BB: My father taught me to read before I started school and I always loved my books but I don’t know the first book. I do know that it was Georgette Heyer who addicted me to romance, when I was a young teenager.
CSP: You've been in this business a while and have seen a lot. What’s your advice to new writers?
BB: Never give up. Keep reading, keep writing, keep polishing your craft.
CSP: I want to thank Berengaria so much for visiting today.
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About the “Elinor’s Stronghold” series:
Book1: Pillaging Elinor’s Castle:Lady Elinor's father and two brothers are killed in battle, and Lord Rhys loses his demesne. To protect her people Elinor decides she will marry Lord Rhys, but only if he agrees the Captain of the Guard, Hammond, will share their bed and the decision making from now on. They agree and seal their contract in blood. Rhys and his people move into the stronghold.
After the wedding they begin to plan for how to survive the attack that will inevitably come. The stronghold is a wealthy one, and many will consider it an easy target with its lord and his sons dead. They also have to blend the two households together and prepare for the coming winter. At night Hammond and Rhys work hard in bed, learning to share Elinor, finding out what pleases her best, and arousing each other to new heights along the way.
Book 2: Defending Rhyannon’s Inheritance:
Hated and incompetent Lord Jeffrey wants to marry Rhyannon, and her bad-tempered cousin, Coll, wants to steal her jewels. She needs a good protector.
Alistair has loved her faithfully for years, but he has no assets and can’t support them both. Lord Devon is a suitable husband, but does he even like Rhyannon? It’s a big challenge, but maybe together Alistair and Lord Devon can protect her and her jewels from Lord Jeffrey and Cousin Coll.
Meanwhile, winter is settling on the stronghold and Lord Jeffrey is attacking the people once again. And Cousin Coll is determined to get her jewels any way he can. Surviving the winter is hard enough to do without all these other things happening as well. Everyone in the stronghold is living on a knife edge. Alistair and Lord Devon focus on Rhyannon. They’ll love her and protect her—and each other as well.
Book 3: Restoring Garnet’s Heart:Tragically widowed, Garnet is loved by two men. If a noble lady can have two men, why can’t a mere sewing woman? Garnet decides she’ll marry them both! Then she adopts two orphaned, starving little girls.
Garnet, Byram, and Carlysle are sent to repair the demesne. Can they achieve this huge task before the harvest is gathered in? First a high stone wall needs to be built to protect them from attackers. The buildings must be cleaned and repaired, the crops sown, weeded, cared for, and hopefully reaped. Is it possible to complete such a huge undertaking before the next vicious winter arrives? Will the peasants help them?
Meanwhile Lady Elinor gives birth to the heir of the stronghold, and Lord Rhys and Lady Rhyannon, with Alistair and Lord Devon, go to court to sort out her inheritance.
And what about Garnet’s threesome relationship? Will that be successful?
Book 4: “Bringing Claire Home” blurb:
A year ago, Paul took his sister Claire away to escape Lord Jeffrey’s attacks on the hamlets. Mitchell and Claire were in love, but Mitchell hadn’t asked her to marry him before she left. Now he aches for her, and goes in search of her to bring her back to his home as his bride. But no one has seen or heard of her, and the hamlet where she was to go is empty.
Finally Mitchell meets Ivan, who takes him into the forest where Claire and Paul, and Ivan himself, have been living for the past year. But Ivan loves Claire, too, and Claire owes him her life. Mitchell suggests he and Ivan share Claire. Can this possibly work—two men with no tie to each other and the one woman they both love? And can they survive a dangerous journey home?