Barbara Bretton is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 books. Her most recent title, Laced With Magic, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. She currently has over ten million copies in print around the world and have been translated into twelve languages in over twenty countries. Barbara has been featured in articles in The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Romantic Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Herald News, Home News, Somerset Gazette,among others, and has been interviewed by Independent Network News Television, appeared on the Susan Stamberg Show on NPR, and been featured in an interview with Charles Osgood of WCBS, among others. Her awards include both Reviewer's Choice and Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times; Gold and Silver certificates from Affaire de Coeur; the RWA Region 1 Golden Leaf; and several sales awards from Bookrak. Ms. Bretton was included in a recent edition of Contemporary Authors. Barbara loves to spend as much time as possible in Maine with her husband, walking the rocky beaches and dreaming up plots for upcoming books. You can visit Barbara’s website at www.barbarabretton.com, her blog at http://bmafb.blogspot.com or connect with her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/barbarbretton.com.
AN INTERVIEW FROM PENGUIN.com NEWSLETTER
The community of supernatural beings you've shaped in Sugar Maple is fascinating. What was your inspiration for creating such a unique town?
It started a few years ago as a joke. I was sitting in my dentist's waiting room, thumbing through an old magazine (are there any other kind in dentists' waiting rooms?) and trying to forget what I was doing there when I saw a pamphlet on dental implants. I'm not quite sure how or why I made the leap, but suddenly I was sitting there laughing out loud at the thought of implants for aging vampires, which led to vampire retirement villages, which led to shapeshifters and wizards and trolls and sprites all living and working together in a small New England town straight out of a snow globe.
But in typical fashion the story wasn't ready to tell yet. It was still a one-note song until a rainy Labor Day when I sat down at the laptop and suddenly Chloe and Luke and Janice and Lynette and everyone else leaped onto the screen and started populating a town called Sugar Maple.
Chloe is a strong, engaging character who seems to be like many women, just with a little extra power. Is she based on anyone you know?
Don't tell anyone but Chloe and I share a smart-mouth sense of humor, a love affair with Chips Ahoy, and a certain ancient Buick that I absolutely refuse to part with. (It's a 1985 Regal in case you were wondering and it was our first brand new car. I just might be buried in it one day.)
I know Chloe's insecurities, that sense of being on the outside looking in. I get that. She has friends but yearns for a family to call her own. Maybe it's an only child thing but I still wish I had a sister or brother who shared my memories of growing up. She loves Sugar Maple and her friends but still isn't sure she truly belongs. But she's getting there.
In this book we learn more about Luke's past and see him continue to make his own place among the residents of Sugar Maple. Where did the idea behind his character, a lone human among creatures of magic, come from?
I love fish-out-of-water stories. I especially love seeing a strong alpha male thrown into a situation that's so totally out of his control that he has no choice but to let the alpha female throw him a life line every now and then. Cops need to be in control. That's a given. But not even the most decorated police officer on the planet has a clue when it comes to magic...or love, for that matter.
Knitting is a main staple of this series. Why did you choose knitting to be a common thread (pardon the pun) between the novels?
One peek inside our guest room (or any of our closets) would tell you why! It's filled floor to ceiling with buckets of yarn. Cashmere! Alpaca! Acrylic! I long ago passed into what knitters call the SABLE zone: Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy. The people I write about usually are self-employed artistic types who don't live within the 9-5 confines. (An obvious case of "write what you know.") Why not indulge one of my favorite fantasies and create the perfect yarn shop, a place where knitters can congregate as much for friendship as for the fact that somehow everything they knit at Sticks & Strings comes out perfect.
Besides, knitters suffer from the same stereotyping as librarians. Trust me, knitters are hot. Very hot!
What drew you to write paranormal romance?
Actually it's more of a return to paranormal romance. I wrote three linked time travels and two paranormals back in the 1990s for another publisher and loved the experience. I dabbled with a touch of paranormal in Shore Lights and decided to take the plunge with the Sugar Maple books. Sometimes a girl just needs a little magic...
BY BARBARA BRETTON
LACED WITH MAGIC was only my second Barbara Bretton book I have read and now I REALLY see why she has so many faithful followers! What a wonderful world to escape into when you just want to get away from it all. A trip to Sugar Maple, Vermont, will bring you to the home of Chloe Hobbs, who owns a knitting shop.
What makes Sugar Maple and Chloe so special, you say? Well, you see Sugar Maple is covered by a protected charm cast by Aerynn Hobbs, to keep it safe from the real world. And safe it will be as long as one of Aerynn's female descendants lives there. And so, enter Chloe Hobbs! In a town made up of residents that are shapeshifters, trolls, ghosts, witches, vampires, and others, there are only two citizens of this fair city who are not of this lot and Chloe is one of them. You see, Chloe Hobbs is half-human and half-sorceress. It is only a little while ago that Chloe has begun to be able to use her powers and they are still a little, well, let's say still in the practice stage. Because Chloe is the last female descendant of Hobbs, the whole town watches closely over her. The other exception inhabitant is Luke MacKenzie who is a full human. He is also the chief of Police. Luke and Chloe are seeing each other and neither thinks it is that serious but the townsfolk do as Chloe is nearing 30 and still not wed and with no heir in sight! On top of all that, Luke doesn't even want children.
Not until Karen MacKenzie, Luke's ex-wife, arrives and tells them that Steffie, their dead daughter, has been calling her on the phone asking for help. Steffie is being held prisoner by Isadora, the wicked Fae leader. Isadora was so wicked that she was banished from the current dimension everyone else was in and that is why she is able to hold Steffie's spirit a prisoner. Imagine Chloe's surprise since she never even knew about this daughter of Luke's! Chloe could help them to get Steffie's spirit released but it would also mean letting Isadore run free. Chloe is just starting out with her sorceress training so this is all new to her.
What should Chloe do? Should she help set Steffie free and jeopardize her quiet home? Can she hold on to Luke after he finds out about the importance of the magical town Chloe lives in? Will Karen get Luke back? Written in first person narrative, the narrator jumps from being Chloe to Luke to Karen and you have to read carefully so you know who is telling the story at what time. The book can stand alone alright but it really helps if you read the first book in the series, CASTING SPELLS. Bretton does a good job of writing so you can understand this story pretty much without having to have read the first one. She gives a lot of background. However, I myself think the story flows better if read CASTING SPELLS first. I liked the ending but have read reviews where people did not. In that these are the first two books in the trilogy, it is to be expected that not everything will tie up in a package with a neat little bow at the end. So perhaps if you space the first two out, by the time you read them, Barbara Bretton may have the trilogy finished and complete for you to continue. However, I like having questions to still be answered and a bit of a cliff hanger at the end of a book.
LACED WITH MAGIC will entertain you and keep you turning the pages to see what happens to Steffie and how Luke and Chloe wind up at the end of the story. Good luck with the book and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! The details of the characters are fleshed out nicely and the colorful descriptions of the town make you feel like you are there.
TO ENTER FOR ONE EXTRA CHANCE AT
A COPY OF LACED WITH MAGIC, AND
THE BOOK TOTE FULL OF SURPRISES,
GO BACK TO THE ORIGINAL
POST HERE AND LOOK FOR
ONE OF YOUR FIRST ENTRIES.
THEN TAKE THE NUMBER OF
YOUR ENTRY THERE AND
COME BACK HERE TO DO
THE FOLLOWING BELOW:
COMMENT AND INCLUDE YOUR NUMBER
FROM THE FIRST POST FOR THE GIVEAWAY.
THINK ABOUT THE REVIEW ABOVE AND
MAKE UP A TITLE FOR THE THIRD AND
LAST TITLE IN THIS TRILOGY.
AGAIN, YOU INCLUDE THE # AND
A NEW TITLE THAT WOULD FOLLOW
CASTING SPELLS AND
LACED WITH MAGIC
GIVEAWAY ENDS 6PM, EST, SEPT. 2!
THANKS AND GOOD LUCK TO ALL!