When I first laid eyes on Barbara Metzger, RITA winner (and multi nominated); two-time Romantic Times Career award winner; RT awards for Best Regency; also Golden Leaf; Bookseller’s Best, National Reader’s Choice and Madcap awards, at a Convention, I hot footed it to her side. My usual shyness evaporated. I adored her books and couldn’t wait to tell her so. She had, after all, written one of my favorite regencies of all time: the brilliant A LOYAL COMPANION, a novel told from both the narrator’s and a dog’s POV. Barbara’s books all have that wonderful originality, wry sense of humor, and appreciation of the foibles and glories of the human condition. And so does she. A good friend and a terrific writer – no more gilding the lily – see for yourself. Heeeeeere’s Barbara!
ELF: Barbara, You are known for your light hearted Regency set novels as well as for your originality. You are, to my knowledge, the only author who has ever told a love story from the heroine’s dog’s POV. A LOYAL COMPANION has never been surpassed for originality.
BMETZGER: Sure it has: THE PAINTED LADY, AN ANGEL FOR THE EARL; THE HOURGLASS, where the hero is one of the Grim Reaper’s assistants. Hey, you are talking to someone who got Elvis into a Regency novella, and wrote a whole Regency novel about Yankees baseball. That’s the fun part of writing.
ELF: True. (Though the Yankees were disguised in THE DIAMOND KEY, they were there.) Still, you are amazingly original. Who else would have also written about real angels, portraits that come to life, and Elvis in the Regency? But you had me at dog. I know you love dogs, but what made you think of that?
BMETZGER: I never know where the ideas come from. The Idea Fairy, maybe.
ELF: And is there ever to be a sequel?
BMETZGER: Not soon. I was ready for A CURIOUS COMPANION, the cat’s story, when Signet did away with the shorter Regencies, and stopped doing Regency anthologies. It just wouldn’t be suitable for a longer historical, dammit.
ELF: Awww. A disappointment. But, in fact, since your coming here was foretold, Gretchen F., a fan of yours, has asked: “Can we look forward to seeing more of (your) her early books re-issued in double volumes?”
BMETZGER: Re. reissues. Signet has no plans for more that I know if. Sorry.
ELF: Double Rats! But let’s move on. Tell us, everyone wants to know: how did you get started writing?
BMETZGER: I was bored and had time and an idea, after reading my mother’s Barbara Cartlands. A person can never say “I can do better than that” unless she is willing to try. I got rejected six times before Walker bought my first book.
ELF: And writing Regencies?
BMETZGER: Georgette Heyer, of course, and Clare Darcy, and Barbara Cartland, who made Regencies so accessible. Opinions of her writing and her persona aside, I never thought she got enough credit for popularizing the genre.
ELF: Have you ever written in any other Historical setting or wanted to do so?
ELF: Yet “LOVE, LOUISA” was a charming Contemporary Romance set in a beach community reminiscent of Montauk and the Hamptons, on Long Island.
Will there be another Contemporary for you?
BMETZGER: I hope so.
ELF: I said you are known for your light-hearted novels, but while still full of humor, lately your books are getting deeper and deliciously darker. Why is that?
BMETZGER: Partly because it’s too hard to write 400 pages around a sight-gag like THE PRIMROSE PATH (multitudes of dogs) or LADY WHILTON’S WEDDING (disappearing dead uncle’s body); partly because readers– and editors– seem to want more intensity.(Also dammit.) THE HOURGLASS is a life-or-death situation, literally. I did try to lighten it with a talking crow.
THE HOURGLASS, will be released on March 6. Click to pre-order now!
ELF: You’re also writing novels that touch on the paranormal. Are you a fan of Fantasy?
BMETZGER: I love it. The scope of creativity, the flights of fancy, the innovation.
ELF: You are a most creative lady! You’re also an artist, and until recently, when you decided to write full-time, you found it a lucrative occupation too.
BMETZGER: More like starving artist, but fun. Again, the creative part.
ELF: Ever wish you could go back to it?
BMETZGER: I miss my friends at the art and craft shows, not the backbreaking labor!
ELF: So you are fully committed to writing now?
BMETZGER: I have not been committed yet, but a shrink has been recommended.
ELF: Your love of dogs is well known. Your little dog Hero is sadly missed by all who knew him. Now you have Valentino, your latest canine love.
You feed the birds and have a fish. Any new additions to your menagerie being planned?
BMETZGER: I think about getting Tino a friend, or getting a dog that can walk on the beach with me. (Spot the goldfish doesn’t go out much.) But having a tiny 4-pound dog that I can carry around is a hoot. He makes me smile, and everyone who sees him. And he is enough for now. Did you see the Bookmark I made for THE HOURGLASS? (it’s at my website) I put Tino in the heroine’s arms!
ELF: What are some of your other hobbies and interests?
BMETZGER: Besides books and the beach, I spend a lot of time volunteering at my local library. I run the annual book fair and am proud to say we made over $20,000 in one day last year! I also help my sister with her dollhouse miniatures hobby– a great excuse to go to yard sales every Saturday
ELF: When you’re not writing or painting, or doing charitable work, or such, what sort of books do you like to read?
BMETZGER: Romances. I love all kinds of them. A few mysteries, some best sellers, some classics, but I always go back to romance.
ELF: There’s never a doubt when one is reading a Metzger book. They are unique. How would you describe your work, and style of writing?
BMETZGER: I’ll leave that to the readers. I write the way I write, and doubt I could do differently.
ELF: And what’s the next book coming up after “HOURGLASS?”
BMETZGER: Thank you for asking! It is TRULY YOURS (Sept. 08, Signet Eclipse), another out-of-the-box Regency-set historical with paranormal elements. In this one, the hero can tell when someone is lying or telling the truth. It is an inherited talent, but kept secret, so he and his father are disgraced hermits. Then he has to rescue the heroine, who is accused of killing her awful stepfather. Only he believes her, and comes to save her life. And his own by falling in love.
One thing I would like to mention is the fun I have with these odd ideas. Sex, Scotch, sky-diving, sinsemilla*– nothing beats the sheer joy of creativity. (In the long term, anyway.) A lot of the writing life is downright tedious and hard work, retelling a story you already know by heart. The imagination part, the soaring with a new idea, that’s what makes it worthwhile. That and seeing my books on the shelf, getting to write The End finally, hearing from readers that they really do like what I write, and getting paid for it! Oh, and when my mother walked into her little independent book store to show her friends my books and the owner said “Hi, Mom.”
ELF: (* I had to look that one up myself!) Thank you Barbara!