- The Wild Rose Press
- Release Date
- April 2011
Paranormal Romance, Time Travel
Traveling forward in time, Dani Howard's spirit becomes magically united with that of reporter Troy Brennan. He's everything a girl could want in a man, and she falls deeply in love. Though she must return to her own body and her own time, she gains his promise to come to her birthday party in seven days so they can meet as separate entities. Only too late does she realize she should have told him about the number of years those days will equal in her life.
Troy can't believe he has fallen for a sixteen-year-old spirit invader. Yet he's so infatuated that when beautiful and renowned author Ellie Ward comes on to him, as attractive-as familiar-as he finds her, he's honor bound to stay true to his young love. Or is he?
BOOK INTERVIEW on May 2011
Congratulations on the release of TOGETHER AGAIN, the 4th book in your Vicarage Bench series!
Q: What's the series about? What's the theme that ties all the books together? What's your inspiration for the series?
I submitted a story for a Wild Rose Press contest called Through the Garden Gate and that's where The Vicarage Bench series originally evolved. Their guidelines were for a short story about a heroine who lived in a village in England called Bury, and who would walk through a garden gate by an old house (they even published a photo of this house – looked like an old vicarage to me). Then she would go back in time to one of four eras.
Truth to tell, I did sort of follow these rules, but I thought my alternative was better. I had my heroine, a top model from 2006, go through the garden gate, sit on the vicarage bench and prick her finger on a magic rose bush. Then, while her body collapsed into a coma, her spirit travelled back in time to invade Miss Lucy McGillicuddy, a chubby librarian from 1963. I guess Wild Rose liked it too, because even though they wouldn't accept it in the contest, they did offer me a contract for the novella as a stand-alone story.
After the first book SHE'S ME was published, I wrote the second within the same parameters called HE'S HER and then was told if I wrote a third, WE'RE ONE, they'd put the three into an anthology and maybe we could call it The Vicarage Bench. There was no arguing on my part, I couldn't write the stories fast enough. It was at that point that I knew if I wanted to continue with the series, I wanted my books to be full-length in order to get the paperback edition. So I wrote my first long story called TOGETHER AGAIN. It was a huge challenge for me. After all, it was three times as long. That means a lot more plotting and conflicts and more rounded personalities. I'd always used secondary characters in my tales, but now I could weave them in even more. I'm happy to report that I really loved having that added space.
I guess if there is a theme, it would be that in each story, one of the characters falls into a coma and his spirit travels into the body of someone else. And in each book, a wonderfully charming character, psychologist Dr. Andrews, appears to help solve the mystery. I love the premise of spirit travelling, and it's so much fun when it comes to writing dialogue. I tend to write humorous tales, and this works out to be the perfect scenario in which to do so. Thankfully, I've been able to come up with different plots for each book, and I don't think I'll ever run out.
Q: The paranormal aspect in your series seem to be that of a spirit/soul magically travelling and inhabiting another person's body. Why did you decide to use this particular element? What kind of research went into this? Any interesting fact you've uncovered that you'd like to share with us?
Some years back, there was a TV show called Quantum Leap where the hero Sam Beckett would take over someone else's body during each episode. Except that he would inhabit their body without the other person being present. Well, I loved that show, and when I read the guidelines for the contest it came to me that I could have a person spirit-travel rather than just time-travel. I thought it would make the story more involved and interesting. Then I decided why couldn't the other person stick around and be part of the conflict? As I wrote the first story, my imagination took over and the next thing I knew, we had two people spirit-travelling and the fun began.
Q: What is TOGETHER AGAIN about? What's the inspiration for this book?
It follows along the same theme as the rest of the books for The Vicarage Bench. It is a lovely, romantic story about a young, pregnant girl (Dr. Andrews' niece Danielle Howard) who spirit-travels forward ten years in time and invades the body of a handsome reporter, who is after a story about a heroine from a bank hold-up.
While together, they have some incredible experiences, and they fall in love only to have to separate. He's promised to attend her birthday party in one week. But for her, their reunion date takes place in ten years. When the time finally arrives, a big question plagues her. Since he's expecting a seventeen-year-old girl, will he still love her as the woman she is today?
The decision to seduce him while using her alias gets her into trouble and proves him to be a faithful, honourable man. But only until his heart tells him the truth. Then her lies make him want revenge.
Q: You seem to have two women there vying for one man. Interesting triangle! Without giving anything away, please tell us more about Dani Howard. Why would we root for her HEA?
Dani Howard is the perfect heroine. She's gutsy and funny and so in love that it rips your heart out. You'll want her to win her man because she's waited ten years to be with him. Bizarrely, the biggest obstacle standing in her way is his love for her seventeen-year-old self.
Q: What makes Troy Brennan a swoon-worthy hero?
Any reporter after a hot lead, who lets the dilemma of a little boy and a homeless puppy hassled by three youths stop him, is well worth caring about. Troy's got a huge heart, cares desperately about the truth, and when he's writing his editorials his compassion shines through. Dani falls for his good looks as most of the women seem to, but while existing inside him, she also knows his inner self, his heart and soul, and he's truly a beautiful spirit.
Q: What can you tell us about Ellie Ward? You mentioned she's a writer. What characteristics of hers were modeled after you?
Ellie Ward is a romance author who has a huge imagination, which greatly benefits her career. Because she has a child she must support, this type of work has made it possible to spend quality time with her daughter.
She and I have nothing in common other than we both write romance. I needed a character that could have an alias and who better than an author.
Q: Which character was the most fun to write? Why?
I love both Dr. Andrews and Mrs. Dorn his housekeeper. They occupy quite a role in this story. Up to now, only Dr. Andrews has made an appearance in each book, and I've always kept Mrs. Dorn in the background. But this time I gave her a pivotal role, and she's utterly adorable. Also, the nurse, Grace Joye, stole my heart. Her character has lived a lonely, sad life due to a blemish on her face that's made her very shy. Maybe that's why she's such a sweet caregiver. While I wrote about her, she cried out to be saved, and so she will be the heroine in the book I'll be starting soon called TOGETHER FOREVER AND ALWAYS. She needs her own story so she'll stop haunting me and I can give her a happy ending.
Q: What's your favorite scene in the book? Why?
I guess my favorite scene is when Dani sees Troy for the first time.
The general store, filled with clothes for younger men, proved to be exactly what Troy wanted. He grabbed a pair of stylish bell-bottomed jeans and a black T-shirt from the overflowing racks and made his way towards one of the changing rooms. As soon as he opened the curtain and saw the mirrored wall, he stopped.
"Hold it! Are you still there?" His voice warned of his seriousness. It was a rougher, no-nonsense tone—one she recognized from when he'd used it on the bullying blokes yesterday.
"Uh-huh! Where else would I be?"
"Don't be cheeky! You can see right now, can't you?"
"Of course I can. I see out of your eyes, don't I?"
"Right! Fine." He closed his eyes, continued into the change room, and stumbled when he stubbed his toe on the wooden chair.
"What in the world are you doing?"
"You're only sixteen. You shouldn't be seeing a man undress." He hadn't had to worry about her spying in his room, for there wasn't a full-length mirror. He'd taken care never to look at anything she shouldn't be seeing. Not an easy task but doable.
"Number one. Just ‘will' me to leave and you'll feel me shut down, because I'd respect your privacy. And number two, yours wouldn't be the first male body I've seen anyway."
"Number one, how about just shutting up instead of shutting down. And number two, what the hel—heck do you mean by not the first male— No, wait. I don't want to know."
"At least let me see you after you're dressed. It's very difficult carrying on conversations with someone you can only see from the inside."
"What does it matter?"
"What if I told you I have a crush on you and I want to see what you look like, especially in your knickers?"
The tight jeans were only halfway up. Vertigo and embarrassment collided, engulfing him at the same time. His knee bashed against the chair and his forehead hit the wall. Muffled swear words and babbles that made no sense, except that the surly meanings were explicit, rang out before he spoke to her again.
"Stop that!" He sounded angry.
Was she giggling? "Stop saying things like that. You don't have a crush on me. You don't even know me."
"I know you're extremely kind, that you care about small children and animals, take on burdens even when you don't want to, and—and you're ambitious. You have a wonderful, warm chuckle, and—"
"Enough! For God's sake, my head will swell. Look, sweetie, you're sixteen—"
"And I'm almost thirty. Besides, you should be with a nice guy your own age."
"I already have."
"What?" Troy's eyes popped open — wide, very wide.
"Ohh! You're a smasher, you are."
He stared into the mirror as if he could see into the soul hidden inside him. The ferocious look on his face warned her not to say another word. Instead she silently continued to view his features. His piercing, multifaceted eyes, brown and green, gold and gorgeous, were daunting.
Q: That excerpt is too good, too intriguing! I can just imagine the possibilities. LOL Please share a unique behind the scenes experience or fun facts you encounter while writing this book or this series.
I must admit that all the books in this series have made me chuckle, even giggle, but TOGETHER AGAIN actually had me laughing out loud. I couldn't help it! I found it very humorous. My fingers typed more rapidly as each scene appeared because I wanted so badly to write it exactly how I saw it emerge from my imagination. Then the big surprise. This time my words brought me to tears. I knew then that it was a lovely story.
Q: What's next in the Vicarage Bench series? Could you give us a peek?
TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS will be released this holiday season. The story follows the same as the others in the series, where an adorable but conniving heroine, whose habit is to take on everyone's problems, spirit-travels into the body of our hero, a cranky but gorgeous workaholic. He's recently inherited his widowed mother and has agreed to move to a town of her choice and open a new accounting office. Between the two females, they make his life crazy with lonely elders, orphaned children, a stray mongrel, and more holiday festivities that he's ever wanted to be involved in. But of course it's Christmas, and who better than someone lurking inside him to realize he's not nearly as hard-hearted as he tries to make out. Love grows between them as they search for a way to put her back into her own body. Their romance is anything but smooth, and the obstacles that stand in their way make them strive all the harder for their happy ending.
I love the holiday season and wanted this tale to be a heart-warming story of young love finding each other during such a happy time. But I made it very difficult for them. Between snowstorms, a meddlesome mum, needy babies and an absent Dr. Andrews, they have their hands full. Makes the reader want them to have their happy ending all the more.
Q: Would we see previous characters in later books? Why or why not?
I imagine we'll always see Dr. Andrews, and maybe some appearances of Mrs. Dorn his housekeeper. The doctor is pivotal in helping each character find their way back to their own bodies. Also, as I mentioned earlier, Nurse Grace will be having her own story, which I'll be calling Together Forever and Always (when I write it!!). As far as anyone else, I really don't know.
Q: What's up for you in the coming months?
I'll get busy writing the next in the series, Grace's story, which so far, I've only organized in my mind. I've pretty well decided on my two main characters and have the opening scene envisioned so that's enough to get me started. I hope to get it finished by the end of summer. I wrote and edited my last book TOGETHER FOR CHRISTMAS in two months as I was under deadline, but I don't believe I could do that again. Life pretty well stopped the whole time, and that's not really feasible to be doing too often. The family has only so much patience!
I've also started a new series called Angels with Attitudes, which will feature humorous stories about folks who are so screwed up they require divine assistance. The first book ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES is presently with a publisher, and I'm waiting on those proverbial pins and needles to hear if they'll contract it.
Thank you, Mimi, for this awesome interview!
Thank you! If the readers have any questions about my books or just like to chat, please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org as I love to get mail and I will answer. Please visit me at my website http://mimibarbour.com/index.html and join my newsletter for a chance to win a free copy of my new release as we pick a winner each month.
Find Mimi Barbour at the following places:
The Vicarage Bench
Mimi Barbour is giving away 4 copies of TOGETHER AGAIN (winner's choice of ebook or print)!
Simply write a comment or ask a question in the comment box below to be entered into the giveaway!
Contest ends May 31.
Winners will be announced in June.