Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Guest Blogger: Beverly Barton


You've read about RAINTREE: INFERNO. You've read about RAINTREE: HAUNTED. Now's your chance to read about the last book in the trilogy.

Beverly Barton, author extraordinaire, Steel Magnolia and one of our beloved Mavens, is guest blogging with us today and there's just not a whole lot more I can say other than (1) read this blog entry and (2) read her book. Read all three books, actually, because it's a terrific story and a great example of teamwork and what can be accomplished when you put your mind to it. Please make room on the playground bench for Beverly Barton.


As with the Raintree trilogy, writing the third installment of the Raintree blog messages means I’m tying up loose ends and doing my best not to repeat what Linda Howard and Linda Winstead Jones have already said. They have given you the background for the books, told you how it all started, about our marvelous trips together and our obsession with this trilogy, and covered various aspects of their own experiences. So, what’s left for me to tell you? What’s left for me to say?

Planning and plotting this trilogy was fun. Writing it was hell. Thankfully, my story came together like a gift from the writing gods, but I paid a high price in blood, sweat and tears for this wonderful blessing. I faced three great challenges in writing the third book, RAINTREE: SANCTUARY. (1.) I had to tie up all the loose ends of Books I & II, as well those of my own book. (2.) I had a hero who was also the villain. (3.) My hero and my heroine planned to kill each other through more than three-fourths of my book.

Tying up loose ends for my book should have been relatively easy, but it wasn’t, not when my book was intricately connected to two other books. I had to give not only my hero and heroine, Judah and Mercy, their happily-ever-after, but I had to make sure readers knew that Dante and Lorna, and Gideon and Hope got theirs, too. And I had to provide the resolution to the ancient battle between the Raintree and Ansara clans. I knew from the very beginning that since Judah was the Ansara Dranir and almost the mirror image of Dranir Dante Raintree that Judah could not become a Raintree subject, could not become a Raintree, and he could not be a loser. So how does a man such as Judah, whose clan cannot win this ancient battle, come through the war as a hero and a winner? See my predicament?

I’ve never written a book where the villain was also the hero. I believe one of the greatest challenges of my career was having a hero and heroine who, almost through the entire book, knew they had no choice but to kill each other, eventually. Talk about revving up the sexual tension between a man and a woman! In order to make Judah redeemable, I had to make sure that the Ansara, although they were the “bad guys” in the trilogy, were not inherently evil as a people. The best way I know how to describe the difference between the evil Ansara and the Ansara as a whole is to compare them to the Mafia. There are a few members of the Mafia who are pure evil, who derive pleasure from murder and torture. But as a whole, crime (even murder) is simply business to the any crime syndicate. They love their mates, their children, their families and friends. They are loyal and often religious, but they do not hesitate to use their power to protect what is theirs, by whatever means they deem necessary.

From the very beginning, Linda and LJ claimed the Raintree brothers, just as I claimed their sister. We instinctively knew which character belonged to us. Linda wanted Dante, the Dranir, the ruler, the Raintree with the power over and the responsibility for his clan. LJ wanted Gideon, the middle child, the brother who would rather die than be Dranir, and the one who tried the hardest to live a “normal” life. And I chose Mercy, the empathic healer, who dedicated her life to the clan as the Keeper of the Sanctuary, the one to whom all Raintree came when they needed physical, mental or emotional healing.

I look back now and I find it amazing that the three of us never argued about anything while plotting/planning this trilogy. We are three very different types, each equally strong and stubborn. It was as if when one of us tossed out an idea, we all three instantly knew if it would or would not work, if it was right or wrong. The only time we even slightly disagreed over anything was when Linda and LJ decided Dante and Judah had dark hair and I told them that Mercy was blonde. They told me she couldn’t be blonde, that she needed to be dark-haired like her brothers. But I couldn’t change Mercy. She was blonde and that was that.

We each had authority over our individual book. Other than making sure we kept the interwoven plot line consistent through all three novels—which was much more difficult than we had originally thought--we pretty much wrote our stories the way we envisioned them, with little or no input from the other two writers. We were able to do this only because we are friends. Dear friends. We respect each other and acknowledge that our differences as writers and as women add a richness to our friendship that would be lacking if we were more similar in any way. This diversity gave our readers three connecting stories, with three Raintree siblings, each as unique as the three writers who created them.

One lucky somebody will win a copy of RAINTREE: SANCTUARY. You know the drill. Comment in order to qualify. And as an added bonus, here's a photo of the Raintree authors taken last Saturday night at the RWA national conference in Dallas. Left to right they are Beverly Barton, Linda Winstead Jones and Linda Howard.


The Children and The Mavens in Dallas


And last, but certainly not least, RAINTREE: SANCTUARY is sitting at #5 on the Waldenbooks Romance Best Sellers list, it's #49 on the Barnes & Noble online sales list and is #31 on the New York Times e-list.
SQUEEEEE!!!

21 comments:

Nini said...

Morning!!!!

I got up twenty minutes early this time just to say good morning to Beverly, well, and everyone else, but mainly Beverly!

Hi Beverly!! ;)

I loved the series, loved the individual books and was amazed at the complexity of Judah's character.

But my most favorite character was Eve, perhaps because i'm a teacher and i've had precocious students. She was a definite handfull and a hoot.

Judah, was dark, menacing, sexy as hell, and you just had to feel sympathy for him, as he struggled with his life's situation.

I know you said it was the first time you've had to write a book where the H/H had to kill each other, but loved each other also.

How did you finally come up with your ideas?

Mercy was a true mother, yet a very strong alpha female in her protection of everything that was Raintree..

So.......all in all it was a great series that ended with me saying:

GIVE ME MORE!

So will there be more?

I am now off to my "Choosing Responsible Behavior" class at the Board of Ed. Eight hours of listening to a lecture, watching two videos and reading dry books...I learned alot yesterday in my first session, let's hope i don't fall asleep in my second.

I'll be back in a few hours to read the rest of the blog!

Have a great day everyone!

Nini

Jen said...

Great pics of the Mavens and the Children. ;-)

Beverly, the thing that struck me after reading your post was the importance of continuing to stretch and push ourselves as writers, regardless of where we are in our careers. I love the idea of them trying to kill one another through most of the book, but...uh, no...that wouldn't be an easy write.

Kudos on making the lists!!

Instigator said...

Nope, I don't think it was easy to write. But man it sure was good :-)

I love each and every book of this trilogy! They've all been fantastic and as unique as the three of you are. I don't think the series would have worked any other way.

And, let me tell you, there was a moment reading this book that I sat back and thought, these women are brilliant. I want to be all of you when I grow up.

Instigator

Problem Child said...

The toughest part of this trilogy (for me) was sitting next to Instigator on the plane while she read it. The gasps of surprise, the "OMGs!" (and even one "I *knew* it) are TORTURE on someone who is chomping at the bit to read the book (but I didn't have a copy and would have to wait for her to finish hers before I'd know how it all ended).

The second hardest thing was trying to get DG to leave me alone--picture me reading the big, final, climatic scene, while DG was playing with his new HD TV and wanting me to care about ratios, inputs, etc. Sigh.

But it's an amazing trilogy. I'd settle for being half as good as the Mavens when I grow up.

Smarty Pants said...

I have to admit I have only been able to read Inferno so far, but I'm so excited to read the other two. I've had them, ready to go since June, but I just can't let myself read them while my house is full of boxes with stuff sitting around everywhere. I know once I start, I'll ignore everything to finish. More incentive to unpack, I guess.

Are you guys up for another continuity (Raintree or otherwise) in the future?

And yes, I wanna be a maven when I grow up.

Maven Beverly Barton said...

Hi Nini,

I adored Eve. She was so much fun to write. And to be honest, Eve reminds me of the child I was once, only I didn’t have Eve’s powers. Heaven help the world if I’d had any supernatural powers! And there are shades of my children and my grandchildren in Eve’s character, too.

As for how I came up with my ideas? I really don’t know. As I said, this book was like a gift from the writing gods. Everything simply fell into place as I was writing. It was as if when a problem arose, the solution came to me out of the blue. Dare I say it? Writing this book was magic.

Will there be more? Probably not. Linda, LJ, and I loved the plotting/planning sessions and I’d do that again in a heartbeat. But actually pulling together (writing) another trilogy could prove problematic for many reasons. Let’s just say that for the time being, we have no plans to write more Raintree books or do another trilogy together.

Beverly

LadyVampire said...

First of all, congratulations on making the best sellers lists. But then, that is no real surprise given how great this Nocturne series is with having authors like yourself at the helm. And especially RainTree. I am dying to read this final book and hearing that the hero is also a villian is way too exciting! I REALLY REALLY need to grab a copy!

Sue A. said...

I'm embarassed to say I haven't read any of the books. But now having learned what I'm missing out on I know I have to do something about that quick.

Stacy S said...

I enjoyed this book. I missed the 2nd one though. I'll have to order it cause the bookstore doensn't have it now. I thought it was great how you 3 wrote connecting stories. BTW, I'm looking forward to Griffins story.

Lis said...

Great pictures! I have the first two of the trilogy on my TBR shelf, haven't been able to spot the 3rd anywhere here so I guess I'll have to order it from ehq. Can't wait to read what sounds like a great series! :)

Angel said...

Welcome, Maven Beverly! I'm back after a morning of chiropractic appointment, and shopping h*ll. Just ask PM. She saw me loaded down with a grocery cart full in SuperWalmart, along with one nagging and one crying child. But that's what happens when you are out of town, then have to shop for groceries, the start of school, birthday gifts, and a birthday party. Whew! I'm glad that's over.

While I've loved the books, I've also loved hearing about the experience of bringing them together. The Mavens are an incredible example of talented women who support each other, brainstorm together, and even write together without resorting to sniping and fussing.

As all of us Children want to be y'all when we grow up, I hope our group will also become Mavenesque! Supporting each other and those around us without someone having to be the best or always right. Thank y'all for setting such a beautiful example!

Aside from the Raintree series, you've had an incredible year, Maven Beverly. Can you tell us about your upcoming releases?

Angel

Maven Beverly Barton said...

Hi Stacy, Griffin Powell’s story – THE MURDER GAME, a Zebra romantic suspense sequel to THE DYING GAME – is set for a February ’08 release. I’m very excited about this book because I’ve been falling in love with Griff gradually, as he appeared in book after book as a secondary character. I’ve had so many readers contact me to ask about his story. It seems everyone is curious about those mysterious ten missing years of his life.

Hi Angel, Thank you for asking about my upcoming releases. My next The Protectors novel from Harlequin will be a December HQN. A TIME TO DIE is set in Chattanooga and has Dundee agent, Deke Bronson, as the hero. In February ’08, Kensington will release my next Zebra romantic suspense, THE MURDER GAME. In September ’08, Kensington has another RS tentatively scheduled and the working title is BLACK WIDOW. To round out 2008, HQN has the final The Protectors novel scheduled for December. For the hundreds of readers who have contacted me to ask specifically about Lucie and Sawyer—this will be there story. No title. Not even a working title.

--Beverly

Maven LJ said...

The writing was work, but the planning was so much fun. What will we do now? We'll have to spend more time shopping. What a chore. :-)

LJ

Kathy said...

Congratulations on the success of the RainTree trilogy, Beverly! I was so glad to get a copy of Sanctuary at your book signing at Nationals. Now that I have the whole set, I intend to get started reading straight through.

Sounds like you have quite a busy schedule ahead of you with so many releases coming up. How do you juggle doing publicity for your different books while finding time to write another story?

I'm always amazed at how prolific you and the other Mavens are and how great your friendship has become. What has it been like to share such a great friendship with these women as you've all advanced in your careers?

Kathy

catslady said...

I too have to admit I haven't read you as yet but the triology sounds wonderful. I love hearing about new to me authors and finding out about new books.

Playground Monitor said...

Of all days for my ISP to have a server breakdown!

I adored all three books and can only imagine the work it took to coordinate the storylines and the timeline. I know it's probably impossible for y'all to do another collaborative trilogy, but if you ever do, I'll be right there to buy it when it's released.

I'm already grown up, but I want to be like the Mavens too. :grin:

PM

Cherie J said...

I read the first two books in the trilogy and they were great. The last book sounds like it is going to be awesome. Would love to see more of these kind of collaborations between such talented authors works. Would love to see some more of these wonderful kind of paranormal stories from you and both Lindas.

Maven Beverly Barton said...

Hi Kathy, I’ve been writing between four and six books each year for such a long time that it seems normal. As for doing publicity—I have a wonderful web designer who takes care of my website, sends out my newsletter and announcements about new releases. And Kensington is great about handling publicity for my Zebra novels. Believe me, I don’t do half the things many authors do, but I learned from Linda H. that it’s not necessary to spend a lot of time and/or money in order to for a book to succeed.

As for my friendship with Linda and LJ -- I treasure our relationship. We three genuinely care for each other and want only the best for each other. We celebrate together, complain to each other, and share “secrets” we share with no other friends. I was fortunate to see Linda climb the ladder of success, to go from a Silhouette author to a New York Times bestseller in first paperback and then hardcover. I’ve learned so much from her and am grateful for all the good advice she’s given me over the years. And I can’t tell you how much having LJ and Linda support me, encourage me, and be there for me every step of way has meant to me. I simply cannot imagine my life without either of them.

--Beverly

Barbara Vey said...

Beverly, I made the mistake of shipping all my books home, so now I have to wait to read your trilogy. Bother!!

It was such a joy to see you again. I loved my breakfast with Linda and I wish I would have had more time to get to know LJ.

Since I'm not a writer, I'll never achieve Maven status, but maybe I can someday earn an honorary Maven title like celebrities who get honorary doctorates. :)

Barbara Vey

Pat L. said...

Loved the blog and love hearing about how you guys plan your books.

Sexy looking mamas - thanks for sharing photos.

Anonymous said...

love all your books Beverly.

kim h