Saturday, August 8, 2020

#AuthorInterview - "Counterfeit Viscountess" by Barbara Burke

Thank you for chatting with me today, Barbara. Let's get started!

Do any of your characters take over and write the book themselves sometimes? Who?

Oh my god! Wouldn’t that be wonderful? If any of my characters would like to take over the actual writing process I’m willing to hand over the keyboard in a Manitoba minute. I’ll lie on the couch drinking cocktails and eating bonbons.
Having said that I do have characters with decided opinions about where their story line should be heading that sometimes differ from my own. I don’t want to rat them out by naming names. Generally speaking they’re usually quite right, so unless I really need them to do something else I let them have their own way.

What do you prefer: ebook or print? Why?

As a general principle I prefer print. I grew up with print; all the walls of my house are lined with (overflowing) book cases; books have a sensory appeal that pixels on a screen can’t even begin to evoke; book stores have to be amongst the best places in the world to lose (or find) yourself -surely I’m not the only one who planned my visit to Shakespeare and Co as carefully as to the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame the first time I visited Paris; there are few more joyous experiences than entrusting a friend with the loan of a physical copy of a book you’ve really enjoyed – and then getting it back again!; a physical book is a journey through space as well as experience as you slowly turn the pages and have a real sense of how far along you’ve come and how far you have yet to go; print books exit in time and space – before my husband and I both had kobos I always knew what he was reading because it would be lying there on the table, but now I just see an uninformative black leather case, making it a whole lot more difficult to casually discuss what we’re reading; very importantly for a writer, the author’s name is constantly before you (as is the lovely cover) – with ebooks I often don’t know who’s written the book I just finished. But I have to admit that ereaders are great for travel and for lying in bed reading without disturbing your sleeping partner.

Sometimes the romance genre gets a bad reputation for being cliché and full of Fabios. How do you respond to that?

With a bit of embarrassment and reluctant agreement. There are lots and lots of romances that do fit that description. It would be disingenuous to deny it. Perfect male specimens and happily ever afters are pretty worthy goals to aspire to, after all. And, though we may deny it, there is a formula. When I submitted Counterfeit Viscountess to my editor she insisted I change the beginning because my hero and heroine had to meet in the first three pages, which forced me to abandon a chapter I still think was very important to the development of the story.
Having said that, though, good writing is good writing. Yes, there’s some schock where the really bad writing allows the cliches to stand out, but that’s true in every genre, romance, mystery, scifi, you name it. In fact, I believe there’s lots of bad literary fiction, but most of us don’t feel confident enough to call it out – kind of an Emperor’s new clothing thing. There are lots of fantastic romance writers and romance novels. Romance gets picked on because it’s popular, because everyone thinks they’re an expert on love and therefore can judge it and, quite frankly, because it’s mostly meant to appeal to women and so is historically devalued.

We all need a little inspiration in our lives. What’s your favorite quote and why?

Suck it up, buttercup. Because things could always be worse and there are so many good things in life we ignore.

Besides writing and reading, what are some of your hobbies?

Drinking red wine and eating pizza. What? Those aren’t hobbies? Uh oh.
I’m an incessant knitter. I can’t watch TV without something on my needles and as a consequence I have an ever increasing stash of hats and toques that I make when I’m between larger projects. They’ll get stealthily dropped off outside a homeless shelter when the weather starts to turn.
I’m madly addicted to cryptic crosswords. My daily paper doesn’t carry one and I don’t like doing them online so the last time I was in Dublin I went to the bookstore (naturally) and picked up 12 Telegraph and Times collections. That’s been keeping me going for the last couple of years, but if the pandemic doesn’t break soon…

What’s your most bizarre life experience?

Really nothing could be more bizarre than life itself.

Tag Line: What happens when they both start wanting a real marriage?


Practical Caroline Saxon must travel to London for the season, when all she really wants is to stay in Ireland and breed horses. But a carriage accident leaves her unchaperoned at a posting inn.

Dashing Christopher Hawking just wants a bed for the night. He didn't expect to find it occupied by a beautiful woman or to be caught sneaking out of her room. In the light of day, a London-bound member of the ton finds them together.

Attraction flares between the two in spite of themselves. But how will they save Caroline's reputation and calm the storm of the ton's gossip?


The first thing Christopher noticed as Caroline descended the stairs toward him were her toes in the open silver slippers she wore on her feet.

Their nails were red. Really red. The kind of red that would have driven Cleopatra Nile green with envy. The kind of red that kept sane men from their sleep at night.

As the toes got closer, Christopher forced himself to look higher. He immediately recognized his mistake.

He hadn’t thought Caroline knew how to undulate. That was a misconception on his part. He wrenched his gaze higher.

Dear God, her décolletage. How did that dress stay up? Newton’s laws be damned. Gravity had just been given its walking papers.

“Good evening, Christopher,” Caroline said coolly. “I’m sorry. Have I been keeping you waiting?”

In an attempt to breathe and talk at the same time while maintaining eye contact, Christopher’s voice came out like stone. “Not at all.” He cleared this throat and tried again. “You look very fine,” he managed.

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Author Bio:

Barbara Burke’s peripatetic life means she’s lived everywhere from a suburban house in a small town to a funky apartment in a big city, and from an architecturally designed estate deep in the forest to a cedar shack on the edge of the ocean. Everywhere she’s gone she’s been accompanied by her husband, her animals and her books. For the last ten years she’s worked as a freelance journalist and has won several awards. She was a fan of Jane Austen long before that lady was discovered by revisionists and zombie lovers and thinks Georgette Heyer was one of the great writers of the twentieth century. She lives by the philosophy that one should never turn down the opportunity to get on a plane no matter where it’s going, but deep down inside wishes she could travel everywhere by train. Ironically she now lives on an island that doesn’t have any trains at all.

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  1. Can relate to your peripatetic travels! Best of luck with Counterfeit Viscountess!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Karen! :)

    2. Thanks Karen. It's a lot more difficult to go away these days! My province is promoting 'staycations' - exploring one's own backyard.

  2. Enjoyed the interview! I used to knit years ago. I think you've inspired me to dig through my cabinets and find my yarn and needles. My daughters are still waiting for their scarves, haha! Wishing you all the best with "Counterfeit Viscountess".

    1. Thank, Mary. I'm glad you enjoyed it. You definitely need to dig out those knitting supplies. I don't know how I could bear to sit in front of the TV without something else to occupy me.

  3. Great interview! Good luck with the book--I love the cover!

  4. I love the line about gravity and walking papers! cool.

  5. Thanks, Babs. Me, too. Poor Christopher. He doesn't stand much of a chance.

  6. Loved the interview! Hope your book does well.


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