According to today’s guests bio on her blog, Barbara J. Hancock’s favorite fairy tale when she was a girl was Beauty and the Beast. (Prince Charming didn’t have enough deep dark secrets.) All righty then, we know what type of hero Barbara’s going to be writing. The dark and tortured hero. “Werewolves, vampires, fae …”
Considering how she loves the dark paranormals, I was surprised by some of her answers to my questions …
Jane Austen, Jim Henson, O. Henry. And I’m not sure if I would ask anything. I would love to just sit back and watch them work. The humor, emotion and enthusiasm would have to radiate off them, don’t you think? There are some people who are so gifted that their work is transcendent. It’s beyond a story. It’s pure heart.
Leah: Oooh, Jim Henson, wouldn’t he be a treat to talk to and watch? He’s someone who never would occur to me to add to the list, but he’s on mine now. But none of them really have a dark side, do they? Or do they? Hey, Barbara? Do you think you could write a romantic but tortured puppeteer hero? (I keep flashing on all the fictional and movie puppeteers who lean toward the creepy side.)
Persuasion by Jane Austen is my favourite comfort read. What’s better than an HEA after all hope is lost? Whenever I want to get in touch with the emotion that should be in every romance novel—that want-but-can’t-have ache—I reread Persuasion. (Not to mention the finally-got-what-I’ve-been-aching-for ending!)
Leah: Barbara! Not Jane Eyre with the darkly tortured Rochester? None of Victoria Holt’s dark gothic romances? You’re ruining your image here.
I do have play lists that I listen to before I write to immerse myself in a character or scene. Sometimes the play list comes before the story and sometimes around chapter three or four I’ll realize I’m on the right track when all of a sudden my characters have theme songs. When I wrote HUNGER, a vampire romance, I had the Evanescence CD The Open Door on a constant loop in my head. With “Wilderness”, the werewolf novella that’s included in the Silhouette Nocturne Bites Anthology AWAKENING THE BEAST it was Breaking Benjamin’s So Cold. Right now I’m working on an Urban Fantasy and Breaking Benjamin’s Diary of Jane perfectly captures my kick ass, but vulnerable heroine.
Yes! In CAPTURED, my paranormal erotic romance from Loose Id, the hero is a hardened werewolf hunter. The rough & dusty (incredible) Hugh Jackman from the movie Australia was on my mind whenever I thought of Adam Sheppard. (He might have been a cross between Drover Hugh and Van Helsing Hugh, come to think of it!) And the heroine who has just escaped from a government research hospital where’s she’s been subjected to endless cruel tests because she’s the victim of a werewolf bite was definitely Mila Jovavich from Resident Evil. Tough, beautiful and achingly vulnerable…and ready to kick monster ass!
Leah: Can he be wearing Van Helsing’s outfit? Because I loved Hugh in all that kick-ass leather.
If you could go back to meet yourself as you were just getting out of high school, what advice would you give yourself?
Don’t sell yourself short! I spent years thinking I couldn’t do this or that based upon where and how I had lived growing up. It would have been a shame if I hadn’t gotten over that way of thinking. Deep down I think I knew there could be more to my life if I would only be braver, smarter, more industrious…whatever. I read everything I could get my hands on. Took college courses just because they sounded interesting. My education? Definitely eclectic. But, for years, I sort of watched life go by without really participating in it because my foundation was shaky. I was insecure as if everyone who looked at me could see my alcoholic father and the trailer park I had lived in as a teen. I finally came to the conclusion that it didn’t matter. We’re all the sum of our parts. That hard-knock background is part of me. As is my love of Jane Austen and vampires. Go figure!
Leah: I needed that advice myself way back when. Heck, I needed it five years ago!
Do you have an all-time favourite romantic movie?
I want to say “One yet to be made with Hugh Jackman and Mila Jovovich”. LOL This is so hard. You have no idea how hard. I have a million favourite romantic movies. And some of them aren’t technically “romances”. I love those scenes between Jack Sparrow and Elizabeth in Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man’s Chest! Who wouldn’t want Hugh Jackman to howl over us like he did over Katherine at the end of Van Helsing? And Johnny Depp as Edward Scissorhands, a boy it isn’t safe to love? Sigh.( Oops, definitely showing my Jackman/Depp preferences there! )Today, I’m going to say my all-time favourite is Bridget Jones’ Diary and I say that because I just watched it for the thousandth time and because you can’t beat that “It’s Raining Men” fight scene with Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, that “I like you just the way you are” line and, of course, the “running through the snow in knickers to get your man” scene at the end. Perfection!
Leah: Ooh, Hugh Jackman. Mmm, Johnny Depp. Can we get them in a movie together, do you think?
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do just to kick back and relax?
One word…Netflix…I’ve always been addicted to movies and I finally found a supplier that can almost keep up with my demand. I watch it all. Period dramas. Science Fiction. Romantic comedies. Action/Adventure. And, of course, I also read, but, honestly, reading is kind of like breathing for me. It’s less of a hobby and more of a necessity!
Leah: Aww, I’m so jealous. We don’t get Netflix up here in Canada.
Sweet or Spicy?
In all honesty, I prefer books that are both. My tagline is heat with heart because that’s what I enjoy writing and reading. Even my erotic romance for Loose Id, which is sexually graphic and intense, is also full of emotion with characters who have vulnerability and tenderness. I’ve been told by my editors that it’s unique to blend the two, but I’ve seen authors like Julia Quinn and Johanna Lindsey do it all my life. That’s romance to me. Sizzling yet so tender that it makes you ache.
If you’d like to know more about Barbara or her books, visit her website. Don’t forget to wander over to her group blog Embrace the Shadows as well – they’re having a month-long Masquerade. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
Barbara has graciously offered to give away a copy of her Awakening The Beast to a commenter. (I’ll pull the winner Friday, to give everyone time to get their comments in.)