Welcome to a special Valentine's Day edition of Barren Island Books. In honour of the occasion, we've gathered together five wonderful romance authors to be exiled to five different remote islands. But here's the twist: not only will each author be given her favourite romantic novel to take with her, she'll also get to choose a fictional character to share her exile. From Edward Ferrars to Edward Cullen, there's no-one we can't bring to life for the benefit of our guests! So without further ado, allow me to introduce our first author …
Michel Prince is the author of several paranormal, young adult and contemporary romance novels including The Frozen and Chrysalis. You can find out more about her work at www.michelprincebooks.com.
My chosen novel would be The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory. Although it’s part of a series, the book completes and I don’t need to keep reading in the series to be satisfied like I do with my paranormal series. There’s a strong female character that fought for what was hers, an innocent love and a stronger, more passionate one as she aged.
A fictional character to share my exile … here’s where I have a hard time because I’ll never be 'their love'. Even with my own characters, I fall in love with side characters because the hero has his heroine and I love how he is with her. That being said … I need someone strong, intelligent and well, yeah … Vishous from the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. He’ll outlive me by centuries, be smart enough to probably get us rescued, has a dark side that could be really fun. The night-time creatures are no match for him, and although we wouldn’t be able to lay out on the beach and tan I’m sure we could find a much better use for the daylight hours.
Andrea Baker is author of the Worlds Apart paranormal romance series. You can find out more about her work at www.andreabakerauthor.com.
This is going to sound a bit clichéd, but my single romantic novel would have to be Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. I have two all-time favourite classic romantic novels – this and Emily Brontë’s Jane Eyre. I’ve gone for Pride and Prejudice because of all it contains, not just the romance between Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy. I love the way the characters' lives are interwoven with so much colour, and the writing is so powerful that you can feel the anguish of the Bennett family when Lydia elopes, and the pain of Jane Bennett and her love for Charles Bingley. Although considered a classic romance novel, there is also a lot of social comment on the times, and the situation that families find themselves in – the fact that the modest Bennett estate must pass outside of the family children because none of them are male (a sentiment echoed in the recent highly popular TV series Downton Abbey). There is so much contained within this one novel that makes me want to read it time and time again.
Despite my choice of romantic novel, though, my preferred companion in exile certainly would not be the charming Mr Darcy, as his arrogance would annoy me far too much in a short space of time. In fact this is a really difficult question, as there are facets of many characters that I really like, but not one individual who stands out as being perfect (which I guess is a symptom of people trying to make their male characters perfect – they have a tendency towards not being real). It has taken me several attempts to think of an answer, but in the end I’ve reverted to one of my all-time favourite novels, and therefore choose Gilbert Blythe (from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery). On the face of it he possesses intelligence, charm, a great (if tormenting) sense of humour, and is apparently also handsome. But he is also kind, and loyal to Anne in any situation – regardless of where their relationship is at the time, and despite what anyone around him said or thought about her. What more can any of us ask for?
Sheryl Browne is the author of several contemporary romance novels including Somebody to Love, and the unique romantic-comedy-slash-cookbook Recipes for Disaster. Appropriately, her latest book, A Little Bit of Madness, launches today! You can find out more about Sheryl's work at www.sherylbrowne.com, and she is also a loveahappyending.com featured Author and Editor.
A single romantic novel … this is always so hard to answer as I have so many books – and all are so tempting. Assuming I can’t take my Kindle with all these downloaded then, um … I’m going to go for Jilly Cooper’s The Man who Made Husbands Jealous. Why? Because it was given to me as a Christmas present and, at the time, provided me with delicious escapism around some traumatic events on the old life-front! Secondly, who could not fall in love with a man, sexy Lysander, who simply loves women so much he can’t help himself. Yes, he’s a bit of a scoundrel, but there is a line in the book where he looks into his dog’s eyes (I’m not quoting, because I can’t remember it exactly) that goes something like, ‘his dog empathised with him as only a dog can’. Oooh, I can’t help but fall in love with a man who genuinely loves women and loves dogs, too. I read that book some years ago now – and it still stays with me. Jilly it is then.
As for a character to share my exile – now that Andrea's mentioned Mr Darcy, just how am I supposed to get Colin Firth in a wet shirt out of my head? I wouldn’t mind him emerging from the sea with a fish for my tea! OK, failing Darcy being available, I’ll plump for Lysander – on the basis that there would be no other women to bed in order to make husbands jealous (oh, the tedium), ergo he’d have eyes only for me.
Lisa Wiedmeier is author of the Timeless series of paranormal romance novels (the first two being Cheyenne and Promises). You can find out more about her work at www.lisawiedmeier.com, www.lisawiedmeier.blogspot.com and www.facebook.com/ TimelessSeriesNovels.
One romantic novel? Wow, that’s a hard choice, particularly when it comes to Karen Moning and her Highlanders series. But if I had to choose only one, it’d have to be The Dark Highlander. Why? Because it’s a story about overcoming even the darkest obstacles and fighting for the person you love.
Which fictional character would I like to share my exile? Well, if you want to go there, then hands down Dageus MacKeltar from The Dark Highlander. Talk about tall dark and yummy, wow. He’s got that sexy darkness to him that makes him just plain irresistible. I’d fight for a man whose only hope is the small speck of light that I could bring him. In the end, he’d be worth it. And let’s not even go there with the sexy Scottish purr, you had me at 'Lisa-lass'.
Tricia Drammeh is author of the Claiming Words series of paranormal romance novels. You can find out more about her work at www.triciadrammeh.com.
I'd choose Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It’s a novel I turn to time and again when I need to escape reality. I love the simplicity of the times, and the gentle unfolding of love and affection between Elizabeth and Mr Darcy.
As for which fictional character I'd most like to share my exile – why, Mr Darcy, of course. He’s honest, loyal, and the ultimate romantic hero. Sure, he can be prickly when he first meets someone new, but after we’re on the barren island for a while, he’ll warm up to me.
So there you have it: five amazing romance authors and their chosen companions-in-exile, watching the sun set from the beach on five of our most romantic islands! Interestingly, two hundred years after its publication, it's clear that the popularity of Pride and Prejudice endures. Still, at least Tricia didn't have to fight any of her fellow writers for Mr Darcy …
Many thanks to Michel, Andrea, Sheryl, Lisa and Tricia for taking part, and a happy Valentine's Day to you all.