Over a lazy, late afternoon drink I recently caught up with Bernadette Rowley, author of The Lady’s Choice, to talk about bad boys, hidden passions and romance.
Bernadette, I’m wowed by your new book. It’s an enthralling mix of lust, palace life, plotting princesses and swashbuckling swordsmen – have you always been a fantasy fan?
I’ve been a fantasy fan since my aunt introduced me to the genre when I was about fourteen. She gave me The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks and since then it’s been one fantasy saga after another for me.
I’m passionate about many things including following your dreams and more than that, being allowed to dream. Intense? Yes, I am that, certainly. I guess my heroines reflect that quality that I have – go after what you want.
Ramon is simply divine … who were you thinking of when you created him? Who would play him in a film?
When I created Ramón initially, he was just a secondary character in Princess Avenger, my first book. But I quickly realised he needed his own stage. I see him as every woman’s best friend, the perfect man; the man you can count on who will put your needs before his always; and he has unforgettable good looks and impeccable grooming.
I would nominate Liam Hemsworth. He has gorgeous blond looks, amazing blue eyes, is the right height and has a great body.
Your hero is a character with a strong sense of what’s right – I prefer someone a bit naughty – you?
I prefer someone naughty and probably dark-haired as well. There’s definitely something within my nature that is drawn to the ‘bad boy’ so it was quite a challenge to see if I could write a sexy beta male.
Your heroine, Lady Benae, has to choose between passion and duty – have you been torn like that?
I’m not too good at duty and would go with passion any day. I think we are all torn between what we ‘should’ do and what we truly wish to do. I try to make decisions that make me happy because you only get one shot at life.
Cruelty and power play a part in your plot – did you find this challenging to write?
I don’t find power and cruelty difficult to write. It seems to be quite as natural for me as writing about love and loyalty. I believe we all have two opposing natures that hopefully are in balance. Fantasy holds much darkness as well as uplifting themes so I’ve had a steady diet of these contrasting values in my reading.
Unless there’s a yacht and a millionaire involved, I’m not very outdoorsy, but I so adored Benae’s horse, Flaire, I can imagine myself galloping off into the sunset, astride some magnificent steed. Clearly you adore horses?
I’ve always loved horses and rode, bred and trained them in my teens and twenties. They’re magnificent creatures and so rewarding to work with.
Benae and her maid are more like sisters than mistress and servant – are you a believer in having good female friends or are they superfluous if you have the attentions of a gorgeous man?
I find I need contact with my close female friends on a regular basis but my husband is my best friend. I’ve always found girlfriends wonderful for sharing your difficulties and bringing problems back into perspective. A problem shared is a problem halved they say.
We know you are a vet and have a family, tell us something else about yourself that will shock or surprise us?
I love being on stage. Before moving to Townsville in 2006, I was part of a ladies barbershop quartet and chorus and just adored singing for a crowd. It was one of the most amazing and fulfilling periods of my life.
I’m still doing the most romantic thing I’ve ever done and that’s being part of a loving and supportive marriage. I’ve been married to Michael for coming up 26 years and we’re now entering the phase where children are moving out. We’ve faced some really difficult times, but we’re still best friends and I can’t imagine life without him.