Interview with Rebecca Brandewyne

Rebecca Brandewyne is one of the worlds most famous authors of romance books. She has successfully published more than 30 novels and novellas. All her books are bestsellers. She writes for nearly 20 years now and held the record as the youngest author of romance books for many years.

As she is also very well-known in Germany we are thankful that she made this interesting interview with us.

Rebecca Brandewyne has her own website at:

Angela: Could you introduce yourself to your German readers? A little background on Rebecca Brandewyne, your likes and dislikes etc.? What are you doing when you don't work on a book?

Rebecca Brandewyne: I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, but I grew up for the most part in Kansas.  I graduated cum laude with departmental honors from Wichita State University, and have a B.A. in journalism, minors in history and music, and an M.A. in communications.  I taught interpersonal communication at the university level before becoming a published writer.  I was twenty-one when I started work on my first novel, No Gentle Love. I finished the book a year later and sold it to Warner Books some months after my twenty-third birthday, making me, at that time, the youngest romance author in America, a record that stood for ten years before finally being broken.

To date, I have written around thirty (I think...after so many, I've lost count, actually <G>) consecutive bestselling titles, including novels and novellas on the following lists: New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Magazine & Bookseller, Ingram, B. Dalton, Waldenbooks, and many others.  I have won numerous awards for my work, and have appeared on such television shows as Good Morning, America and Geraldo, and as a celebrity judge for the Miss USA 1990 Pageant.  I was a subject of a commentary by Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes (a portion of my reply was read on air by Harry Reasoner) and of a documentary film on the romance genre, Where the Heart Roams.  I have been written about in such publications as Affaire de Coeur, Collier's Encyclopædia Year Book 1983, Contemporary Authors, Fiction Writers Monthly, Inside Books, Lovelines, Love's Leading Ladies, Mademoiselle, Magazine & Bookseller, MS, Newsweek, Rave Reviews, Romantic Times, and various volumes of Who's Who, as well as newspapers nationwide; and I was a contributor to the nonfiction works My First Real Romance, Read 'em and Eat, and Recipes of Romance.

My hobbies and sports interests include astrology, backgammon, bridge, chess, computer and Nintendo games, fencing, horseback riding, karate, Middle-Eastern dance, playing the guitar and singing, reading, and target shooting. I also enjoy researching ancient history (especially that of the Celts and Picts), as well as studying mythology, philosophy (Nietzsche is a particular favorite), and theology. I collect porcelain figures, movie posters, and Highlander and Star Trek memorabilia.

I'm a Pisces with a Leo moon (cusped with Cancer) and Scorpio rising; my birthday is March 4th, making my birthstone an aquamarine. My favorite color is lilac. My all-time favorite movies are Camelot and All That Jazz; and my all-time favorite novels are Mary Stewart's Merlin Trilogy (composed of The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment) and Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum.

My dislikes include ignorance, stupidity, prejudice, intolerance, and narrow-and-petty-mindedness of any kind.

When I'm not writing romances, I'm generally listening to music of all kinds (blues is my favorite), reading tons of nonfiction, and researching ancient history, cosmology, esoterics, mythology, philosopy, and theology.

Angela: How and why did you start to write? You have been known for many years as the youngest author of romance books. Was that an advantage for your career? I also learned that you are a "Mensa" member (!) which I think is funny because many people still believe that writers and readers of romance books are stupid housewifes. Did the fact that you are a "Mensa" member ever had any influence on your critics?

Rebecca Brandewyne: I've been writing ever since I was a child, and embarked upon a writing career principally because I'm a night owl, wanted to keep my own hours and be my own boss, and couldn't stand working 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for other people.  Yes, it was an advantage being the youngest author of romance books at the time, as it enabled me to get a lot of publicity from the media that I might not otherwise have received.  And yes, the fact that I belong to Mensa has sometimes silenced a critic or two. <G>
Angela: Could you explain the meaning of your last name to us? Because "Brandewyne" sounds more like something to drink... :-)

Rebecca Brandewyne: No, it's not---as many people mistakenly believe---pronounced "brandy-wine." <G>  It's pronounced "bran-de-wyne."  It's Celtic and means “God's White Raven," which was a Celtic symbol of peace.  My ancestry is Celtic (Irish, Scots, Welsh, Breton) and German.
Angela: Your first book "No Gentle Love" was a very good book with a fascinating story and interesting settings like China etc. but I'm sorry to say that in my opinion the hero was a very mean example of an "Alpha-Hero"... He permanently raped and slapped the heroine and I wondered how the heroine was still able to love him. ;-) What do you think about this book today because your style has totally changed since then and your heroines all became very strong women? What did critics and readers say in 1980 and what do they say in 2000? What do you think about he change of roles between hero and heroine within the last years?

Rebecca Brandewyne: Actually, I'm quite proud of No Gentle Love, and think it was a wonderful book for a 21-year-old just starting out in a writing career, in what was really at the time a brand-new genre, to have written.  Personally, I found historical romances a great deal more interesting when they were true to the times and the men and women who lived then, rather than being costume dramas filled with modern people transplanted to earlier centuries.  As for critics now and then, the vast majority have always seemed to enjoy my work no matter what, and I simply don't pay a whole lot of attention to those who don't find my work their own personal cup of tea.  Writers can't please everyone all the time, so it's fruitless even to try.  With regard to the change of roles between heroes and heroines in the last few years, I can't say that I've particularly noticed any myself.  Like all readers, I have my own favorite types of romance books that I like to read, and I don't usually read other kinds, especially nowadays, because my time is so very limited. Personally, I much prefer "alpha-hero" males myself, as I've always thought that flawed and questing "bad boys" make far more interesting and challenging characters.
Angela: After writing "Love, Cherish Me" you wrote the sequel "And Gold Was Ours" about the cousin of "El Lobo". I would like to know why you wanted to write this book and why you decided to "go back in history" to a time where "El Lobo", Storm and their son  Chance (who was still alive there) where still happy together. Did somebody found this confusing because your readers must have known that Chance was going to die?

Rebecca Brandewyne: I wrote And Gold Was Ours for two reasons:
(1) Lobo's cousin, Aguila, interested me as a character, so I thought he'd make a great hero in his own right; and
(2) hundreds of readers kept on writing to me over the years, demanding a sequel to Love, Cherish Me, and I didn't want to write a sequel to that particular book, as I felt I'd said all I had to say about Lobo and Storm.
As far as I know, no one found the time sequence for either book confusing; they all seemed to recognize that And Gold Was Ours simply overlapped Love, Cherish Me briefly timewise.  I call it a "companion piece."
Angela: You also wrote paranormal short stories about vampires and werewolfes and many of your books have a sometimes "paranormal touch". Will you maybe write a real paranormal novel one day? Or change genre?

Rebecca Brandewyne: Someday, I might write a real paranormal novel.  However, I don't have any plans to actually switch genres---with the exception of having worked off and on, for quite a number of years, on a nonfiction book about the history of the Celts and Picts, which book is now nearly completed.
Angela: "The Lioness Tamer" is a really wonderful circus romance. Why did you write a circus romance because a circus is a quite unusual setting for a romance and did you know "Kiss An Angel" from Susan E. Phillips before? What do you like in writing contemporary romances?

Rebecca Brandewyne: I got the idea for The LionessTamer from having taken my son to the circus and, while there, having seen a really sexy lion tamer and thinking to myself that someone like him would make a great hero for a romance novel. <G>  I like circuses myself, even though they're an unusual romance setting because they're said to be unpopular with readers.  No, I'm not familiar with Phillips's Kiss an Angel.  I don't read nearly as many romances these days as I used to twenty years ago, due to a hectic schedule and lack of time.  As for contemporary romances, the main reason I like writing them is that they don't, for me, require the kind of extensive research that I find necessary for historical romances.
Angela: You are not fixed on any historical period in your books. What period do you prefer writing about? Isn't it sometimes difficult to write about different periods because you can't use former researches?

Rebecca Brandewyne: The time period I would much prefer to write about is the Dark Ages.  But this is said to be unpopular, so most publishers aren't interested in manuscripts set during this time period, which is a pity, as the popular time periods have now basically been done to death.  No, it's not really difficult to write about different time periods, because research in various areas tends to accumulate, so that having done numerous books set in the American West, for example, I now know so much detail about that particular timeperiod that I really don't have to do much research at all for it anymore.
Angela: Is there any heroine or hero in your books you like most? How much of you is in your heroines? Do you have a favorite book among your books?

Rebecca Brandewyne: My favorite hero of mine is Renzo Cassavettes in my book Dust Devil.  I don't really have a favorite heroine of mine.  Sometimes, there's some of me in my heroines, but more often than not, my heroines are quite different from me, and it's bemusing when I receive fan letters from readers, saying that they "know me" from having read about my heroines.  The truth is that my heroines frequently think, say, and do things I wouldn't think, say, or do myself in a million years. <G>  That's one of the things that makes them and other characters interesting and challenging to me at a writer.  If I had to pick just one favorite book from all those I've ever written, I suppose it would be Dust Devil, for any number of reasons.  But there are actually others of my books that I like just as well, for other reasons.
Angela: What are your future plans and books?

Rebecca Brandewyne: I'm finishing up a contemporary romance (entitled Destiny's Daughter) for MIRA Books and have two more under contract, as well as three novellas.  Most of my historical-romance backlist is currently being reissued by Leisure Books, and I'm working on a western romance for them, as well.  I also hope finally to complete my nonfiction book on the history of the Celts and Picts this year, but that one's always getting placed on the back-burner for my romances, so it sometimes seems like a never-ending story. <G>

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Dieses Interview entstand im März 2000 zwischen Angela W. und Rebecca Brandewyne für:

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