Hello & Welcome!
Today I’m happy to introduce Jennifer Blackstream author of Bear With Me. Jennifer, Thank you for visiting Angel’s Guilty Pleasures and speaking with me today.
How did you come up with the concept and the characters for Bear With Me?
For Bear With Me, I knew I wanted to use the East of the Sun, West of the Moon fairy tale. Bears are huge, so I went with an enormous hero. I have a Master’s in Psychology, so I always like to twist things a little on a personal level. For Torben, I gave him this incredible size and strength, but instead of giving him a brutish personality to go with it, I decided to look at how others would pre-judge him based on his size and what effect that might have on him.
In Torben’s case, his father saw his physical size and immediately locked him into the role of a warrior. He wasn’t given the same chance to develop other skills, and he was constantly put in a position of authority just because he was bigger than everyone else. This led to Torben having a somewhat skewed vision of his competency, believing he was always the one who had to handle everything, to protect everyone else, when in fact we all know that brute strength is not always the best basis for a leader.
Luckily, Leta is not one to shy away from adversity or stubbornness. When I first started writing her, she was a whirlwind, a fury ready to yell at anyone in her way. She actually came off as a bit childish so I had to sit down and rethink her. She needed something to overcome, so I gave her a challenge—in this case, blindness. For a while, she lets her fear scare her away from the life she wanted for herself. Even her marriage to Torben begins as her desire to stop being a burden to her family. It isn’t until things go awry that Leta remembers her own strength enough to stand up and fight for what she wants. And it is glorious.
What was the hardest thing about writing Bear With Me?
That fairy tale has so many freaking holes, it took me forever to come up with patches for the logic. For instance, why is it that the prince’s stepmother had the power to force him into bear form and make him go through this test or else marry her own daughter, and yet somehow at the end he’s the one demanding her daughter go through a test to marry him? I think I did all right, but there were a few details like that that stumped me for a few days.
What is your favorite scene from Bear With Me?
I hate to give spoilers, but it would be the scene with the line “I will either be a happily married woman, or a widow with a lovely bear skin rug.”
If you could have given your characters any piece of advice before the opening pages of their book, what would it be and why?
Don’t give up. Always good advice.
If you could spend the day with one of the characters in Bear With Me, who would it be and what would you guys do?
The pixie. Always the pixie. And we would laugh. All day.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I play games with my kids or my sister. If it’s my kids, it’s usually Chutes and Ladders (superhero version), Connect Four, or Trouble (Batman version). If it’s my sister it’s Pathfinder, Sentinels of the Multiverse or Dresden, the Cooperative Card Game.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Sir Terry Pratchett. I never got to meet him, but based on his Discworld books, he was a truly wise and hilarious man.
And I’ve already met Alice Cooper.
What underrated book do you think all romance lovers should read?
I don’t really look at ratings, so I couldn’t say what book I love that’s underrated.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
Actually, I prefer audio. I don’t have spare time to speak of, all of it being taken up by family, writing, or cleaning. Audiobooks let me listen to a book while I clean or drive, so that’s really the only way I can read for pleasure anymore. If I did have time to read an ebook/paperback, it would be ebook only because I simply cannot have one more thing to carry around with me.
Last, what is next for you?
Book 5 in the Blood Realm series. If you get Bear With Me in its first week, you’ll get a preview of the first chapter…
Jennifer, it was a pleasure having you visit. Thank you for taking the time to chat with me today!
Bear With Me
By Jenifer Blackstream
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Betrayal. Redemption. True love.
A beautiful bard looking for her voice
After witnessing her mother’s murder left her blind, Leta had to put away her sword and her dreams of becoming a bard. Now she is resigned to a calm life where the best she can hope for is a good marriage that will take the burden of her care from her father’s shoulders. When her father claims the gods have sent a man to be not just her husband, but perhaps her savior, Leta has to take a leap of faith…and hope she falls in love.
A handsome prince trapped in the body of a bear
Torben is a bear shifter struggling to pass a test laid on him by his power-hungry stepmother. Bound into his beast form during the day, able to be human only at night when the darkness hides him, he must find a wife. She can know him only as a bear and a bodiless voice in the night. For one year, she must let him keep his secrets, trust him as a wife should trust her husband. But what woman will climb into bed with a bear and trust it is a man waiting for her?
Even a blind woman can see when something is worth fighting for…
Torben choked back his rage, the heat of it chilled by Leta’s heart-wrenching scream. He abandoned his attempt to dig the pixie out of his fur with his teeth, cursing when Leta erupted into a flurry of struggles that threw her from his back. The pixie darted into the air, his little face pinched with fear as he watched Leta hit the ground, hard.
“Leta.” He sent the word into the air like a scout, testing her response, her awareness. His wife’s face was pale, her beautiful blue eyes painted over with a white glaze. She stared into the night sky, her body twitching as she fought some battle he couldn’t see.
“Leta, it’s all right. It’s going to be all right.”
He stared at her, then at his paws. He couldn’t help her, not like this. The moon shone down on him, a silver light that told him he had another option. This was not how he’d planned it. He was unprepared, and he hated being unprepared. But he had no choice. His stomach twisted as he steeled his nerves and stepped away from his wife.
With senses turned inward, he probed for the band of magic his stepmother had tightened like an iron manacle around his human counterpart. It manifested as a glittering ring of green metal, as clear to his mind’s eye as if it had physical presence. Inside it was his human form, trapped and bound just this side of suffocating.
He focused on that human, pushing away the unease at feeling such a separation from it, from his other half. He imagined himself as that man, imagined pushing against the ring. With the silver moonlight on his back, the magic gave way, opened without a fight. A wash of relief flooded him, rinsing away the lingering fear that always plagued him in this moment, the fear that he would not be able to take his human form, would be trapped as a bear, an animal, forever. Without giving himself time to think about what was coming, he stepped into the change.
The violence with which his stepmother had ripped his beast from his body had severe, lingering consequences. The bear was injured, lost in pain, reduced to little more than a fur coat. Taking it off was like being skinned alive all over again, every torn muscle, every broken bone excruciating. The ground rushed up to meet him as he fell to his knees and rolled to his side in a gasping heap. He tried to grit his teeth against the pain, but his jaw was shifting, teeth grinding down into human molars.
Consciousness flickered, hazy grey clouds swallowing his vision for a few precious seconds. Sweat covered him in a slick sheen, and he gave himself a moment to lie there, gathering his strength and relearning how to breathe. Then he forced himself to sit up, stretching carefully, one limb at a time, rolling his neck very slowly until the tension released its iron grip.
He crawled to Leta. She was lying on the ground, her arms straight out in front of her, palms pressed to the grass. The way she shifted forward, straining, told him she was trapped in the trauma of her memory again. Probably imagining herself pinned beneath her mother’s body. His heart tightened, and he gathered her in his arms, tucking her against his chest. “I’ve got you, Leta. It’s going to be all right.”
Bear Claw Necklace
Click HERE to enter rafflecopter giveaway!
Jennifer Blackstream is a USA Today bestselling author of fantasy/paranormal romance. Urban Fantasy will soon be joining her repertoire, and if she doesn’t get hold of the insidious roving gang of plot bunnies, there’s going to be steampunk sprinkled in there too…
To date, Jennifer has two series:
BLOOD PRINCE SERIES (COMPLETE):
Book 1 – Before Midnight
Book 2 – One Bite
Book 3 – Golden Stair
Book 4 – Divine Scales
Book 5 – Beautiful Salvation
Bonus Adventures in the Blood Prince World:
Book 2.5 – What Big Teeth You Have (free when you sign up for mailing list mentioned below)
Book 4.5 – The Pirate’s Witch
Book 5.5 – Dead to Begin With (available only between Thanksgiving and whenever Jennifer takes her Christmas tree down)
BLOOD REALM SERIES (IN PROGRESS SPIN-OFF OF BLOOD PRINCE SERIES):
Book 1 – All for a Rose
Book 2 – Blue Voodoo
Book 3 – The Archer
Brought to you by: