As soon as I saw the cover for The Thornless Rose I knew it was for me. When I discovered Morgan O'Neill was not one person, but two I had to know more. So I invited Cary and Deborah to tell me a bit more about their new historical romance, and a little more about themselves.
· Where and when does THE THORNLESS ROSE take place?
Our novel takes place in three time periods. Our hero, Dr. Jonathan Brandon, mysteriously disappears from post-WWII London, while our heroine, Anne Howard, vanishes from London in the summer of 2014. They both time travel to Elizabethan England, where they must find a way to survive in that perilous era. While struggling to keep their knowledge of the future secret, they must confront their growing feelings for each other and the potential for a new beginning—in the past.
Some romances are more about the story than historical accuracy. Is THE THORNLESS ROSE a simple romance or can we believe the historical facts?
Our books are not simple romances. We craft every Morgan O'Neill novel around a pivotal event in history, with multiple characters and settings. Our research is extensive and as accurate as possible, and we hope to give our readers a sense of being right there with our time travelers.
Is this a standalone story or part of a series?
THE THORNLESS ROSE is the first book in our Elizabethan time travel series. The prequel, BEGUN BY TIME, will be released later this year, and an as yet untitled sequel will follow in 2016.
Can you give us a little historical context for the title THE THORNLESS ROSE?
A thornless rose was said to have been bred by King Henry VIII's gardener, and the king dubbed it Queen Katherine's Rose to honor his fifth wife, Katherine Howard. Both the queen and the rose died shortly thereafter. In our story, it's this very rose, given to our heroine, Anne, in 2014, that proves she briefly traveled through time, and may well again... very soon.
And the blurb?
No one ever knew what really happened to Dr. Jonathan Brandon back in 1945. He simply disappeared from a London pub, leaving behind an unsolved mystery and his fiancée—Anne Howard’s grandmother. Seventy years later, Anne herself is haunted by the strange tale, along with inexplicable hallucinations straight out of Elizabethan England. Including a scarred, handsome man whose deep blue eyes seem to touch her very soul...
Anne wonders if there isn’t something more to the story. Is it even possible that Jonathan disappeared into England’s dark past? And why does Anne keep hearing him whisper her name? Because now she too feels the inexorable pull of the past, not to mention an undeniable attraction for a man she doesn’t even know.
It’s just a matter of time before Anne will step back into history, and face a destiny―and a love―beyond imagining...
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Please tell me a little more about Morgan O'Neill, I'm fascinated.
We met at a writers' conference and connected because of a mutual love of time travel fiction. Collaboration ensued, the search for a pen name the first step in our working relationship. Our maiden names provided the solution - and “Morgan O’Neill” was born.
Our backgrounds are uniquely suited to writing stories steeped in atmosphere and history: Deborah has a Master’s Degree in history and is a dedicated genealogist; Cary is a talented linguist in French and is currently a student of Latin. We’ve traveled to Europe’s ancient and medieval sites many times, and Cary lived on the Continent for five years.
The Morgan O’Neill time travel novels have received a number of literary awards, including two finalist wins in the Booksellers’ Best Awards, two semifinalist wins in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, first, second, and third place wins for the Mainstream Novel with Strong Romantic Elements category of the Golden Rose Contest, a top ten finalist award in the Pacific Northwest Writers' Conference Zola Awards Literary Contest, and a top ten finalist win in the Orange Rose Contest.
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Thanks for dropping by ladies and I wish you every success with your latest release. One last thing ...can we have a short excerpt from THE TIMELESS ROSE, please!
In this scene, time travelers Anne Howard and Dr. Jonathan Brandon are thrown together for the first time. Prior to this, Anne has only seen Brandon in an old photograph.
The lights suddenly dimmed, the atmosphere in Westminster Abbey hushed, expectant. She halted in her tracks. Flickering candlelight and deep shadows, no tourists.
What the hell is going on?
Stunned, she turned. A man in costume ran toward her.
“Go back,” he shouted, “back where it’s safe!”
She stood transfixed. As he came closer, she recognized him—his eyes, the scar.
He halted and pulled her tight against him. “I love you, Anne,” he whispered into her hair, “but you have to go with him. Save yourself.”
He stilled her confusion with a tender brush of his lips, and she responded instinctively, their kiss deepening as her body arched against his, her blood ablaze with sudden desire, until the rest of the world seemed very far away.
When he finally drew back, he stared into her eyes, and Anne’s heart seized when she saw his pain, the sheer desperation in his gaze.
The feeling was apparently mutual, because he pulled her close and swore under his breath, “Bloody hell, the bastard will pay for this.”
I don’t understand.
He opened his eyes and stared at something in the distance. “Anne, go now,” his voice cracked, “because I can face anything if I know you’re safe.”
His fingers gently cupped her chin, his touch unleashing more heat. He lifted her face for another kiss, and then—nothing. He was gone. She fought for control, her breathing erratic, her legs threatening to crumble. She touched her lips, still feeling his caress, his soft breath on her skin, but he was gone.
Straight onto the TBR pile!
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