Romance By Catherine: Interview with Nancy O'Berry

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Interview with Nancy O'Berry

Author Nancy O’Berry

Today I’m interviewing one of my critique partners and someone I like to call my friend. Now before I ask Nancy questions so you can all get to know her a little better, I’m going to tell you a little story.

Sometime last summer, Nancy and I hooked up over at The Trellis at The Wild Rose Press. Funny thing is… In this critique group you are asked what romance genre you write and what you’d like to critique. If I’m not mistaken I wrote down that I really didn’t care much for westerns at the time, and Nancy really didn’t do erotic. Well to make a long story short, Nancy wanted a second set of eyes to look at a historical western and I went ahead and raised my hand. She sent me a few chapters which I really liked and we started exchanging regular e-mails. Then one night, via Instant Messenger, Nancy chimed in and said.. “Oh, oh, oh… I have a great idea about three women working in a brothel. One is named Faith, the other Hope and the last, Charity.” She went on to send me her opening scene of Faith’s story. At this point I screamed over the internet – well as much as one can on-line. “Stop working on your current WIP and write these stories.” I mean come on folks, the women working the oldest profession in the book whose names are Faith, Hope and Charity? What’s not to love about that?

And so the birth, as I see it, of the Sweetbriar Academy was born.

So please welcome, Nancy O’Berry. And yes, you heard it right. Nancy will randomly pick a winner out of all who post a comment on this blog for a free download of Having Faith. I believe she’ll be drawing a name at ‘High Noon’ December 13th. Grin. Virginia time.

Welcome Nancy, why don’t you tell the cyber world a little about you.

I am a wife, mother, and grandmother. My husband and I have been married for over 30 years. We have three children a girl, and two boys. Our house is never dull. One son is still at home, believes he’s Ben Cartwright has been raising cows in my backyard. The last bunch would not get in the cattle trailer to go off to “THE SALE” so I had to get them in there. I told him no more unless I could keep them. So we have two heifers, Abilene and Esmeralda.

I have been writing for many years without the courage to send to an editor or agent until 2006. I belong to an online chapter of RWA and another chapter that meets once a month near the mall in Chesapeake, Virginia. I have written a fantasy story about mermaids finding love and these three stories taking place in the 1870’s with that western feel. There are many others on my computer in various stages of completion so I do suffer from writers ADD.

I have a critique group and Catherine is one of those folks who keeps me on the straight and narrow. I am working on a group for authors to promote their work and for readers and fans.

Tell us about Having Faith.

Wait, I have to open my fan because to talk about Faith, one has to have the presence of a southern belle. Ah, yes, Faith.

Faith is an interesting concept. I wanted to do a story about a woman set in a historical period but the morals were so constricting. It was considered a Victorian no no for women to even enjoy sex but you could not allow your husband to forgo using your body because it made a man unsettled. Quite a contradiction, so in this quandary, I created Sweetbrier Academy a high end brothel that served gentlemen in the class of Leland Stanford, Diamond Jim Brady and such. I wanted then to have a comfortable feel so I set them from the south.

I had done some research on the Civil War, or what my grandmother called the “Late Great Unpleasantness” and found that General Butler or the Beast as he was referred to when he left Hampton Virginia to take control of New Orleans placed an military law against fraternizing with “loose women”. “Nawlins” as we southerners call it has always been a mystical place for high romance so such edicts would have cut into “the business”. Truth be told, the “ladies” had his likeness put in the bottom of chamber pots in order to relieve themselves on his face and often saved the full pots to toss on the Union soldiers as they went by. Hence poor Miss Opal and her “ladies” decided that it might be a bit more profitable to move to the Wyoming territory and set the tale just after the War of Rebellion.

In this story, Faith has been given the chance to find a sponsor or a paramour that will provide her with money for a year or longer. Miss Benedict gets together a card game with several men from the railroad that have very large pockets. The game will be played in the backroom of the house away from distractions. The winner of the last hand wins a night with Faith.

There is a slight hitch in Miss Benedicts’ plan when her own paramour Howard Stetson comes up a man short. Big John the bouncer is sent out into the house to find another hand. The card player chosen is none other than a Calvary officer, Major Abrams. Quite a spit and polish dandy he is. Yet, he has been rather rough with the women and his reputation precedes him. In the mix of gamblers, a young man by the name of Thaddeus Oakley stands out. There is an immediate attraction between he and Faith that rankles the Major. Of course, Mr. Oakley fought for the Southern cause which doesn’t help his standings in the Major’s eyes. As luck will have it these two gentlemen will be the last two players pitted for the pot.

Discretion will not allow me to reveal the ending. However being the first in the series, Faith will have a promise of a happy ending, but to find out for sure, I’m afraid the reader my have to pick up a copy of Hope to see.

Having Faith will come out at Red Rose Publishing on December 11th, for $2.99.

How soon can we expect Hope and Charity’s stories?

Both Hope and Charity are at the editors now. I hope to be editing the second book through the holidays and have it ready for release in the New Year, sometime in January. Charity is a much longer story that Hope so they have each grown as Sweetbrier develops I hope she will be given the go ahead by February. But you will have to check to see. Charity right now is the only multicultural character I have done.

Where else can we find you on-line?

Oh my dear, I am around. You can get find me at my website
On the second pages are several free reads one called the HOLD UP that was featured on LASR another TEXAS WALTZ was featured on Coffeetime Romance

Please feel free to get in touch with me at Ms. Opal's Myspace.

or at my MySpace.

my blog is

I love to hear from readers.

Here is a bit of what you’ll see in Having Faith.

In side the room, she moved in deliberate slow motion pulling out the drawer and replaced the new deck of cards on the table. The pot seemed to shimmer ominously in the lamp light. The fun of the evening soiled by the argument and crass words, Faith wondered what Miss Benedict could possibly be saying to each man.

Her unsteady hand tipped the decanter pouring the sweet wine into the fluted glass. Taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes and tilted the goblet back allowing the drink to slide between her lips. The taste sweet, she felt the false sense of warmth move along her backbone. She didn’t want to prolong the end. If the winner proved to be the Major, the night would be one long ordeal.

Dropping her head she took a deep ragged breath. “Please, let it be Oakley,” she prayed placing the glass on the tray. It’s just a job. She told herself, you must not think anything more than it’s just a job. A way to gain my future. As the door opened, Faith did her best to plaster a smile upon her lips and greeted the players.

Neither Mr. Oakley nor Major Abrams looked her in the eye. Faith glanced to the older gentlemen. Mr. Stetson gave her a reassuring wink. She felt a bit of relief. As the men mulled around their chairs, the door opened one last time and Miss Benedict entered.


Julie Robinson said...

Sounds interesting, Nancy. I love the historical aspect of it taking place in N,O. during the time of General Butler. Of course, since I'm just an hour away from N.O., I love reading anything that takes place in Louisiana.

Thanks, Catherine for the introduction to a new author.


Kim Smith said...

Hey Nancy, and Catherine, this series sounds totally yummy. I read the excerpt and thought how original it sounded. Great premise!

Angel Martinez said...

Hi Nancy! Oooo, this looks so fun. When you first mentioned Sweetbrier, i thought you were talking about a girls' school. ROFL. Should have known better.

Anonymous said...

HI Julie,

Yes, "the beast" was here in my neck of the woods as well. He was the provost in Hampton when the town was burned. I am a history buff and New Orleans is a city of legend. Because of Butler's exploits I did take the girls out of New Orleans and place them in mythical Panter's Landing, territory of Wyoming. BUT when I do Miss Opal's Story, Nawleans will be featured for sure!

Anonymous said...

Hey Kim,

Thanks, The book was pitched to another publishing company but they didn't think it would do well and didn't like the concept at all. But when you look at how many courtesans are in titles now days I feel like it was a good call. I hope you'll stop back by.

Anonymous said...

well Angel,

I think that was the problem with the first company that saw it. Actually I got the name from a sweetheart rose. Girls who delight in pleasure-sweet because their business is done in the shadows of the night the rub or -brier as in a brier patch and academy??? don't know it seemed to work for me LOL. I guess because they band together.

Judith Rochelle said...

Wow, ladies, I can't wait for this series to come out. The excerpt you posted really whet my appetite. And may I say you have a real way with words. I could truly viosualize Faith pouring the wine, srinking it and gatheriong her courage, and you made tjhe people come alive. This series looks like a real winner to me., I am so glad Catherine t

Anonymous said...

Hey Judith,
Thank you for the lovely compliment. Yes I see the chapters as scenes like in a movie. People tell me sometimes I zone out staring at the screen but I think its because I'm seeing and hearing the action.

Abbey MacInnis said...

This is a great beginning to what sounds like a wonderful series. :-) Koodos to you Nancy, and thanks Catherine for featuring her here. :-)

Anonymous said...

Welcome Abby,

Yes, Catherine is a great inspriration. She's a remarkable writer, promoter, and mom. I'm honored that she would ask me to do this.
I am hoping this will be a good series. I have to admit the only card game I play is fish or rummy so learning about poker was a stretch but I loved it.

Anonymous said...

Ok guys keep talking. let me know what you think about the story. we are having some wild weather so I'll be in and out. but I plan on responding to all. Remember each comment gets your name in the pot for a drawing of a fee copy of Having Faith.

The Paperback Diva said...

I'm greatly intrigued, Nancy! I must go over and download a copy before the week is out.

Anne Sorgeson said...

This sounds fabulous! It also sounds like a very interesting series!! Good job.

Anne Sorgeson

Catherine Bybee said...

I have to tell all of you that these books just get better and better. Unlike many 'series' where the new wears off, these are fresh and explosive.

Ahh it is so nice to be a cp.

Catherine Bybee said...

OOPS. I forgot to follow-up on my own blog. grin! Need more coffee!

Sherri Thomas said...

Hi Nancy and Catherine. I just wanted to say from what I have read of Sweetbrier, Opal runs an academy of class. She want's nothing but the best for her girls. The stories are fabulous and I love Nancy's way with words. If you pick up Faith's story you won't regret it. Great job Nancy!

Anonymous said...

Hi Andrea,

I think you'll enjoy it. It was fun to write.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anne,

I appreciate the support. I hope the reader will enjoy the series. I've tried to tie bits and pieces together so there is continuity in the books

Anonymous said...

HI Sherri,

I'm humbled. Yes, Opal allows no rift raft in her establishment. It will be interesting to see how she handles Tempest. Tempest is not the usual girl that Miss Opal will invite so there will be lots of tenson I believe

ddurance said...

Hi Nancy! I'd like to hear more about those mermaid stories. I've been fascinated ever since Splash! LOL


Anonymous said...

Hi Diedre

Yes, I wrote a fantasy novel about mermaids. King Neptunes daughter and her sister had a fight and Serena was imprisoned in a mermaid statue in Norfolk, Virginia. You'll have to go through Lulu to get that story. It was fun to write as well!

Anonymous said...

I wanta to thank all that stopped by yesterday and Catherine for the great launch of Sweetbrier Academy Book One Having Faith. I will not announce the winner of the contest until High Noon Tomorrow but I hope you'll come back and see what Catherine has cooked up for today. I know I will. Remind your friends there is still time to comment and get your name in for the drawing. Thanks Cat for allowing me to speak up here. It was a total blast.
Nancy O'Berry

ann campbell said...

an, I can't wait to read them all! Hope you are well and keep writing!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

HI Ann,

things are great. Glad to see you on! Yes, writing can keep you busy. Its so important to keep those deadlines in focus.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Abbey MacInnis who was the lucky emailer that recieved a copy of Having Faith. Abbey look for an email from me. Thanks again to everyone who came to the talk.