Rae Latte: Welcome to the blog. I’ve got a Latte with Almond Coconut Milk and a drizzle of caramel in my mug. What’s in your cuppa?
Barbara Devlin: Well, I’m currently on a diabetes reversal program, so my indulgent lattes are over for a while. Now, I drink regular coffee with heavy cream. While it sounded a bit decadent at first, I’d kill for some nonfat or even low-fat milk, because the heavy cream almost overwhelms the coffee.
Rae: For readers not familiar with your work, please share a little bit about yourself and your previous work.
Barbara: I am a disabled-in-the-line-of-duty retired police officer, turned English professor, turned author. I started writing during my long recovery, based on a book I’d been reading about the Templar Knights. My Brethren of the Coast books are based on the widespread belief that the only surviving Templars were the mariners. All of the Regency books feature an epilogue with the Medieval Templar. I never planned to write their stories, but my readers decided otherwise.
Rae: During the height of the pandemic did your writing rituals change while researching and writing?
Barbara: If anything, during the pandemic, I’ve had much more time to research ideas for future series, and I’ve stumbled upon some fascinating historical personalities that I’m dying to explore for future books.
Rae: I devoured The Accidental Duke and love this band of brothers in your latest series. All of the heroes are disabled in the Battle of Waterloo and the woman who will capture their hearts are exceptional in their own rights. What inspired this series and the cast of characters we will meet?
Barbara: The Mad Matchmakers is an intensely personal series drawing on my firsthand experience with life-altering injury, permanent disability, recovery, and PTSD. I can’t begin to explain what it’s like to wake up, get dressed, eat breakfast, and go to work. Only at the end of your shift, you don’t come home. When you finally do make it home, your life as you knew it was over. I spent three years in rehab, enduring day after day of excruciating physical therapy as I watched the world go on without me. My wounded warriors face the same struggle to carve out a new life for themselves while constantly fighting the urge to look back to the past and their previous lives.
Rae: All of your books are layered with historical accuracy, and as always your books are thorough and precise. Did you face any challenges in your research regarding PTSD during this time period? What was your biggest obstacle while writing this book and the series? What hero do you connect with most?
Interestingly enough, PTSD was a widely studied condition during the Peninsular Wars. Only it was known as nostalgia or irritable heart. I read numerous articles written by Dominique Jean Larrey, primarily known as Napoleon’s personal physician. Larrey invented the first ambulance and most of our modern-day methodologies for trauma medicine. He revamped battlefield medicine, forming triage units that stabilized injured soldiers before transferring them to hospitals. But what most interested me was Larrey’s belief in treating the whole soldier. He recognized the mental toll war took on soldiers, and he wrote detailed recommendations for treatment, including a recommendation that soldiers be rotated off the line to let them rest mentally as well as physically. As for the biggest obstacle, I’d say it was my own memories. While writing this series has been cathartic, it has also been traumatic. It has forced me to relive some times I’d rather forget, and there were moments I had to step back and deal with my emotions before continuing. And I can’t say I relate to any one hero more than another, because each hero deals with various aspects I suffered during my lengthy recovery. In a sense, every one of them reflects a very intimate part of me. Of my journey on the other side of disability.
Rae: What is next on the horizon? Any teasers for future book adventures?
Barbara: Currently, I’m finishing the second book in my Mad Matchmakers of Waterloo series. I’m also developing a Regency take on Three Men and a Baby, involving a descendant of Moctezuma and Spanish royalty. My agent has had some interest, and I’ll let you know when I have any news.
Rae: Thank you so much for hanging out with me today. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and look forward to hearing all the updates when you have them. Congratulations again on the release of The Accidental Duke, the first installment in The Mad Matchmakers Series that hits e-readers later this week. Readers be sure to check out my review and an exclusive excerpt later today.
A proud Latina, USA Today bestselling, Amazon All-Star author Barbara Devlin was born a storyteller, but it was a weeklong vacation to Bethany Beach, Delaware that forever changed her life. The little house her parents rented had a collection of books by Kathleen Woodiwiss, which exposed Barbara to the world of romance, and Shanna remains a personal favorite.
Barbara writes heartfelt historical romances that feature not so perfect heroes who may know how to seduce a woman but know nothing of marriage. And she prefers feisty but smart heroines who sometimes save the hero before they find their happily ever after.
Barbara is a disabled-in-the-line-of-duty retired police officer. She earned an MA in English and continued a course of study for a Doctorate in Literature and Rhetoric. She happily considered herself an exceedingly eccentric English professor, until success in Indie publishing lured her into writing, full-time, featuring her fictional knighthood, the Brethren of the Coast.
Currently, Barbara lives with her retired firefighter husband in the mountains of North Carolina. Connect with Barbara Devlin at BarbaraDevlin.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter, The Knightly News.