Interview with Barbara Metzger, author of THE HOURGLASS

The Riskies are thrilled to have beloved Regency author Barbara Metzger with us today. She has won RWA’s RITA, the National Readers’ Choice Award, the Madcap Award for romantic comedy and two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times. You can learn more about Barbara and her books at

Her latest novel, THE HOURGLASS, garnered 4 ½ stars and a Top Pick from Romantic Times. Leave a relevant and original comment or question on this post for the chance to win an autographed copy!

Praise for Barbara Metzger and THE HOURGLASS

“One of the genre’s wittiest pens, Barbara Metzger deliciously mixes love and laughter.”

“After reading Metzger’s marvelous new book, readers will know why she’s considered a grand mistress of the Regency. A smart, emotionally intense, three-hanky novel…”

Romantic Times

The Interview

You’re well-known with romance readers for your unique voice. Did you set out to have your own comic prose, or was it something that emerged naturally as you wrote your novels?

I never set out to be a writer, much less have a voice. I never knew I had one until a reviewer mentioned it. The humor developed on its own too, although it is less prevalent in the latest books. My editor wants deeper, darker, books (I worry she wants a different author!) with less alliteration, less Regency cant, less “rompish” plots. Sigh.

What of your writing process did you have to change when you started writing the longer romances?

With the longer length I had to add more complex plots, more characters, and more dialogue. I still struggle to make the word count, and still miss the novellas and shorter traditional Regencies. And see 1, above. The longer books seem to require more depth, less sight-gags, one-liners, and puns. Sigh.

Speaking of changes–your new book is a paranormal! Where did you get the inspiration for this story?

I have never had a clue where my ideas come from. The Idea Fairy, maybe. But I have used paranormal elements many times in the past, with talking dogs, talking paintings, talking mice, ghosts, fairies, and angels. When my editor suggested something “different” I was ready with ideas I was never able to use before. After more than 3 dozen novels and a dozen novellas, I was delighted to play with new imaginary worlds.

Tell us about the new release, and books you have coming up in the future!

THE HOURGLASS is set in Regency times, after a stop in Hell, where the hero gambles with Satan for another chance at life. He’s been assigned to the Grim Reaper as Ar Death, one of the Dead Letter Carriers. He has to find his hourglass, his humanity, his soul, his heart. Which is where the heroine comes in, naturally. Signet gave it a gorgeous cover, the best I have ever had. RT loved the book, making it a Top Pick with 4 1/2 stars, and putting the hero on the KISS list. My next book is TRULY YOURS, for Sept. 2007. Its cover is by the same artist. It’s also a Regency-set paranormal, but altogether different. In this one, the heroine is accused of murdering her step-father, and the only one who can save her is a disgraced lord who has the unique, secret talent of being able to discern truth from lie. What a good time I had playing with that!

What were some of the challenges researching for these new projects?

Well, I have never been to Hell or met the Grim Reaper, and I have no idea how lie detectors work, so Imagination was Rampant. The challenge in both books was keeping the premises consistent.

What is it about the Regency era that first drew you to it?

It was not the Regency era that drew me so much as the Regency Romance, the comedy of manners, the wit, the repartee, lords and ladies, the notions of honor and True Love.

Are there any authors who inspired your own writing?

Georgette Heyer, of course, and Claire Darcy after her. But also Barbara Cartland in her era, for making the Regencies sweet, short— and popular.

We pride ourselves on writing “Risky Regencies”. Tell us what is “risky” about your books, including the new one!

Well, if writing about Death isn’t risky, I don’t know what is! Maybe the Trilogy (ACE OF HEARTS, JACK OF CLUBS, QUEEN OF DIAMONDS) that was far more connected than most, or putting a serial killer in Regency London (A PERFECT GENTLEMAN.) For that matter I once put Elvis in a short story, “Love and Tenderness” in VALENTINES. And I wrote a whole Regency romance about Yankee baseball that few people realized. So you could say I often push the envelope. That gives way more avenues for plots and characters, and keeps the writing fresh for me, and for the reader, I hope.

Writing is a risky business from the start. Will the book sell? Will people like it? Will I still like it after months of work or will I be bored with the characters and plot? Above all, writing is hard work. The rewards can be great though: seeing your books on the shelf; having a small book store owner in Florida say “Hi, Mom,” when your mother walks in; the joy that comes from creating, imagining, making something out of nothing; and knowing that other people like what you are fortunate enough to do. I love to hear from readers— instant reassurance and encouragement. Anyone can write to me through my web site,

What are some new risks you’d like to take in the future?

I wrote one contemporary (LOVE, LOUISA) and I’d love to write more, maybe paranormal, maybe not.

Will you be making any appearances or booksignings in the near future?

Not if I can help it. I’d rather be writing a new book instead! I did my best promoting THE HOURGLASS by getting that color ad in RT so people could see the beautiful cover.

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!

About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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26 Responses to Interview with Barbara Metzger, author of THE HOURGLASS

  1. Thanks so much for visiting RR! I’ve loved your books for a long time–I think the first one I read was “Snowdrops and Scandalbroth,” and that one is still a favorite. I was wondering, do you have any favorites among your own stories?

  2. traveler says:

    What a wonderful interview! I am fascinated with your intriguing books and enjoy them greatly. Will you be writing any contemporary novels.

  3. Barabara, what an HONOR!!! I’ll truly try not to gush.

    I love The Rake and The Reformer the absolute best! Though the Cards Trilogy is a close second.

    I was a bit disturbed by the trend you see toward darker weightier maetter in books, rather than the forthy romances with throwaway lines, repartee, and scorching wit, against growing sensuality (not erotica). First the publishers were predicting the demise of the Regency itself. Now, they want to redefine and reshape what Regency is by asking their best authors to push envelopes in all sorts of directions.

    Will you be following suit, or will you hold out hope for the smaller trads to return? Do you think that the industry is merging writing trends i.e., a historical will be nothing more than a contemp with a sprinking of history?

    It is indeed with a heavy heart I write this for the reader and the writer in me. Perhaps you can lend me some hope?!

  4. ellie says:

    thanks for the interesting interview. Your books have always provided me with hours of pure pleasure. Will you be writing the Historical regencies which are so popular.

  5. I don’t know if I can wait to win! Loved the Card trilogy and have read your stories in anthologies. Congratualations on a long and laughter-filled career. Your backlist is impressive and will no doubt impoverish me.

    Everyone seems to be marching in the paranormal parade, but your plots seem distinctive. I can’t wait to read both 2007 releases…if Death doesn’t come for me first!

  6. alissa says:

    Loved all your books and can hardly wait for the next. real historicals is ahat appeals to me but will there be more of those great stories.

  7. principessa says:

    Your interview gave me more insight into your as an author. Loved it. Loved the Cards series. Absolutely fab.

  8. Lois says:

    Hi, and great seeing you here at RR! 🙂 I love your books, and you’re an autobuy author for me! Can’t wait for the new ones, and I definitely loved the Carde trilogy from last year! 🙂


  9. Barbara says:

    Hi and thanks for all the lovely comments! It’s wonderful to find so many people who enjoy my books (except I did not write THERAKE AND THE REFORMER).

    Yes, I would love to write another contemporary–someday– and no, I do not have much hope right now for the shorter, sweeter, Regencies. I do think that the longer Regency-set historicals can have enough scope to appeal to a broad range of readers. They aren’t all dark or sexy or vampirish– at least mine aren’t!

    As for my favorites, A LOYAL COMPANION has to be near the top. It was one of my first ventures out of the usual Regency box, and of course the dog had a big part. AN ANGEL FOR THE EARL was another adventure for me, and a lot of fun. Otherwise, whichever book I am working on is usually my favorite, except for the days when it is the worst I have ever written. Anybody else want to say which is your favorite? I am always curious.

    I’ll try to stop back soon if anyone has any other questions, but thanks again for havingme here, and for the nice comments.

    Sincerely, Barbara Metzger

  10. Cara King says:

    Thanks so much for joining us here today, Barbara! It’s a privilege to have you.

    Anybody else want to say which is your favorite? I am always curious.

    My favorites include My Lady Innkeeper, Minor Indiscretions, An Affair of Interest, An Early Engagement, Snowdrops and Scandalbroth, and A Debt to Delia! (I prefer shorter books, you see!)

    Keira, might you be meaning “Rake’s Ransom”??? (Another great one!)


  11. Maureen says:

    I have enjoyed many of your books. I think The Diamond Key is my favorite but there are so many to choose from. The cover of this new book is beautiful.

  12. Barbara,
    Thank you so much for visiting the Riskies and also for all your wonderful books!


  13. Forgive me. I had to go downstairs and check the title of the book that is my favorite. It is a double feature with A Loyal Companion and Rake’s Ransom.

    I have your Cards Trilogy and just ordered A Perfect Gentleman–a serial killer in Regency London has me very curious!

    Barabara said, “They aren’t all dark or sexy or vampirish– at least mine aren’t!”

    Thank you for your reply to my questions. And a heartfelt thanks for continuing to write in your usual style.

    Will you be signing at RWA in Dallas this July? I hope so!

    And one last question: What is the current project you’re working on?

  14. jane george says:

    Hi Barbara,

    TRULY YOURS sounds like I’m going to like it a lot. I enjoy normal paranormals, if that makes any sense!

    I write “paranormals” because in my life experience, the paranormal IS normal. I write about what I know.

    And what I know is that one always gives up something to gain something. I like books that reflect that with believable cause and effect. “Dark” does not need to exist without “light,” and vice versa. Yin/Yang stories (ones with wit, joy, AND emotional depth) are the best ones!

    I have a feeling I’m going to like your stories, and am excited to delve into a new (for me) author.

  15. Janga says:

    I have been reading your books since Bething’s Folly, so thank you for many hours of reading pleasure, Snowdrops and Scandalbroth is a particular favorite, and, as a Christmas fanatic, I have a special place on my keeper shelves for your Christmas books. I just reread both Father Christmas and the Christmas Carrolls in December, and they were just as delightful as when I first read them.

  16. Jennifer Y. says:

    I love your books and think that cover is gorgeous!!

  17. Elena Greene says:

    Barbara, it’s great having you here! Though I have sympathy for the challenges publishers face, it seems counter-creative to push authors to follow trends. I don’t want to write or read just one kind of book. We need variety in the romance genre. So I hope you will keep doing what you do best!

  18. jackietoo says:

    “books with less alliteration, less Regency cant, less “rompish” plots.”

    But that’s what I like! I enjoy laughing my way through your stories along with the characters.

    Thanks for visiting 😀

  19. jackietoo says:

    “Anybody else want to say which is your favorite? I am always curious.”

    It’s hard to choose. An Angel for the Earl – definitely – and then there’s A Worthy Wife, A Perfect Gentleman, and Christmas Wishes. I just got Bething’s Folly from E-bay (I hear that it’s hard to find) and am looking forward to it.

    Thank you so much for many, many hours of entertainment!

  20. juliemt says:

    Dear Barbara,

    I discovered your books only this year when a friend sent me a copy of Lady Sparrow and I just fell in love with your books. That’s probably my favourite Trad by you and my favourite Single title is Wedded Bliss which I just couldn’t put down.

    It’s such a shame that your editor wants less Regency cant, humour and scandal – to me that is what makes your books so wonderful and so unique too.


  21. Sara says:

    You were part of one of the first Regencies I read, one of the Christmas collections. So thank you for introducing me to the genre! I’m looking forward to picking up your Cards trilogy, as well as your newest! Thanks for the interview!

  22. sharon says:

    Interesting interview! Enjoyable books which I continue to read and reread. Thanks. The card Trilogy was my fave.

  23. Hi everyone! Barbara was having a hard time signing onto blogger (been there, done that!), and asked me to post this if I can:

    “You guys are great, and it’s fun seeing so many different favorites. No, I most likely won’t be at RWA in Dallas. Maybe next year in San Francisco. My current project is undecided. Maybe this week. Or next! I hope you all continue to enjoy my new books, even if they aren’t as funny. Watch for the crow in Hourglass, though–he is vintage Metzger!”

  24. I really enjoy reading your books. I just started reading Regencies about two years ago and yours have stood out. I loved the more tradition Regencies and am sad that they have disappeared, but I’ve always enjoyed the paranormal elements. ~Wanda

  25. Barabara wrote, “Watch for the crow in Hourglass, though–he is vintage Metzger!”

    After reading this comment, I had to get the book ASAP. I went out to the bookstore (B&N) and also Target, but they didn’t have it. B&N has promised to get it for me in 2-3 days, but I have to go to Costco tomorrow (Monday), so I’ll be sure to check if it’s there. I tried squinting at the pictures of the cover on the web, unsucessfully, alas!

  26. CrystalG says:

    Great interview. I love your books.

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