As part of an on-going feature of my blog, I’ll sometimes interview characters from romance novels. These interviews are uniquely different from my author interviews because they involve make-believe people who exist only in the pages of a novel and in the mind of the author who created them.  Stacey Winchester is one of those characters. So, I’ll have to interview her creator, author Laura Browning, since Stacey doesn’t really exist.   So, did deep, Laura. We need to know what motivates Stacey Winchester to do and say what she does so she can answer the questions from her own perspective.

Stacey Winchester is the heroine in Broken Heart  a romance novel by author Laura Browning. BTW, Laura, I love that cover! But now the interview with Stacey.

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Where were you born, Stacey?

My family, the Barlow-Barretts, are from northern Virginia, not far from Alexandria. I’m the third of six children. I guess you might say I’ve grown up with the proverbial silver spoon in my mouth as one of the heirs to Barrett newspapers. Think Kennedy meets Hearst and you’ll be close.

Well all-righty then. That’s a lot of money and privilege.  Where do you live now and what do you do for a living? Or do you even need to work?

Jace, my husband, and I have a great townhouse in Georgetown. I’m an interior decorator, and a lot of my clients are politicians. They’re such a revolving door in this area, it makes for a constantly renewing client base, which is great, but sometimes our house seems like more of a showpiece than a home.

There are some politicians I wish would revolve more than others, lol! But enough of politics. What’s going on in your life right now?

I’m under a lot of stress. I try to keep it under control. After all, not making waves is what my family is all about.  Jace and my mother are both pressuring me to have a child, but…I just don’t know. I’m not ready for that.  Jace…he’s…well about half the time I’m not even sure why he married me. He doesn’t really seem interested in that part of our marriage. That he’s even talking about babies makes me nervous.

Ouch. I’m sorry to hear that.  Kind of makes it difficult to think of children and happily ever after if you’re not happy.  And, it doesn’t sound as if you can talk to  your mom or your husband about your doubts and fears if they’re pressuring you to have a child.  But it seems as if you need to talk to someone who’d understand. So, is there someone? Is there a special person in your life whom you can share these feelings with and get some perspective?

There was. Right before I met up again with Jace. I try not to think about Mason Hatch, but he is difficult to forget. There’s also the fact that since he’s an art dealer, I end up taking clients to his gallery pretty often. It’s not a good situation. Mason hates me now. I don’t really blame him.

Hmm. That’s interesting. But, I don’t want to sound like a wanna-be therapist so I’ll just ask how you two met.

I thought he was a delivery boy. I was at a client’s house waiting on a shipment of artwork to finish decorating. Mason let me know pretty quickly and in no uncertain terms that he was the man in charge. We ended up having sex right on the dining room table. Lord, I had never done anything like that.

Oh. My. Well, it sounds as if there is an attraction between you and Mason that didn’t die when you said “I do” to your husband.  And you’re obviously not happy in your marriage. So, why the pretense?

Let’s see. Jace, and the fact that Mason Hatch, self-made man, wouldn’t exactly be on my parents’ ‘acceptable for Stacey’ list. There’s a lot more to it, things I never even told Mason. I just let him think I married Jace for the money. The truth is, what money there is belongs to me.

It seems like an impossible situation. So, how would you like to see it resolved?

I don’t want to hurt Jace, and I’ve never been the kid in my family who rocked the boat. The thing is…I really miss Mason. Forget I said that.

But can you forget? It doesn’t seem likely. So why not divorce? If you weren’t married, what other obstacles would stand in the way of a  happily-ever-after with Mason?

I’m Catholic. My mother’s on a first name basis with the pope. So divorce is not an option. Besides, like I said earlier, Mason hates me now. Maybe it’s better that way.

You seem so resigned to the fact that you’re stuck in a loveless marriage with no way out. Is that the case? Is there a happily ever after in your future?

I don’t see how.

But it’s always possible. Right? Laura’s your author. Think she may have found a way to make things work out for you and Mason?

Well, yes. You know I’ve read a couple of romance novels, and the whole idea is that there should be a happy ending. Since I’m the heroine in this one, maybe that means there is a happy ending for me. Whew. The whole idea makes me nervous, but for the first time in almost a year…nervous in a good way. I’m ready for something to change. I’m ready to change.

Laura Browning is an ex-TV journalist, current English teacher, full-time student and squish-it-in-where-you-can-find-time writer. She grew up with a steady stream of books, and can thank her junior high school friend, Debbie Ebersold, for introducing her to her very first romance novel. When Laura’s not reading or writing, she still manages to take a few seconds to look outside at her horse and her dogs—wondering if they still remember her—and occasionally manages to speak to her teenager—who would probably like to forget her. (Love you, son)

Broken Heart is a Lyrical Presents Embrace and Book Four in The Barlow Barretts: An American Dynasty series

Perfection isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Stacey Barlow-Barrett has the perfect life–or, at least, the illusion of one. She’s married to the man her parents approved, and she’s making it work. But keeping up appearances is wearing her down. Her husband, Jace, wants to start a family. Her former lover, Mason, is a business associate she can’t cut off, and he twists the knife at every opportunity. Trying to make everyone happy–everyone except herself–has her on the verge of a breakdown.

When Jace’s best friend moves in, everything that seemed tenuously tolerable is now completely unbearable, and Stacey realizes something is very wrong in her marriage. Jace is keeping up appearances too, and it’s at Stacey’s expense.

Mason is the only one she can turn to for help…if he can forgive her for marrying Jace while the sheets were still warm from their last encounter. And even if he does forgive her, and she does dig her way out of the mess her marriage has become, Stacey may not be ready for what he needs in return: love.


Avoiding him was nearly impossible. Wherever Stacey looked, Mason Hatch was in her line of sight. Since she was attending her brother Brandon’s wedding, she couldn’t leave, but she sure wished Jace would stick by her side this once. She scanned the room, but her husband was nowhere to be seen.

“Hubby MIA again?” Mason’s voice was as smooth as silk in her ear. The fact he simply echoed her thoughts didn’t make his intrusion into them any more palatable. “I could tell you where to look, but I don’t think you’d like what you’d find.”

“Stop it!” Stacey hissed between clenched teeth. Every time she encountered Mason, he made some cryptic remark about her husband. Stacey was tired of it, in part because she had enough doubts concerning her marriage. But not today. She refused to have them today. Today was supposed to be perfect. Jason had made love to her last night, had tried once again to talk her into starting a family. She wanted children. She did, but something always held her back. She couldn’t stall too much longer, doing so wasn’t fair to either of them, yet the mere thought of a divorce in her oh-so-Catholic family made her shudder. God, was she really contemplating divorce? Her mother would flip.

“Just trying to make conversation among these Virginia purebreds,” Mason purred, once again barging into her brain. Why was there always a hint of amusement in his voice, as if he were actually laughing at her? Yes, she had been unfair to him, but had his contempt been there all along? Had he always regarded her with a smirk?

Author links, webpages, fan pages, and book trailers.

Thanks, Gayle! The book officially releases October 1. It is the 4th in a series: Bittersweet, Balancing Act, Remember Me and Broken Heart.

Sounds like a great series, Laura. I’m going to have to check them out, especially, Broken Heart. I’m dying to find out how Stacey gets her HEA.