Meet Morgan O’Neill

Today I am so pleased to welcome two friends who
have joined my list of Favorite Authors. 
If you have never read their books, drop whatever you are doing and
order them NOW! Welcome, Deborah and Cary.
Please tell us a little about yourself.

We met by chance at a writers’ conference over a
decade ago. After several years in the same critique group, we decided to try
working as a team, since we both have a love of epic historical fiction and
time travel romance. Since that time, we’ve written five novels together, with
another major series in the works. However, from the start, we knew we needed a
pen name for our covers, because our individual names are long and would turn into
a small epic all by themselves. Luckily, our maiden names work well together as
Morgan O’Neill.

As it turns out, we are envisioning our Welsh/Irish “self” as
we write this piece. Here’s Morgan O’Neill through our own eyes:
Cary
Morgan Frates

My
Morgan is tall and raven-haired, with green eyes and a perfectly proportioned,
athletic body. I’m sitting on a windswept hilltop near the ancient castle of
Tintagel, overlooking the sea. I have a beer in one hand, a gorgeous
amalgamation of all of our heroes holding my other hand, and our favorite pub
is directly behind us. Now there’s an inspiration! Oh well, at least the beer
and the green eyes are real.
Deborah
O’Neill Cordes

My
Morgan is an auburn-haired lady who greatly resembles the beautiful actress
Maureen O’Hara. She sits at her desk in a house overlooking Ireland’s Dingle
Peninsula. Her green eyes watch the surf as she seeks writerly inspiration, a
mug of tea and a box of expensive chocolates ever at hand (the green eyes, tea,
and chocolate are real here, too, although the chocolate is more likely to be my
favorite, a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup).
Being an Irish lass myself, I love both of your
Morgans! Talk about the books you’ve written. What was the first seed of an
idea you had for your books? How did it develop?
Our Roman time travel trilogy, Love, Eternally, After the Fall, and Return to Me, was published by Crimson Romance in 2012. Our latest CrimsonRomance time travel series takes place in medieval Italy with the novels The Other Side of Heaven (May 13, 2013) and
Time Enough for Love (July 8, 2013).  For both of these series, Deb’s genealogical
research uncovered the true stories of our principal historical characters:
Princess Galla Placidia and the Visigoth prince Athaulf for the Roman trilogy;
Queen Adelaide and King Otto for the medieval Italian novels. We have an
Elizabethan trilogy in the works, and the inspiration for that came from Cary’s
research for an earlier novel. The principal characters there are Queen
Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley. In all of our stories, our time traveling
heroines interact with these historical people and the pivotal events of the
time. Which brings up a important point
we
always find ways for our heroines to learn, or already speak, the foreign or
archaic languages they encounter without stretching credulity. In other words,
our heroines can’t speak modern English and expect to be understood once they
travel back in time. By doing this, we’ve gained the freedom of writing about
people, places, and events beyond the traditional time travel settings of the
British Isles.
I love how seamlessly you weave the linguistic
ability of your heroine into your books. How else do your characters influence
your writing? Do you have disagreements with them?
We never disagree with our characters. If we did,
they might feel the need to take vengeance – and they all carry swords!
However, we are frequently surprised by the directions they insist on taking us,
and so we usually give them leave to “live their own lives,” albeit
within the parameters of actual historical events.
Your books are rated “sensual” and you write wonderful
love scenes. How do you handle spicy sex scenes and relatives? Are your family
and friends supportive or do they choose not to read your books because of their
sensual nature?
CaryI
always assure my mother and my children that Deb wrote “all THAT
stuff.”  It isn’t true and they know
it, but it works for us, and they are avid fans.
DebI
always tell my family and friends that Cary’s particularly interesting scene
with Honorius in Love, Eternally was
not written by ME. Ha, ha. As for my best beta reader – my mom – I got her to
watch the miniseries “Spartacus” prior to reading our novels. Our
Roman series is generally not as erotic or violent as “Spartacus,”
but she was prepared and has since reassured me nothing in our stories bothers
her. Yay, Mom!

I imagine that discussion with your mom was pretty
fun, Deb. What else has been fun for each you? Tell us about the
funniest/craziest/most interesting thing that has happened to you as a writer.  
CaryWhile
visiting longtime friends in Nevada City, California last year, I got to
chatting with a distinguished Italian fellow at my friends’ cafe. He was
interested to learn I was a writer, and even more so when I told him about our
Roman series and our flute-playing heroine, Gigi. The capper was when I
mentioned that Gigi loves Andrea Bocelli, one of his countrymen. Turns out I
was speaking to Mr. Bocelli’s godfather! What a great small world moment!
DebIn
researching Queen Adelaide for the Italian series (who, it turns out, is my 32nd
great-grandmother), I discovered I am an 11th cousin of the actor Brad Pitt. Interestingly,
we already had an homage to Angelina Jolie in our Roman series. Deb and Cary –
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Andrea, Brad, and Angelina all found out about
their “connection” to us? 🙂
Is there anything else you would like to say? 
Yes! Thank you, Betty
Meyette, for hosting us on your blog. We really enjoyed visiting
with you and your readers.
It was my pleasure. 
I could write another blog just responding to your interview!  Thank you both for visiting today

You can visit Morgan O’Neill at 

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Morgan O’Neill’s books are available at:

Read a blurb from each of Morgan O’Neill’s books:

The Italian Time
Travel Series by Morgan O’Neill
The Other Side of Heaven, Book One of the
Italian Time Travel Series
Californian Gwendolyn Godwyn seeks to learn her family’s
history and hopes to restore the bond that once existed between her Italian
forebearers and those who live in America. While visiting her
ancestral Italian town, Gwen is caught in a violent earthquake and inexplicably
thrust through time.
At first refusing to believe what has happened, she
nevertheless uses her wits to survive, donning a monk’s cowl to hide her
identity as a woman. Ripped apart from all she has ever known, Gwen finds
herself in the midst of brutal territorial battles in an era she once blithely
called “The Dark Ages.” When the golden Italian summer of 951 emerges
from the strife and gloom, Gwen joins forces with a cadre of gallant men,
allies in the struggle against the evil nobles, Willa of Tuscany and Count
Berengar, kidnappers of Italy’s rightful queen, Adelaide.
Along with Father Warinus and Lord Alberto Uzzo, Gwen
seeks to rescue Adelaide
and restore her kingdom. In the midst of this great adventure, Gwen falls in
love with the complex and passionate Alberto, to whom she reveals her identity
as a woman. But can Alberto learn to love her strong and independent nature and
help Gwen in her quest to discover her rightful place in time?
The
Roman Time Travel Series by Morgan O’Neill
Love,
Eternally, Book One of the Roman Time Travel Series
A witch’s ancient curse
propels talented flutist Gigi Perrin back to A.D. 408, to the court of the
depraved Roman Emperor Honorius and his admirable sister, Princess Galla
Placidia. There, Gigi grapples with her disbelief about what has happened, and
with the strange, new world of violent politics, social upheaval and barbarians
straining at the very gates of an empire. Through it all, she must struggle
with her powerful attraction to a pagan senator and military commander, Quintus
Magnus, a man exotically different from anyone she has ever known. On the brink
of a dark and war-torn age, Gigi joins forces with Magnus, battling to save a
princess and her people, and ultimately finding love amid
the chaos, before the fall of Rome.  
After
the Fall, Book Two of the Roman Time Travel Series
After
the Fall
ratchets up the tension as time traveler Gigi
Perrin and her husband, the Roman warrior Quintus Magnus, join forces with the
Visigoth King Alaric to march on Rome. There waits Princess Galla Placidia, the
admirable sister of the despicable Emperor Honorius. About to be forced into an
arranged marriage by her brother, Placidia fears a bleak future, trapped in a
loveless union.
In an attempt to save Rome from barbarian invasion,
Placidia puts aside her troubles and meets with Alaric’s delegation, which
includes Gigi and Magnus, and the king’s second-in-command, the Visigoth
prince, Athaulf. The attraction between Placidia and Athaulf is instantaneous
and overwhelming, but theirs is a forbidden love, destined to fail because of
implacable politics and impending war.
Bound by a friendship that transcends time, Gigi and
Placidia must do whatever they can to protect the men they love, after the fall
of Rome.
Return
to Me, Book Three of the Roman Time Travel Series
Return
to Me
finds time traveler Gigi Perrin happily settled
into twenty-first century life with her husband, the former Roman senator and
military commander, Quintus Magnus. Gigi has resumed her successful musical
career, playing the flute for her adoring fans, while making her first foray
into Hollywood by creating the musical score for a feature film about the Roman
emperor Nero.
At the film’s wrap party, Gigi is presented with a
gift to commemorate her work: an ancient Roman ring depicting the goddess
Victoria. Stunned, she and Magnus recognize it as the very ring that brought
them together, and the one subsequently stolen from her and lost in A.D. 410.
How did it make its way back to them? Magnus believes the answer is clear;
Victoria sent it as a warning about their dear friend, Princess Galla Placidia.
They start researching what happened to Placidia after Gigi and Magnus time
traveled from the barbarous fifth century. To their shock, they discover
Placidia’s life took a series of terrible turns, culminating with the murders
of her children.
Realizing they have no other choice, Gigi and Magnus
prepare to embark on a perilous quest to go back in time and rescue them. But
one ominous question remains – how can they save the children without altering
the course of history?

32 thoughts on “Meet Morgan O’Neill

  1. Great interview, ladies! I love reading your books as much as I love reading about you. Oh, and I should mention, I love Deb's mom too!!

    Brad Pitt and Bocelli, wow, you really do draw from exciting circles.

    I can't wait to finally finish the Roman Series. I had too many commitments, but I should be able to start Return to Me soon! And then I'll be off to medieval Italy–what fun!

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Sharon. It is always difficult for a writer to end a series. Although I miss our Roman setting and our characters Magnus, Gigi, and Placidia, the new medieval novels – with Gwen, Adelaide, and the incomparable Alberto – have taken the sting out of my writerly grief. 🙂

    And mom sends her best!

  3. Wow, FANTASTIC interview, ladies!! And I am *definitely* reading your Roman series next. Absolutey LOVED the blurbs, and reading your interview today has reminded me that these books need to be read IMMEDIATELY. *nods* Good luck with your new releases, though I'm sure they will be just as successful as your other books!

  4. Thanks so much, Traci. Queen Adelaide's tale is riveting – and little known. I'm so glad I found it during my research, because she was a magnificent woman, deserving of remembrance. And besides, who can resist reading about the fabled love between her and King Otto?

  5. I picture Morgan O'Neill exactly as Cary described. How funny. Loved this and I'm really loving, The Other Side of Heaven. I recently started it and it's hard to put down.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed the interview, and after falling in love with The Other Side of Heaven–I can't wait for summer so that I can read the other Morgan O'Neill works. (About 23 days, not that I'm counting!) Best of luck to everyone going forward.

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