What do we have to look forward to in the future? I don’t know! I’ve got two manuscripts under consideration with a new (to me) editor at Samhain Publishing and a few queries out elsewhere. Meanwhile, I’ve been working on the fourth book in The Braddock Brotherhood series, and hope to finish it soon and I hope that new editor likes it!
What advice would you have for someone who is just starting out? Write quality material and stories you have a passion for. Don’t try to follow trends, don’t imitate other authors. Find your own voice and don’t give up.
Where does your inspiration come from? Various places. My screwball fantasy idea came from working at a coffee store. My husband inspires me, in that many of my heroes have many of his best qualities and then I make them behave in a way I sometimes wish he would, but would never think to.
Sounds familiar I’m sure there are a lot of romance authors who do the same!
What does your desk look like? It looks like a queen-sized bed, because that’s where I write. My desk next to it is a hodpodge of file folders, journals and notebooks stuffed into nooks and crannies and my two laptops sitting where I can find room for them.
Wow … I think we may be desk twins, that is a perfect description of my own!
What was the first novel/short story/poem you wrote? Did you ever publish it? Oh, wow. I think it was a short story I wrote for a creative writing class I took at a local junior college when I was 19 or 20. I’ve worked on it often over the years and developed it into a full-fledged women’s fiction story. If I can’t find a publisher for it I’m going to publish it independently soon. It’s called “Misconceive.”
How do you come up with your titles? They are usually taken from a line out of the book or out of a previous book if it’s connected.
Do you have a specific writing style? Yes, it’s called extremely disorganized in that I normally write scene by scene but the scenes are never in order. I have a big picture idea of what the story is about and who the characters are but I have to figure it out as I go along and figure out where all those scenes go so it’s sequential. I don’t recommend this writing style to anyone. Actually, now I’ve reread the question and I’m not sure what you mean by “writing style!”
Is there a message in your novel you want your readers to grasp? “Family” is not who you are related to by blood. Love can create connections and create families. There’s a “misplaced child” theme in almost every book I write.
How much of the book is realistic? I think most of what’s in my books is realistic. I write from what I know, small towns, people who might cross paths in real life for one reason or another and make that connection I just mentioned. Maybe ten or fifteen percent of a story might not occur in real life, but it perhaps could.
What books have influenced your life most? Gone With the Wind. Jane Eyre. Sandra Brown’s Envy. Webster’s Dictionary.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? Tina Wainscott who also has written as Jaime Rush. She’s the first writer friend I met and she has been wonderful to me over the years.
What book are you reading now? Pines by Blake Crouch
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? I had to cut a lot of what I’d written to satisfy my editor and imo, too much of it was cut. I’d like to go back and revisit those editorial changes.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I always loved to read and I loved to write, especially essays. I loved English classes.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? The amount of thinking and actual work involved in putting a story together. I don’t just sit down and pound it out from beginning to end and have a perfect story. When I get stuck I have to take a lot of time to consider how to get unstuck.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Don’t judge my books by their covers! I write the kinds of books I would like to read and I try to put out a quality product. Positive reviews are what every writer wants and what helps us to be able to write more books, so if you liked my work, please share your thoughts with other readers.
Are the names of your characters in your novels important? Yes. I often research the meanings of names before I use them. I’ve also changed the names of characters and discovered that’s exactly what was needed to make the character come alive for me.
Ever knocked someone off only to regret it? No, they all pretty much deserved it.
What do you consider your biggest failure? Lackluster sales and an inability to market my work effectively.
How much impact does your childhood have on your writing? Oh, tons, I should think. My books all seem to have a theme of a distant mother and a displaced child. The father figure is either a huge loving influence or non-existent. Analyze away. 🙂
Why do you think what you do matters? Life is often challenging, stressful, sad. If I can give a reader a respite, an escape from “real life” for a few hours, I believe there’s value in that.
Do you write every single day? I try, but I’m not always successful. I also try to do something writing-related every day even if it isn’t actual writing.
What are the most important elements of good writing? Structure, voice, plot.
According to you, what tools are must-haves for writers? A decent vocabulary and command of the English language or whatever language you’re writing in and also knowledge of grammar rules. A desire to write the best book you are capable of writing. I detest the amount of low-quality, poorly written, poorly plotted books in today’s marketplace, especially the ones that get five-star reviews from readers. I have read so many books that don’t even make sense or there’s simply no story there and I keep asking myself, “What is this book even about?” Makes me crazy.
You’re not the only one!
Do you buy a book by the cover? A cover might be why I pick up a book but it’s probably never the reason I buy it.
Do you watch the movie and spoil the book or read the book and spoil the movie? I prefer to read the book and then see the movie to see how it was translated into a screenplay. I often leave a movie with an idea of changes I would have made that would have made it better.
Thank you for taking the time to talk with me and my readers today Barbara.
As always if you have any questions you would like to ask Barbara please leave a comment!
THE FIRST TIME AGAIN in print May 2014