Her romantic suspense, SOUVENIRS, is currently available at Amazon.com, Smashwords.com and BN.com.
Lisa: Tell us how you got started writing in your genre. Did you always know you would write romantic suspense?
Barbara: Absolutely! I love figuring out mysteries, and I love a happy ending. Growing up on the likes of Victoria Holt’s books, who wouldn’t?
Lisa: What inspired you to write Souvenirs?
Barbara: Going to the beach! I love the beach, and sitting there one day, the same beach featured in my story, made me ask some questions that would eventually become Souvenirs.
Lisa: What was your favorite part about Souvenirs?
Barbara: Okay, here is the fun part. I offered it to Silhouette Intimate Moments years ago, but they declined. It was just too different for them. As it was! But I loved it, anyway. So, one day, the local newspaper contacted me. They’d featured an interview with me when I was first published with SIM, and now they were asking if I had a summer beach read they could serialize. Instantly, Souvenirs came to mind. Why not? It was set right here in this area.
But other local authors expressed concern that I wouldn’t be paid enough. Me? I was just thrilled to share my book. So it was serialized that summer, a chapter a day.
Before that, however, the paper sent out one of their photographers to take some photos that would match each chapter. He asked his friend to play Brent Stirling, my hero. It turned out that the actor was also a local paramedic, and son-in-law of a friend of mine, and exactly as I imagined my hero to be. I ran into him once at the grocery store, and felt as though I was meeting a celebrity! All giggly and girlish. I cringe now thinking of it.
Now, the heroine was a woman the photographer hired, and knew vaguely, I believe, but she bore a striking resemblance to actress Donna Murphy, and her poses really captured the essence of Anna’s delicate character. I have yet to meet her, but I loved each photograph.
Another wonderfully fun part came about halfway into the serialization. I couldn’t go downtown, or even to church, without someone coming up to me to say how much they loved the story. Or asking me who the killer was, all wanting the inside scoop! But I was deliciously mum about that part!
The paper reported the serialization of Souvenirs as a phenomenal success, and many wrote in to say how much they enjoyed the experiment. But it took longer to serialize than the paper wanted, and they didn’t do it again.
Lisa: Did you identify with any of the characters on a personal level? Or are they completely fictitious?
Barbara: The characters are fictitious, but any writer who claims that their characters are completely from their heads would be lying. We weave characteristics from our lives and experiences, and the people we meet, into our stories and characters. One writer friend of mine has a tee-shirt that says, “Be careful, or you’ll end up in my book!” That is so true!!
Lisa: Is Souvenirs part of a series? What is your next project?
Barbara: Souvenirs is a stand-alone book, but like most of mine, the setting is atypical. I have other projects on the go, all with unique settings, with realistic characters facing, and sometimes being dragged and pushed into emotional and spiritual growth. Just like we all are. Despite the fact I love atypical settings, I think it’s not just the setting that interests readers, but also the story as a whole. My next two books will probably be set in South America, unless my muse grabs me and takes me for another trip to the beach!
Lisa: How has your experience with self-publishing been?
Barbara: Like I inferred before, I am traditionally published, and will continue to pursue that line, but I think there is a place for both in a writer’s life, just as there is a place for independently and traditionally published books in a reader’s life. My experience is so new, I am hesitant to mention it. I have been electronically published before, with All For A Good Cause, so I know the ropes, but it’s still very early to say how I’m doing. I am enjoying promoting books, and I am learning things in leaps and bounds. Didn’t think my brain could hold that much info!
Lisa: Do you have any advice for writers who are just starting out or for authors who are interested in taking the plunge into self-publishing?
Barbara: I was recently chatting with a new writer, and I will repeat my advice here. Keep writing. Keep learning, and most of all, keep polishing your prose. Some authors can mentally filter their words and their first drafts are far smoother than mine. But editing, critically thinking about your story, and polishing are vital to any story being prepared for publication. If you’re thinking of going the self-publishing route, have a really great cover made, first by studying the covers of the genre you want to delve into, and then get professional editing advice. I did, and it helps tremendously.
One more piece of advice for anyone who writes anything. Before you publish it, let it cool, then read it backwards. I mean it, backwards. You’ll find mistakes and won’t get wrapped up in the story and have your brain accidentally, or automatically, fill in the missing words. I had to do that with Souvenirs again, as I reread it before self-publishing it to Amazon and Smashwords. It is so necessary!
Thank you, Lisa, for hosting me. I hope as readers choose my book, Souvenirs, they will not only be able to learn to trust and forgive, as my characters must learn, but also be able to see the bridge, feel the breezes and sand and water, and picture their own ‘photos’ of each chapter, just as that newspaper photographer aimed for. Just don’t corner me at the bank or grocery store asking who the murderer is, because I’m not telling!
Thank you so much for visiting me today, Barbara!
Readers can buy SOUVENIRS from Amazon by clicking on the book cover below.