Blog Archive

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

You've now published three books. What made you decide to take the risk and write your first novel?
Yes, I have written three romance novels: “Dreamer of Destiny”, “Love Through Time”, and “Fate’s Intervention”. In addition to these books, I have also published a paranormal thriller, “Edge of Insanity”, and a juvenile adventure (for my children) entitled “Freepetopia”.

Why did I decide to begin writing? Because I fell in love with the written word. Many years ago, I was laid up with a broken kneecap. My dad saw that my reading material was sorely lacking in diversity so handed me a copy of Clive Cussler’s “Iceberg”. I was enthralled with Cussler’s prose. I started reading everything my dad could get for me, no matter the genre. Several years later, I decided that I not only enjoyed reading, but also had an aptitude for writing.

I began to pen my first novel right after the birth of my first child, as I was to be staying home full-time at that point, and even though I was seriously sleep deprived, that first book nearly wrote itself.

Are there other novels that have been started and stopped along the way?
Yes, about twenty thus far. Many of them I plan to continue working on as time permits; however, there have been a few in which my heart just wasn’t with the characters, the setting, or the story. Those, I may revisit one day, but for now each sits in a file on my computer labeled “flop”.

How did you come up with the idea for your book Love through Time?
Actually, “Love Through Time” is one of my favorite books because the two characters came to me while watching my, then, teenage daughters interact. Their interaction – whether it was laughing, fighting, sharing something funny or special – was genuinely intriguing to me as a mother. Moreover, despite adversity, the bond between them was (and is) powerful, unbreakable.

That is where the true similarity is between them and my characters – Savannah and Tyeshia. The characters in the book face adversity and their friendship is severely tested (getting hurled back in time when equality didn’t exist, and fighting over two-hundred-year-old men will put any friendship to the test); however, in the end, that bond of friendship can’t be broken. Anyone with a sibling or a friend with whom they are close would appreciate this book very much, I believe.

How long did it take you to write this book? Who helped you with the editing?
“Love Through Time” took approximately a year from start to finish. As I am the owner of an editing firm, I did a majority of the editing myself; however, it is never easy to edit your own works – too easy to overlook errors – so I was fortunate to have several other people who contributed in this area.

Did you try the normal route and try to find a traditional publisher to handle your book?
In actuality, my very first book was accepted by a traditional publishing house. The editor who accepted the work requested some revisions. It took a little more than a month for me to complete the requested revisions; however, when I resubmitted the work, I was informed the editor working with me had left the firm. My book was sidelined.

During those revisions, I also came to a realization – someone else’s idea of what would “sell” was replacing my creativity as a writer. I determined then that divine intervention took place while I was doing revisions, because if the editor had not left, my work would no longer have been my work.

How do you write? Did you do individual character development before doing the full plot?
To date, I have not done individual character development. Occasionally, I will complete an outline to keep track of the details I want to include. Most times, an idea comes to me. When that happens, I sit down and start typing until the idea plays itself out. From there, I read what I’ve written and think, “What type of character would go well in this setting?”. Once I determine that, the words just flow onto the paper.

What type of publicity do you do to promote your book? How does social media play into your promotions?
Social media is a huge medium for self-promotion. I also take advantage of free giveaways on Goodreads and Amazon. However, I can only do so much to get my books noticed. Recently, my daughters and I started researching book promoters. I have narrowed the list down to three, one of which I plan to contact before the end of April.
What do you know now about writing/publishing that you wished you had known sooner?
So very much, but I’ll try to select one of the most important. About writing? I think the most important thing that I wish I’d learned sooner is “write what you know”. I can’t remember where I saw that or who to attribute the quote to, but it made a big difference in my writing. My children often remark, “I can see you in this character or that one,” and I had a sibling contact me recently and say, “It must have been hard to write that particular part...”, because she knew it closely resembled the tragedy in my own life. So – write what you know.

Publishing? I would have to say trust yourself. If you have confidence in what you’ve written, don’t let someone else muck it up. There is a huge difference between allowing someone to edit what you’ve written in order to improve flow, transitions, and assist with the mechanics of writing and allowing someone to change what you’ve written. Self-publishing is not an easy route to take, but it was a preferable route for me.

You also have a service called "Worth Reading." Can you tell me a little more about it, and why you think people will benefit from it?
I love to write, and I love to read. Those two reasons are why I started Worth Reading – to assist those with the same passion for the written word as I hold. Moreover, having worked with an editor at a traditional publishing house, I am aware of the expectations for submitting a manuscript for publication. Those same expectations should hold true if self-publishing. Self-publishing a manuscript does not mean entitlement for careless work. After all, you will be competing against, and want your work to compare favorably with authors from traditional publishing houses. To ensure a satisfactory self-publishing experience, all writers should consider having their manuscript edited to avoid potential embarrassment.

Why Worth Reading? Because I am not just an editor, but an author also, so can readily empathize with how difficult writing can be. Moreover, I respect that a manuscript is more than just a bunch of words; it’s a person’s “baby” and should be treated as such. A few years ago, I worked on an editing project for an individual self-publishing two books. When completed, he mailed me two copies with a letter enclosed, part of which read:

“You played a valuable part in this project by supporting my writing effort. You’ve not only helped me with general inspiration and encouragement, but also provided me with right-on-point editorial suggestions as well as insightful and inspiring comments” – This sums up why people can benefit from submitting their work to Worth Reading.

What is the best advice about writing you’ve learned that you would like to pass along?
The first advice I mentioned above – write what you know. The second – write about what you love. Third – never assume your work is perfect at the onset. Always have two or three different people peruse your work – preferably the target audience – and then listen to their feedback. Finally, have it professionally edited; no matter if you are self-publishing.

That's it for today's interview. If you would like to learn more about Barbara's writing or editing services, here are some links to do so... (Worth Reading’s author spotlight).

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