Archives for posts with tag: Barbara Phinney

In the last of the Chistmas selection of posts, we revisit a real character, fellow writer Barbara Phinney.

Let me introduce Barbara Phinney.

Tell me a bit about yourself:

I’m 53 years old, married, and living in a big empty nest since our son joined the military. Both my husband and I served in the Army and have since retired to a community where his grandfather used to farm. We do a lot of volunteering, and every chance I get. When the house is quiet, I write.

What type of genre do you write?

I write in a number of different genres. My favorite is romantic suspense. But I have published romantic comedy, science fiction romance, and will have published in March, my first historical romance, set in the 11th century in England. All of my books are what we would consider “sweet”. That is, there’s very little or no sex in my books. I’m really not very good at writing a love scene.

What genre to you personally read?

My favorite genre to read is romantic suspense, but I do enjoy historicals in atypical settings and time periods. I don’t mind reading something a little different, a little quirky, or of the mixed genre. I don’t read paranormal, and while most of my books are Christian inspirational, I do not read a lot of preachy books. I love a good comedy.

Tell me about your latest book.

I always have a number of irons in the fire, so to talk about my latest I would have to say there are two in particular. One is an inspirational romantic suspense set in Bolivia, (remember, atypical settings) and the other is an inspirational historical romance that I am going to present to my editor. Both books are in the editing stage now.

Where is your book available?

My historical romance won’t be available until March, at places where you’ll find any Harlequin romances and also online. My other books are available here at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Phinney/e/B001HPFZ16/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

and at Barnes & Noble here http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/barbara-phinney

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story?

I think my parents, especially my father, instilled the love of reading. You have to remember that years ago, most places in Canada would only receive two or maybe three television stations and your parents often supervised the amount of time you sat in front of the television. My father always enjoyed reading mysteries and science fiction, so I grew to love books, too. As for the idea of a good story, I think I learned fairly early on the importance of having a well-rounded story arc. I think that aspect came from reading wonderful stories by Farley Mowat and Stephen Leacock.

What was the first book you wrote?   

The first book I wrote was when I was 14 years old and so in love with the Gothic romance that made people like Daphne du Maurier and Victoria Holt so famous. Well, with a friend, I sat down to write this grand story of a woman fleeing across Europe for some reason that I can’t remember. I even drew pictures of her and made up the cover, and never got past the first scene. Like any 14-year-old, I gave up on that dream for a while. Then the years and years later my friend sent me my manuscript. All handwritten and folded up neatly. She’d found it in a book.

It was screamingly bad, horrible, and I laughed all the way through it. My next attempt to write was when I was an adult, and I entered it in a contest. It was a time travel, and when I had returned to me, the judge had scrawled in large letters across the top of the cover, the word “clichéd”. I was mortified, but laugh at it now, because it was indeed very clichéd. So much so that if I was to describe it to you, we’d both be on the floor laughing.

What was your inspiration for your latest book?

If we consider my latest book to be the romantic suspense set in Bolivia, then I would say the inspiration for this story was reading about the kidnapping of a child in the newspapers. In my story. the single mother must approach the estranged father, in order for them to find the teenaged boy who is missing. Missing children, anguished mothers, all tugged at my heartstrings.

What has been your best moment as a writer?

There are lots of really great moments when you’re a writer, and some of them can only be understood by other writers. Most of the time, it’s that moment when your story really starts to gel and the words just flow down your arms and through the keyboard. They are exciting moments for an author. But a more outwardly moment that’s the best would have to be when I first sold to Harlequin. We were in the middle of building our home. I lived in a little trailer, 26 feet long, with my husband and two kids and no furniture, no phone, and I’ve received the “call” by a registered letter. I ran in my sock feet all the way next door to my sister-in-law to give her the good news. She laughed at my excitement!

Do you have a beta reader/s, or a critique group?

I have a number of beta readers and a critique group, but we try not to exhaust ourselves too much. We don’t run every single thing past each other, but I’m grateful for them just same. I haven’t used them for a while, but this week I asked them to read over a synopsis. The feedback is brutal, honest, and absolutely necessary. I value every word. The rest of the time my critique group becomes a support group.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

I see myself in all my characters because I take parts of myself and my own experiences. Even when I am asking myself, what would this character do under the circumstances? I think even the most prepared and most plotter-oriented writer will give her characters a little piece of herself. Sometimes there’s more of myself in my heroine, but sometimes when my hero does something very physical or even violent, you can be guaranteed that there’s a lot of me in that. I’m gregarious, wild and sometimes angry person. A lot of time though, when my heroine is feeling insecure, I see myself in her.

What does your workspace look like?

My office is a lovely, sunny room at the front of my house that looks out into our front yard, and the pasture beyond. It’s a very peaceful scene. Other than that, it’s pretty utilitarian with a lot of hand-me-down furniture, a junkie desk, and a huge map of the world right above my monitor. I have lots of little pictures of my kids and my family, sticky tacked to the wall.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I think about writing!

What are the most important tactics to remaining sane as a writer?

If you’re a writer there is a good chance that a big part of you is not sane. Nor will it ever be sane. One of the most important tactics a writer can use to remain sane is to just simply get up and leave your writing and do something else. I own chickens and barn cats, I have the house to clean, and volunteer work to do, so I have lots of things that can keep me busy and insanity at bay. And if that doesn’t keep a person grounded, there’s always family. But will they keep you sane? The jury’s still out on that one!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Aspiring authors need to take lots of courses, read lots of books, especially highly acclaimed ones, and just keep writing. It will take you years to master your craft. In this day and age of self-publishing, it’s easy to get published. And the glut of e-publishers out there make it even easier to find a home for your book, but never give up trying to improve your writing.

Who is your favorite character in your current release?

In Bound to a Warrior, due out in March, my favorite character would have to be the hero. He is the quintessential knight on a white horse. After studying the Norman conquest of England, I came across a number of real people from history and my hero is a mix of all of them. He’s a Norman Knight ordered to marry the abused widow of the Saxon nobleman. But his honor won’t allow him to hurt her further. Slowly, he earns her love through gallantry, humor, honor, and love.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?

I think names are very important in a story. The above hero was originally named Prades, but it’s so unusual that my editor asked me to change it. He became Adrien, instead. But not willing to give up the name Prades, I made it his childhood nickname. Names are often associated with personality types, but you have to be careful not to overdo it, or else it will become clichéd. I’m very careful about thinking out the names of my characters. And it gets worse as you get older. You meet more people. You’re bound to know someone with the same name!

Do you travel to research your books?

I would love to travel to research all my books! I’ve been able to do a lot of traveling, having been to Bolivia twice, and to England many times, but sometimes you must rely on the Internet, tourist information and locals that you’ve been able to connect with.

Does the weather play in your books?

I live in Eastern Canada, where the weather changes by the minute. Many people in the world don’t really understand the Canadians’ fascination with weather because of their weather is fairly predictable and constant. In my stories, the weather is character onto itself. The weather can put a damper on a scene, creative mood, or force the characters to act and react in different ways. Not using the weather is similar to having a story take place in a single room over the space of 80,000 words. You’re cheating your readers and you’re cheating yourself at the excitement of using the weather.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I find the most rewarding part about writing is simply selling books. Knowing that someone has been interested enough in my books to purchase them is a huge reward for me. I’ll never get rich, but I’ll always have fun.

What does your family think of your writing career?

My immediate family are very supportive of my writing, and my husband often hears me say, Get out of the office! The rest of the family are less supportive because none of them read. Not a single word. They barely read the local paper, they hate reading that much. But I’m fortunate that the friends I have are very supportive.

Tell us about your favorite restaurant.

This is an excellent question! My favorite restaurant of all times? I love The Keg steakhouse, but there is also this little Mongolian restaurant in the nearby city that I like. It’s more important to me that there be a quality of food , rather than quantity, or setting or price. Oh yes, there is this restaurant in Cochabamba Bolivia, called Castors that make the best saltañas in the world!

After this book, what is next?

My upcoming jobs will consist of sending in a proposal for my next historical and publishing my Bolivian story. Since I also write science fiction under the name Georgina Lee, I hope to get to the next installment of my short novellas in The Twin Planets series. I have lots on my plate and hope someday to catch up!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my answers, and have been able to get to know me a bit better. Stop by one of my sites to say hello!

Website:     www.barbaraphinney.com

Blog:   http://BarbPhinney.blogspot.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/barb.phinney.7 Twitter: @BarbaraPhinney

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/barbaraphinney/

Stumbleupon:  http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/barbphinney7

**********************************************************************************************************************************************

And next Tuesday, the 10th I’ll bring you news of a joint project with my great friend author/character Mary Meddlemore. We’ve organised a joint giveaway of 6 of our works, including ‘The Man Who Never Was’ and my novella ‘Teamwork’ (part 2 of the series ‘Escaping Psychiatry’). By the way, any suggestions or ideas of how to promote our giveaway are more than welcome!

I leave you with a reminder of my offerings.

‘The Man Who Never Was’

Mancover(EnAmaz)

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWRT22

And don’t forget my new series of novellas, Escaping Psychiatry about a psychiatrist and writer and her adventures.

‘Cannon Fodder’ (Escaping Psychiatry part 1)

CannonFoddertitle

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AKWO8Z6

‘Teamwork’ (Escaping Psychiatry part 2)

Teamwork2 V 0065

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AKWSQJA

And ‘Memory’ (Escaping Psychiatry Part 3)

Memorycover

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AKWVRCS

Thank you for reading!

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Y como última escritora invitada este año tengo el gusto de presentarles a la fantástica Barbara Phinney que nos cuenta como empezó a escribir, porqué, y nos habla un poco de su vida. No se lo pierdan!

Permítanme que les presente a Barbara Phinney

Cuéntame algo sobre tí:

Tengo 53 años, estoy casada y vivo en un nido muy vacío desde que nuestro hijo se empezó su carrera militar. Mi marido y yo servimos en la Armada y desde que nos retiramos vivimos en una comunidad donde su abuelo solía dedicarse a la agricultura. Hacemos de voluntarios para varias organizaciones y causas tanto como podemos. Cuando la casa está silenciosa, escribo.

¿Qué tipo de género escribes?

Escribo en una variedad de géneros. Mi favorito es el suspense romántico. Pero he publicado comedia romántica, romance de ciencia ficción, y en Marzo publicaré mi primer romance histórico, que tiene lugar en la Inglaterra del siglo XI. Todos mis libros son lo que consideraríamos “sweet” (dulces, para todos los públicos). Lo que quiero decir, es que hay poco o ningún sexo en mis libros. No soy demasiado buena escribiendo escenas de amor.

¿Qué género lees tú personalmente?

Mi género favorito de lectura es el suspense romántico, pero también me gustan las novelas históricas en lugares inesperados y en períodos históricos poco habituales. No me importa leer algo un poco diferente, algo original o de género mixto. No leo novelas paranormales, y aunque la mayoría de mis libros son de inspiración Cristiana, no leo muchos libros que se dedican a predicar. Me gusta una buena comedia.

Cuéntame algo sobre tu último libro

Siempre tengo varias cosas cocinándose a la vez, así que para hablar de mi último libro tendría que decir que hay dos en particular. Uno es un suspense romántico inspirador situado en Bolivia (recuerden, lugares poco habituales) y el otro es un romance histórico inspirador que voy a presentar a mi editor. Los dos libros están en etapa de edición.

¿Dónde se pueden comprar tus libros?

Mi romance histórico no estará a la venta hasta el Marzo, en lugares donde se encuentran los romances de la compañía Harlequin y también en el internet. Mis otros libros se pueden comprar en Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Phinney/e/B001HPFZ16/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Y en Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/barbara-phinney

¿Qué inspiró tu pasión por los libros y por el arte de una buena historia?

Creo que mis padres, especialmente mi padre, me contagiaron el amor por la lectura. Tienen que recordar que hace años, muchos sitios en Canadá sólo recibían dos o quizás tres cadenas de televisión. Mi padre siempre disfrutó leyendo misterios y ciencia ficción, y así yo crecí con el amor por los libros. Con respecto a la idea de una buena historia, creo que aprendí pronto la importancia de tener una historia bien desarrollada. Creo que esto me vino de leer las maravillosas historias de Farley Mowar y Stephen Leacock.

¿Cúal fue el primer libro que escribiste?

El primer libro que escribí fue cuando tenía 14 años y era muy aficionada al romance Gótico que hizo a gente como Daphne du Maurier y Victoria Holt famosos. Bueno, con una magia nos pusimos a escribir esta gran historia de una mujer escapando por toda  Europa por algún motivo que no recuerdo. Incluso dibujé ilustraciones de ella y creé una tapa, y nunca pasamos de la primera escena. Como cualquier chica de 14 años, abandoné ese sueño por un tiempo. Luego mucho años más tarde mi amiga me envió el manuscrito. Todo escrito a mano y bien dobladito. Lo encontró en un libro.

Era muy malo, horrible, y me reí mucho. Mi siguiente intento de escribir fue cuando ya era una adulta,  y me presenté a un concurso. Era sobre viajar a través del tiempo, y cuando me lo devolvieron, el juez había garabateado en letras enormes sobre la primera página la palabra ‘cliché’. Yo me sentí mortificada, aunque ahora me río, porque de hecho era muy cliché. Tanto que si os lo tuviera que describir, los dos acabaríamos rodando por el suelo muertos de la risa.

¿En qué te inspiraste para tú último libro?

Sin consideramos mi último libro el suspense romántico en Bolivia, diría que la inspiración para esta historia me vino de leer sobre el secuestro de un niño en el periódico. En mi historia, la madre debe ponerse en contacto con el padre que no vive con ellos, para juntos intentar encontrar la hijo adolescente que ha desaparecido. Niños desaparecidos, madres angustiadas, me llegó al corazón.

¿Cuál ha sido tu mejor momento como escritora?

Hay muy buenos momentos cuando eres escritor, y algunos de ellos sólo los pueden entender otros escritores. En mucho casos es ese momento cuando tu historia empieza a tomar forma y las palabras vuelan de tus brazos al teclado. Son momentos muy excitantes para un autor. Pero algo más externo que fue un gran momento sería la primera vez que vendí una historia a Harlequin. Estábamos construyendo nuestra casa. Vivíamos en una caravana estática, 26 pies, mi marido y yo, dos niños y sin muebles, sin teléfono, y recibí la “llamada” por correo certificado. Corrí descalza (sólo con los calcetines en los pies) a la casa de al lado para contárselo a mi cuñada y darle la buena noticia. ¡Se rió tal era mi excitación!

¿Tienes un lector/es beta o un grupo de crítica?

Tengo un número de lectores beta y un grupo de crítica, pero intentamos no agotarnos demasiado. No compartimos todas las cosas que escribimos todo el tiempo, pero les estoy muy agradecida de todas maneras. No les he usado por algún tiempo, pero esta semana les he pedido que lean mi sinopsis. La crítica es brutal, honesta, y absolutamente necesaria. Valoro cada palabra. El resto del tiempo mi grupo de crítica se convierte en un grupo de apoyo.

¿Te ves a tí misma en alguno de tus personajes?

Me veo a mí misma en todos mis personajes porque uso partes de mí misma y de mi experiencia. ¿Incluso cuando me pregunto, que haría este personaje en estas circunstancias? Creo que incluso el autor mejor preparado y más interesado en la historia en lugar de los personajes no podrá evitar darles a sus personajes algo de ellos mismos. A veces hay más de mí en una de mis heroína, pero a veces cuando mi héroe hace algo muy físico o incluso violento, os puedo garantizar que hay mucho de mí en eso. Soy sociable, salvaje y a veces me enojo. Muchas veces cuando mi heroína se siente insegura, me identifico con ella.

¿Qué aspecto tiene tu lugar de trabajo?

Mi oficina es una habitación encantadora, soleada en la parte delantera de la casa que tiene vistas al jardín delantero y a los campos que nos rodean. Es una escena muy tranquila. Aparte de eso es muy utilitaria con la mayoría de los muebles de segunda mano, un despacho de mercadillo, y un enorme mapa del mundo justo encima de la pantalla del ordenador. Tengo muchas fotos de mis hijos y mi familia, enganchadas a la pared.

¿Qué haces cuando no estás escribiendo? ¡Pienso en escribir!

¿Cuáles son tus tácticas más importantes para mantenerte cuerdo como escritor?

Si eres escritor hay muchas posibilidades de que una gran parte de ti no está cuerda. I nunca lo estará. Una de las tácticas más importantes que un escritor puede usar para mantenerse cuerdo es levantarse, dejar lo que estás escribiendo y hacer alguna otra cosa. Yo tengo pollos y gatos, tengo que limpiar la casa, y hago de voluntaria, así que tengo muchas cosas para mantenerme ocupada y mantener la locura a raya. Y si eso no mantiene a una persona con los pies en el suelo, siempre está la familia. ¿Pero te mantendrán cuerdo? ¡El jurado aún está deliverando!

¿Qué consejo les daría a los que aspiren a autores?

Los que aspiren a ser autores necesitan hacer muchos cursos, leer muchos libros, especialmente los que tengan gran éxito de crítica, y seguir escribiendo. Te llevará años dominar la profesión. Hoy en día con auto-publicación, es fácil publicar. Y la enorme cantidad de compañías que publican electrónicamente hacen muy fácil el encontrar donde publicar, pero nunca abandones tus aspiraciones de mejorar tu escritura.

¿Quién es tu personaje favorito en tu último libro?

En Bound to a Warrior (Unida/Atada a un Guerrero), que será publicado en Marzo, mi personaje favorito sería el héroe. Es el arquetípico caballero a caballo blanco. Cuando estudié la conquista Normanda de Inglaterra, me encontré con varios personajes históricos y mi héroe es una mezcla de todos ellos. Es un caballero Normando al que le ordenan que se case con la abusada viuda de un noble Sajón. Pero su honor no le permitirás herirla aún más. Lentamente, el conquista su amor a través de galantería, humor, honor y amor.

¿Son importantes los nombres de tus personajes en tus novelas? ¿Cómo y porqué?

Creo que los nombres son muy importantes en una historia. El héroe del que hablaba antes se llamaba originalmente Prades, pero es tan inusual que mi editor me pidió que lo cambiara. Se transformó en Adrien. Pero sin querer abandonar el nombre Prades, lo convertí en su mote cuando era pequeño. Los nombre a menudo están asociados con tipos de personalidad, pero tienes que tener cuidado y no sobrepasarte, o se convierten en un cliché. Tengo mucho cuidado cuando decido los nombres de mis personajes. Y es peor cuanto más mayor te vuelves. Conoces a más gente. ¡Es raro que no conozcas a alguien con el mismo nombre!

¿Viajas cuando buscas información para tus libros?

¡Me encantaría viajar para informarme sobre los detalles de mis libros! He podido viajar bastante; he estado en Bolivia dos veces, en Inglaterra muchas veces, pero a veces tienes que utilizar el Internet, información turística y gente del país con los que consigues conectarte.

¿El tiempo y el clima juegan algún papel en tus libros?

Vivo en Canadá del Este, donde el tiempo cambia minuto a minuto. Mucha gente en el resto del mundo no entiende la fascinación de los Canadienses con el tiempo porque su clima es predecible y constante. En mis historias, el tiempo es un personaje más. El tiempo puede arruinar una escena, cambiar el humor creativo u obligar a los personajes a actuar y reaccionar de modo distinto. No hacer uso del tiempo es similar a escribir una historia que tiene lugar en una sola habitación a lo largo de 80000 palabras. Estás negando a tus lectores y te estás negando a ti misma la excitación de usar el tiempo como parte de tu creación.

¿Cuál es la mejor recompensa de escribir?

Para mí la mejor recompensa es simplemente vender libros. El saber que alguien está lo suficientemente interesado en mis libros como para comprarlos es una gran recompensa. Nunca me haré rica, pero siempre me divertiré.

¿Qué piensa tu familia sobre tu carrera como escritora?

Mi familia inmediata me apoya mucho, y mi marido a menudo me oye decir, ‘¡Sal de la oficina!’ El resto de la familia me apoya menos porque ninguno de ellos lee. Ni una palabra. Casi ni siquiera leen el periódico local, odian tanto el leer. Pero tengo la buena fortuna de que mis amigos me apoyan mucho.

Dinos cuál es tu restaurante favorito.

¡Es una pregunta excelente! ¿Mi restaurante favorito de todos? Me encanta The Keg steakhouse, pero también hay este restaurante de Mongolia en una ciudad vecina que me gusta mucho. Para mí es más importante la calidad de la comida, que la cantidad, o el ambiente, o el precio. ¡Ah sí, hay este restaurante en Cochabamba, Bolivia, que se llama Castors donde hacen las mejores saltañas del mundo!

¿Qué viene después de este libro?

Mis trabajos siguientes consistirán en enviar propuestas para mi siguiente novela histórica y publicar mi historia Boliviana. Como también escribo ciencia-ficción con el nombre Georgina Lee, espero completar el la siguiente novela corta en mi serie de los Planetas Gemelos. ¡Estoy muy ocupada y espero ponerme pronto al día!

Espero que hayáis disfrutado leyendo mis respuestas, y hayáis llegado a conocerme un poco mejor. ¡No os olvidéis de pasaros por mis páginas  a decir hola!

Página web:     www.barbaraphinney.com

Blog:   http://BarbPhinney.blogspot.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/barb.phinney.7
Twitter: @BarbaraPhinney

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/barbaraphinney/

Stumbleupon:  http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/barbphinney7

 

*********************************************************************Y ahora como siempre, anuncios. Durante las Navidades en lugar de material nuevo presentaré selecciones de los mejores (?) blogs, incluyendo en particular autores invitados y algunos de mis propios blogs.

En Enero vuelven los autores invitados y tengo algunas sorpresas preparadas para empezar el año con buen pie.

No les dejo sin recordarles mis nuevas novellas (en inglés sólo de momento):

En la serie ‘Escapando Psiquiatía’ (Escaping Psichiatry).

Cannon Fodder (Parte 1) que es GRATIS este fin de semana (del 14 al 16 de Diciembre) en todos los territorios (Amazon)

CannonFoddertitle

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AKWO8Z6

La parte 2, Teamwork

Teamwork2 V 0065

Disponible aquí:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AKWSQJA

Y la tercera parte Memory

Memorycover

Aquí:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AKWVRCS

Y por supuesto recordarles que EL HOMBRE QUE NUNCA EXISTIÓ

sigue disponible aquí:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWEGC8

Gracias por leerme y hasta pronto:

Olga

For the last guest author post before the Christmas holiday we have wonderful writer Barbara Phinney who will tell us how and why she writes and a little bit about herself.

Without further delays, here is Barbara!

Let me introduce Barbara Phinney.

Tell me a bit about yourself:

I’m 53 years old, married, and living in a big empty nest since our son joined the military. Both my husband and I served in the Army and have since retired to a community where his grandfather used to farm. We do a lot of volunteering, and every chance I get. When the house is quiet, I write.

What type of genre do you write?

I write in a number of different genres. My favorite is romantic suspense. But I have published romantic comedy, science fiction romance, and will have published in March, my first historical romance, set in the 11th century in England. All of my books are what we would consider “sweet”. That is, there’s very little or no sex in my books. I’m really not very good at writing a love scene.

What genre to you personally read?

My favorite genre to read is romantic suspense, but I do enjoy historicals in atypical settings and time periods. I don’t mind reading something a little different, a little quirky, or of the mixed genre. I don’t read paranormal, and while most of my books are Christian inspirational, I do not read a lot of preachy books. I love a good comedy.

Tell me about your latest book.

I always have a number of irons in the fire, so to talk about my latest I would have to say there are two in particular. One is an inspirational romantic suspense set in Bolivia, (remember, atypical settings) and the other is an inspirational historical romance that I am going to present to my editor. Both books are in the editing stage now.

Where is your book available?

My historical romance won’t be available until March, at places where you’ll find any Harlequin romances and also online. My other books are available here at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Barbara-Phinney/e/B001HPFZ16/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

and at Barnes & Noble here http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/barbara-phinney

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story?

I think my parents, especially my father, instilled the love of reading. You have to remember that years ago, most places in Canada would only receive two or maybe three television stations and your parents often supervised the amount of time you sat in front of the television. My father always enjoyed reading mysteries and science fiction, so I grew to love books, too. As for the idea of a good story, I think I learned fairly early on the importance of having a well-rounded story arc. I think that aspect came from reading wonderful stories by Farley Mowat and Stephen Leacock.

What was the first book you wrote?   

The first book I wrote was when I was 14 years old and so in love with the Gothic romance that made people like Daphne du Maurier and Victoria Holt so famous. Well, with a friend, I sat down to write this grand story of a woman fleeing across Europe for some reason that I can’t remember. I even drew pictures of her and made up the cover, and never got past the first scene. Like any 14-year-old, I gave up on that dream for a while. Then the years and years later my friend sent me my manuscript. All handwritten and folded up neatly. She’d found it in a book.

It was screamingly bad, horrible, and I laughed all the way through it. My next attempt to write was when I was an adult, and I entered it in a contest. It was a time travel, and when I had returned to me, the judge had scrawled in large letters across the top of the cover, the word “clichéd”. I was mortified, but laugh at it now, because it was indeed very clichéd. So much so that if I was to describe it to you, we’d both be on the floor laughing.

What was your inspiration for your latest book?

If we consider my latest book to be the romantic suspense set in Bolivia, then I would say the inspiration for this story was reading about the kidnapping of a child in the newspapers. In my story. the single mother must approach the estranged father, in order for them to find the teenaged boy who is missing. Missing children, anguished mothers, all tugged at my heartstrings.

What has been your best moment as a writer?

There are lots of really great moments when you’re a writer, and some of them can only be understood by other writers. Most of the time, it’s that moment when your story really starts to gel and the words just flow down your arms and through the keyboard. They are exciting moments for an author. But a more outwardly moment that’s the best would have to be when I first sold to Harlequin. We were in the middle of building our home. I lived in a little trailer, 26 feet long, with my husband and two kids and no furniture, no phone, and I’ve received the “call” by a registered letter. I ran in my sock feet all the way next door to my sister-in-law to give her the good news. She laughed at my excitement!

Do you have a beta reader/s, or a critique group?

I have a number of beta readers and a critique group, but we try not to exhaust ourselves too much. We don’t run every single thing past each other, but I’m grateful for them just same. I haven’t used them for a while, but this week I asked them to read over a synopsis. The feedback is brutal, honest, and absolutely necessary. I value every word. The rest of the time my critique group becomes a support group.

Do you see yourself in any of your characters?

I see myself in all my characters because I take parts of myself and my own experiences. Even when I am asking myself, what would this character do under the circumstances? I think even the most prepared and most plotter-oriented writer will give her characters a little piece of herself. Sometimes there’s more of myself in my heroine, but sometimes when my hero does something very physical or even violent, you can be guaranteed that there’s a lot of me in that. I’m gregarious, wild and sometimes angry person. A lot of time though, when my heroine is feeling insecure, I see myself in her.

What does your workspace look like?

My office is a lovely, sunny room at the front of my house that looks out into our front yard, and the pasture beyond. It’s a very peaceful scene. Other than that, it’s pretty utilitarian with a lot of hand-me-down furniture, a junkie desk, and a huge map of the world right above my monitor. I have lots of little pictures of my kids and my family, sticky tacked to the wall.

What do you do when you’re not writing? I think about writing!

What are the most important tactics to remaining sane as a writer?

If you’re a writer there is a good chance that a big part of you is not sane. Nor will it ever be sane. One of the most important tactics a writer can use to remain sane is to just simply get up and leave your writing and do something else. I own chickens and barn cats, I have the house to clean, and volunteer work to do, so I have lots of things that can keep me busy and insanity at bay. And if that doesn’t keep a person grounded, there’s always family. But will they keep you sane? The jury’s still out on that one!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Aspiring authors need to take lots of courses, read lots of books, especially highly acclaimed ones, and just keep writing. It will take you years to master your craft. In this day and age of self-publishing, it’s easy to get published. And the glut of e-publishers out there make it even easier to find a home for your book, but never give up trying to improve your writing.

Who is your favorite character in your current release?

In Bound to a Warrior, due out in March, my favorite character would have to be the hero. He is the quintessential knight on a white horse. After studying the Norman conquest of England, I came across a number of real people from history and my hero is a mix of all of them. He’s a Norman Knight ordered to marry the abused widow of the Saxon nobleman. But his honor won’t allow him to hurt her further. Slowly, he earns her love through gallantry, humor, honor, and love.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important?  How and why?

I think names are very important in a story. The above hero was originally named Prades, but it’s so unusual that my editor asked me to change it. He became Adrien, instead. But not willing to give up the name Prades, I made it his childhood nickname. Names are often associated with personality types, but you have to be careful not to overdo it, or else it will become clichéd. I’m very careful about thinking out the names of my characters. And it gets worse as you get older. You meet more people. You’re bound to know someone with the same name!

Do you travel to research your books?

I would love to travel to research all my books! I’ve been able to do a lot of traveling, having been to Bolivia twice, and to England many times, but sometimes you must rely on the Internet, tourist information and locals that you’ve been able to connect with.

Does the weather play in your books?

I live in Eastern Canada, where the weather changes by the minute. Many people in the world don’t really understand the Canadians’ fascination with weather because of their weather is fairly predictable and constant. In my stories, the weather is character onto itself. The weather can put a damper on a scene, creative mood, or force the characters to act and react in different ways. Not using the weather is similar to having a story take place in a single room over the space of 80,000 words. You’re cheating your readers and you’re cheating yourself at the excitement of using the weather.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I find the most rewarding part about writing is simply selling books. Knowing that someone has been interested enough in my books to purchase them is a huge reward for me. I’ll never get rich, but I’ll always have fun.

What does your family think of your writing career?

My immediate family are very supportive of my writing, and my husband often hears me say, Get out of the office! The rest of the family are less supportive because none of them read. Not a single word. They barely read the local paper, they hate reading that much. But I’m fortunate that the friends I have are very supportive.

Tell us about your favorite restaurant.

This is an excellent question! My favorite restaurant of all times? I love The Keg steakhouse, but there is also this little Mongolian restaurant in the nearby city that I like. It’s more important to me that there be a quality of food , rather than quantity, or setting or price. Oh yes, there is this restaurant in Cochabamba Bolivia, called Castors that make the best saltañas in the world!

After this book, what is next?

My upcoming jobs will consist of sending in a proposal for my next historical and publishing my Bolivian story. Since I also write science fiction under the name Georgina Lee, I hope to get to the next installment of my short novellas in The Twin Planets series. I have lots on my plate and hope someday to catch up!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my answers, and have been able to get to know me a bit better. Stop by one of my sites to say hello!

Website:     www.barbaraphinney.com

Blog:   http://BarbPhinney.blogspot.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/barb.phinney.7
Twitter: @BarbaraPhinney

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/barbaraphinney/

Stumbleupon:  http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/barbphinney7

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And some announcements: During the Christmas holidays I’ll do some posts collecting the best of guest authors and of my usual posts…Yes, Christmas is  time for TV repeats, so I thought post repeats were also appropriate. A good way to catch up if you’ve missed any posts.

I also published 3 new novellas last weekend. They are all in the series ‘Escaping Psychiatry’ about Mary a psychiatrist and writer who gets involved in  a number of cases whilst trying to build up her writing career.

The first one, Cannon Fodder is FREE  in all amazon stores this weekend (from 14th to 16th December inclusive). CannonFoddertitle

Click here to go to the Amazon page and download!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AKWO8Z6

The second novella: Teamwork

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Is available here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AKWSQJA

And the third one, Memory

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Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AKWVRCS

And don’t forget my book THE MAN WHO NEVER WAS

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http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWRT22

And check ‘The Man’ page in BookClub Reading List:

http://bookclubreading.com/the-man-who-never-was/

Thanks for reading!

Olga

Living in the Gap

“Ruffled feathers and endless squawking over a minor difficulty is typical of a crow’s life. I lean back on the counter and realize that could be my line….”

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