Barrett

   Barrett 

I met Barrett online when I was lucky enough to win her novel, Flights of Fancy. I’m looking forward to reading it because I enjoyed her novel Damaged in Service.

When Barrett contacted me to inform me that I’d won her book, I was fortunate to get her to agree to give me an interview. Thank you Barrett for your time.

AJ: Do you write full-time or part-time?

B: Full time. Since I retired, the art and business of writing has been my full-time obsession. Because I am no longer constrained by a “regrettable day job,” I can devote myself to learning and making up stories. 

AJ: I’m retired too…it’s wonderful, isn’t it? Every night is Friday night, and every morning is Saturday morning! I digress…what do you do when you are not writing?

B: I have two very special canine furbies. Dalwhinnie, a 10 yo chocolate Lab, and Princess Poppy, a 9 yo Border collie mix. I also have a home in the high desert of New Mexico, which does require some care. I belong to local groups like LERA (Land of Enchantment Romance Authors-local RWA chapter), WOA Book Group, Petroglyph Guild-our monthly lunch gang, WWW of NM – our annual Readers and Writers Conference / grill & gab, and COWW an erudite group of wine-swilling women.

AJ: Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate, or write longhand?  

B: I’d say a combination. (I love writing with a fountain pen.) For the initial draft I will dictate and sometimes use handwritten pieces. I use a computer for revisions and editing.

AJ: What book/s are you reading at present?            

B: I just finished Nudge by Sandra Moran, which is unique, fun, and thought -provoking. I’m also reading Baxter Clare Trautman’s re-release of The River Within. For book club we’re doing Fannie Flagg’s The All Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion (which got a little hijacked by Chuck Wendig’s, Blackbirds.)

AJ: Tell us a bit about your book(s). 

B: My first book, Damaged in Service, was the beginning of a four book series. It was released in November 2012. In December 2012, I added the follow-up novella, Windy City Mistletoe. In March 2013, I released Defying Gravity Book 2 of the Damaged series.

Then I took a break from my PTSD-damaged agent and wrote Balefire that released in November 2013. It’s follow-up novella Flights of Fancy—the first in the Forever Windsor Series—was released in January 2014. 

Currently, I’m collaborating with Ann McMan and Salem West on a series of comic pulp fiction novellas. Each book will be tiny and standalone, but all will feature “June McGee, RN” the Suzy Orman of medicine and a cast of zany regulars.

In time for the 10th annual GCLS, Bink-Bedazzled Ink Publishing will be releasing the third in my damaged series, Dispatched with Cause. I’ll be posting the cover and a teaser soon.

AJ: Tell us a bit about your main character(s). What makes them unique or interesting?  

B: I guess I’d say Special Agent Zeke Cabot from the damaged series. She was a secondary character in my very first manuscript, titled Tattoo: Scenes of a Crime. She’s a veteran FBI agent who is a tall version of Halle Berry and haunted by ghosts from a serial killer. PTSD is eroding her confidence and new relationship. Hopefully, she’ll face her demons by the end of the next in the series, tentatively titled Deliver Me.

I also loved writing Silke Dyson, a sculptor and teacher visually impaired with tunnel vision. I did some serious stretching to write from her POV. It was a great exercise and a really enjoyable love story.

AJ: What is your favorite line from the book and why? 

B: I think this one from the picnic scene in Balefire with Silke and Kirin.

“In one of them, she described the Beltane tradition of lighting balefires on the highest points along the coast. Originally they would have their cattle pass between two fires to purify and protect them, as well as bring good fortune to the farmer. The fires provided the signal to all within view. After many years, it became a welcoming beacon for the fishermen.”

AJ: Was it difficult for you to find a publisher? 

B: I had a couple of rejections before my book was picked up. It took a couple of years to find a good fit for my work and my needs as a writer. 35 years of medical writing as a nurse is nothing like writing fiction for publication. It was a steep learning curve.

I’m very happy to be working with Claudia and Casey from Bedazzled Ink. They are patient and helpful. Their long-term vision is closer to a mainstream publisher, but also looking for good writers with unusual stories.

AJ: Do you have any amusing stories about marketing books that happened to you? 

Not really marketing, but my first public event was the Lonestar Lesfic event in Austin, Texas. The event was fun, but the real hijinks began with navigating the Austin traffic with hordes of visiting sports fans. Let’s just say if you run into me at a conference, ask me about it J. It was like living dangerously with lots of laughter.

AJ: Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales? 

B: Personally, I think any event or opportunity for readers to meet an author in person is a chance to make a friend and sell a book. I am much more inclined to read a book after hearing the author talk about it or meeting in person. It’s important to continuously maintain an on-line presence because the market changes so rapidly.

AJ: Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

B: Yes I do. I wish I could afford to give away more, and with e-books that’s more feasible.

As a side-story, I have had a copy of When Women Were Warriors on my TBR pile for the longest time. Last October, I had the pleasure of meeting Catherine M. Wilson in Palm Springs. She was delightful and strongly encouraged writers to give away the first book in a series. Catherine routinely gives away thousands of books.

Duly impressed, I immediately bought the audiobook and was swept away by Catherine’s writing. It’s exquisite.

AJ: What advice would you give to your younger self?

B: Read more. Pay attention. Follow your dreams.

AJ: Describe yourself in a single sentence?

B: A fierce, loyal, loving Woman trying to make a difference.

AJ: Do you have a favorite saying? 

B: “Keep showing up.” ~Elizabeth Gilbert [thanks, AKW]

AJ: If you could try any job for a day, what would it be?

B: Either a graphic designer or a pilot.

AJ: As a kid, did you read a lot of books in the (genre) and how do you feel they influenced your writing today?

B: When we were young my parents read stories. Sadly, I never learned the joy of reading until my mid 30s when, for the first time, apparently, I had my eyes tested. The doctor immediately recommended bifocals! I started with reading glasses and became a book addict. I read anything and everything. On rainy days off, I would spend 8 to 10 hours in my chair with a book. For example, I read Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” four times and it is 900 pages!  I also read the rest of the series.

My biggest regret is that no one thought to test my vision sooner because I might have been a better student and a better writer.

Thanks A.J., for inviting me to be interviewed, I enjoyed it. If your readers are curious about the multi-faceted author calling herself Barrett (my actual middle name), please swing by http://wordsofbarrett.wordpress.com/ for pictures, history, and tales about writing.

AJ: Thank you for your interview. I appreciate all the time and effort it takes on your end. Good luck with your upcoming book.

 

You can find Barrett here on her publisher's website: Bedazzled.

 

Her blog is located here: Barrett 

 

Her books are available from Amazon.


 Cover artwork by Tree House Studio.

© JEN 2014