Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Interview with BARARA ELLEN BRINK
Truthfully, I have too much free time on my hands and I’m terribly unorganized with it. I should have twenty novels written by now, but I’m so easily distracted I only have seven. The dogs need walks and attention worse than my kids ever did! And my kids keep returning to the scene of the crime! My husband is pushing me to become the next Patricia Cornwell so he can retire from accounting and take a motorcycle trip around the world. Other than that, everything is hunky dory and my writing life is awesome. :)
You’re a member of several writer’s groups. Tell us how they’ve helped you along the way to publication.
Being a member of a writer’s group does absolutely nothing for you unless you get involved. I joined the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association a few years back and have attended a number of their writer’s conferences. They have great classes taught by authors, agents, or editors, where I’ve been able to hone my expertise and learn much about the publishing industry. I also take advantage of their literary contests. Putting your work on the line for other writers to critique is a great way to grow and learn. The local Minnesota writer’s Guild has a monthly meeting with special speakers and opportunities to meet publishing industry professionals or learn new things, as well as connect with other writers. I found a group of writers at these meetings sometime ago and we formed a critique group. Having a small group to share my work with and get feedback from has been one of the biggest helps in improving my writing.
You’ve published in several genres. Tell us which you prefer, and why.
My short stories are sometimes written for specific publications, so I often write with that in mind. Others, are stories that reflect moments in my life and perhaps I write them as a form of self-therapy. Writing can be very therapeutic, but therapeutic writing isn’t necessarily publishable. When I write novels I tend to lean toward suspense because that is what I enjoy most. I love to read authors such as Sue Grafton, Erica Spindler, Tami Hoag, and Iris Johansen. Broken heroes, warped bad guys, and twists and turns is what keeps me turning pages. I hope others feel the same about my stories.
Tell us all about ENTANGLED and its road to publication.
ENTANGLED is the story of Billie Fredrickson, a twenty-eight-year-old cynical divorce attorney from Minneapolis who inherits a winery and must decide whether to stay and run it as her uncle wished, or sell out and return home. Billie has every intention to cut and run, but her return to the winery after an absence of twenty years opens up more than the reading of her uncle's will. Childhood memories, long-buried, begin to surface, prompting questions that no one is able, or willing, to answer.
A late night prowler, a break-in at the winery, and an unearthed box of shocking photographs is someone's way of pulling the Welcome mat out from under Billie's feet, but it only makes her dig her heels in deeper. Secrets lie buried beneath Fredrickson Winery's innocent facade and Billie intends to get to the root--while someone is willing to kill to stop her.
Great wine evokes a sense of place, a connection to our heritage, much as a good story. Billie’s story is about finding that connection, that sense of belonging.
I wrote Entangled about three years ago. It was called, Time in a Bottle, back then. I even entered the first couple of chapters and synopsis in the PNWA mainstream novel contest and was a finalist. I queried quite a number of agents after that and despite many positive, encouraging letters, not one was willing to take a chance on a new author. So after writing two other novels and working on a number of other writing projects, I decided it was time to try again. I’ve read that ebooks are the wave of the future. I know most people still prefer to hold an actual hardback in their hands and feel the texture of the pages, but when you can carry 1500 books on one little device, it is a bibliophile’s dream. So, after getting my own ereader and seeing for myself how it all worked, how popular ebooks had become, and how easy and inexpensive it was to try new authors, I started researching ebook publishers. I soon found Smashwords and was able to publish Entangled as an ebook this past August. I’m also planning to have Entangled out in paperback soon for those individuals still afraid to take a chance on a crazy electronic gadget. Although, for those of you unfamiliar with ebooks, let me clarify that if you don’t own an ereader, you can still read my book on your computer, iphone, Blackberry, etc. Entangled is downloadable in any format. It is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Diesel, Sony Reader, Kobo, and Apple—as well as my publisher, Smashwords.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on the next novel in the Fredrickson Winery saga. It will be a story that stands on its own, but will include many of the same characters as Entangled. I’m also querying agents with a contemporary Suspense/thriller that I recently finished called, Injected.
If you could take up any career in the world and be good at it, what would it be?
I would still choose to be a writer. Of course, I would choose to be a much more well known and wealthy writer. I know some people might want to be POTUS but there’s much too much stress that goes with that job. Same for a brain surgeon. But as a writer, I can imagine being either of those things without reality getting me down. Writing is what I love. I enjoy hearing and seeing strange things and spinning elaborate tales from these small kernels of information. I revel in the ability to write from the comfort of my own home, in the comfort of lounge-wear, and take breaks whenever I need to walk the dogs or make a fresh pot of coffee. I get a thrill whenever someone says they’ve read my book, and if they write an awesome review I have proof that my time was not spent in vain. I may be a mere “entertainer” but I take my job serious as a heart attack.
What are the addresses of your website, blog, and other online presences?
Facebook Novelist page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Barbara-Ellen-Brink-Novelist/145508512158754?ref=ts