Barbara was born in New York City and but now lives somewhere else.
Starting her career by writing tweens and YA books, she was actually aiming at the small screen. Television seemed like the perfect place for her even if she had no clue how to get there. Through a neighbor, Barbara wound up getting an introduction to a lower honcho at ABC and an audition to write for them. Her hopes were more than dashed, they were disintegrated, evaporated, demolished when ABC couldn't find a place for Barbara on General Hospital. (No Luke and Laura in her future!) To ease the crushing disappointment, Barbara wrote "In Real Life I'm Just Kate" (now titled "Just Kate") about a 17 year old girl who becomes a star on a soap opera. That became an open sesame moment and shortly thereafter Barbara became the last headwriter for NBC's daytime serial, The Doctors.
After television, some nonfiction and romantic comedies, Barbara has returned to her first love, YA, by and large for the most part, but will always give in to temptation if something flirts with her hard enough. She's that kind of girl.
If you would like to check out all of Barbara's books on Amazon, please CLICK HERE .
Hello Barbara. Thank you so much for agreeing to spend the weekend here at Honey Bee Reviews. Writing is such an interesting profession; Can you tell us when and why did you first become interested in writing?
I was always interested in writing, spending my time in high school chemistry writing bad poems like most people do. I thought I was going to be a photojournalist so majored in photography in college but life does push you in unexpected directions. I didn’t do the journalism and became an English major instead. Writing was always something I knew I would do later, after all my life adventures had been experienced. It happened much earlier than I planned.
What would you say is the best thing about being an author?
Not having a real job.
Producing a book is much more than simply writing a story. I know that sometimes editing can be a very lengthy job. Can you talk us through your editing process, Barbara? Does a lot of your work get cut by your own hand, or are you quite precise in what you write and use in your final drafts?
I’ve always been pretty close in my first draft to what the final results are but I can get very finicky about the details.
Well, as they say; the devil is in the detail J
I enjoyed meeting all the female characters in your book, Nothing Serious; how important do you think it is for female readers to identify with the heroines in your books?
I never considered it. Is that strange?
Not at all, Barbara J. I have to admit to you; I did feel as though I connected with Paige, the heroine in Nothing Serious. I certainly felt her distress at the beginning of the story. I’m not sure I’d have the nerve to follow up on the actions she took though. She’s certainly a brave character and very adventurous J
Speaking of Nothing Serious; the cover is very eye-catching. How much input do you have in the art work for your stories?
Since I was a photographer I did the photos for my first two novels published by Atheneum. That was fun. Now I design my own covers and sometimes purchase the artwork. I enjoy that level of creativity, the ability to have complete control over the project. Independent publishing is wonderful and the freedom allows artists to create things they wouldn’t in traditional publishing.
Sounds idealJ Can you tell us what future projects you are currently working on?
Bittersweet Farm 2—Joyful Spirit is in progress now. Then I have promised all my fans that Bad Apple 4—Parked will be next. Both are Mature YAs, a genre I love.
Which of your books would you say was the easiest/hardest to write?
A couple of my adult books took about five years. In Under My Head and Almost Breathing underwent draft after draft, each pass getting more precise. My vision of the story and characters changed as time went on. I’m glad I took my time. If I had a contract in traditional publishing, I would have been forced to publish before the books were really completed. That’s what’s so great about independent publishing. You set your own schedule and if you want to change things later, you upload a new version. It’s the best time in the history of the world to be a writer.
And which of your books is your personal favourite?
I think the standard reply is “The one I’m working on”. Each book has its own particular golden moments. Like children, they are different and your love for them is different but just as passionate. I love Jem in Almost Breathing for her spirit and determination. I love Ariel in In Under My Head because she’s so much more sensible than I am. I love Paige in Nothing Serious because she finds a way when one isn’t obvious. I love Neal in Bad Apple because she’s able to put her past behind her.
Barbara, can you tell the readers which of your characters would you most like to invite to dinner, and why?
I think Paige from Nothing Serious would be a great dinner companion because she has a wonderfully unserious view of life. She’s funny and bold, vivacious and impulsive but always kind. I think you would laugh a lot with her at the table.
Yes. I have to agree with you there, Barbara J Paige is a very interesting character. I’m sure she would bring a great deal of fun to any dinner party.
Tell us; what would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?
I think I should have been a photographer or a horse trainer.
Thanks for chatting today, Barbara. I look forward to part two of your interview tomorrow.
Blurb for Nothing Serious;
Declaring freedom from the Internet and the city, Paige heads for the Catskills. Opening a shop, Nothing Serious, Paige nearly nails her hand to the wall trying to hang her sign, avoids zoning board jail and falls for Jonathan Macklin, the antiques dealer next door. She spots a rare portrait at an auction, and borrows money from Jonathan to buy it. The windfall for the lost masterpiece is used to bail a local character out of jail. When Paige can’t pay Jonathan back, he thinks the worst. She has been treating life, her art and love as nothing serious for so long; can she change in time to be with Jonathan?
Enjoy a slice of Nothing Serious;
By the end of the day, Paige had sanded the peeling paint from the letters, primed them and painted them. Using a long piece of wood they had given her for free and she’d had to transport sticking out the passenger side window, she painted that and nailed the letters on.
Ladder. She needed a ladder.
Paige walked down the street and opened Jonathan’s door.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi. I need a favor.”
“What is it?”
“Do you have a ladder?”
“Yes, a short one.”
“May I borrow it for ten minutes?”
Jonathan went into the back room and returned with the ladder.
“Thank you. I’ll bring it right back.” She walked out of the store with it and set it up in front of the shop. Holding the sign, she climbed up the ladder. She needed a drill. Back down the ladder.
Back down the street to open Jonathan’s door. “Sorry to bother you, do you have a power drill?”
“Well, may I borrow it?”
“Yes. Do you need anything else?”
He looked at her. “How long?”
She looked at him right back. “As long as you have.” Paige considered herself an extremely good judge of character and if she hadn’t already decided Jonathan Macklin was a rather conservative and unimaginative type, she would have thought there was some innuendo going on. But no, he was not the type. At all.
Too bad, too, really, she thought as he walked into the back of the store. He fit those jeans in a particularly appealing fashion. Most men wear their jeans too loose. They shouldn’t be skin tight to the point of splitting seams, but they should show the curves, if curves were there to be seen. And Jonathan did have praiseworthy architecture with very long legs that didn’t end in something ridiculous like loafers. Loafers and jeans. Nyet. Loafers went with khakis. Shorts were always to be worn with white socks or no socks, not brown dress socks. Weren’t these fashion rules written down somewhere?
Jonathan returned with the drill and she held out her hand for it but he didn’t turn it over. “What are you doing?”
“I’m putting out my shingle. My sign. My announcement to the world that I’m in business. I have become self-employable.”
“Paige, you can’t hold the sign and the drill at the same time.”
“Sure I can. Just watch me.”
Ten minutes later after nearly falling off the ladder, after nearly screwing her hand to the front of the building, she was holding the sign while Jonathan affixed it to the building.
“I owe you,” she said.
“Yes, I think you do.”
“You’re not supposed to say that. You’re supposed to say something like ‘Oh no, think nothing of it, glad to help.’”
“You’re going to write my dialog for me?”
“No, but what do you want? All you did was climb up a ladder.”
“I had the ladder. You didn’t. I had the drill. You didn’t. I had the screws.”
“And now you’re going to put them to me?”
“So nicely put, Ms. Elliot.” He carried the ladder back into the store.
Paige followed him. “Did I offend you? I didn’t mean to. I’m just not...I’m out of practice talking to people.”
“Were you a hermit in the city? Didn’t you have a job?”
“Yes. But it’s different holding an interpersonal conversation. I’m not good at it.”
“And why is that?”
“Because I say the wrong things.”
“Were you in a competition and when the international panel of judges scored you, their opinion was that you say the wrong things?”
“That could be how it happened.”
“Have dinner with me and after dessert, I’ll judge you.”
Snap up your copy of Nothing Serious HERE