I had the honor of meeting Barbara Freethy at one of Catherine’s awesome author lunches, and we hit it off. She’s incredibly smart, incredibly dedicated, a take-no-prisoners business woman, and a wildly creative writer—talk about the whole package. When Barbara talks, I listen, and I’m not the only one. From her groundbreaking self-publishing career to discussions of love and life, she always has the right thing to say. And her books are fantastic—for all my romance, romantic-suspense and women’s fiction reader peeps, Barbara’s your writer. With multiple series and titles and sagas, there’s enough of her work to keep you busy for ages! I can’t wait to sit down with her and get all the insider scoop on independent publishing. At least we’ll get a sneak peek today.
Oh, and she’s agreed to give away three copies (print or digital—winners’ choice!) of her latest book, BEAUTIFUL STORM, which comes out today! Contest details are below.
Barbara, take it away!
Set your music to shuffle and hit play. What’s the first song that comes up?
“Blank Space” by Taylor Swift
Now that we’ve set the mood, what are you working on today?
I'm writing LIGHTNING LINGERS (Book #2) in my Lightning Strikes Trilogy.
What’s your latest book about?
BEAUTIFUL STORM (Book #1 in my Lightning Strikes Trilogy) begins a three-book overarching romantic suspense trilogy. The heroine, Alicia Monroe, is a news photographer by day and photographs lightning storms at night. She's obsessed with lightning after her father's plane went down in an electrical storm ten years earlier. When the book begins, Alicia sees what appears to be a murder in the flashes of lightning. She finds a military ID tag on the ground that belongs to a missing woman, and soon Alicia is on a dangerous search for truth and justice.
Where do you write, and what tools do you use?
I write on a laptop, and I often sit in a big, comfortable chair with an ottoman. I have one in my bedroom and another in my office. I also write some afternoons with two writing friends at Starbucks.
What was your favorite book as a child?
That's a difficult question. I was a voracious reader as a kid. I probably read every single Nancy Drew adventure, so I'd have to put that series high on the list of favorites.
What’s your secret talent?
I'm a really good tennis player.
What book are you reading now?
I'm reading THE HARBOR by Carla Neggers.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Probably in college, but I didn't realize I could actually make that a career until years later. But eventually I sat down and wrote that first book, and that started the fantastic journey I've been on for quite a few years now.
Who is your writing idol? Have you met him/her? If so, did you completely nerd out or keep your cool?
I really love Nora Roberts. I respect her writing philosophies and love her books. I've never met her personally, so that would be fun. I have met Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Catherine Coulter, and Debbie Macomber, and each was amazingly wonderful and charming.
What’s your favorite bit of writing advice?
Don't worry about writing a bad first draft. I always find that once I start digging into my story, wonderful things come out that I never imagined. For me the experience of writing is about telling myself the story, so I try to give myself permission not to be perfect during the draft stage. There is always time for revision!
What do you do if the words aren’t flowing?
I look in the refrigerator a lot for inspiration—LOL! But I rarely find it there. I do find that taking a shower sometimes loosens up the jam in my head. But ultimately when there is no time for writer's block, I just push myself to write something—anything—and that usually gets me going.
Are you creatively satisfied?
Yes, I love being a writer. I can't think of a better job. Even when it's difficult and the words don't come or the story doesn't seem to work, there's nothing more fun that creating a story and a world out of nothing.
What would you like to be remembered for?
I'd like to be thought of as a good storyteller.
Alright, now for the really important questions:
- Beach or mountains? Beach! Love the crashing waves.
- Coffee or tea? Tea, but my real vice is Diet Coke.
- Skydive or bungee jump? Neither—I am definitely not a thrill seeker when it comes to heights.
- Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate!
- Winter or summer? Summer—I grew up in Southern California. I love the summer heat.
- Cake or pie? Cake
- Cats or dogs? Both but currently have two kitties—so I have to say cats!
- Pens or pencils? Pens, unless it's a cool automatic pencil. But I rarely write with anything these days. It's all about the keyboard.
- Truth or dare? Truth.
- Print or ebook? Ebook—except at the beach. Then I still love print.
About Barbara Freethy
Barbara Freethy is a #1 New York Times bestselling author of 45 novels ranging from contemporary romance to romantic suspense and women's fiction. Traditionally published for many years, Barbara opened her own publishing company in 2011 and has since sold over 5 million books! Twenty of her titles have appeared on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists.
Known for her emotional and compelling stories of love, family, mystery and romance, Barbara enjoys writing about ordinary people caught up in extraordinary adventures. Barbara is launching a new romantic mystery trilogy in 2015 with BEAUTIFUL STORM, the first book in the Lightning Strikes trilogy.
If you like lighthearted family series and romance, check out Barbara's ongoing Callaway Series.
And here's a little more about BEAUTIFUL STORM, which is out TODAY!
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Barbara Freethy comes the first book in a new romantic suspense trilogy, Lightning Strikes. In these connected novels, lightning leads to love, danger, and the unraveling of long-buried secrets that will change not only the past but also the future . . .
When her father's plane mysteriously disappeared in the middle of an electrical storm, Alicia Monroe became obsessed with lightning. Now a news photographer in Miami, Alicia covers local stories by day and chases storms at night. In a flash of lightning, she sees what appears to be a murder, but when she gets to the scene, there is no body, only a military tag belonging to Liliana Valdez, a woman who has been missing for two months.
While the police use the tag to jump-start their stalled investigation, Alicia sets off on her own to find the missing woman. Her search takes her into the heart of Miami's Cuban-American community, where she meets the attractive but brooding Michael Cordero, who has his own demons to vanquish.
Soon Alicia and Michael are not just trying to save Liliana's life but also their own, as someone will do anything to protect a dark secret . . .
Like I mentioned earlier, Barbara is giving away three copies of BEAUTIFUL STORM to you, my lucky chickens! To enter, leave a comment below answering this question:
Have you ever seen anything that gave you the creeps during a storm?