Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Q&A with Barbara Wallace and International Giveaway
Barbara Wallace has been a life-long romantic and daydreamer so it’s not surprising she decided to become a writer at age eight. However, it wasn’t until a co-worker handed her a romance novel that she knew where her stories belonged. For years she limited her dreams to nights, weekends and commuter train trips while working as a communications specialist, PR freelancer and full-time mom. At the urging of her family, she finally chucked the day job and pursued writing full time and couldn’t be happier.
Barbara lives in Massachusetts along with her husband, their teenage son, one spoiled cat and one very spoiled dog.
All advice columnist Zoe wants this summer is some time to heal her post-divorce wounds in peace. That is, until she crosses paths with her neighbor, ex Army captain Jake Meyers. With battle scars both inside and out, Jake just wants to disappear from the world. Zoe knows she should leave the man alone. But she just can’t help herself….
Barbara, welcome to Romance Author Buzz. Is there a back story to The Heart of a Hero?
Backstory no. But this story does mean a great deal to me since it involves a hero with war-related PTSD. When I learned this book would be out in September – the tenth anniversary of 9/11 – I got nervous. After all, what Jake suffers is nothing compared to the real-life heroes who are battling to rebuild their lives. I only hope I did the issue justice.
Do you plot your stories or lead your characters lead you?
I am very much a character-driven writer. Doesn’t matter how much plotting I do in advance, the characters will always end up telling their story in their way. What’s most frustrating is when a character will reveal a facet of their personality or back-story halfway through draft one. All of a sudden you’re on chapter seven and the heroine says “Hey- I had a controlling mother I forgot to tell you about.”
How long have you been writing and what was your call story?
I love to tell this story because it’s a great advertisement for perseverance. I wrote my first story before my son was born. I submitted it to my first agent when I was seven months pregnant. I got the call two days before that same son’s fifteenth birthday. In between there were a lot of starts and stops – including a span of time where I did a lot more “mommy work” than writing. Then there was a dubious small press experience that in hindsight was a bad decision.
I would say my career truly took off in 2005 when, I finally decided to make writing a priority. I finaled in the GH that year. I finaled again in 2007 and won. That led to me working with Jenny Hutton at Mills and Boon who helped me write a publishable manuscript.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on another Harlequin Romance. This one involves an older heroine and a younger hero.
Of all of your characters, do you have a favorite you identify with and why?
I’m not sure there’s one particular character I identify with. I will say that there’s a little bit of me in every heroine. But I think that’s the same for many authors.
What is the best thing about your job as an author? What is the hardest thing?
The best part of being an author is actually being paid to write stories! The hardest part is actually writing the stories. I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the best I absolutely can. I’m continually aware of the fact that there are so many things about my craft and industry I still need to learn. In my mind, I’ve still got a long way to go before I can see myself as in the same league as a lot of my fellow Romance authors. Then again, they set the bar pretty damn high.
What kind of daily schedule do you have? What types of things interrupt your writing? Describe a day in the life of
My schedule is still evolving. When my son was younger, I would make a point of going to Starbucks for two hours a day to write. An associate suggested I do that because being outside the house took me away from familial distractions. (As an aside, I wouldn’t have sold if not for that advice.) Aftwards, I would be free to take care of other business like car pooling him to gymnastics, soccer, etc. Back then writing wasn’t so much about word count as it was making sure writing was a priority.
Now that I’m published, I spend a good chunk of my morning doing business and social networking. Then I write for a few hours until my son comes home. Then it’s fixing an early dinner for him before he leaves for gymnastics practice and catching up with household work. I try to aim for a minimum of 1K and a maximum of 2K – though I’m working diligently on upping that amount.
Next year I become an empty nester, so that schedule will change again. I’m hoping to start logging far more time actually writing.
If a movie was made about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
I’m pretty sure no one would want to watch a movie about my life as it is incredibly dull. Unless that is, I could rewrite my life, cast someone like Josh Duhamel as my love interest and portray myself as a gun toting soccer mom. If that was the case, then I think I’d like Sandra Bullock.
What is something you definitely want readers to know about you?
That I’m not nearly as sure of myself as I sound. Deep down I’m really a shy, introverted, insecure person who struggles to write every damn word. Oh, and that I have a total shameless crush on a soap opera actor named Jake Silbermann who no one has ever heard of.
When the time comes for you to retire from writing, what would you like your readers to remember the most about you and your writing?
That I wrote a good story. That I was someone who respected the craft and knew what she was doing.
What are you currently reading?
Salting Roses by Lorelle Marinello. I’m on page 1. Literally. I just picked it up from my TBR pile this morning.
I don’t have an absolute favorite. I’m currently in an 80s flashback mode. We got satellite radio awhile back and I’m reliving my big hair band days which means a lot of Quiet Riot and Loverboy. That and show tunes. Can’t have enough Broadway show tunes.
Before I let you go though, is there anything I forgot to ask that you want the readers and fans to know?
I love feedback! I want to know good and bad and how I can create stories that they want to read! I also want to say Thank You to all those people who have posted on my FB page, reviewed my books and especially those who read them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Barbara, thanks so much for making time to do this interview!
Where you can find Barbara: