Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone. I've got the wonderful Barbara Barrett as our guest today. Welcome Barbara.
Hello Angela, thanks for inviting me to your blog. Though my responses to your questions will share a little more about me with your readers, I learned new aspects of my personality as well.
That's great Barbara. I always like to start with a challenge. Can you tell me three words that describe yourself starting with A, B, and C.
A – adaptable
What are your three favorite things?
Spending time with my family
Going to the movies
Meals with friends
What for you is the best part of writing?
I come alive with the thrill and challenge of writing the first draft of a story, provided I’ve developed my characters, have a strong GMC which I understand, and have a pretty good handle on the major plot points. In other words, once I’m confident with the pre-planning, then the fun part begins, the creative part. The best part of creating is the organic discoveries, pieces of the plot or character development that serendipitously come together, even though you didn’t knowingly set out to link them, they just emerge from the organic whole.
What is the worst?
Discovering holes in the story’s logic and trying to figure out how to either fix or explain them. Sometimes this can be fun, like solving a mystery, but when these inconsistencies pop up after I think I’ve addressed everything, they can be a real downer.
How much is your character like you?
Reese is both driven and haunted by the guilt she carries about her father’s sudden death years before. A teen at the time, she lashed out at him just days before his death because he missed her birthday. She never had a chance to apologize. As a result, she has pursued her career goal, to become the top chef in the Big Apple, as her way of giving his name the celebrity his death deprived him of.
My own father died suddenly when I was in my early thirties. Unlike Reese, my last time with him hadn’t been acrimonious, I didn’t get to say good-bye to him. He called on a Monday night to tell me he was diabetic and had been hospitalized while they determined the appropriate treatment. He assured me he was fine. On Thursday morning, he suffered a massive stroke. Before I could get there (it was four-hour drive), another stroke and heart attack ended his life. For some time, I beat myself up for not taking his condition more seriously and arriving too late. In the years since, I’ve come to accept the idea that sometimes Life takes those good-byes out of your hands, but I used some of that regret to develop Reese’s remorse.
Will there be more books in your series, or can you tell us about any previous books?
And He Cooks Too was written as a stand-alone story, but since it has been released I’ve been asked by readers if I’m going to do a sequel. Right now, that’s not in the plans, because I’m working on the second and third parts of my first book, The Sleepover Clause, and I’ve just finished the edits of the first book in the Sullivan’s Creek series, Saved by the Salsa. Juggling the character development and plot points of two series is about all my brain can handle for now. But I’m not dismissing the idea of another chef book someday. Food for thought. (Smile)
Thank you for being with us today Barbara. And now for a tantalizing glimpse of And He Cooks Too
Three men, three lies. One thought it was for her own good, one did it for his own good, and the third nearly destroyed her career. Blacklisted by the city's finest restaurants, Chef Reese Dunbar must now put the resuscitation of her battered reputation in the hands of yet another man. The television experience Nick Coltrane's cooking show offers is her best option for restoring her name and becoming the Big Apple's super chef. But after giving her body and heart to him, her trust is put to the test when she discovers that Nick has lied about the real reason he brought her on board, and worse yet, Nick can't cook.
Louis Whatever-His-Name was a fool. If Reese, the runaway chef, had prepared the
few bites of pasta he’d been able to get down, she was a keeper. He’d figured that out even before she let down that gleaming cascade of dark hair. The Big Apple was full of good-looking women, but this one was extraordinary. Those wide-set, coffee brown eyes, pale neck and full, red lips could easily heat up any guy’s kitchen.
Wait a sec. Real chef. Great food. Beaten out of her job by someone with two minutes of television experience. She could be his ticket off the show! Either his replacement or the Inducement Leonie needed to take over as host. The timing of her exit couldn’t have worked better. Who was he to turn down his nose at Opportunity?
Couldn’t let her get away. He threw several bills at the cash register and sprinted for the door. There she was, near the curb, engaged in a futile attempt to flag down a cab. Even a looker like that couldn’t stop traffic at this busy hour.
He called out to her heaving back. “Miss? You probably don’t want company, but if I didn’t catch you now, I’d have to hire a private investigator to hunt you down.”
That got her attention. She pivoted to face him, taking one last swipe at the tiny river of mascara running down her cheek. “Excuse me?”
God, she was gorgeous, even with a tear-stained face. “Back there in the restaurant, I overheard you talking to that guy who must have been your boss. You’re a chef, right?”
“Yes. At least I used to be.”
“And they’re letting you go because you don’t have television experience?”
She blinked. Damn! He’d gone too far.
Her expression turned guarded. “Do you make a habit of eavesdropping on others’ conversations?”
“Sorry. I didn’t have much choice. Couldn’t get past you and your pal.”
She glanced back at the street. “Whoever you are, this isn’t a good time. I just want to get out of here, go home and fall apart.”
“Looks like you’ve already started that last part.”
“Cut the counseling act. I don’t want anything from anyone right now.” She resumed her attempt to snare a cab. Almost as an afterthought, she added, “Unless you’re here to offer me another job?”
“Although I sense sarcasm, as a matter of fact, that’s why I followed you.” He extended a hand as she jerked her head around to stare at him. “I’m Nick Coltrane. I host a cooking show called And He CooksToo—the executive producer’s title, not mine. Ever heard of us?”
She studied him a moment. “I don’t watch much television.”
He moved a little closer. “Even if you did, you’d be hard-pressed to find us. We’re on a local cable channel.” Geez, Nick, can you make it sound any lessenticing? “But we’ve built up a respectable following.”
She didn’t respond. But she didn’t dismiss him either as she kept scanning the street.
“Can’t offer you anything in front of the camera,” he went on. Couldn’t offer her anything period, since only Leonie and Jasper, their supervising producer slash director, did the hiring. But that was beside the point at the moment. “We do need a production assistant,
though. Probably doesn’t pay as much as the job you just left, but it would add television experience to your resume. Sounds like you’re going to need that to stay competitive.”
Barbara Barrett spent her professional career as a human resources analyst for Iowa state government, and that training has stayed with her in her writing of contemporary romance fiction. Now retired, Barbara spends her winters basking in the Florida sunshine and returns to her home state of Iowa in the summer to “stay cool.” She has published two romance novel with The Wild Rose Press, And He Cooks Too and Driven to Matrimony. A third, Saved by the Salsa, the first in the Sullivan’s Creek series, is coming later this year.
Website and blog: http://www.barbarabarrettbooks.com