Thanks for having me back again, this time to spotlight Driven to Matrimony. The cover of this book is done cartoon style at my request, to reflect the fast-paced humor of the story. The challenge was to insert enough depth to my characters to show why they were submitting themselves to what by any standard would be considered ridiculous actions and to make the reader care that they succeeded. I have yet to write anything too dramatic, although that day may come. I prefer the light touch. But comedy isn’t easy, especially comedy on the page as opposed to the screen or stage.
I have to tell you Barbara, the cover was the first thing that drew my attention to your book. It's quiet unique and you're right it really sums up the book. Which was great by the way. I love the little twist in the end.
Tell me three words that describe yourself starting with A, B, and C.
This was my second attempt to come up with three words. And I thought the first time around was hard!
A – analytical
B - blessed
C - caring
What are your three favorite things?
Dinner by the water
Receiving fan mail
Playing Mah Jongg
Is there a process you stick to, or do you just write as it hits you?
My writing process continues to evolve, even after completing several manuscripts. My goal is to write faster and smarter. Doing that, at least in my current approach, requires me to slow down first and set down a clear-cut GMC (goals, motivations, and conflicts), develop my characters’ traits and back stories and create a plot line. The plot line starts with exactly that, a line, the inciting incident on the left, the conclusion on the right and a few points in between to take the story from left to right. The plot line grows into several written paragraphs, preferably one per chapter or section. Once the rough draft is finished, I lay out the manuscript in a table, scene by scene. This gets updated after each revision so I can track page numbers. Sounds like a lot of process and detail doesn’t it? But once I’ve got this much structure, I can just relax and let the story flow.
Was there any particular inspiration for your characters or story?
My tag line is “romance at work.” In my former life I was a human resources management specialist, i.e., I studied jobs. Various jobs fascinated me more than others, thus far, interior designers, chefs, general contractors, forensic accountants. These occupations have been the inspiration for my stories. The challenge has been to tone down the HR analyst in me so that I only pepper my stories with just a little occupational detail and concentrate more on the characters and their conflicts. I used to write multi-page audit reports, at times devoting paragraphs to detailed descriptions of single tasks. Now, those tasks have to serve only as background to enhance the story. I recently finished the latest draft of the second book of my Sullivan’s Creek series. It focuses on the construction of a residential complex. As luck would have it, we built our own dream house at the same time. I observed the workers throughout the dig and framing and pumped my husband with numerous questions about the entire process. When it came to the chapter in the story where the crew framed one of the houses, I discovered I’d written pages describing that process alone. Brilliant work, really, but in the end, only one paragraph remained in the draft.
Favorite item of clothing in your closet?
I have two knit t-shirts from Land’s End that I wear whenever I want to get really comfortable. Since one has short sleeves and the other long sleeves, it depends on the weather which I choose. These are my go-to tops whenever I’m facing a challenging writing task, so I tend to wear these a lot. Wearing comfortable clothes is a tip I’d give new writers. If you’re not accustomed to sitting in front of a computer several hours at a time, ease of movement helps you get acclimated.
Thank you for your time Barbara. And now here's a brief blurb and the cute cover we mentioned earlier. Readers, make sure you follow the links and pick up a copy yourself.
Diana Maitland spends almost as much time extricating her movie star mother from personal messes as she invests in her forensic accounting job. So much time, her job may no longer be there once Dina returns from cleaning up her mother's latest fiasco, her engagement to a twenty-year- old film student. Vowing it's the last time she puts herself on clean-up duty, Dina sets off for South Carolina to stop the pending nuptials and along the way, almost literally, runs into the father of the groom, Ben Cutler. Single father Ben can ill afford time away from his business, with his competitors threatening to appropriate his new product, yet his son takes priority. Little do they know when they team up to prevent the nuptials they will wind up in a more personal alliance of their own.
Website and blog: http://www.barbarabarrettbooks.com