Friday, December 05, 2008

Inspirational Suspense Author Barbara Phinney - Win a Book!

I am so pleased to have Barbara on my blog today. She has graciously agreed to pop in occasionally and answer any questions not already answered in her interview. Be sure to give her a warm welcome and leave a comment so you can be entered in the drawing to win her latest release, Deadly Homecoming. Welcome Barbara!

A little bit about Barbara:

After she retired early from the military, Barbara decided to turn her creativity toward writing. Romance was a natural choice for her, because she likes happy endings, but she was actually scared that inspirational romance would be too hard and confining. That changed when she put pen to paper. Everything came together easily, and wasn’t the least bit confining. She thanks God for that. Now she writes for Steeple Hill’s Love Inspired Suspense line of books, with Desperate Rescue out in September 07, and Keeping Her Safe in June 08 and Deadly Homecoming in December 08.Barbara spends some days volunteering at her children's school, some days writing, and every day feeding a muse that seems to be working all the time. She and her retired husband live in rural New Brunswick, Canada, and when they aren’t volunteering, they enjoy a little camping, and traveling and hanging out with family and friends.

Interview Questions:

Plug time! Please tell us a little about your latest release and why readers should run out and buy it as soon as it hits the shelves.
Deadly Homecoming is the story we all need to read. We’ve all done things we regret and in this story, my heroine must learn to face her past and accept it. Another interesting fact about this story is that the back cover blurb reflects the original story idea and not the story that was finally published. Everyone should read it to find out what the differences are!

How many full manuscripts did you write before you sold? Or if you’re pre-pubbed, how many have you written to date?
Too many really bad ones. Ones that had ‘cliched’ scrawled along the top when I got them back! Ahh, live and learn.

In your opinion, what’s the most fascinating thing about writing?
It’s exciting for me to just sit and let the (sometimes bad) words flow. It’s great when odd things that have popped into your work become important foreshadowing later on in the novel.

What’s something you can tell us about yourself that most people don’t know?
You mean a skeleton? Well, without disclosing those, I think that most people don’t know that I am really afraid of promotion and going to conferences. It’s a vicious circle, actually. I won’t go because I’m scared, and because I don’t go, I can’t conquer that fear.

When did you start writing for publication and what did people say when they found out?
I started to write for publication shortly after I retired from the military, because I wanted to make a little money. (Little being the word here) But I knew absolutely nothing about writing, except how to string words into a sentence. People have always supported me. I can’t remember anyone criticizing my choice of genre.

What is your favorite food?
Shepherd’s Pie with either custard tart or cheesecake for dessert. It’s hard for me to resist those foods.

Tell us a little about your family.
My husband and I have two teens, a girl aged 18 and a boy aged 16. We live in a very rural area of New Brunswick, Canada, on land that was my husband’s grandfather’s. All my in laws live close by, so we see each other frequently.

Who are your favorite authors?
Tough choice! I enjoy Linda Hall’s books and Rick Warren’s, too. It’s not so much about favourite authors, but favourite settings, plots and suspense. Give me a good book set in South America, or a plot like ‘on the run’, with lots of suspense, and I know I’ll enjoy it.

What are you reading now and what’s in your “to be read” pile?
I’ve just finished off The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges. I hope to delve back inot my LIS books now, especially those with exotic settings.

Do you set out to write each story with a particular theme or does the theme develop as the story does?
I set out writing a story with a particular setting and conflict in mind, then very shortly after, I have a theme, mostly because I need to know my ending before I finish. That’s because editors want to know it too. That must really irk ‘pantser’ writers, but I’m not one of them.

Do you have a particular method for tracking the details in your story? Can you tell us a little about this?
I have a couple of methods. First up, I will, if possible, fill out the art facts sheets on my characters. But I’ve started using index cards because I need a detailed synopsis anyway for submitting proposals. Index cards are handy and can be stuck up on the walls of my office. They’re handy for lists and scene blurbs.

Who has had the most influence on your life in general? In your writing life?
The Lord. He has helped me tremendously. Next in line is my family. They put things in perspective and keep me writing. Probably as an escape!

Do you have an agent? If yes, did you have the agent before you sold your first book or after? If you are yet to be published, you can skip the second part of the question.
No. I always tell people that I couldn’t even buy an agent!

What advice do you have for a beginning author?
Keep writing. Keep submitting. Don’t be put off by rejection. Deepen your emotional conflict by reading things like the Bible and self help books. They show themes and character depth if you study them. You don’t have to just have ‘purple prose’ or lots of fancy words to be published. Just tell a gripping story.

Any parting comments?
To the unpublished authors – never give up! Write those bad stories and learn form them. Try not to be slighted by rejections. They hurt, but move on.
To the readers – take the time to read and savour the books you enjoy. Share them and promote reading. It’s a way to stimulate our aging brains and relax our tired bodies. Tell the author how you feel about her books, but more importantly, tell the editor! They need to feel the pulse of readers in order to keep giving you what you want in great reads.

Thank you so much for being here, Barbara! It was a pleasure getting to you a little bit better.

All righty everyone, leave those comments so you can be entered in the drawing to win Deadly Homecoming.

You can find Barbara at


Jo said...

I enjoyed the interview and learning a little about Barbara. Since I have never read any of her books, I would certainly love to read it. Please enter me in the drawing.


Margaret Daley said...

Barbara, thanks for the interview. I love the title.

Cheryl Shaw said...

Thanks for the interview. I really enjoyed Desperate Rescue. Like Barbara, the setting in a book draws me and being from "the county" in Maine, it was set in my backyard. Can't wait to read the new one. Please enter me in the drawing.

Lina Gardiner said...

I'm a huge fan of your writing. And since you brought me into the fold of local authors, I count myself very lucky to be in such a savvy group of writers. You are fabulous at analyzing plots, and explaining what makes a book work, keep writing, my friend, you're doing a fabulous job!!

Anne MacFarlane said...

Thanks for the reminder to tell an author you like their books. I never do that and I don't know why. I think I'll start.

Martha A. said...

I have never read her books! I will have to look it up! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

Debbie said...

The interview was wonderful but what really hit me was when you said, "You don’t have to just have ‘purple prose’ or lots of fancy words to be published. Just tell a gripping story." You never know how God will use you. Earlier this week I was talking with an author and mentioned the fact that when I read my crit partners ms I feel mine is lacking because I don't have that fabulous of a vocabulary. So thank you Barbara I needed that!

Debbie Lynne

Pamela J said...

We’ve all done things we regret and need to learn to face our past and accept it so this book sounds like it will pierce many hearts and help us to move on. I'll be interested to see for myself what the difference is between the pages and the back cover blurb. I've not read any of Barbara's books and would love to have this opportunity. Thanks.
Pam Williams
cepjwms at yahoo dot com

Becky C. said...

I enjoyed reading the interview, and the book sounds very interesting!

Please enter me in the contest.

Thank you,

Becky C.


cpullum said...

I love cheesecake also! Count me in I would love to read the book!

donna said...

yay for cheesecake :)I love it... Mine always seem to crack though :)
anyway sounds like a great book!
I'd love to read it!

Kristi said...

I am interested to see how the back of the book differs from the actual story line! Please enter me in the drawing.

Bernard J Rossi said...

Great interview thanks. I am always interested in reading books by authors I am yet to discover because as well as the enjoyment I get from their books I also learn so much from them. Please enter me in the draw for this wonderful book

Bernard J Rossi
Author - Room 22 & Arlington Reef

Ausjenny said...

cool interview Please enter me if an aussie can enter.
I read Betrayed this year and its set in south America and has suspense in it.
I do agree reading does stimulate the brain thanks for writing books we can read.

ausjenny at gmail dot com

Cherie J said...

Wonderful interview! Would love to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.


Lynette Eason said...

Hey Everyone, Pamela J is the winner of Barbara's book. Thanks to all who entered, I appreciate it!