Saturday, May 09, 2009

Special Writers' Weekend Interview with Barb Meyers

Welcome to a special author interview! Fellow Samhain author Barb Meyers is here to chat about her latest release...enjoy!

Hi Barb! Can you tell us a little about your background?

Originally, I’m from Southwest Missouri, but I moved around a lot growing up. I’ve lived in Southwest Florida for thirty years. I’m married and have two grown children. Since 2003, I’ve worked part-time as a Starbucks barista. It’s a nice way to break up the lonely life of a writer and it’s given me at least one interesting story idea as well.

When did you first begin writing? Was there an event or moment in your life that triggered your desire to write?

My first attempt at writing novel-length fiction was in the late 1980’s. The event that triggered it? Not terribly original, I’m afraid. After reading a horribly written romance novel, I threw it across the room when I’d finished it and declared, “I can write better than that.”

LOL...sounds like the same way many an author has been inspired! So tell us about your latest writing project or published title...

My romantic comedy, A MONTH FROM MIAMI, came out in print in February. I’m currently working on a sort of whimsical urban fantasy—the story idea inspired by working at Starbucks as well as another romance featuring the twin brother of A MONTH FROM MIAMI’s hero.

What advice would you give to new writers just starting out?

Read. Read. Read. Then read some more. Study the books you read to see how stories develop. Analyze them for characterization, goal, motivation, conflict, style, etc. It takes a while to develop your own voice. For a long time no one could explain to me exactly what “voice” was. When you develop your own voice, you’ll know it. It’s more than a writing style. It’s the unique way you convey a story that is yours and yours alone. Beware sabateurs which can come in the form of critique partners, family, friends, writer’s groups, sometimes even yourself. Not everyone wants you to succeed. In the end remember it’s your story and no one else’s. Listen to your gut.

What kinds of books do you like to read? Who is your favorite author?

I love well-written romantic suspense and a lot of women’s fiction. Not sure I have a favorite author, but a few that spring to mind are Susan Elizabeth Phillips (no one does romantic comedy as well); Isla Dewar; Patricia Gaffney; Elizabeth Berg; Lisa Gardner; Tami Hoag. I just read Karen Robards’ GUILTY. She is one of my all-time favorite authors.

What do you find most difficult about writing? What do you find most exciting or rewarding?

I’ve always been challenged by the business end of writing. I’m not focused enough and I tend to jump from one project to another when a new idea presents itself. A new idea is exciting to me and I can’t wait to get started and strike while the iron is hot, and often before I’ve completely thought it through. I don’t recommend this to anyone. It’s entirely frustrating.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block? If so, what do you do about it?

I don’t call it writer’s block, but if I’m struggling with something writing-related, I walk the beach which is 3-4 miles from my house. Or I walk my dog or bike ride. Get up and get away from your computer or notebook and do something entirely unrelated to writing. Personally, I think exercise pumps the blood back to your brain and not having any other distractions allows your mind to wander and/or focus on the block and helps you come up with a solution or a new direction.

I think if the beach was 3 miles from my house I might not have writers' block either!! What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book(s)?

That the characters become real to me. I recall an idea I had for a book I’ve not yet written. The heroine was a songwriter. I composed lyrics for a song and tried to explain to my daughter that I hadn’t actually written them. The character had.

What is your favorite movie? Did it inspire your writing in any way?

It’s hard to pick one movie. As Good As It Gets is a wonderful example of “show don’t tell.” It demonstrates phenomenal character growth. I loved Something’s Gotta Give. So clever and fun. Terms of Endearment, Beaches and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off come to mind. The first two because they can really touch me emotionally. Ferris because it’s just pure fun. I think that’s what good writing does—entertains and touches the emotions. Moonstruck is another one of my favorites.

Barb, thanks for being here today. Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

Only that my goal as a writer is to write the absolute best book I can write and never to offer anything to my readership that I am not personally satisfied with. I stand behind my books and would personally offer a money-back guarantee to anyone who is disappointed in my work.
Thank you!

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