Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Interview with Kathleen Y'Barbo and giveaway!!!!

Kathleen is giving away an autographed copy of her book. Please include your contact information for a chance to win. If you don't and if neither Kathleen or I recognize your "name" the entry will be disqualified. 

Have you always like to write?
Always! At least as long as I can remember. I’m that teenager who couldn’t wait to write research papers in high school. Yes, a writing nerd!

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
It started with reading. My dad was a shift worker, which meant there were times when my mom was left trying to keep four active kids quiet while he slept during the day. Trips to the library were a regular staple of those years, and reading became a habit that I never gave up.

What inspired you to write your first book?
I wrote a half-dozen books before receiving a contract for my first published book, a novella called Saving Grace from the historical romance collection Yellow Roses. My inspiration for Saving Grace was a story in my own family history, a tale of a young widow in 1850s Texas who persevered after great loss. In my story, of course, she gets the second chance at romance that my ancestor did not. But then, that’s the fun of fiction.

What does your writing process look like?
Have you ever watched while someone tries to jump start a car that’s not running? First you stand around and see if you can figure out what’s going on. Then you get out the jumper cables, put everything in place, and jolt the engine to life. Yep. That’s about what it’s like for me. A slow start with lots of figuring out what’s happening and then finally a bolt of insight and I’m off and running.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Yes, the waiting! I don’t know that readers see how much waiting happens during the publishing process. First there is the waiting for a contract and then there’s waiting for the editor to return changes. Then there’s the wait for the cover and finally the wait for the book to hit the shelves. I’m exhausted just thinking about it!

Do you have a favorite writing conference to attend? What is it?
The American Christian Fiction Writers Conference is my favorite one to attend. It’s like a family reunion for me, and I look forward to my yearly visits with familiar faces. Add to this an always stellar lineup of classes and an atmosphere of worship and prayer, and I’m already anticipating next year. Have I mentioned Ted Dekker is the keynote? Oh, and the conference is going to be in Nashville, and get this, the first day? It’s my birthday!

How did you decide upon the title of FIREFLY SUMMER?
FIREFLY SUMMER was actually the title my publisher, Redbud Press, came up with. For more than ten years of this book’s life, it was called LIGHTNING IN A JAR after the image that inspired the story: a mason jar filled with fireflies.

How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names of character in FIREFLY SUMMER based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
Names are huge! I cannot write a book without properly naming my people. Sometimes the names change after a few chapters, but not often. I rarely care about the meaning of the names, but I do love how they sound and the image the name gives me when I say it. As to naming resources, for historicals I go to historical records like the census for ideas. For contemporary stories, I keep a list of names I like and use them as I feel the character fits. Sessa Lee, my heroine in FIREFLY SUMMER is a name that remained on the list for several years before finding a home here.

Are any experiences in FIREFLY SUMMER based on personal experiences? Did you draw upon any stories or movies for inspiration for the novel?
Any writer who says they don’t draw on personal experience probably isn’t telling the truth. I collect experiences like I collect character names and plot ideas, and several of them have been tossed into the mix here. One thing I drew on heavily was my little home town of Port Neches, Texas. While fictional Sugar Pine isn’t the same town, it certainly has similar characteristics. Then there’s the matriarch of Sugar Pine and the Pies, Books & Jesus Book Club, the fabulous Bonnie Sue. It is no coincidence that my mother has the same name. The similarities? I’m not telling!

If you could cast your characters in the Hollywood adaptation of your book, who would play your characters?
How fun! I had to do this when I turned in the art sheet to my publisher, so answering this question is easy. My cowboy-turned-surgeon hero, Dr. Dalton Brown, would definitely be played by country singer Blake Shelton. Sessa Lee is an older version of Miranda Lambert. For Bonnie Sue, queen of the Pies, Books & Jesus Book Club? She’s a cross between Florence Henderson and a very sassy Texas version of Helen Mirren.

What was it like coming back to the familiar characters for this novel in the series? Do you foresee any more stories for this family of characters?
Oh yes! The Pies, Books & Jesus Book Club ladies are definitely coming back for more stories after FIREFLY SUMMER. The next installment of the series, a novella called AUTUMN SKYE, which will be included in the contemporary romance collection THE BOY NEXT DOOR releases in October. Next spring another full-length tale of the book club ladies, tentatively titled SPRING FLING, will give Sessa’s best friend Coco her own story.

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I never go looking for reviews of my books, and I only read reviews that are sent to me by friends, my agent or my publisher. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reviewers stating a negative opinion about anyone’s book, mine included. However, if the book is already in print, there’s not much I can do to change anyone’s opinion, so I prefer not to read those reviews.

What book are you reading now?
I’m reading several books for endorsement by wonderful writers. I’m thrilled to report that there are some fabulous books coming out in 2016, and while I cannot name them now, I know readers will love them.

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?
I am so blessed to already be doing it! When I’m not writing, I am a litigation paralegal at a law firm. I love my work—both in the writing world and in the legal field—and I cannot believe I get to do both.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I’m working on the third installment of the Pies, Books & Jesus Book Club series, tentatively titled SPRING FLING. I’m so excited about this project because it’s a tale of love lost and found and of two stubborn people whose children just won’t give up on them. Oh, and there are cowboys, football players, and probably a funnel cake or two.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Yes, thank you!! Without readers, who would read my books?? Seriously, writing is such a solitary pursuit, and I hear from so many wonderful folks who provide such encouragement to me. You bless my socks off, readers. Know you are MUCH appreciated.

Bestselling author Kathleen Y’Barbo is a multiple Carol Award and RITA nominee of more than sixty novels with almost two million copies in print in the US and abroad. A 
tenth-generation Texan, she has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award as well a Reader’s Choice Award and is the winner of the 2014 Inspirational Romance 
of the Year by Romantic Times magazine.  

Kathleen is a paralegal, a proud military wife, and an expatriate Texan cheering on her beloved Texas Aggies from north of the Red River. Connect with her through social media at www.kathleenybarbo.com.  

Sadie’s Secret, a Secret Life of Will Tucker historical romantic suspense novel, is in stores now: 


For a sweet taste of Southern fiction, look for Firefly Summer, the first in the contemporary Pies, Books & Jesus Book Club series out now from Redbud Press!


Lucy said...

Thank you for such a nice interview with Kathleen. I've never read her books, but I would love to.

Kathleen said...

I have never read Kathleen's books but I love the cover of Firefly Summer. The cover brings back memories of childhood summers catching fireflies. The book sounds like an interesting read. clarkkc at embarqmail dot com.

Stella Potts said...

What a great interview. I was especially interested in the way you name your characters. Catching Fireflies sounds like a really good book. Thank you for the opportunity to win. stella dot potts77 at gmail dot com

MT said...

Love the cover and title Firefly Summer. Excited to have this on my bookshelf

Heidi Kortman said...

Hello Kathleen and Laura. I like the simplicity of the book cover. Very well designed.

sharon :) said...

Love the "Firefly Summer"; we certainly have many fireflies--or lightning bugs-- around here! Thank you!

Sharon :)

Marie Bast said...

Loved the interview with Kathleen. Excellent questions that let us get to know her better. I especially liked where she answered that writing was like jump starting a car and applied it to writing a book. Cute! Liked that analogy. Really like the title, Firefly Summer. Thanks for sharing, Kathleen. Marie Bast crossofhope@mchsi.com.

Laura McClellan said...

I loved reading this interview--especially got a kick out of seeing who she'd cast as her characters in a movie. :-) The series sounds like fun.


Kathleen Friesen said...

Great interview, Laura! And it's lovely to "meet" you, Kathleen. I love your comparison of your writing process to jump-starting a car. I work the same way, with perhaps more of the standing around wondering what to do. I haven't made it to a writers conference yet, but ACFW tops my wish list. And I would love to read your book! kf1928(at)telus(dot)net.

Ema said...

This is a great time of the year to curl up with a new read!
EmaBdot (at) gmail dot com
Ema in Prescott AZ

lollipops said...

congratulations to Heidi!