Monday, April 22, 2013

Interviewing Barbara Bretton about Just Like Heaven (and a Giveaway)

What inspired you to become an author?

I can't remember a time when I didn't know that I would be a writer one day and that I would see a book of mine in print. I knew it in my bones even as a child.

Do you have a specific writing style?

Easy, conversational, emotional.

Do you write in different genres?

Yes, I do: women's fiction, series romance, mainstream romance, paranormal, cozy mysteries, mainstream, non-fiction.

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

Women's fiction with a strong romance at the core.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

Actually I didn't. My title for JUST LIKE HEAVEN was FRENCH KISS. My publisher requested a change and we agreed on the former.

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

I like to have a title in place (even if it's only for me) right from the start. It works as an emotional road map for me as I build the book.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

That we're more alike than we are different. That love really does make everything possible. That the second time around can surpass even your wildest expectations,.

What books/authors have influenced your life?

Laurie Colwin, Little Women, Jane Eyre, Nancy Drew, Vicki Barr, Cherry Ames, Leo Tolstoy, Margaret Mitchell, Lawrence Block, Robert B. Parker, Sue Grafton, Bertrice Small, Victoria Holt, Maeve Binchy, Betty Smith, among others.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Easy question: Bertrice Small! Sunny took me under her writerly wing in that fragile honeymoon period between the sale of my first book and its appearance in print. She taught me the importance of professionalism, love of craft, dedication to high standards, and what friendship is all about. First I fell in love with her books, then I fell in love with her as a person and dear friend and mentor. Every young writer should be so lucky.

What book are you reading now?

The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language by Natalie Goldberg

What books are in your to read pile?

Rita Moreno: A Memoir; So Pretty It Hurts (Bailey Weggins Mystery); Hit Me (Lawrence Block); A Week in Winter (Maeve Binchy); Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald; The Quilter's Homecoming (Jennifer Chiaverini) and many more

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The fact that it never gets easier. Each day is a brand new challenge. You would think after all this time I'd have the basics nailed, but I don't. There's always something new and important to be learned and then applied to my writing.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

The late Laurie Colwin whose work combined humor, literary elegance, and a deep belief in romantic love.

Do you have to travel much to do research for your books?

I pretty much stick to the areas I know and love. Although any excuse to revisit Maine is good enough for me!

Who designed the cover of your latest book?

I did.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Advice can be a dangerous thing but here you go: if you're just starting out, write your book before you start marketing it. Move your story from page one through to the end. You will fare much better out there in the marketplace with a finished book than you will with a synopsis, a few chapters, and the promise of a finished novel somewhere in the unknowable future.

Read even more than you write! Read everything but pay special attention to the genre you're writing in.

What's that you say? You don't actually like the genre you're writing in? STOP RIGHT THERE! If you don't like to read it, you won't love to write it and your readers will know. Write what you love to read. Write the book you'd love to read. Passion and enjoyment can carry a reader over the rough spots.

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Books & Tales:

Just Like Heaven
Barbara Bretton

Genre: Contemporary romance/women's fiction

Publisher: Free Spirit Press
previously published in print by Berkley

ISBN: 9781301177493

Number of pages: 320

Word Count: Approximately 90K

Book Description:

Because love can happen anywhere . . .

Even in New Jersey!

A beautiful morning in early spring. What could possibly go wrong?

Just returned from a buying trip in England, Kate French was jet-lagged and exhausted and running on fumes. She was already running late for an appointment but a wave of dizziness forced her to pull into the shopping mall parking lot in search of a quick fix of caffeine and protein.

When the pain first hit, she ignored it and continued racing across the parking lot toward the food court. But within moments she realized something was terribly wrong as her wobbly legs gave out and she dropped to the ground. The last thing she remembered as she started to fade away was the guy in the Grateful Dead T-shirt who held her in his arms and promised he'd never let her go.

Mark Kerry didn't think of himself as a hero but the story of a Good Samaritan who had saved a woman's life in the parking lot of the Princeton Promenade was attaining the status of suburban legend. Determined to return a stack of documents that had been left behind when the ambulance swept her away, he called in some favors and tracked her down at home one week later.

The moment Kate saw him again, the world and everyone in it disappeared. She knew his voice, the smell of his skin, the way his hands felt against her skin, the taste of his mouth, everything that mattered. All the things she would ever need to know about him.

And then she took another look . . .


*TOP PICK!* Bretton's lyrical writing enthralls from the first page as she immerses readers in a tale of romance and new beginnings. --Romantic Times

Bretton has few peers among contemporary romance novelists when it comes to combining escapist romance with everyday, messy reality. She’ll make you believe that love can happen anywhere – or make you grateful that you’ve been fortunate enough to find it.  --Susan Scribner, The Romance Reader

This one will keep you reading past your bedtime. --Elizabeth Darrach, BellaOnline

*STARRED REVIEW* Very few romance writers create characters as well developed and realistic as Bretton's. Her books pull you in and don't let you leave until the last word is read.  --Shelley Mosley, Booklist

About the Author:

Barbara Bretton is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of more than 40 books. She currently has over ten million copies in print around the world. Her works have been translated into twelve languages in over twenty countries.

Barbara has been featured in articles in The New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Romantic Times, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Herald News, Home News, Somerset Gazette,among others, and has been interviewed by Independent Network News Television, appeared on the Susan Stamberg Show on NPR, and been featured in an interview with Charles Osgood of WCBS, among others.

Her awards include both Reviewer's Choice and Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times; Gold and Silver certificates from Affaire de Coeur; the RWA Region 1 Golden Leaf; and several sales awards from Bookrak. Ms. Bretton was included in a recent edition of Contemporary Authors.

Barbara loves to spend as much time as possible in Maine with her husband, walking the rocky beaches and dreaming up plots for upcoming books.

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Debby said...

Great interview. Amazing how long you knew you wanted to be a writer.
debby236 at gmail dot com