Barbara get comfortable and have a cup of chocolate with me and relax. I want to thank you for coming to my blog and having this interview. Now are you ready? So...
This is a difficult one. My life has been turbulent in the past couple of years, getting married and moving to another country, getting published, but more than a few people know. Don’t we usually tell the interesting things about ourselves first?
Tell me about your interests?
Aside from reading and writing (the obvious), I love traveling, discovering new places, their art and architecture. I’m dabbling a little in photography--some of the results you can see on my blog.
What is your favorite book, author?
It’s almost impossible to limit it to just one. I can’t seem to get enough of the archetypal “strong female character”, whether they are cops or in a completely different context. I love the early books in James Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series--women working together and focusing on their jobs and friendship without getting all edgy over a guy--but I’ve enjoyed many over the years.
What made you start writing? What made you write this story?
I think I’ve been making up stories before I could write. My parents used to read to me a lot when I was little, and I considered words to be magic. I couldn’t wait to be able read and write, and the first little story wasn’t far behind.
Autumn Leaves was inspired by the ongoing discussion on gay rights and marriage equality, everywhere in the world. Often it’s frustrating when you see who stays silent, or what kind of misinformation goes around. How do you bridge that gap? What if not everything in your life was as self-evident as it seems to be? Those are some questions addressed in the story.
What time period is this story? What genre?
Autumn Leaves, and the follow-up, Winter Storm, are contemporary. One specific event regarding the progress of LGBT rights is mentioned in the latter. While the series is set in a fictional town, you can pinpoint the time pretty well.
The genre--a reviewer called it “high drama romance” which I liked. I usually tag it “lesbian romance”. There are some suspense elements.
I recently learned that some customers of a German online store who bought Autumn Leaves also bought 50 Shades of Grey, which tells you something the complexity of readers. They are not bound to just one genre, or even characters of the same gender or orientation as they are.
Are you interested in other genres?
I like romance and mysteries/thrillers, so both is on the schedule for the future! As for reading, I can be tempted into dystopian and also historical--for research, I read pretty much anything.
Give me an Excerpt and brief Synopsis of this book.
Two women with a very different background, at different stages in their lives, fall in love, but the consequences aren’t all happy. One of them has a family and never imagined she would fall for another woman--they other one came to town to escape a relationship, not to start one. How many changes can individuals, a family, a town handle?
“We’re still friends, right?” Even as she’d said the words,
Rebecca knew there was something not quite right with them.
Callie leaned back against the kitchen counter. “Are we going
to talk about it?” She didn’t clarify what exactly she meant.
Rebecca didn’t need her to.
“I was going to say...This is working pretty well. Could I stay all
weekend and work here, I mean, if you’re not expecting anyone?”
“I don’t. I mean, yeah, of course you can stay.”
“I could cook.”
She couldn’t do this, couldn’t say how she didn’t want to talk
about “it,” how she instead wanted to do it again and thought
about it all day (with the small interruption of her husband telling
her the pregnancy test in Dina’s room was no big deal). When
Rebecca got up from her chair, Callie stayed in the same place, a
deer-in-the-headlights look on her face. She stopped right in front
of Callie, reaching out to brush a strand of red hair away from her
face. Callie looked up at her with an expression that was as much
trepidation as it was anticipation.
Rebecca leaned in and then simply embraced her, a questionable
compromise of guilty pleasure. Holding her close was hardly
innocent when she knew that Callie was willing to go so much
“I wasn’t kidding when I asked you to help me,” she whispered.
“I can’t go back. I can’t go forward. I don’t know what to
Who is the Hero or Heroine? Can we interview them?
Callie is an author who has written several children’s and adult books. She’s pretty much used to being interviewed. Rebecca never thought she’d talk about her life on the internet, but after what she did in church, it’s not such a big deal anymore…
Have them describe themselves to us.
Rebecca: Brunette, tall. Doing okay for someone close to forty…I think.
Callie: My ex (Asha, not the crazy one) calls me cute. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment for a grown woman, but so be it.
What motivates your hero? What do they want? Is the hero having a hard time?
Initially, both of them would have preferred to just stay in their comfort zone, live the peaceful life in a small town. Callie has a book to finish, Rebecca has a reputation to lose. Eventually, the costs of avoiding conflict are becoming too high, and they have to reevaluate their situation, and relationship.
Who would you get to star in a movie to be them?
The subject came up earlier in a twitter exchange, where I was asked if I didn’t want actresses with the same orientation as the characters. That question had me so baffled I wrote a blog post about it! http://barbarawinkes.blogspot.ca/2013/01/cant-think-straight.html
I think good actors can do anything, and I’d look for those whose work I’ve enjoyed in drama and romantic movies, and, of course, a certain type.
For Rebecca: Sandra Bullock, Marisa Tomei, Ashley Judd, Rachel Weisz and Angie Harmon.
Aubrey Dollar, Emma Stone, Julie Deslauriers, Catherine Proulx-Lemay and Amanda Seyfried would be great in the role of Callie.
What is next for you?
Finishing book 3, and then go back to the drawing board. Before I started submitting, I had several stories in different stages between “first draft done” and “ready for submission”, so there’s always one to work on.
In the summer, there’s a longer trip to Europe planned, to visit family in Germany and probably discover another country (pick one that neither my wife nor I have been to yet).
Do you have another book you are writing?
It’s book three of the Autumn Leaves series. It’s rather interesting to imagine life in spring while outside, the temperature is in the minus twenties (that’s in Celsius).
Tell us about it.
There’s a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of Winter Storm, so that storyline will be resolved. Callie has to answer a question that has haunted her for a long time before she even met Rebecca. Rebecca, on the other hand, is more secure in her newfound identity, but she has to learn that not everyone around her is.
What is the book you wish you had written?
Either Second Chance by James Patterson or The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Both have compelling female characters in very different settings. I love the idea in Patterson’s series that women get the job done, that they care about one another more than the next date or pair of shoes. Atwood’s dystopian vision is beyond frightening, especially since some of it is close to reality.
What is the best part of the writing process? What is the worst?
The best: Jumping headfirst into a story, with all possibilities and the characters and their drama fresh in your mind, and on the screen. The feeling when you can’t wait to get to the computer, because you want to know what happens next.
The worst: When you have no idea what happens next, and the characters are sulking and won’t tell you!
Where can we buy your book?
The e-book can be purchased directly from Eternal Press http://eternalpress.biz/book.php?isbn=9781615727964 (Winter Storm will be available from February 1st), for the paperback Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Autumn-Leaves-Barbara-Winkes/dp/1615727973/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1356105682&sr=8-1 (or wherever you are, .de, .co.uk, …), B & N, etc.
Where can we find you?
I’m on twitter (https://twitter.com/demeter94) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/barb.winkes). Come and say Hi when you’re there!
Do you have a blog? Do you have a page?
I’m blogging at Word Affair (www.barbarawinkes.blogspot.ca). January is packed with fab guests, and in February, there’ll be a giveaway with the launch of the new book, so don’t hesitate to stop by.
Did you do a video trailer for your book? Do you plan to do one?
You can find the trailer for Autumn Leaves on my Amazon Author Page (www.amazon.com/author/barbarawinkes), one for Winter Storm is in the works.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Thank you for having me on your blog today--and thanks to the readers who have picked up a copy of Autumn Leaves to walk in the world of Callie and Rebecca. There’s more to come.