Welcome to this week's Author Spotlight. We have an amazing, New York Times Today Bestselling Author with us this week. Let's welcome Barbara Freethy.
Welcome Barbara. As a writer myself, I know the writing world can be very challenging. The writing world requires talent and a lot of creativity.
Barbara, tell the readers a little more about yourself and your work.
I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and write contemporary romance, women's fiction and romantic suspense novels.
How many books have you written?
I just finished writing my 30th novel!
What inspired you to start writing?
I was a huge reader growing up. My mom filled our house with books, overflowing on every shelf, so it was a natural progression to wanting to write my own stories. I’m just lucky enough that I get to do it for a living.
What's your favorite book that you've got published?
My favorite book tends to be whatever I've worked on last! That means I’m currently favoring SILENT RUN and SILENT FALL, my Sanders Brothers duo as well as GARDEN OF SECRETS, the fifth book in my Angel’s Bay series. All three were released in the past couple of weeks.
Typically, how long does it take you to write a book?
Beginnings take the longest for me. Lots of decisions to be made about character and plot. But once I'm halfway through the story, it starts to roll. On average, after I have the initial idea, it probably takes me 3-4 months to write. Then, of course, I usually go back and rewrite. It's a very dynamic process.
Do you have a set schedule where you dedicate time to writing?
I never had the luxury of a set schedule when I started writing because I had a baby and a toddler, and they dictated the schedule. They're a lot older now, so I'm starting to settle into more of a routine. But when I'm on deadline, I write all the time!
Where do your ideas for your books come from?
I take inspiration from everywhere. ALMOST HOME takes place in a Kentucky horse racing town and draws from my family’s experience with horse racing. A lot of my books take place in the Bay Area where I live and the Angel’s Bay series is a fictionalized northern California coastal town.
In your opinion, what's the hardest part of writing a book?
Finishing! Making the actual product match the vision in my head. That's the challenge.
What's the title of the book you're working on now?
I’m working on a few things – an original novel which is currently untitled. I'm also working on the eBook release of my next romantic suspense duo with Taken and Played which should debut mid-October.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
It changes with every book. And whatever the initial seed is, it changes about fifty times in the process of writing, so sometimes I barely remember where I got the original idea.
Do you plot out your stories or just write it as it comes?
I love to just write, but I usually have a few key plot points mapped out before I begin. But for me outlining takes away some of the fun of discovery when I just let the characters act and talk and see what happens. But "winging it" usually involves a lot of rewriting, too.
What advice would you pass on to other authors who are planning on publishing a book?
Write what you love. It seems simplistic, but I think authors can get carried away with what’s selling or trendy. Some of my recent success has come from books that probably wouldn’t be considered en vogue, but I really loved writing them. And second, don't give up. It takes a lot of endurance and stubborn persistence to write a full-length novel. But getting to the end is a beautiful feeling.