We all take chances when we jump into a new romance. We could be rejected. We could fall in love and get our heart broken. We could learn that they look NOTHING like their photo from the online dating site. After reading Barbara Barth’s novel Danger in her Words, you’ll be adding another list: We could be stalked by a serial killer.
Danger in her Words combines several different aspects so it has something for everyone. Obviously, there’s romance and suspense. But there’s also a mini comedy of errors and a few crazy girlfriends that result in plenty of laughter. Also, this is a “story within a story” where the reader is immersed in two world: the world of Sue, a lonely widowed writer, and Jamie, the character in the romance she’s writing. And, since this is Barbara Barth, there are a few canine sidekicks!
Paperback: 238 pages
Publisher: Gilbert Street Press (February 12, 2014)
Twitter hashtag: #BarbaraBarth
Danger in her Words is available as a print and e-book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and IndieBound.
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Danger in her Words, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes this Tuesday, May 13 at 12:00 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
About the Author:
Barbara Barth likes a lot of things: turquoise jewelry, surfing the 'net, and margaritas, to name a few. Then there are the dogs. As many as her house can hold! This Georgia antique dealer and jewelry maker published a hobby newsletter for 13 years. After her husband died she recorded the year that followed in a series of essays. When she isn't writing you can find her at the local thrift shops or pounding another nail into the wall to hang the paintings she can't resist. She published a memoir The Unfaithful Widow and Danger in her Words is her debut novel.
Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
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-----Interview by Jodi Webb
WOW: How did you decide to make the jump from memoir to fiction? Was it difficult plunging into a new world?
Barbara: An experience I had at a writers’ convention spurred me on to try fiction. I used that embarrassing moment to come home and start writing something new. Much the same as my character Susan in the book. I shelved the project for a year to bring it out last summer and finish it, as a birthday present to myself. It was one of those BIG birthdays and I needed a bit of naughty fun to get me over that hump.
Writing fiction was harder than I imagined and starting with a novel, rather than a short story, was a bit overwhelming for me. I am used to writing 1200 to 1800 word essays then weaving them together to form a book, like I did in my memoir The Unfaithful Widow, or using them as stand-alone pieces on blogs. The chapters in Danger are short, similar in style to my essay format, which I hope makes for a fast-paced read.
When I write about my own experiences, I feel more in control. I know the story. With Danger I had an idea and the story grew into itself. To make it more difficult, Danger is a book within a book, which meant two separate story lines and groups of characters, each with their own past and present. I confused myself some days trying to keep up with everything.
WOW: What was the most difficult thing about writing fiction?
Barbara: Now I’m going to blush. I had to get my naughty up and running for this novel. Writing about sex was difficult – how much to include, what to leave out. I don’t read erotica and I did not want to write an erotic novel. Yet I chose a storyline that had to be sexy and fun. My character Susan, a dog-column writer and essayist, wants to try something new. She decides to write erotica. As a widow who hasn’t dated in three years, she has trouble finding the words she needs for her character Jamie. Her idea of research leads to the suspense part of the book. The sex turned out just as I’d hoped. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is light-hearted, not too explicit, but teasing. It was also important to me for the reader to understand that underneath all of the surface talk about sex, Susan and Jamie are strong women who have dealt with grief and pieced themselves back together to have creative lives. They are a little flawed, vulnerable, but full of life and laughter. They ultimately want to find a meaningful relationship. Jamie knows this, Susan is in the learning process. I wanted them to be the type of women you’d like to be friends with.
Keeping the story plausible was challenging. There are some plot twists and I wanted to be sure everything I wrote fell into place to make sense. I almost forget an important component in Jamie’s story, the arc before the ending. I worked hard to keep balance with a mix of humor and suspense. Some bad things happen, but I didn’t want to make the book dark, so I treaded lightly in those places.
WOW: What is the most rewarding part of writing fiction?
Barbara: I love the freedom to create in fiction. My fantasy farmhouse is where Susan lives. Her house is full of antiques and art I love. The details that make the landscape of the novel were fun to write. I could let my imagination take me places I’d like to be. I am a big talker, so dialog is very important to me. I like to create conversations that move the story along, give insight into the characters, and make the reader feel as if they are eavesdropping or joining in with the fun. Dialog is a great way to show, not tell, important aspects of the book and draw a reader in. The conversations between the girlfriends in Danger were a hoot to write and not unlike some I have had over Margaritas on nights when we like to be silly.
After all was written and done, I have to say I loved writing this book. It was an adventure unlike any I have taken. I think I am hooked on writing fiction now.
WOW: For your memoir you turned to your own life. What did you draw on for inspiration for Danger in her Words?
Barbara: This is where I put my head in my hands and say, oh my. Some might say the character Susan is me, a younger version. She is a widow who dated initially when her husband died, then lost herself in her writing, and hasn’t dated in three years. Susan has one dog, I have six, and I’m still not dating, so it can’t possibly be me! There is a quote in the front of the book I love - Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. I’ll leave anything past that to your own conclusions.
I have noticed a theme in my writing - widows and dogs. I do write about rebuilding a good life after a loss and how creativity, friendships, and dogs are healing factors to mend a broken heart. Perhaps it is what I know best. My memoir was my personal experience and growth. My blog posts are centered around being on my own again with a pack of rescue dogs. I turned to widows as my characters in fiction. I hope what I write, either from real life experiences or in fiction, shows that you can be happy again after a major life upheaval.
WOW: I've often read that we should read books in the genre we're writing. Your book has elements of suspense and romance. Do you read either of those genres, did you read any as "research" and if you're a fan who are your favorite authors in those genres?
Barbara: I love books and you will find them stacked in my house at every turn. I do not read that much fiction, my interest tends to go to memoir, journal style writing. My research for Danger was a little strange. I was so neurotic on the sex issue I found myself checking out contemporary woman’s fiction to see how sex was addressed in a normal novel. I was surprised to find more descriptive phrases than I wrote. I finally decided to wing it, use my own words, and make my book true to my story. Since completing my novel I am finding fiction that appeals to me and reading more. I do think it helps to be familiar with the different genres, although I have my own style and ideas. I want the reader to enjoy what I write, but I don’t want to be influenced by what others do. A flaw perhaps, but I write for pleasure and therapy, then hope for the best!
WOW: Tell us a little about your writing process. Did you plan the book out ahead of time or just write and see where it lead you?
Barbara: I get an idea and then start writing. With Danger I actually wrote the beginning, decided on the ending, and flushed out the middle. It was a chore to go back to make sure the details were consistent with how the book ended. I would sit down to write and let it flow. Some of the scenes in the book surprised me when they were completed. It was a fun process. I did have to outline the characters to keep everybody straight and to keep the details of their lives accurate. I do the same thing for my blog entries, just let the words flow with a basic idea of what I want to say. I am working on several projects now and have vague outlines, but ultimately I will see where the characters take me.
WOW: When and where do you write? Daily? Do your dogs keep you company? And speaking of dogs, will you ever write a book that doesn't feature a furry friend? Because they are fast becoming an intertwined part of your brand.
Barbara: Writer With Dogs – that’s me. I own the dot com and dot net. I have gone to the dogs. You made me smile with that question about my furry friends. Dogs are a part of my brand and they are a huge part of my life. I controlled myself in Danger In Her Words – there is only one dog.
I spend too much time at the computer writing, morning and late night. Every day I have to write something, edit something. I have a Book Talk blog that promotes other authors, in addition to several other blogs where I journal my adventures, and there are the books I’m working on. I’m obsessed. My dogs are usually spread out across the room on chairs and the sofa. My little Chihuahua Chloe sleeps wedged behind my back and the rounded back of the wicker chair I sit in when I write. She helps keep my posture straight. I live with six dogs now. They were huge in my healing process after my husband died. I started adopting dogs from local shelters and got a bit carried away. There will always be dogs in my writing. They are my muses. Having that many dogs as a single gal has a few drawbacks – it is hard to travel and men run as soon as I say six-pack, and they realize I am not talking beer. Love me, love my dogs. Perhaps I should get a T-shirt!
WOW: Your memoir was self-published. What route did you take to publication with your novel?
Barbara: I self-published again, only under my own imprint (Gilbert Street Press) and ISBN. My sister did the interior files, cover, and design work and loaded them up to CreateSpace and Kindle. Her company is pd king design and she works with authors to develop their books. As with my widow memoir, my book is a total art project for me. In addition to the story, I have strong feelings on how I want the book to look, the cover, and any interior graphics. I found the illustrations I wanted to use and my sister made it happen. Would I like to find an agent and go the traditional route? Of course, who wouldn’t. But I have little patience to wait for others to do things and for me self-publishing is the perfect answer at this time.
WOW: What are you working on now?
Barbara: There are voices in my head now. My own and strange characters with stories to tell. I am working on a novel about a sixty-five year old widow who moves to Florida, finds a ghost, a mystery, and perhaps romance. I hope to complete my memoir on my life with dogs by the end of summer. And I have an idea for an odd little book that involves my Chihuahua Chloe. She may never forgive me!
Thanks for letting me chat about my life and work. It is always a pleasure to visit with WOW.
WOW: We love having you, Barbara. And I can’t wait to see what’s percolating in your mind about Chloe.
----------Blog Tour Dates
Monday, May 5 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview with Barbara Barth and a chance to win Danger in her Words!
Tuesday, May 6 @ Romance Junkies
Need a new romance? Romance Junkies is reviewing the romance in Danger in her Words and giving you a chance to win a copy.
Friday, May 9 @ All Things Audry
Thinking about a book trailer for you book? Barbara Barth, author of Danger in her Words, tells us all about the fun she had creating her book trailer.
Monday, May 12 @ Bookhounds
Learn more about Barbara Barth in today's interview and enter to win her debut novel Danger in her Words.
Wednesday, May 14 @ Deal Sharing Aunt
Stop by for a review of Danger in her Words, the debut novel of Barbara Barth.
Friday, May 16 @ Vickie S. Miller
Don't miss a chance to meet writer Barbara Barth and enter to win her debut novel Danger in her Words.
Thursday, May 22 @ Traveling with T
Barbara Barth, author of the novel Danger in her Words, stops by to write about the importance of girlfriends.
Friday, May 23 @ Bibliotica
Want to enjoy a book that combines thrills and romance when you're picnicking over Memorial Day Weekend? Try Danger in her Words by Barbara Barth that is being reviewed today.
Wednesday, May 28 @ Words by Webb
Find out what blogger Jodi thinks about new beginnings and Danger in her Words, a romance thriller all about starting over.
Monday, June 2 @ Lusty Penguin Reviews
Learn about the healing power of dogs from Barbara Barth, author of Danger in her Words and a woman who has never written a book that doesn't include a dog. Stop by and share stories of your favorite dog.
Thursday, June 5 @ The New Book Review
Want the 411 on Danger in her Words? Stop by for a review of Barbara Barth's debut novel..
Friday, June 6 @ All things Girl
All Things Girl wants to share All Things Barbara -- Barbara Barth that is. Don't miss today's interview with the author about her dogs, antiques and her latest book Danger in her Words.
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