Sunday, 27 January 2013

Barbara Morgenroth Interview Part Two

Hello Barbara. Thanks for dropping by for a second day of chat and probing questionsJ.

I’d like to start the day off with a question about reviews. Book reviewing is big business these days; do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

Sometimes the input is very helpful.  It’s good to see where you went right and it’s good to see if there’s anything more than one person is missing.  I love hearing from readers and getting to know them a little and having them get to know me.  Facebook is good for that.

Do you hear that readers? If you’d like to get in touch with Barbara over Facebook then   CLICK HERE 

Can I ask what was the strangest event or thought which prompted you to write a story?

I suppose the murder of my friend.  That led to the Bad Apple series.
Goodness that must have been very difficult for you.

Can I ask you a little about your free time? We know authors like to read, as well as write. Barbara, can you share with us what book you are currently reading?

I like things that have nothing to do with what I’m working on so I’m reading the biography of a photographer.  Sometimes I read mysteries.  I love cookbooks.

Ah, food. Great stuff J
When you’re in writing mode, can you tell us, which comes first; characters or plot?

I don’t plot.  I think it’s more like I have something I want to say and then everything begins to fit.  I’m not a planner.

Too much thinking spoils the experience of writing for me, the exhilaration and surprise evaporate.

Do you always know the final outcome of your story before you finish writing it?

In general, yes.  I know where I’m going, but that doesn’t mean I know how I’m going to get there.

Barbara, do you think you may try and write in another genre and if so, what would it be?

I write in too many genres for traditional publishing already!

I’ve done juvenile literature, YA, adult fiction, cookbooks and a book on knitting.  Now that I’m independent, I’ve done photographic essays, a mystery, novellas and short stories.

I very much like romantic comedies like Nothing Serious, Not Low Maintenance and Unspeakably Desirable so I suspect those or Mature YA where I deal with life issues will be my nest for quite a while.


Well Barbara,I enjoyed reading Nothing Serious and can certainly imagine that you had great fun writing it J Thank you so much for the interview. It’s been good fun.
See below for an excerpt from Nothing Serious.

By the end of the day, Paige was shivering. There was a thermostat on the wall of the store for the baseboard heat but it seemed to spin freely without turning anything on. As she stepped out onto the street and locked the door, the cold rain was pelting down. A crisp salad out of the refrigerator didn’t seem very appealing but eating at the cafĂ© wasn’t either. All she could hope was that there was heat in the cottage.
“Calling it quits for the day?” Jonathan asked as he closed his door.
The hood to the rain slicker hung over her face. “You said that if I needed anything, I should ask.”
“Do you have a bath tub?”
“I haven’t had a bath since I’ve been here.”
“Is that the kind of announcement you want to make?”
“I will be forever indebted to you if I could have the use of that tub for about thirty minutes.”
He nodded. “I think you’re already running up quite a tab, Ms. Elliot.”
“I’ll scrub it afterwards.”
“That won’t be necessary.”
“So the answer’s yes?”
“Yes. Follow me back to my place.”
“I won’t get underfoot. You won’t even know I’m there.”
“Are you serious? There is no one less likely to be invisible than you.” He climbed into his pickup truck.
Paige hurried to her car, started the engine and pulled out onto the street behind him.
It was about a ten-minute drive in the opposite direction from her cottage and it seemed like a better neighborhood, older, larger houses set back from the road instead of small summer bungalows that surrounded the lake and dotted the woods to the east of town. Jonathan turned down a driveway running between two fieldstone pillars and soon a sizable white turn of the century house appeared in front of her. There was a wraparound porch and several towering maples providing shade now dripping rain. A circular driveway brought them to the front door where he parked and she stopped the car behind the pickup truck.
She got out. “Is this your house?”
“No, I just thought I’d bring you to the first empty place that looked like it had running water. Yes, it’s my house, why?”
“It doesn’t look like you.”
“No. I have a nose.”
“Jonathan. It’s a lot of house for one person. You are one person, aren’t you?” He said he didn’t have a girlfriend but maybe he had a boyfriend. Or a housemate.
“Last time I looked I was only one person without dissociative personality disorder.” He walked to the porch door.
She trailed after him, trying to see the yard through the rain and low light.
Opening the door, he waited for her and when she entered, Jonathan switched on the light. They were in a library or a den, some informal gathering room wood paneled with built in bookcases and a Stubbs-like painting over the fireplace.
“It’s beautiful.”
“It was my great-grandfather’s house. You probably know Kanah Springs was a boomtown a hundred years ago. People vacationed here in the summer.”
“To drink the dreadful water.”
“No accounting for how tastes change.”
“How is your water here? I can hardly take a shower at my place it’s so wretched. Same?”
“My water comes from a spring. That swamp gas they talk about in town only plagues wells. I think there’s a pipe in the hill just past the lake, if get your drinking water there, it should be fine.”
“Is that what everyone is doing parked there? I couldn’t figure it out. Where I’m from water comes out of the tap not the hillside.”
He took her raincoat and hung it up. “Come on.” She followed him through the house, the kitchen and up the backstairs to the second floor and into a large white tiled bathroom with a huge claw foot bathtub.
Paige couldn’t take all the period details in. It was like stepping back in time everything was so perfectly old complete with a wooden water tank on the wall over the toilet. “The last time I saw anything like this was in Newport, Rhode Island. It’s like a museum.”
“I know they called those mansions cottages. This is just a camp.”
“It’s pretty grand for a camp.” Camps had tents and sleeping bags, and tarps over the holes in the walls of cabins where windows should be. Paige had been to a summer camp once for a month and it was too much like roughing it for her--lumpy mattresses, no place to get warm or dry and mosquitoes the size of buzzards.
“It’s had work over the years.” He pointed to a linen closet. “Towels. Soap. Faucets, twist the handle, water comes out. I’ll be downstairs if you need anything.”

Nothing Serious by Barbara Morgenroth

Declaring freedom from the internet and the city, Paige Elliott heads for the Catskills. Opening a shop, Nothing Serious, Paige nearly nails her hand to the wall trying to hang her sign, avoids zoning board jail and falls for Jonathan Macklin, the antiques dealer next door. She spots a rare portrait at an auction, and borrows money from Jonathan to buy it. The windfall for the lost masterpiece is used to bail a local character out of jail. When Paige can’t pay Jonathan back, he thinks the worst. She has been treating life, her art and love as nothing serious for so long; can she change in time to be with Jonathan?

Nothing Serious is a fun, entertaining read, filled with likeable, quirky characters who keep the plot moving nicely along. Paige is the kind of heroine you could share good conversation with, over coffee and doughnuts, in the local diner. In Kanah Springs, Ms Morgenroth has brought us a town, filled with cute festivals and unique inhabitants.

I found Ms Morgenroth to possess a smooth sense of humour which shone through in her writing. Through the use of character conversations, the author allows her sense of fun and comedy to reach the reader, in a gentle and personal manner. The story follows Paige and her swift move to a new town, where mishaps and misunderstandings seem to follow her like a lost puppy. Throughout it all however, our heroine manages to shine.

As Paige battles her internet cold turkey and the confines of her tiny shower cubicle, she finds it a struggle to come to terms with life in a small town. Her attraction to Jonathan Macklin however seems to go some way to easing her woes. But with a huge misunderstanding over money, the reader begins to wonder if Paige will manage to turn things around and finally get her man. If you enjoy a swift moving story line, filled with wit and banter, then Nothing Serious is worth taking a peek at.

Put the kettle on and grab this book.
                                    CLICK HERE to buy the book

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Author Barbara Morgenroth

Hello Folks and welcome to our weekend with author, Barbara Morgenroth. Barbara will be here at the blog, today and tomorrow, with a two part interview and an exciting peek at her romantic comedy, Nothing Serious, as well as a book review and several excerpts. If you have any questions for Barbara, please place them in the comment box.  

Barbara was born in New York City and but now lives somewhere else.
Starting her career by writing tweens and YA books, she was actually aiming at the small screen. Television seemed like the perfect place for her even if she had no clue how to get there. Through a neighbor, Barbara wound up getting an introduction to a lower honcho at ABC and an audition to write for them. Her hopes were more than dashed, they were disintegrated, evaporated, demolished when ABC couldn't find a place for Barbara on General Hospital. (No Luke and Laura in her future!) To ease the crushing disappointment, Barbara wrote "In Real Life I'm Just Kate" (now titled "Just Kate") about a 17 year old girl who becomes a star on a soap opera. That became an open sesame moment and shortly thereafter Barbara became the last headwriter for NBC's daytime serial, The Doctors.

After television, some nonfiction and romantic comedies, Barbara has returned to her first love, YA, by and large for the most part, but will always give in to temptation if something flirts with her hard enough. She's that kind of girl.

If you would like to check out all of Barbara's books on Amazon, please CLICK HERE .

Hello Barbara. Thank you so much for agreeing to spend the weekend here at Honey Bee Reviews. Writing is such an interesting profession; Can you tell us when and why did you first become interested in writing?

I was always interested in writing, spending my time in high school chemistry writing bad poems like most people do.  I thought I was going to be a photojournalist so majored in photography in college but life does push you in unexpected directions.  I didn’t do the journalism and became an English major instead.  Writing was always something I knew I would do later, after all my life adventures had been experienced.  It happened much earlier than I planned.

What would you say is the best thing about being an author?

Not having a real job. 

Producing a book is much more than simply writing a story. I know that sometimes editing can be a very lengthy job. Can you talk us through your editing process, Barbara? Does a lot of your work get cut by your own hand, or are you quite precise in what you write and use in your final drafts?

I’ve always been pretty close in my first draft to what the final results are but I can get very finicky about the details. 

Well, as they say; the devil is in the detail J

I enjoyed meeting all the female characters in your book, Nothing Serious; how important do you think it is for female readers to identify with the heroines in your books?

I never considered it.  Is that strange?

Not at all, Barbara J. I have to admit to you; I did feel as though I connected with Paige, the heroine in Nothing Serious. I certainly felt her distress at the beginning of the story. I’m not sure I’d have the nerve to follow up on the actions she took though. She’s certainly a brave character and very adventurous J  

Speaking of Nothing Serious; the cover is very eye-catching. How much input do you have in the art work for your stories?

Since I was a photographer I did the photos for my first two novels published by Atheneum.  That was fun.  Now I design my own covers and sometimes purchase the artwork.  I enjoy that level of creativity, the ability to have complete control over the project.  Independent publishing is wonderful and the freedom allows artists to create things they wouldn’t in traditional publishing.

Sounds idealJ Can you tell us what future projects you are currently working on?

Bittersweet Farm 2—Joyful Spirit is in progress now.  Then I have promised all my fans that Bad Apple 4—Parked will be next.  Both are Mature YAs, a genre I love.

Which of your books would you say was the easiest/hardest to write?

A couple of my adult books took about five years.  In Under My Head and Almost Breathing underwent draft after draft, each pass getting more precise.  My vision of the story and characters changed as time went on.  I’m glad I took my time.  If I had a contract in traditional publishing, I would have been forced to publish before the books were really completed.  That’s what’s so great about independent publishing.  You set your own schedule and if you want to change things later, you upload a new version.  It’s the best time in the history of the world to be a writer.

And which of your books is your personal favourite?

I think the standard reply is “The one I’m working on”.  Each book has its own particular golden moments.  Like children, they are different and your love for them is different but just as passionate.  I love Jem in Almost Breathing for her spirit and determination.  I love Ariel in In Under My Head because she’s so much more sensible than I am.  I love Paige in Nothing Serious because she finds a way when one isn’t obvious.  I love Neal in Bad Apple because she’s able to put her past behind her.

Barbara, can you tell the readers which of your characters would you most like to invite to dinner, and why?

I think Paige from Nothing Serious would be a great dinner companion because she has a wonderfully unserious view of life.  She’s funny and bold, vivacious and impulsive but always kind.  I think you would laugh a lot with her at the table.

Yes. I have to agree with you there, Barbara J Paige is a very interesting character. I’m sure she would bring a great deal of fun to any dinner party.  

Tell us; what would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

I think I should have been a photographer or a horse trainer. 

Thanks for chatting today, Barbara. I look forward to part two of your interview tomorrow.
Blurb for Nothing Serious;

Declaring freedom from the Internet and the city, Paige heads for the Catskills. Opening a shop, Nothing Serious, Paige nearly nails her hand to the wall trying to hang her sign, avoids zoning board jail and falls for Jonathan Macklin, the antiques dealer next door. She spots a rare portrait at an auction, and borrows money from Jonathan to buy it. The windfall for the lost masterpiece is used to bail a local character out of jail. When Paige can’t pay Jonathan back, he thinks the worst. She has been treating life, her art and love as nothing serious for so long; can she change in time to be with Jonathan?
Enjoy a slice of Nothing Serious;
By the end of the day, Paige had sanded the peeling paint from the letters, primed them and painted them. Using a long piece of wood they had given her for free and she’d had to transport sticking out the passenger side window, she painted that and nailed the letters on.
Ladder. She needed a ladder.
Paige walked down the street and opened Jonathan’s door.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi. I need a favor.”
“What is it?”
“Do you have a ladder?”
“Yes, a short one.”
“May I borrow it for ten minutes?”
Jonathan went into the back room and returned with the ladder.
“Thank you. I’ll bring it right back.” She walked out of the store with it and set it up in front of the shop. Holding the sign, she climbed up the ladder. She needed a drill. Back down the ladder.
Back down the street to open Jonathan’s door. “Sorry to bother you, do you have a power drill?”
“Well, may I borrow it?”
“Yes. Do you need anything else?”
He looked at her. “How long?”
She looked at him right back. “As long as you have.” Paige considered herself an extremely good judge of character and if she hadn’t already decided Jonathan Macklin was a rather conservative and unimaginative type, she would have thought there was some innuendo going on. But no, he was not the type. At all.
Too bad, too, really, she thought as he walked into the back of the store. He fit those jeans in a particularly appealing fashion. Most men wear their jeans too loose. They shouldn’t be skin tight to the point of splitting seams, but they should show the curves, if curves were there to be seen. And Jonathan did have praiseworthy architecture with very long legs that didn’t end in something ridiculous like loafers. Loafers and jeans. Nyet. Loafers went with khakis. Shorts were always to be worn with white socks or no socks, not brown dress socks. Weren’t these fashion rules written down somewhere?
Jonathan returned with the drill and she held out her hand for it but he didn’t turn it over. “What are you doing?”
“I’m putting out my shingle. My sign. My announcement to the world that I’m in business. I have become self-employable.”
“Paige, you can’t hold the sign and the drill at the same time.”
“Sure I can. Just watch me.”
Ten minutes later after nearly falling off the ladder, after nearly screwing her hand to the front of the building, she was holding the sign while Jonathan affixed it to the building.
“I owe you,” she said.
“Yes, I think you do.”
“You’re not supposed to say that. You’re supposed to say something like ‘Oh no, think nothing of it, glad to help.’”
“You’re going to write my dialog for me?”
“No, but what do you want? All you did was climb up a ladder.”
“I had the ladder. You didn’t. I had the drill. You didn’t. I had the screws.”
“And now you’re going to put them to me?”
“So nicely put, Ms. Elliot.” He carried the ladder back into the store.
Paige followed him. “Did I offend you? I didn’t mean to. I’m just not...I’m out of practice talking to people.”
“Were you a hermit in the city? Didn’t you have a job?”
“Yes. But it’s different holding an interpersonal conversation. I’m not good at it.”
“And why is that?”
“Because I say the wrong things.”
“Were you in a competition and when the international panel of judges scored you, their opinion was that you say the wrong things?”
“That could be how it happened.”
“Have dinner with me and after dessert, I’ll judge you.”
Snap up your copy of Nothing Serious HERE