RITA and Carol award nominee Kathleen Y’Barbo joins us this week for an exciting interview! Kathleen is the best-selling, award-winning author of fifty novels, novellas, and young adult books and it is my honor to host her here on my blog.
Welcome back, Kathleen! When we visited earlier this week, you shared with us a lot about your everyday life. Now our readers want to hear more about your writing career.
What are your favorite themes to write about?
Honestly I don’t set out to write about any particular theme. For me, the theme usually develops as the story unfolds. A recent book had to do with taking care of family. For one of the protagonists that meant seeking revenge for a wrong while for the other it meant walking away from what she wanted to seek the better choice for her sister.
It sounds like God directs your writing to produce just the right theme each time. Where do you get ideas for your books?
Ideas are everywhere. I’m always finding a picture or hearing a statement from someone in some random place that I write down and tuck away.
How do you choose names for your characters?
In the book I just finished, the names came from multiple sources. My heroine’s name just settled well with me so I chose that first. Two other names came later, including a secondary character named after my stepson and a hero named after my editor’s cat.
How do you get to know your characters?
I write about them. So much comes from just walking alongside these characters as the story unfolds. They do things that surprise me, and that’s just fine with me.
I love how characters become real people in our lives and we hate to see them go when we’re done with the story. Do you put yourself into your main character, or do you find yourself borrowing from family or friends as your characters develop?
Absolutely. My husband swears every hero I write about is him in some part. I have to agree.
Are you a plotter, a pantster, or somewhere in between, and can you elaborate on your answer?
I am a little of both. To sell a book, you need a plot and a reasonable outline of where the book is going. So, I sit down with my story and see where it goes. When I have a framework, I draft a synopsis that’s fairly general. Then, when the time comes to write, I go where the characters take me (pantser style) but try to keep them within a reasonable distance to the actual synopsis.
What is your writing schedule and where do you write?
I don’t have a set schedule except that I try to keep my writing time to those hours when the house is empty. I prefer having weekends and evenings free, so I set up a calendar with a weekly word count that is doable on a Monday through Thursday schedule. Then if I don’t make the word count by Thursday, I have the weekend to get back on track. Of course, when I’m on deadline, all schedules and most meal planning goes out the window!
Does your faith affect your writing? How?
It can’t help but affect my writing. I am a Christian, and thus I write from a Christian word view. I go on faith from the beginning of the project to the end, and I rely on the Lord’s guidance every step of the way.
Speaking of your faith, do you have a favorite scripture? If so, why is it your favorite?
Ephesians 3:20 because it reminds me that no matter what my feeble brain can conceive, the Lord has SO much more for me if I will just set aside my expectations and allow Him full control.
From Kathleen’s website: “When offered a three-book deal from Bantam, Y’Barbo turned it down in favor of steering her writing in a religious direction.”
Have you won any awards with your writing?
I have. I was recently nominated for a Romantic Times Magazine Career Achievement award, and my latest historical romance, THE INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE OF CHARLOTTE BECK, was also nominated for a Reader’s Choice Award. My books have been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award and American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award multiple times, and I have had one Christian Bookseller’s Association Bestseller.
Congratulations! Tell us about your latest book.
Book number 50 will release in 2013. THE INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE OF CHARLOTTE BECK is the third in a historical romance series from Waterbrook Press/Random House. The story centers on Charlotte, a character that readers have followed from childhood in THE CONFIDENTIAL LIFE OF EUGENIA COOPER, the first series book and then as a teenager in ANNA FINCH AND THE HIRED GUN. Here’s a sneak peek!
What inspired you to write this particular book?
From the beginning Charlotte demanded her own book. I merely complied with her wishes.
Don’t you just love it when you have a pushy character like that? What are you working on right now?
I just turned in a historical romance set in Natchez and New Orleans that I’m very excited about.
Kathleen says: “I think that down deep most women want to believe someone will love them for who they are: warts, wrinkles and the extra 10 pounds,” she said. “(Secular) romance does that some. But you see lots of perfect women. As a rule in Christian romance, you don’t see an emphasis on physical appearance.”
We are blessed to have a writer like Kathleen!
Where can fans find you or your books on the internet?
My website at www.kathleenybarbo.com has links to email me, follow me on Twitter, or join my Facebook Reader’s page. All of those places are great spots to connect with me and to see what I’m working on or what’s being released next.
Thank you, Kathleen, for sharing with us about your life and your writing journey. It helps the readers to get to know you better.
Don’t forget to leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win a free copy!