Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Interview with author Barbara Brink

Today my guest is author, Barbara Brink, who is here to talk about her novel, Entangled.  As a special gift, Barbara is giving away a coupon for a free copy of her book.  If you leave a comment, one name will be selected.  Be sure I have a way to contact you, and I will send you the coupon code.

1) Tell me a little about your book.
What if you inherited a California winery, fully equip with a house, vineyards, and a sexy blonde lawyer, and not only does it reawaken your worst childhood memories and give you recurring nightmares, but your mother decides you need her and moves in with you indefinitely?

Entangled is told in the voice of Billie Fredrickson, a twenty-eight-year-old cynical divorce attorney from Minneapolis who inherits a California winery and must decide whether to stay and run it as her uncle wished, or sell out and return home. Billie has every intention to cut and run, but soon after her arrival, long dormant memories begin to surface. When childhood nightmares also return full-force, she knows she can't leave until she finds answers to the questions now plaguing her. In her search for the truth, Billie unintentionally lays bare painful secrets in her mother’s past as well.

Along the way, Billie’s love of winemaking is awakened, as is an attraction to her uncle's attorney.  But before she can pursue these options, she must learn to see past hurt and regret to hope of the future, like a good wine that stands the test of time.

Great wine evokes a sense of place, a connection to our heritage, much as a good story. Billie's story is about finding that connection, that sense of belonging.

2) What gave you the idea for this particular story?
I was out in Washington State visiting relatives and couldn't believe the number of wineries and vineyards that had popped up across the countryside. I'd read a number of articles about how popular wine tasting rooms had become in numerous states and wondered what it would be like to own and run a place like that. I also wanted to deal with repressed memories. I spent much of my childhood in Washington, but my memories are mere fragments. Not that they're repressed--just poor. I found that memories were often jogged through things like the smell of apricots ripening on a tree, tumbleweeds blowing in the wind, or the sound of frogs croaking in unison down by the creek. It set my mind spinning this story.

3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
When I'm engrossed in finishing a novel, I tend to work full days, but if I'm still at the "floundering for inspiration stage" or the research stage, I am easily distracted. Laundry, unwashed dishes, or my dogs sad faces begging for a walk, have been known to take my attention away from the task at hand. I try to write in the morning or early afternoon hours when no one else is around. With the house to myself, I am usually more focused on my characters and story.

4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I've always loved writing. I made up stories and wrote them down in notebooks when I was a child. But I don't think I seriously began to pursue the dream of being "a writer' wholeheartedly until about eleven years ago. The stories were clamoring to get out, and I couldn't keep them tamped down any longer.

5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing?
I played up a bit of mother/daughter tension in the story, but the theme throughout is that even though family ties may bind at times and we strain to be free, they're also our lifelines when storms come our way.  
Other than that, I hope they laugh and cry and nearly wet their pants, but I'll be happy if they enjoy the story, tell their friends, and look for my next book to come out.

6) Which genres do you write, which do you prefer, and why?
My short stories are in many different genres, but my novels tend to lean more toward suspense or at least have a secondary thread of suspense running through them. I tried different genres on for size when I first started seriously writing, but found that just as "you are what you eat," I am "what I read the most of. " Most of my favorite authors write suspense.

7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it?
The toughest part for me is the business end of writing. Writing a novel is easy compared to researching agents or publishing houses and writing personal query letters.  And then there is the waiting to hear back. Sometimes I feel like my life is in a holding pattern after I've finished a novel. I have to force myself to get those queries out and begin a new project. Because sitting and waiting isn't very lucrative or productive.

8) How much is your protagonist like you? How different?
The only trait I think Billie Fredrickson and I share is our use of sarcasm. She is a little distrustful of people, has a complicated relationship with her mother, and has skills in self-defense. I'm the opposite of that.

9) What kind of research did you do for this type of story?
I happily visited a winery or two--just to get the feel for such a place of course. I also had a critique partner who kindly handed over a pile of research she'd done on wineries while living in California.  For other aspects of the story I visited the local library.

10) What about your book makes it special?
Entangled has something for everyone: a mystery to be solved, a budding romance, and mother/daughter relationship problems, all set in sunny California. If that's not enough--my daughter, a Graphic Design major, designed the book cover. Isn't it awesome?

11) What is your marketing plan?
I'm working on a blog tour, and am always happy when someone agrees to review or spotlight my novel on their blog--such as today. Entangled will soon be available through Amazon, Apple, Sony, Barnes & Noble, Kobo (Borders), and Diesel ebook Store. And of course you can purchase it now through Smashwords.

12) Where can people learn more about you and your work?
Please visit my webpage: to read some of my short stories. You can also connect with me at my blog: where I write about things I find funny in the news or everyday life.

13) Any tips for new writers hoping to write in the genre of your book?
My suspense story ideas have often come from the strangest places: blurbs in the newspaper, medical mystery segments on Good Morning America, or conversations overheard in a restaurant. Keep your eyes and ears open, your imagination set to overdrive, and that niggling question always in the back of your mind--What if?

Barbara, thank you for being my guest today and giving me a glimpse into your writing life.

Here's a short synopsis of Entangled:

   When Minneapolis attorney Billie Fredrickson learns her uncle has left her the winery she hasn’t seen since she was eight years old, it reawakens memories of a childhood mystery that has lain dormant for twenty years.  But digging up her past also lays bare the skeletons of others, including her mother’s.  Can she live with the consequences of full disclosure, or will she run home, where everyone is Minnesota nice?


  1. Thanks for having me today, Penny. I had fun doing the interview. I hope your readers will go to and download the free sample of Entangled.
    I appreciate the opportunity to share my story with you all today. Happy reading!

  2. I can't wait to read Barb's book. She and I went to school briefly during Junior High and recently reconnected through Facebook. She definitely is someone who loves to laugh and enjoy life! I wish her the best!
    Shirley Schulz-Sileven

  3. What a great interview. I love her view of families having rough times, but still weathering out the storms together (a positive trait that makes you root for the MC and her family even more).

  4. Hi Shirley, glad you stopped by. Be sure to check out Barb's free sample on smashwords.

  5. Diane, glad you enjoyed the interview.

  6. Good interview. I find books far more interesting when I have a little insight on the author. It helps to get inside their head. I will put this on my "must read" Thank you

  7. Jeff, I agree. I also enjoy getting to know the authors.

  8. Entangled sounds intriguing!


    rdwriter at hotmail dot com

  9. Penny, thanks for sharing Barbara with us. Great interview. Congratulations on your book success, and I wish you many more.
    Kay Dee

  10. Great interview and sounds like a fantastic read. Best wishes with your writing, Barbara.

  11. Hi Barbara, It's nice to learn more about you, your novel and process. And I love the cover of Entangled, too. I'm curious about how you were able to make your novel available through all of the eBook outlets (Sony, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.). Amazon's Kindle eBook is the only one I've been able to figure out. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. I also hope I win your book, if not it goes on the "to be read list". Happy Writing. Bonnie

  12. Sharon, sorry you weren't able to leave a comment. Here's your post from the forum:
    "Posted a comment but something happened and it wouldn't post. Please
    include me in the drawing. The storyline intrigues me.


  13. Bonnie, KayDee, Karen and Beth. Glad you all enjoyed the interview. Bonnie, good question for Barbara. I'll pass it along.

  14. Thanks everyone for all your nice comments and for your interest in my book. I hope you check out the free sample at Smashwords. If you click on the link to my blog you will see all the links to the stores where it is now available.
    B.D. Tharp,
    I was able to get my ebook into all the outlets through Smashwords. Except for Amazon, which should have a deal with them soon.(I decided not to wait and published with Amazon separately.) It was a pretty painless process. The hardest part was reformatting my book for their program, but they give you adequate directions. It is still not available at Apple but was available at all the other stores within about 3-4 weeks. Thanks for your interest. If you have any other questions, you can email me. barbaraellenbrink(at)yahoo(dot)com

  15. Barbara, thanks for answering Bonnie's question. That's good information to know.

  16. Penny,
    Great interview and Barbara I enjoyed hearing that you don't like the business end of writing. I am a sucker for romantic suspense. Now I'm going to have to read this book! Also, Barbara, if you are looking for blogs for your blog tour my blog is available for you - from one Barbara to another.:)

    Barbara's Meanderings

  17. Barbara, glad you could stop by. I'll be sure to let Barbara know of your offer.

  18. The contest for Barbara's book, Entangled, is now officially over. The winning number is 5. Drum roll... KayDee, congratulations! Since you didn't leave your email address, please contact me.