Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Barbara Ellen Brink, Split Sense

AUTHOR: Barbara Ellen Brink
BOOK TITLE: Split Sense

1. Why don't you start with telling us a little about yourself? What genre do you write in and why?
 Thanks for having me, Penny. I’m excited to be here!
I grew up on the West coast but have lived in Minnesota for over twenty five years now. We have two adult children who live nearby, and two lovable mutts who sleep near my desk and keep me company while I write. I have an active imagination and tend to think of crazy things that could possibly happen even under the most innocent of circumstances, or I’ll read something in the news and think that would make a great story if I just changed this and that – which is probably why mystery, suspense and thrillers are my favorite genres to read and also to write.

2. Tell me about your current book which you are promoting:  Split Sense is a suspense/thriller with supernatural elements. It is the story of gifted twins, although separated for sixteen years by a web of lies and conspiracy, find their destinies irrevocably linked.

A company's dark secret...

When a senator and pharmaceutical giant partner to experiment with a new drug on pregnant women, they tap into a world they never knew existed – the supernatural touching the natural – and it will cost the innocent more than they know.

Twins separated at birth through parallel forces of good and evil...

Zander Howard is born with special abilities. He tastes words, feels sounds, is bombarded by voices in his head. As Howard pharmaceutical's most gifted subject, his entire life is about pleasing the company – until he discovers he has a twin sister.

Emma, sheltered in a small town with living parents, has no idea of her true heritage. She heals with music and sees colors of grace and mercy fly from her fingers with every note.

Together, nothing will stop them from seeking the truth about their origins, but some are willing to try… even if it means murder.

3. What got you interested in writing, and what inspired you to write your first book?  I’ve always loved to write but truthfully didn’t think about actually writing a book until after I was in my twenties and newly married. I bought an old typewriter and began writing, but really had no idea what I was doing. The busyness of life and raising children took over and I tucked my writing away until the kids were in their early teens. About fourteen years ago I sat down to write and completed a 600 page time travel novel that has never seen the light of day. It was the beginning. I started going to writing classes, conferences, and joined a critique group. About twelve years, many completed novels, short stories and articles later, I published my first Fredrickson Winery Novel, Entangled.
4. Do you outline before you write? If not, what’s your initial process? I don’t outline but I do have a story arc, plot, idea of where I’m going with the story. I never enjoyed outlining in school and feel the same now. Besides, my stories often take on a mind of their own and lead me in a different direction than I start with. I jot things down in a notebook and write ideas, great lines that come to mind, character traits, etc, on a whiteboard. This keeps things fresh in my mind as I move from scene to scene.

5. What comes first: the plot or the characters?  The plot always comes first for me. In fact, with Split Sense the idea came from watching the morning news and seeing a segment on medical mysteries. They were talking about a strange unexplained phenomenon they called, Synesthesia, that affects a very small segment of the population. These people are born with some “wires crossed” you might say. Their senses are jumbled in a strange way so that they might taste words or hear music notes as colors. I took the mystery a step further and wrote Split Sense.

6. Which of your characters do you love/hate/fear/pity the most and why? I really loved writing Zander’s story. He had such a soft heart and struggled with feeling too much because of his gift. The ability to feel what other people were feeling, whether it was pain, joy, fear, or hatred, and not be twisted in some way from it was sometimes tough to write.

7. Did your book require a lot of research? How long does it take to write a book for you? I did research a few medical issues, brain functions and such for Split Sense. I set the story in Minneapolis so I was familiar with the area. Of course taking some factual things and adding a few twists and turns is what fiction is all about. As for the time it takes to write a book, every one is different. Split Sense probably took a good six months of writing and edits. Then I sent it off to my editor and then went through it again when it came back. 
8. What do you like to do when you’re not writing? My husband and I enjoy riding motorcycles, and take weekend road trips during the summer. I’m an avid reader and yet have an embarrassingly large TBR pile of books. I never seem to catch up. I love going to the movies, spending time with friends, and gardening. 
9. What books or authors have influenced your writing? Some of my favorite authors are Patricia Cornwell, Sibella Giorello, Brandilyn Collins, Iris Johansen, Diana Gabaldon, and Erica Spindler. They are all terrific writers and have their own great style, so I’m sure even subconsciously I have learned much about writing just by reading their books. I think when I was in my early twenties I wanted to be like Mary Higgins Clark. Her mysteries probably had the most influence on me early on in my writing.

10. What do you see for the future of publishing and e-books? To me the future of publishing looks quite good. I think because of the popularity of ereaders and smartphones that can download books in seconds, more people are reading than ever before. I still love the feel of a hardcover book and continue to collect them but I tend to read on my ereader these days.

11. What are your current books out right now and what are the books coming up for release?  Including Split Sense, I have five novels out right now. Entangled & Crushed are the first two books in The Fredrickson Winery mystery series set in the Napa Valley. I also have two Christian suspense novels that just came out earlier this year, Running Home & Alias Raven Black. I love reading mystery, suspense, and thrillers, so those are normally what I tend to write. I’m working on a Young Adult series now that I hope to have out by summer.

12. What advice would you give a new writer just starting out? Learn the craft of writing. It takes time and hard work to be good at anything. Take classes, read books on writing, join a critique group, attend writer’s conferences, etc. But most of all –write. And keep on writing.

13. Where can people learn more about you and your work?
You can connect with me here:
My webpage: http://www.barbaraellenbrink.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BarbaraEllenBrink
Twitter: BarbaraEBrink
Split Sense Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/gZOTNm8f_rQ

Drop me a line. I love to hear from readers.

Book Excerpt:
“What are you thinking, letting my daughter and your idiot nephew adopt one of our test subjects? Are you crazy?” Senator Marcus Dunbar couldn’t contain his fury at Frank’s decision. He pulled a handkerchief from his suit pocket and wiped at his shaved head, damp with sweat. “I told you before I didn’t want Serena involved in this. She’s fragile enough. Another loss and I don’t know what she’ll do.” He paced to the window and back, breathing loudly through flared nostrils. He’d gained seventy pounds or so around his middle in the last couple of years, and was a heart attack waiting to happen.
Frank leaned back in his desk chair and laced his hands behind his head. He watched the senator puff and snort around his desk like a dog defending his turf. A sense of elation filled him. He finally had the upper hand. “I think you may have forgotten that the name on this building is Howard, not Dunbar. I’m in charge here.”
“If Serena would’ve listened to me, she’d be married to Devlin now and all of this would be moot,” he said, ignoring the jibe.
Frank laughed. “That’s old news, Senator. When are you going to get past it?”
“My nephew is not the idiot you like to portray. He’s a decent businessman and he wouldn’t do anything to hurt your daughter. But beyond that, he isn’t stupid enough to bite the hand that feeds him. Unlike his father, he has ambition, a dream of someday running this company. Whether or not that pans out is yet to be seen, but the possibility keeps him towing the line.”
“Maybe for now, but what happens down the line when he becomes attached to this child and decides to come clean with Serena?” Marcus stopped before Frank’s desk dead center and stared him down. “Hmm, what then?”
“He’ll tell her what he knows.”
“That’s what I’m saying!”
“But what he thinks he knows isn’t necessarily the truth.” He picked up his lit cigar from the ashtray and puffed. “He doesn’t know about the other mentally-ill women Devlin recruited from your precious homeless shelters, if that’s what you’re worried about. So you can rest at ease. Your daughter will never know her father–the great philanthropic senator–was involved in baby stealing.”


  1. The book sounds wonderful, and it's on my to read list. Thanks, Penny and Barbara!

  2. Thanks for stopping! And thank you, Penny, for hosting me on your blog today.
    By the way, I just found out a couple days ago that Split Sense won The 2011 Grace Award for speculative fiction. I actually consider it to be suspense/thriller but it has a tinge of the unknown with supernatural elements.

  3. What a very enjoyable interview! Barbara, I enjoyed getting to know more about you. Your books sound intriguing. Penny, thanks for all you to do support your fellow authors.

  4. Thanks for stopping by Lisette! Good to see you away from Twitter:)

  5. Lisette, I think I get as much from these posts as my readers do. I really enjoy getting to know so many authors and how they work. Thanks for stopping by. Barbara, it's a pleasure having you and hope you'll join me again for another release in the future.