We asked Barbara a LOT of questions - here are her answers and she assures us if you have more questions feel free to ask! She's also sent some lovely pictures - Take it away, Barbara!
The number one question I always get asked is “How did you get your job?” My answer, “Totally by accident.” A few years ago I attended an Authors At Sea Cruise. I was an avid reader and the thought of being on a ship with over 30 authors who couldn’t go anywhere was overwhelming. I read at least one book by every author who was attending so I would know something about them.
Enjoying a bevvy and a book
First Keynote Address: Emerald City Con
How do I choose who is featured on the blog? I have regular people as readers who write book blurbs for the blog instead of reviewers. I offer the books I receive and the readers pick the one’s they want to read and write about. The only rule is that they have to take at least one book of an author they’ve never read or a genre they’ve never tried.
What do I think of category romance in general? I think that there are books out there for everyone. My neighbor only reads category romance. She swears by it and because she’s such a fan, she talks about it to all her friends and relatives and now they all read it. As for me, I read a little of everything because I really like variety in my reading.
What’s my number one beef in Romance and what’s my favorite element about the genre? I hate that people always feel like they have to defend romance. If everyone would just act like it’s the best out there, others will wonder what they’ve been missing and see how cool it really is. My favorite element is the happily ever after. At this point in my life, I want everything to end that way.
Do I enjoy other genres? Yes, I love mysteries, thrillers, paranormals, historicals, science fiction and if they have romance in them, all the better. I just am not a big fan of horror or non-fiction.
Barbara and Debbie Macomber celebrating
the Ritas - in the same outfit.
What do I think readers can do to see more of the kind of books they love? Buy the books. Nothing says I love the book than buying it. There were times I got a book from the library and liked it so much I went out and bought it so I could read it over and over.
Does reading romance ever feel like work and what’s my favorite non-reading escape? Reading romance has always felt like a guilty pleasure. I’m never without several books at my fingertips and I love it quiet with a beverage. I can’t imagine ever thinking of reading as work. My other escape is going to the movies. I love to see great movies on the big screen and I almost went to the midnight showing of Harry Potter, but I’m in the middle of a good book and I didn’t want to stop.
Barbara and Ken Follett
What emerging trends in romance do I see? Well, it doesn’t look like paranormals are going away any time soon. I see them everywhere and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Readers are asking for more humor in their stories and I think that as times get a little tougher for people, they look for humor to get them through.
As for my travels next year, I’m still working on my schedule. I will definitely be at RWA, RT and San Diego Comic Con. I’ve been asked to speak to the Detroit RWA group in May. I’m hoping to go to the Book Expo America and hoping to hit a lot of smaller conferences that I’ve never been to before. I’ll have to wait to see who invites me.
Barbara and Bruce Campbell from Burn Notice
I’d have to say my favorite conference was my first RWA in Dallas a few years ago. I only had been writing my blog a few months and I was so blown away by all the amazing authors there. I was in total fan girl mode as I ended up sending home over 5 boxes of books.
Next year in my blog I’ll be celebrating my 4th anniversary with a weeklong party covering all the genres and giving away hundreds of prizes. I hope to do more Drive By Videos that have become so popular and my Cub Reporter program will feature even more conferences written up by the authors attending when I can’t make it. In fall, I’ll be announcing a new program I’m starting for kids that I’m very excited about.
Whew! That was a lot of talking. Thanks so much for having me here today and even though I’ve talked your ears off, if there’s any other question you have, please ask it and I’ll stop by during the day to answer them.