Thursday, May 30, 2013

Buried Secrets with Gail Barrett

Today Harlequin Romantic Suspense author Gail Barrett joins us to talk about the challenges of creating her new series  Buried Secrets!

I’ve always prided myself on being organized.  I admit that my closet is on the messy side, and my desk tends to get cluttered when I’m hard at work.  But I keep my spices in alphabetical order.  I’ve arranged the books in my library in a way that makes sense to me.  I've even organized my spare light bulbs in boxes and labeled them by type.  So while I’m not exactly qualified to be a professional organizer, I don’t need an intervention, either.  I make lists, meet deadlines, and generally keep my life on track.

So when I decided to write my upcoming romantic suspense trilogy, Buried Secrets, I figured I’d have no trouble organizing the material.  Plotting three books at once would be no big deal, just a bit more complex than doing one, right?

Wrong!  I had no idea what I was getting into.  This wasn’t just three times harder, it was more like three hundred times harder. By the time I was done, my brain was about to explode.  And for the life of me, I couldn’t remember what insane impulse caused me to devise this plot.

The trilogy features three women, all former runaways who fled their homes for different reasons fifteen years ago.  They met on the streets of Baltimore, stayed together for protection, and became close friends.  Then one day, they witnessed a gang execution.  The killer saw them watching, setting them on the run again. 

The trilogy begins fifteen years later when the killer discovers the identity of one of the girls.  As each story unfolds, the three heroines not only have that killer to contend with but their own personal enemies to defeat (the ones that originally caused them to leave home).

Great idea, right?  Well, tying the gang killer to all three plots was hard enough.  Weaving in the threats from their home lives was tougher still.  But to add to the complexity, various secondary characters overlap in all three stories.  Some of these characters have connections dating back thirty years or more.  Their ages and time lines had to match up, both in the backstories and current plots.

It didn't help to have a deranged, kamikaze robin attacking my window for months on end as I worked.
Although, honestly, by the time I finished the last book, I could sympathize with him.  I was ready to bang my head against the windows, too.

Of course, the more I focused on organizing the books -- and the faster the deadlines approached -- the more disorderly my own life became.  Unanswered emails accumulated in my inbox.  Abandoned exercise equipment piled up on my desk.  Research articles I’d printed out got lost in the mountains of accumulating papers, requiring me to look everything up again.  And let’s not mention the dust.  (Suffice it to say that buying black furniture is not something I recommend!)


In the end I think I pulled it off.  Truthfully, I’m not sure I want to know if a dead character suddenly springs back to life or something else doesn't make sense.  But one thing I do know is that I no longer consider myself quite so organized.  And an intervention has never looked so good!

To learn more about Gail and her books, please visit her website.

35 comments:

  1. Congrats on the upcoming release, Gail. I'm very excited about the new series.

    ReplyDelete
  2. If your previous books are any indication, I bet you pulled off all the plot twists and connections! I can't wait to read Fatal Exposure. I love that the demented robin kept you on edge, bet he made your writing edgier too. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you, Jane. I am really excited about it, too. I have had this story in my head for years, so it really is a thrill to finally see it in print!!!! I hope you enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Carrie, you won't believe it, but he is back! He is flinging himself against my window as we speak. It's crazy. Maybe he has returned for the book launch? Or maybe he is my muse????

    And THANK YOU for your lovely comment about my books. Please let me know what you think about Fatal Exposure!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks so much, Beth! I appreciate that!!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Wow, Gail! The serie sounds amazing! I love nothing better than intricate plot twists! And the robin--yes, he's back, wanting to thank you for making him famous today :-)
    Wishing you many, many sales!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for the laugh, Pamela. I'm not sure WHAT he wants, but he is persistent!!!! He is a great example of bull-headed determination! He attacked my windows from April to August last year, and now he has returned for another season. You'd think he'd get tired, but no. He hits the window every minute or so from dawn to dusk, for months on end.

    I hope you get a chance to read the first book in the series. It is definitely intricate!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I can completely relate to organization gone awry. I am pretty organized too, but when life gets busy that is the first thing to go. I am selfishly pleased that you have a dusty house if that kept you writing. I am really looking forward to your new book. I have enjoyed all your others so much. Do you have a favorite? Meltdown is mine. Was there a lunatic bird involved in that one too?

    ReplyDelete
  9. LOL, Beth. The only problem with the dust is that I'm allergic to it. But when my sneezing gets too bad, I open the windows and let the dust blow out (I can imagine my mother cringing at that!).

    And no, there wasn't a lunatic bird back then, although I did have some ducks who nested underneath my window that year (Fred and Ethel). Unfortunately, they abandoned the nest one day when the eggs all disappeared. I think the squirrels got them:(( My house seems to be a hotbed of animal intrigue.

    As far as favorites go, I will always love my first book, Where He Belongs. I'm sure my writing has improved a lot since then, and it wasn't an intricate story, but I still love the characters and story:))

    ReplyDelete
  10. Gail, your series sounds wonderful. I'm sure you pulled it off. I've had a similar struggle with my new series, so I know exactly what complications you ran into.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm excited to read the series. Stories with characters who have a long, complicated history together are tricky to get the timeline right. I'm sure it will be a great read!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congratulations on the new series! Maybe the robin is wanting to collaborate on your next story~

    I wish there was an easy answer to keeping everything organized when working on multiple books. I always feel as if my process is evolving, but not necessarily improving. :-D

    ReplyDelete
  13. Susan, I can't wait to hear about it! Be sure to spread the word. Is yours a trilogy, too?

    ReplyDelete
  14. C.J., "tricky" is an understatement. I marvel at authors who routinely pull this off! They make it look so easy when in reality it is anything but.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Alexis - do you have a system? I'd love to hear about it. There must be an easier way to do this!

    And as far as collaboration goes, the bird is definitely making me think of murder...HIS!!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sounds like quite a challenge, Gail. And congrats on getting it all done. I"m sure the books will be terrific.

    I have my own method I started with my last mss. but it's not perfect. I could use some pointers. What did you find worked for you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great question, Susan! I made lists of the names, of course. That was invaluable as the number of people and places began to mount. I also kept notes on everyone's ages and backstories. Then I drew out a massive bubble/flow chart showing how everyone was interconnected. I had to tape a bunch of papers together to make that big enough! I think the real problem wasn't so much the method as the size of it all. It just kept getting more and more complex.

      Delete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Gail,
    That silly robin! He could be trying to tell you it's springtime--a time for renewal.

    Your series is done, the book release has begun and now it's time to renew, whether it be you or your home (for me it's always a bit of both).

    Looking forward to reading the series! :D

    Hugs!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Loni! I'm celebrating by cleaning out my study!!!! It feels so good to go through all the papers and start tossing things out:)))

      Delete
  19. Gail, the series sounds wonderful...I'm sure you pulled it off just fine! I remember reading about that robin's antics on Facebook. He is really one determined creature. ;)

    Congrats! Can't wait to read them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tina, did you see the video I posted of him? He is a nut. I named him Fidel because he first started out on the other side of the house, peering in my office window. He would just sit there nicely on the window sill and look at me, which I thought was cute. Then he shifted to the deck and went all Hitchcock on me:(((

      Delete
    2. I should add that I named him Fidel because it means faithful:))) Now he is Fidel el Loco.

      Delete
  20. Gail,

    Your series sounds intriguing to say the least! Maybe the robin is trying to tell you opportunity is knocking at your door (or window- in your case). Congrats on your new series! I wish you a million sales!

    Diane Kratz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Diane. I appreciate your good wishes a lot. I like your take on Fidel's motives. Too bad we can't ask him!

      Delete
  21. Gail,
    Your series sounds fabulous. So excited for you, and I wish you every success!

    Diana Cosby

    ReplyDelete
  22. Can't wait to read your new book. Sounds really great! I have read her other series and have always been really happy with her characters. Gail must do a lot of research, because her stories are very intriguing. Congrads on your new book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Pam!!!! You're right about the research. Amongst other things, I spent a day tagging along with a police officer in Baltimore for this book. It was quite an exciting day!!!

      Delete
  23. A huge thanks to the fabulous Pink Heart Society ladies for letting me blog about my new trilogy, and thank you, thank you, everyone for showing up! It was fun!!!

    ReplyDelete
  24. This book looks like one I can't wait to get my hands on! Loved the post and here's to many future sales.

    ReplyDelete
  25. This sounds fascinating Gail! Can't wait to read them!
    Roni Denholtz

    ReplyDelete