Author Interview: Barbara A. Luker

About the author:
Do you realize how hard it is to talk about yourself? My life is boring, yet people want to know about me simply because my name is on a book! In all seriousness, I am a lifelong resident of the beautiful Minnesota River Valley and I live in and work for the city where I was born. A big fan of Minnesota's four distinct seasons…yes I even love snow and cold…I couldn't imagine living anywhere else. I come from a family who has always been surrounded by books and when we ran out of things to read at home, we made frequent trips to our beautiful Carnegie Library for more. It was a magical place for me as a child.

Obviously, I love to read, but I also am a big fan of the Minnesota Wild and the Minnesota Vikings. Music also plays a big part in my life. Love to listen to it, sing to it, and be inspired by it. I'd love to tell you I am also great piano player, but to this day I remain my third-grade piano teacher's biggest disappointment! I love animals and support several rescue groups, but also live that love through the adoption of my very own rescue cat Annie. Like the famed Hemmingway cats, she is polydactyl on three of her paws. She keeps life interesting and we are growing old together!

What inspires you to write romantic fiction?
Hope is what inspires me to write romantic fiction; hope that true love is not a fairy tale and that everyone can experience it in their lifetime. Love is messy and full of drama, but when you find that one person who fits, it can be magical and inspiring and through my writing, I hope to touch the heart of every single reader.

Tell us about how you write.
Picture a writer sitting in a dark smoky room, chained to their desk for hours every day and you would be picturing someone else. My writing style begins with a sunny room, a cat purring on the desk next to my computer and lots of stops and starts when words flow onto the screen almost faster than I can type before I suddenly stop and try to think ahead in my story. I write whenever I have time or inspiration and make a lot of notes when random thoughts or phrases come to me. If you've ever sat next to me in a dark movie theater and suddenly discovered my head was under my jacket as I type a thought into my phone, you would know that's true! A note pad, my phone and even a recorder are never far from my side and that includes at the side of my bed. I have woken up more than once with a brilliant idea that just had to be written down before I forgot. Some of my best ideas have come to me in dreams!

Some writers outline everything, but that's not me. I start out with an idea and just a general thought about what the story will involve. I usually write the beginning and have some idea of where I expect the story to go and before it's all done, the story is nothing like my original thought. The words take me where I want to be and sometimes, I surprise even myself!

Do you listen to or talk to to your characters?
No, I don't, but when I write an action scene, like a physical fight or even a love scene, I get pretty animated at my computer! I didn't even realize I was doing it until someone pointed it out to me. Admittedly it was pretty embarrassing at the time, but now everyone knows I do it.

While I don't talk to my characters, I can hear their voices in my head when I am writing dialogue. It's odd, but I think not uncommon for writers, to feel as if the characters come alive on the page. A really good writer has such well-developed characters that you understand their mannerisms and even inflections in the voices. It's pretty cool when you're writing, but by the time you finish the book, it can become hard to say good-bye to the characters you have come to know so well. Maybe that's why so many authors write series!

What advice would you give other romance writers?
It's hard to think of myself as such an expert that I should be giving advice. After all I am still learning even as book #3 is ready to come out., but I would encourage anyone getting into the romance writing gig to read other romance writers. If you enjoy the story, think about why you liked it and use those points to make your own writing better.

And of course, for writers of any genre, it's to learn this lesson early…writing is not for the faint of heart. You're putting yourself out there with each query letter to a publisher or agent and each person who reads your book. Realize right away that not everyone is going to like your work but that even the critiques can contain little nuggets of wisdom. Don't be too caught up in the pride of having written a book to forget to look for those nuggets and use them to better yourself. It will make you a better author and make this business of writing more enjoyable in the long run.

How did you decide how to publish your books?
Publishing was never on my radar, but my mother wanted one thing when she started reading my stories…to have one published before she died. Self-publish, vanity publish, KDP, traditional publisher, big five publishers? It was all confusing and intimidating to a novice. Rejections were soul-crushing, and I was ready to give up, but wanted to make my mother proud, so I paid for a vanity publisher to put out my first book "Remembering You."

I wouldn't do that again though and luckily, I have signed with a traditional publisher, Black Rose Writing. We're on our second book together. They are great to work with and I only wish I would have found them earlier.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I read somewhere that over 1,500,000 books are published every year. I'm not sure if that number includes self-published through things like KDP, but that's an astounding number. People read and they want books, but it seems more and more readers are turning to eBooks and, while I would hate for it to happen, maybe the idea of holding an actual book in your hands will someday be obsolete. Authors and publishing companies will change and evolve as readers change, and that's neither a good nor bad thing.

But with all the development in artificial intelligence (AI), will authors even exist in the future? Will my imagination be replaced by a computer? Much like the explosion of the internet, technology will continue to advance, and the book publishing industry will probably be much different in even five years than anything we might imagine today.

Which romance sub-genere(s) fit your stories best?
Contemporary romance; Romantic suspense

My books are available in the following formats:
eBook, Print

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