Author Interview: Barbara L.B. Storey
About the author:
Barbara L. B. Storey is a writer, photographer, and digital artist. She loves to write, to read, to travel, and is also crazy about baseball. She was born and now lives in Canada, but is a former resident of New York City and misses it very much.
She's also particularly fond of certain book series – Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Outlander – of poetry, historical fiction, mysteries and thrillers, biographies, and history of almost any kind, but particularly art and political.
She has lived several different, interesting lives in both North America and Europe, but through them all, one thing has remained true: creating is essential. Writing or art – as long as she is making something and telling a story, she is happy.
What inspires you to write romantic fiction?
I write romantic fiction because I love happy endings. I'm not opposed to putting my characters through a little angst first, though – makes the happy ending even better. I also like the fact that I get to make all the decisions, and create the exact relationship and ending that I want – the ideal romance. What's the use of creating a romance if it doesn't reflect what you find most romantic?
Tell us about how you write.
Two things tend to work for me. I get inspirations – a situation, a character or personality, a dilemma – and I use the "what-if" approach. I flesh out the idea in my mind, and then start making notes, creating a basic structure, which changes a bit as I write, but usually not a lot. The second method is that I see a headline or story in the news that is unusual and grabs my attention. Doesn't have to be current news, could be a historical person or situation, could be anything. And then I start the fleshing out, notes, and very basic outline process.
Do you listen to or talk to to your characters?
I do sometimes talk to them, especially if they aren't being cooperative! But mostly I create and develop characters in my mind and imagination. Sometimes the male characters I write are inspired by a celebrity crush I have – either the character resembles the person I have in my mind, or has a similar personality, because I find those things attractive! The female characters are usually extensions of myself in some way or other – so I talk to myself about what I would do if I were in the situation my character is in.
But it's also true that sometimes they take paths or say things that I am totally not expecting. I'll get to the end of the ms. and say, "oh, so that's how it works out!" Those are great moments for me, as an author.
What advice would you give other romance writers?
Read a lot, in as many genres as you can – even ones you think you won't like. Everything is grist for the mill of your imagination, and you don't know what your character is going to need to know.
Don't be afraid to write the kind of passion and romance that YOU want or have experienced in your own life. Taking the story personally gives it depth and meaning – not just for you, but for your readers.
Get the opinions of people you trust – but wait till the first draft at least is finished. I've been discouraged by asking someone to read something too early, and by asking someone who knows nothing about the genre I'm writing. Not fun.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I published my first book myself; I didn't know much about marketing and promotion then, but I'm learning more all the time. For my second book, a full-length novel ("Fate Cuts Both Ways") I decided to go with a small indie publisher; it's a different process, but there's still a lot to learn. I will admit that I like self-publishing because then I have control over the whole process – yes, I am a control freak!
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
I am happy to see that indie publishing has become so popular, and more respected, because I think that is the way book publishing is going in the future. Authors having more control over their work and the process of publishing is a very good and satisfying thing – for this author anyway. You've created something and you have a part in bringing that creation to the world – it's an amazing experience.
Which romance sub-genere(s) fit your stories best?
My books are available in the following formats: