Barbara Freethy is a renown self-publishing success. She has authored 40 titles from contemporary romance/suspense to women’s fiction. After hitting the bestseller list 18 times, Barbara was honored with the Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Bestselling Author of All Time title.
She recently stopped by BTSCelebs to share the secrets to her success, and tell us a little more about the woman behind the pages.
BTSCelebs: What inspired you to pursue a career in writing?
Barbara Freethy: I grew up in a house filled with books. My mother was a voracious reader and passed her love of fiction on to me. I was crafting stories in my head for years before I actually decided to write a novel. That decision came in my mid twenties. I was working in public relations after college, writing a lot of non-fiction press releases and newsletter articles for high-tech companies, and I realized that the best part of the job for me was the writing. So in my spare time, I started writing a novel.
My first novel took about three years, during a time period in which I got married and had my first child. So life was pretty busy, but I eventually sold that novel and started work on the next one, and then the next one. That was the beginning of what has turned out to be an amazing career.
Who is your favorite author?
This is a difficult question for a writer to answer because I love many, many authors, and I read across all genres. Two of the romance and women’s fiction writers that have inspired me the most are Nora Roberts and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I love Nora’s ability to weave layers of suspense and mystery into a story, and I think Susan’s characters always have amazing wit and chemistry.
Do real life events or people inspire the characters and plots in your books? If so, please tell us about them.
The ideas for my stories come from everywhere. I can see someone in the line at the supermarket and see a personality or a physical tic that inspires my imagination to take off. I can read a news story and imagine what if I took this and gave it my own twist? Usually that seed of an idea turns into something that I couldn’t foresee at the beginning.
Creating a book is a dynamic and fluid process, and I make a lot of changes as I go along. While I know my main plot points when I sit down to write, I am also the kind of writer who lets the writing inspire the plot. I get some of my best ideas when I’m in a character’s head and they do or say something that surprises me.
One of my most challenging books to write came from the idea of a woman who gets in a car crash, wakes up in the hospital, and has no memory of who she is. And then the twist—the cops come and want to know where her baby is, because there was a baby-seat in the backseat of her car. She can’t remember a child. What kind of mother can’t remember their own baby? That question drove the plot of SILENT RUN. I soon realized that it’s very difficult to write a story when the main protagonist has no idea of who they are. I couldn’t give out any clues in introspection. I had to develop the character as seen through the eyes of the people around her. The book turned out to have great reviews, so somehow I pulled it off. It’s one of my favorite stories but was also one of the most challenging to write.
Tell us all about your weekly writing routine. Do you write everyday?
I write at least five days a week, and when I’m a month away from deadline, I usually write on the weekends as well. Writing is a full-time job, and there never seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. But I don’t work a 9-5 schedule. I write better in the afternoon or evening, so I usually handle my business demands in the mornings and save the writing for later in the day.
Now that I am self publishing my books, I have to wear many hats. So in addition to the creative process of being a writer, I also have to run the rest of my business which includes producing the digital book with a fantastic cover, doing marketing and promo, and working with the retailers. I have a lot of balls in the air. It’s a fun and challenging juggle.
In part 2, Barbara will respond to the following questions:
Which book launched your writing career into star status?
How did you promote your very first book? Did you do extensive traveling?
What advice would you give to a brand new author who just self published their first ebook?
*BTSCelebs sends a special thanks to Barbara Freethy and Kristen Freethy for the interview and images**