Archive for January 23rd, 2012|Daily archive page

Monday’s Friend: Barbara Kellyn

Today I am pleased to be interviewing romance writer Barbara Kellyn on my blog, whose latest novel MORNING MAN will be released later this year by Lyrical Press.

Welcome, Barbara!

SJT: When did you first know you were destined to be a writer?

BK: I’ve always been a creative person. When I was growing up, I used both drawing and writing in my storytelling and at one time, aspired to be either an author of picture books or work in advertising so I could combine both talents. By the time I got to college to follow my chosen career path in advertising, I realized that it was the written word that best expressed my ideas.

SJT: Who would you cite as your influences?

BK: Certainly, my family has been my greatest influence as they have always nurtured and encouraged my creativity side. I wouldn’t say I have a favourite writer, but I admire anyone who can tell a great story, whether in a book, on stage or on screen. If you look at my shelves, you’ll see that the greatest number of books I own are by Jennifer Crusie, who to me, perfected contemporary romantic comedy. I’d love to follow in her footsteps.

SJT: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

BK: I’m a single mom as well as a business owner, so most of my non-writing hours are either spent hanging out with my kids or working. For fun and “me time” I enjoy going for a brisk walk, cooking, or going out to try new restaurants. Other than writing, I find that listening to the music I love is also very harmonizing (pardon the pun) and I am uplifted by live concert experiences. All in all, I think my life is pretty well balanced.

SJT: What advice would you pass on to beginner writers that you wish someone had told you when you were first starting out?

BK: To be a writer, you’ll have to rely on both your right brain (emotion, expression) and left brain (logic, sequencing) in order to be successful. When you start out, you think you’ll be able to just sit down and the story will pour out of you. It will, but in all likelihood, it won’t be fit for consumption until you go back and analyze every word. You must ensure the story hits all the right posts; it has a suitable amount of tension; it builds into a climax; and that the characters and dialogue ring true. That’s hard and “unnatural” work for most right-brain types; I know it is for me.

SJT: Your first novel, THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS, is set in an advertising agency. Have you drawn on any real-life work experiences in the workplace to embellish this novel?

BK: As I mentioned, advertising was my chosen career path and it’s the field I continue to work in over twenty years later. I have been part of my fair share of highly creative, colorful and certainly, dysfunctional workplaces and let me tell you, there’s plenty of inspiration in each one of them. There is no shortage of zany incidents and quirky characters in such environments and I’m fortunate to have experienced so much that I’ve been able to amalgamate it into fodder for fun-to-read fiction.

SJT: You claim to be a pop culture junkie. What’s your favourite trashy TV show?

BK: Hey, one girl’s trashy is another girl’s treasure! I have quite a few TV guilty pleasures. I’ve been watching The Young & The Restless faithfully since junior high. I get a kick out of TLC’s reality shows like Sister Wives, Say Yes to the Dress and Extreme Couponing. But I have to admit, this year I got addicted to Swamp People, about gator hunters in the Louisiana Bayou. I dare anyone to watch it once and not get completely hooked.

SJT: What can you tell us about your forthcoming release, MORNING MAN?

BK: I’m so excited about MORNING MAN! It’s about a morning show duo at a fledgling radio station. Their sizzling on-air chemistry sparks smoldering attraction outside the studio – even though our heroine has sworn off falling for the radio jocks she works with after a string of failed relationships. On top of this, because our duo’s undeniable sexual tension is driving listeners to tune in, the station manager makes them pledge to stay out of bed until after the summer ratings period ends.

SJT: When it comes to starting a new writing project, would you describe yourself as a meticulous planner, or a ‘seat-of-the-pantser’?

BK: I’d say I am a little of both. THE COMPANY SHE KEEPS was a personal challenge sparked by NaNoWriMo, which notoriously champions pantsing over planning: a 30-day deadline, a 50,000-word goal, a blank screen and…. go! It was an amazing accomplishment, but took a year of refining afterwards to get it fit for submission.

On the other hand, MORNING MAN was a little more planned because I was more educated about the process. I started with a rough plot outline and main character sketches, but even that was loosely organized so I still had some flexibility as the story evolved in my head. However, that book went much smoother: I went from first written word to edited manuscript in a phenomenal six weeks! Everything just clicked. Because of that, my latest work in progress has followed more in MORNING MAN’s footsteps. The pre-planning seems to work for me, but the story development stays more compelling when I allow myself the freedom to “pants” it. Nothing beats being surprised and delighted by my characters as we go along.

Thank you, Barbara,for being my guest today!

Barbara Kellyn writes the kind of stories that she loves to read: contemporary romantic comedies fraught with amusing complications and taut sexual tension between a likeable heroine worth rooting for and an alluring hero worth the trouble of falling fo.

A lifelong storyteller in one form or another, Barbara is an accomplished, award-winning writer. She also enthusiastically admits to being a pop culture junkie (you definitely want her on your celebrity quiz team), with a weakness for tabloid TV, timeless chick flicks, sexy soaps and any smartly-written show, book, movie or Tweet that makes her laugh out loud.

Barbara thanks her lucky stars that she is living out the kind of blissful existence that her characters can only dream about getting to before the last page. To learn more, visit her website at www.barbarakellyn.com.