A. To me, writing inside the box means writing for an established genre. Writing outside of the box means writing from the heart even though it might not fit into an established genre or sales niche.
Q. And you always wrote outside the box?
A. Laughs. Heck no. When I first thought about writing a novel I joined RWA, the only writing group around at that time. I was told the easiest way to get published was to write romances. So I wrote a couple which were rejected. That didn't surprise me as I had never read a contemporary romance. Its not that I had anything against contemporary romance its just not my preference. Then I thought, well maybe I'll write an inspirational romance. I hadn’t really read those either. It was the rejection I received from the editor at Tyndale that made me realize what I was doing wasn't working. She wrote: "your book is neither romantic nor inspirational." So I made an announcement at the next writers' meeting I attended. "As long as I'm going to get rejected, I might as well write what I want to write." And the idea for my first published book POPPY was born soon after.
A. I searched in books stores for books similar in size and style to what I had and came up with a short list. Ballantine Epiphany, a division of Random House, was looking for inspirational books that were unique. They bought POPPY, published it in hardcover in 1987 and paperback in 1990.
A. Yes, THE GIFT. And unfortunately, shortly after, that line at Ballantine was eliminated.
A. I wasn’t sure how to classify or describe my books and am still not sure. I can only go by what readers have told me. They suggest its inspirational because of the impact the books have had on them. I think of them as books of hope. But they don't fit in any traditional inspirational niche. Poppy was often compared to Jonathan Livingston Seagull in style and size.
A. It's been a long time in between sales because of the difficulty of finding a niche for my “different” style books. I did sell a book recently. TAU Publishing just published my inspirational novel, CHILD OF THE SEA. I wrote it after the tragic tsunami of 2006.
After a killer wave leaves black holes
where hearts had once been,
a mystical child helps seven grieving women
learn the spiritual principals
needed to heal their tortured souls.
A. I wrote a book called The Long and Short of Seven Cat Tails. Each one of my seven cats had its own chapter and told his/her story from its point of view. No one was interested in publishing it so I self-published that book for me and my family. I am so glad I have the book since five of the kitties are now gone. Two of those five lived to be 20 years old. I currently work my day job at Purr-Suasions, a cat gift shop in Scottsdale, and I sell my books there.
A. I like to read inspirational books that touch the heart. Emotions and feelings are hard to find in books. From the beginning, I wanted to write books like Og Mandino, who by the way endorsed POPPY. I love stories about angels. My books hint that there are angels. As an aside, I don't watch much TV but Touched by an Angel was my favorite TV show.
Q. Thank you for joining us Barbara. Do you have any final words of encouragement for our seekers here at Seekerville ?
A.I think it’s important to write what is in your heart. Don’t write just to fulfill a trend or fad, but write what you love to read and think about. I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Mother Theresa: "I am like a pencil in God's hand. He does the writing. I had nothing to do with it."