Monday, March 17, 2008

Make-Believe Mondays With Barb Meyers

Happy St. Patricks Day from Make-Believe Mondays! Barb Meyers is our guest today.

Barb, first, tell us a little bit about the manuscript you’re working on now.

Barb: I recently completed work on my romantic comedy A MONTH FROM MIAMI which is scheduled for release as an eBook from Samhain Publishing in March 2008. They said it was only for a month--trading car repair for babysitting. But when Rick discovers stolen gems hidden in Kaylee’s car, he has to wonder: Is she the woman he thinks she is or is she taking him for a ride?

My Samhain editor is considering another manuscript entitled NOT QUITE HEAVEN. It’s anything but a romantic comedy. More of a dark, complex romance. It’s about a best-selling author whose career is flailing and a woman from his past who might be able to help him get back on top. At the beginning of every chapter, there’s a snippet of his current work in progress featuring a hero who is his alter ego.
Sitting on the back burner (which means I’m doing the hard work of figuring out a story in my head before I start to write it) is a sequel to A MONTH FROM MIAMI. I’m toying with idea of giving the hero of that story a twin brother and a story of his own.

Debra: That's an interesting format, having the work in progress of the main character highlighted. I find it quite intriguing.

Ray Bradbury said, “We are cups, constantly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” How do you keep your creative cup filled?

Barb: The best way for me to keep my creative cup filled is to do things non-writing related. I’ve learned, perhaps too late in life, to be kind to myself. Although I guess it’s never too late. Have you ever noticed, many of us do not treat ourselves very well? We feel guilty if we indulge ourselves. I think sometimes we are nicer to strangers than we are to ourselves.
So, I indulge. That might mean a massage or a pedicure. It might mean spending an afternoon window shopping or a morning meandering the beach. If I want to curl up in the afternoon and read and take a nap, I do it. Recently, I’ve begun to meditate, which is as simple as taking a cup of coffee and sitting in the swing overlooking my swimming pool. In the early morning I listen to the birds singing and watch the squirrels race up and down the trees. Or I simply sit and appreciate my surroundings. Being good to yourself doesn’t have to cost a thing.

Debra: Yes, this is very true. Thank you, Barb. That's a message we don't hear often. It's important to learn to be kind to ourselves.

Is there a point when your characters begin to come alive and you can see and hear them?

Barb: That’s a good question. It’s hard to answer. For me, I think I almost always see the hero first. I know what he’s about and I know what he needs from the heroine. For some reason, the female protagonist is always harder for me to get a handle on. But there’s definitely a point where the characters become who they are. They aren’t even the writer’s creation. They are very much their own persons. What’s interesting is how characters can do something you didn’t expect them to do, but it’s right for them. At that point, the story’s out of your hands. It’s up to them to tell it.

Debra: It's so interesting to hear you say that, because for me the heroine always appears first. What an experience it is when they come to life and then take over.

As a child did any particular book or author pull you into their imaginary world?

Barb: Oh, my. I read avidly as a child. I loved The Boxcar Children and the Little House on the Prairie series. I remember the wonderful discovery of reading a book I loved and realizing there were more of them for me to read. Little Women was a Christmas gift and I read it over and over because we didn’t own very many books. I loved the Rapunzel fairy tale. Imagine having hair that long!
As a high school freshman, our English classed was “forced” to read Jane Eyre. Far from complaining like my fellow students, I zipped through it way ahead of schedule. I loved that book.

Debra: The Boxcar Children was one of my favorites.

If there were no categories for books, no reader expectations to meet, and you could create the wildest work of imagination that you could think of what kind of story would that be?

Barb: I think I’m already doing this, even though I don’t write fantasy and I don’t make up fictional worlds. I deal in fantasy within our own reality. The fantasy of romance is that love exists, that it can last, that two people can be happy together in a committed relationship for a lifetime. I want to believe it and I want my readers to believe it, given that there’s so much evidence to the contrary in the world in which we live. I want readers to believe it’s possible for them, if it hasn’t already happened in their lives.

I’m not saying we should all live in a romance novel. But in all our lives, there can be that seed of passion, a connection with a significant other, someone who thinks you’re the best thing in the world. It can happen. It does happen.
(In case your readers think I’m a complete lunatic, my 28th wedding anniversary is fast approaching.)

Debra: Congratulations and happy anniversary (if a bit early)

Is there anything else you would like to add about the role of imagination, and dreams in creating fiction? Any other message for our readers?

Barb: I admit it. I’m a sucker for happy endings. I don’t like books that bring me down, make me sad or depressed. When I read I want to be entertained. If I want something to make me feel bad or cause me stress, I can turn on the news any night of the week.

Reading fiction should take you out of your circumstances for just a little bit. It should be something you enjoy, maybe something that uplifts or makes you smile. Something that comforts you or gives you hope. That’s my dream as a fiction writer. That’s the experience I want to give my readers.

Debra: Oh, Barb, I agree. It's lovely when a book can sweep you away to new lands, to the world of the story.

Readers may visit Barb at:

Samhain Author Page:
Web Site:
Blog URL:

Barb, thank you for joining us here on this Make-believe Monday to share a little bit of the magic of writing with our readers.

Debra's News/Debra is Watching:

Last week was my editing deadline, and I'm pleased I was able to bring it in a day early. One particular scene was giving me fits and took the longest, so last week everything went on hold so I could give all my attention to it. (Yes Make-Believe Mondays went on hold, in fact I wasn't on the internet at all.) I think that first editing is a real learning experience and I expect like anything else, the more you do it the faster and better at it you become.

Now I can turn my attention to the upcoming Romantic Times convention which I will be attending from April 15th to April 21st. If you are attending, you can find me at the Samhain party on Sunday and the ebook signing. Be sure to come up and say hello! I love meeting new people. Stay tuned for more details.

I'll also be working hard to finish up another manuscript before the conference, but I can't talk about it yet. (I'm a little superstitious about that.) There are several manuscripts in the works, so I had to choose one to focus on.

Over on Title Wave this week, I'm blogging today, Theresa is blogging Wed. and Maria is blogging Friday.

Next week on Make-Believe Mondays I'll be interviewing Marilyn Campbell (March 24th) and on the 31st our guest is Jim Hines.

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