Barbara Wallace, a contributing author of The Billionaire's Matchmaker anthology, has stopped by The Library today to talk with us. Leave a comment or ask a question--one commenter will win a $25 Amazon gift card during their tour.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
The Billionaire’s Matchmaker is my 11th title. My twelfth will be out in January 2014. If I had to pick a favorite, I would be my February 2012 book, Daring to Date the Boss. The heroine has a teenage son named Andrew who was modeled after my teenager. I loved putting him in a book!
Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
The readers I hear from are always so sweet! Sadly, I don’t hear from readers enough. I would love to hear from them more. Barbara@barbarawallace.com!
What did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer. Duh! No seriously, I always wanted to either write or do something creative. I ended up majoring in marketing.
How do you do research for your books?
Research for me means playing on the Internet a lot. Google is my best friend. Of course, it’s always fun explaining to my husband that having spent the day surfing the web for “romantic bed and breakfasts” is truly work.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
This is non-writing related. I used to work for a law firm. One day we were at a trade show and I was talking to a potential client when my wrap around dress unwrapped! I apparently spent the entire conversation with my breasts hanging out. Toward the end of the conversation, I noticed, and very calmly tucked myself in. I apologized to the client and he replied “Oh, I didn’t mind.” After, I turned to my (male) boss and asked why he didn’t say anything. His answer: “I thought it was a sales tactic.”
What is your favorite food? Least favorite? Why?
Oh what a complicated question. For health reasons, I had to give up gluten and alcohol about a year ago. Sadly, that meant giving up many of my favorite foods, like pizza and crusty bread. My new favorite food, at the moment, is ice cream. Any kind of ice cream.
My least favorite food?
I am not a favorite of cauliflower. It doesn’t look good or smell good.
What is your strangest habit?
I talk to my pets and then answer in a different voice. Seriously, I will tell the dog (or cats something) and then use a high pitched, child voice for their answer. We will hold entire conversations. “Do you want a cookie?” “Yes, I want a cookie. I love cookies.” I drive my husband crazy because he’s not sure who I’m speaking to.
Having typed the above, I just realized I am the one who is crazy.
Have you ever eaten a crayon?
No. I can safely say I never did.
What is the most embarrassing thing your mother ever did to you?
Are you talking ever or just this week? My mother is the queen of inappropriate remarks – usually said in a really loud voice. I try to pretend none of them happen.
When writing descriptions of your hero/ine, what feature do you start with?
The eyes. What’s that saying? Eyes are the window to the soul? So much of romance can be defined by a look – a heated glance, shadows dimming a smile. So definitely the eyes.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I’m more a hybrid of the two. What would that make me? A plodder? I frequently plot three chapters ahead. Although, the last book I wrote I actually wrote out a three-act time line. So perhaps I am evolving!
Where are you from and what do you love best about your hometown?
I am from a small town in the Berkshires called North Adams, Massachusetts. It’s one of three blue collar town in a very rural, wealthy, artistic area. One of the things I loved was how much exposure I got to the arts growing up. There were local theatres and art museums within a couple miles. For a budding storyteller, growing up around so much art and beauty was a gift.
If you had to do your journey to getting published all over again, what would you do differently?
I would be more patient. Having taken almost a decade and a half to sell, that probably sounds like an odd thing to say, but it’s the truth. I was always in a rush to get the manuscript out. Had I been a little more patient, I might have sold sooner. I would have presented more quality work.
Ebook or print? And why?
Both. I know, cop-out answer right? It’s the truth though. I love the feel of a real book, and there are times when I love holding one. But I love the ease of my e-reader. I love being able to search books and buy then and there. Plus, there are some terrific books (like The Billionaire’s Matchmaker) that aren’t available on print.
How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?
I think the key to keeping books different lies in the characterization. I read somewhere that there are only 9 plots or something like that. Romance novels work because readers fall in love with the characters. Dedicated readers will read a dozen billionaire Cinderella stories provided you give them a dozen fleshed out, original characters who react in original ways. My way of keeping my books fresh is to keep each character unique.
16. What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to learn about you?
That I’m really and completely neurotic. In fact, my Twitter profile says I’m a part-time neurotic. I have an insecure streak a mile wide. They’d also be shocked to learn I’m petrified to speak in public.
What are the best and worst pieces of writing advice you ever received?
The best piece of writing advice I ever got: Never compare your journey with others’. Forget who got what contract or who sold. Your writing journey is yours alone.
The worst piece of writing advice: Hmm, I don’t think I ever got bad advice. There is always something to be learned, no matter what the source.
If you were stranded on a desert island and were only allowed to have five modern conveniences with you, what would they be?
Believe it or not, I have thought about this. They would be fresh running water, electricity, bug spray, plenty of batteries, and my Alphasmart.
What is a talent you wish you had, but don't?
My husband is amazingly talented when it comes to arts and crafts. He can paint, he can do workworking, he can sew. I always wished I had the skill (and coordination) to be a crafts person.
Weather: Hot or cold?
Since I’m from New England, I actually like both, so long as the weather stays above 50 degrees.
Favorite place to read?
The sofa in my family room next to the wood stove on a rainy day.
Favorite non-alcoholic drink.
Iced tea. I love a good Iced Tea.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Barbara loves writing sweet, smart, ‘it-could-happen-to-you’ style romances. She lives in Massachusetts with her other loves – her husband, their teenage son, and three very spoiled pets (as if there could be any other kind). She also loves hearing from readers.
You can find her at her website (www.barbarawallace.com), on Twitter (@BarbaraTWallace) and on Facebook.
READ THE BLURB
Can a feisty four-legged matchmaker help four best friends find the romance of their dreams?
Driving Mr. Wrong Home by Shirley Jump: When a handsome man from Gabby’s past agrees to a cross-country road trip, her master plan to re-launch her art career quickly morphs into an unexpected, romantic reunion.
The Sheriff’s Secret by Susan Meier: Marney’s 9-1-1 emergency help arrives in the form of a rugged, blue-eyed cop. Now she has the perfect bodyguard to keep her safe during those dark, steamy nights…
Love Unleashed by Jackie Braun: The last thing Mia wants is a relationship…yet the headstrong florist can’t keep her hands off her sexy-as-sin ex-boyfriend. Will she open her heart before he leaves town for good?
Love in the Shadows by Barbara Wallace: Jenny is a woman on a mission – she’ll even resort to dognapping to make her point! But can she teach a reclusive, emotionally-wounded tycoon that love heals all thing?
ENJOY AN EXCERPT
Love in the Shadows by Barbara Wallace:
“Would you like my driver to take you home so you wouldn’t have to travel alone?”
She told herself it was relief, not disappointment, falling heavy in her stomach. “I wouldn’t want to put you to any trouble.”
“You’re not putting me to any trouble, and my driver does what he’s told. Besides, it’s the least I can do. It was nice to be able…to have the company.”
“I enjoyed it, too.” She wondered what he was originally going to say before changing his words. “Plus you got a dog out of the bargain.”
“So I did.” Again, she caught the flash of a smile in the dark.
“Thank you for bringing Charlie back.”
“Thank you for not pressing charges.”
“I wouldn’t have anyway. You made some valid points this afternoon. I’ll see to it Charlie gets more attention.”
“He’d like that,” she replied with a smile.
A thick silence settled between them. Jenny wished she could see Nick’s face. She swore she could feel his gaze searching hers. His eyes zeroing in on her lips. Why else would her mouth run dry?
“You really should install some outside lighting,” she said, swallowing hard. “I can barely see my hand in front of my face.”
She didn’t need to see to feel his body come closer. The air around her hummed with his presence. “That so? I can see just fine.” His voice was rough, intimate.
“That’s because you like the dark,” she told him.
“Who says I like it?”
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe the fact you’re out here without a flashlight or the fact you insisted on meeting in a dark room this afternoon.’ She tipped her face upward. “Why did you act all mysterious today? Were you trying to frighten me?”
She figured he might dodge the question; she didn’t count on his hand reaching out to caress her jaw. “You have such pale skin,” he murmured. “I bet in the moonlight, it would glow silver.”
“I—I—I wouldn’t know.” Jenny suddenly couldn’t think. The seductive growl in Nick’s voice should frighten her. She was alone in the woods with a man whose wealth and power allowed him to take and do whatever he wanted. The realization should not send a thrill shooting through her body. But it did, and that scared her. His feathery touch left her trembling. Had her wanting more. Dear God, if he were to close the gap between them, she would…
She gasped as his arm reached out and yanked her close. Her flashlight and leash tumbled to the ground. Knocked off balance, she had little choice but to grip the front of his jacket with her free hand, fingers twisting in the worsted wool. She felt his erection against her hip. Instead of setting off warning bells, the knowledge he was aroused fueled her own arousal. The hunger unfolded from a place deep in her soul, as though the lessons from five years ago never happened. She was once again wanton, needy.
“So long,” she heard him whisper. He might as well have been reading her mind. When his lips brushed hers, she sighed and allowed him access. His tongue swept into her mouth without warning. Jenny moaned. He tasted of mint and coffee. She clutched his jacket tighter, pulling close, her hips seeking friction. In the back of her mind, she knew this was a mistake, but the voice of reason couldn’t be heard above the rush of blood in her ears. Unable to stop herself, she mewled and clung to him as his hands slid down her back, cupped her bottom.
From far off, she heard a dog barking. Lulu. Charlie. Their baying reached where common sense couldn’t and she came back to earth. What was she thinking? She broke free of Nick’s grasp.
Unable to form words, she turned her attention to fumbling for Lulu’s leash. If it was any consolation, Nick appeared to be as dazed as she was. The minute she pushed away, he’d stepped to the edge of the path. He stood there now, silently watching her while Charlie weaved around his legs. Jenny could hear his ragged breath mixing with hers.
What had she been thinking? For years she’d managed to behave herself, to keep the needy, desperate side of her personality in check, and now here she was, practically climbing up a stranger in the woods. She couldn’t get off the property fast enough. Finally, she located the end of Lulu’s leash. Forget getting a ride from his driver. Calling him would take too long.
Grabbing the leash as well as her flashlight, she stood up. Her legs were still shaking, and she had to hold her arm out to steady herself. This caused the light’s arc to swing wide. The beam shone straight at Nick.
For the first time, Jenny saw the face of the man she’d so wantonly kissed.