Monday, May 16, 2011

Spotlight Author with Mimi Barbour

Boy how quickly time is flying by. We are already halfway through the month which makes us almost halfway through the year. Before we know it, it will be Christmas again. All I can say is WOW! The past few weeks I have been working on a new project. A non-writing project, I know shame on me. I have been working very hard to start my own photography business, in hopes that some day soon, I can quit my day job and do photography and writing full time. They are my two loves. Unfortunately my writing has been taking a back burner to the photography while I do photo shoots of my daughter, trying to get advertising material. I am so happy that I booked up my calendar and was able to get my next guest Mimi Barbour to come and chat with us. So Mimi, tell us a little bit about you and your latest release.

My Name is Mimi Barbour and my newest release “Together Again” is the 4th in my series called The Vicarage Bench.

You might wonder where I came up with the name for the series and I can’t take the credit for it at all. You see, way back when I wrote the 1st story called “She’s Me”, my editor said that if I wrote two more novellas along the same story idea, they could put the three shorts together, produce an anthology, and call it something like The Vicarage Bench. New writer here, remember? When an editor offers a gem like this, I really didn’t care what they called it, now would I? Truth be told, there is a vicarage bench that’s sort of paramount in each of the tales so…it worked.

Together Again - Traveling ten years forward in time, Dani Howard's spirit becomes magically united with reporter, Troy Brennan. He's everything a girl could want in a man, and during their time together, she falls deeply in love. Though she must return to her own pregnant body, she gains his promise to come to her birthday party in seven days time where they will meet in person and continue their romance.
Troy can't believe he's fallen for a sixteen-year-old spirit invader. He's so infatuated that when renowned author, beautiful Ellie Ward, comes on to him, as attractive as he finds her, he's honor bound to stay true to his young love—or is he?


He dropped to his hands and knees beside the
white-haired lady where she lay next to a heap of
cloth. Lowering his glasses, he got really close. Blood
streamed from a cut on her forehead. Ashen, blueveined
skin scared him into checking for a pulse.
“Troy, she’s alive. My God, the poor dear is
dreadfully pale. We’ll have to take care. Can you
carry her?”
Breathing was becoming more difficult for Troy.
He tried to take shallow breaths so he wouldn’t
cough or draw smoke into his already afflicted lungs.
“I don’t think so. It’s difficult breathing, and if I try
to stand and pick her up, I’m scared we’ll be
overcome. Dani, I don’t know what the hell I was
thinking, bringing you in here, taking such a crazy
chance with your life.”
“Give over. I wanted to come. How could we
ignore the old bloke’s grief? We have to save her. For
him. But I don’t think we can drag her. She’s
bleeding a lot and her leg’s angled strangely. What
can we do?”
With sudden realization, Troy saw that the soft
heap pooled on the floor by Mary was a quilt. He
scooted over, grabbed it, and flipped it across the
prone body, then awkwardly rolled the woman into a
cocoon and onto her back in seconds. Now fully
enclosed in a pink-flowered shroud, she became
easier to move. By grabbing one end and twisting it,
he could haul it over his shoulder. Then he crawled,
slithered, and wiggled, with the blanket skid
bringing up the rear.
Flames burst from a room on his right,
encouraging him to move even faster. The tail end of
the quilt flapped open, sliding through red embers.
Like a tease, a flame caught, only to fizzle out again.
The open door loomed about ten feet ahead.
Choking, gagging, hot tears pouring from his eyes,
he found in Dani the encouragement and strength
that kept him going.
“Troy, love, almost there. You’re wonderful. My
God! You’re fantastic. Don’t stop now. Here’s the
door. You’ve done it! I love you, you ruddy great
darling, do you hear me?”
“I hear you. You’re screaming so loud it’s a
wonder I’m not deaf. Couldn’t have done it without
you, and I’m rather fond of you too, brat.”
Gnarled waiting hands helped Troy pull his
precious cargo through the last foot of the hallway
and over the sill. The sobbing entreaties that had
coaxed the exhausted young man through the final
effort of the rescue stopped as he collapsed—his
strength gone, used up, depleted.
Troy lay face down on the cool grass,
concentrating on controlling his breathing by pure
will power. Coughing hurt, so he took small breaths
and swallowed repeatedly, trying to bring moisture
into his dry throat.
Cradled in loving arms, Mary soon came around.
She looked up into the rheumy eyes of her man, and
she smiled. “There ya are, you old tosser.” The
words, whispered in a voice raw and grating,
produced a relieved smile.
Hearing her speak, Troy scuttled over to where
the old couple were cuddled together. As he
approached, two sets of streaming, red-rimmed eyes
peered his way. The old man reached out to Troy’s
cheek and patted as one would a child.
“God love ya, sir!”

What makes your writing unique?

One of the reasons I feel my work is unique is because I can’t remember anyone else with the same concept of spirit-traveling I’ve used…where two souls exist and interact inside one body.

But, I guess we all think our writing is unique, and certainly I fit in with everyone else in thinking I’m different, and you know what? I am! We all draw from various experiences and emotions that make us individuals, and since no one else has the exact same background as I do, that sets me apart.

Also, I’ve always enjoyed being entertained when I read, and to me books can be the best forms of diversion. Since I’m a rather upbeat creature who loves to laugh, I tend to search for a bit of humor in what I read—especially if it’s dry and done well. (Darned if that doesn’t sound like the turkey I cooked for Easter!)

Where does your inspiration come from?

Since the first book I sold “She’s Me” was in response to a contest with guidelines that I had to follow, I endeavored to meet their conditions but still make the story and characters mine. Seems I succeeded as Wild Rose Press sent me an e-mail saying that due to my not staying within their set rules, they couldn’t accept the story into the contest, but they would like to publish it as a stand-alone book. The contest wanted a heroine to go through a garden gate and back in time to one of four eras. I had my heroine go through the garden gate, sit on a vicarage bench and prick her finger on a magic rose bush. Her body fell into a coma, and her spirit went back in time to invade the body of another woman sitting on the same bench, but forty-three years earlier. (It’s quite humorous what our heroine, a top model from 2006, can get into with a shy, chubby librarian from 1963). By the conclusion, they both end up with their heroes—happy and in love.

This scenario became the essence for the rest of the series.

Before I wrote the first story, I remembered a program called Quantum Leap where the hero Sam Beckett would leap into another’s body during each episode. Only difference is, he would completely take over and the other soul would disappear. In my stories the two have to commingle and work things out. Makes for some great dialogue and lots of fun plots and conflicts.
And that’s where my motivation kicks in—my goal is making each tale unique. I have no idea where this inspiration comes from. It’s there all the time. In fact I have to turn it off, or I’d be plotting scenes all day long and late into the night.

I guess I’m lucky! I know I’m lucky…

How long was your road to becoming a published author?

In a way, I consider myself very fortunate. I do remember buying a book some fifteen years ago about “How to Write Romance and get Paid for It” but at that time the idea never stuck. Move ahead a few wasted years of frivolous pursuits, and I was living in Africa, bored with playing games with the other ladies, and so I enrolled in a correspondence Creative Writing course. Then when I returned home to Canada, I took four years of writing children’s literature, where only one story I wrote ever got published. (See a free read on my website called ‘Run for Joy’).

In the meantime, I was learning the craft, and when I finally decided to write a romance book, I knew it was a best seller. When I think of how puffed up I was after writing the words “The End”, I’d like to change my name…arghh! Of course no one else agreed with me, and the poor manuscript is still buried in the bowels of my closet. Have to admit that every error an author could make is between those pages. With each contest I sent it to, and each rejection I got, I followed through on the welcome advice and took workshops, one after another. I found out what they meant by POV, active versus passive verbs, sequel and sequence, summarizing, and on and on. The more I learnt, the more I leant how much I needed to learn…. sigh! Then along came the contest with Wild Rose Press and the old saying – that’s all she wrote comes to mind, except in my case, that wasn’t all I wrote. I kept adding more and more stories and they kept contracting them.

What is your favorite thing about writing romance?

The happy endings!

Have you ever read a book where by the end, you felt as if you had wasted your precious time? Or thrown the book on the floor and pouted? Or gave it to the one person you never really liked and raved about how good it was? (My bad!)

Maybe the author dredged up wonderful plots, heavy conflicts, pathos and lengthy descriptive passages, but by the end your dogs’ rear-end was in jeopardy, and so was your hubby’s pleasant evening with his happy-go-lucky wife. I begrudge anything that makes me feel this way. So I’m pretty choosy about what I read. Many suspense, mysteries, paranormal, women’s fiction are now falling into the romance genre, and I love it, because I do like variety. Knowing the author is winding her way to a happy ending makes me comfortable in spending my hard-earned money.

What type of hero do you find irresistible?

I love the bad-boy, smart-ass, humorous kind of guy. Of course he has to be mouth-watering gorgeous, incredibly intelligent, and have a hidden sensitivity that saves him from being a bit of a jerk.

If you had to pick a favorite character that you have created or one that you wish you had created who would it be and why?

One hero I created that I totally fell for would be Marcus, the fellow in my new Christmas book called “Together for Christmas” I’m just editing that story now, and I’ve gotta say, my hero’s a real doll. Of course, if you’d have asked me this question when I was editing “Together Again” I would have told you that Troy Brennan, my hero in that story was my favorite. I guess I fall a bit in love with each new male character I create.

A man I didn’t create but have a bit of a glow for is Castle. Something about his mannerisms, the way he interacts with his mom and daughter, and mostly the sparks between him and Becket make me look forward to each episode. And, I guess he’s got me hooked with the humor.

What is the most important advice you can give to aspiring authors?

Writing a book is only the first step into the world of a published author. It’s the big one, the most fun one, granted, but not the only one. Once that book has been produced and released, the hard work starts. All of us write because it’s a part of who we are, but for many of us, our talent stops there.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, we also have to take on a lot of other mantles. Ones such as publicist and promoter. And forgive me if I sound a bit depressing, but the reality is that those jobs aren’t much fun - just a lot of hard work. If you can’t afford to hire someone else to do it for you, the extra burden falls to you. Chances are even if you can farm it out; you’ll never get enough return with the first few books to cover the expense. But then if no one knows about your book, who other than a few best friends will buy it. So here you sit, clutching this wonderful creation, facing untold hours of slogging through innumerable sites, and looking for all the help you can get in understanding technical jargon you’ve never even heard before.

The bright side is, if I can do it…anyone can. It’s taken a few years, but I now know how to set myself up on different writer sites. My website is running smoothly (that resource I did pay to have done for me) and I’m gathering lots of new friend on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Book Rix, Romance All, Romance Reviews, Savvy Author, Coffee Time Romance, and on and on and…. groan!!

For example today as I was checking out some e-mails on one of the many loops I’m on, I found a link to a new site called Writer’s Marketing Group that offers support to members with Blogs who need guests. And here’s me desperate to get the word out to as many people as I can about my new release ‘Together Again’. What a perfect match. I quickly joined, as it’s free (thank you Lord!)

Look, if you’re enthusiastic about producing a book, then I truly wish you good luck in your endeavors. And as soon as you’re finished the first, my best advice would be to get busy and start writing your second. From what I’ve leaned, the way to make a living in this industry, whether being e-pubbed or by the old standard, is by having a big backlist. Eventually that will be your best form of promo…and will be a huge point in your favor should you ever get looked at by a mainstream publisher. So get plotting! Also, please remember the e-publishers are constantly requesting short stories. And as much talent goes into producing a well-written novella as goes into a full-length, and it’s the perfect way to hone your craft.

Thank you for being a guest on my blog Mimi. Where can we find out more about you and your books?

I’ve so enjoyed visiting with you Micole. It’s been my pleasure.

Please know that I love visiting with readers so come and say ‘Hi’ on my website at and join my newsletter for a chance to win a free copy of my latest release.

Or follow me on twitter!/Mimibarb

Or on Facebook…



Hugs to you too Mimi. Make sure to stop back tomorrow when I will have Vanessa Kelley as my guest.



Mimi Barbour said...

Hi Micole,
Thanks for having me as your guest. It was fun answering the questions. Not that I'd ever admit to enjoying yakking on about myself but...??? it's quite a different matter when it comes to talking about the new book.
xo MImi