Saturday, March 1, 2008

Louisiana Saturday Night with Barbara Colley

I'd like to say I'm dancing in the kitchen 'til the early morning light, but I'm not. However, I have kicked off my shoes for this Louisiana Saturday Night. This is a new feature I'm adding to my blog: interviewing Louisiana authors. We have a lot of talent in our Bayou State. I hope to introduce you to much of it.

First on our list is Louisiana author Barbara Colley. Barbara and I go way back to 1988. I lived in the New Orleans area for three years and we enjoyed critiquing and encouraging each other, exchanging advice on everything from writing to child-rearing. I have more respect for Barbara than any writer I know. She's listened and learned and bucked the market, and chased it from one end of publishing to the other. She hung in there. She persevered through many ups and downs. It is my great honor to share Barbara with you today.

What is your writing process?
Something--an article I've read, a story on the news, a haunting melody I hear, etc.--for whatever reason, interests me. Then, in my mind, I begin playing the "what if" game. If the game goes well, then I might actually sit down and write out my idea in story (synopsis) form on the computer.

What is your favorite self-marketing idea?
I actually have two. One: I created what I call a bookmark/flier. When folded, it's a bookmark. When unfolded, it's a two-sided flier. I always keep a supply of these on-hand and give them away to anyone who seems even a wee bit interested in my books. They are inexpensive and contain a lot of useful information. Two: Recently, I helped create a video book trailer for my latest book, WASH AND DIE. It's on my web site and on YouTube. Why one of my favorites? Guess it's because that's the closest my books will ever come to being made into either a TV series or a movie. Hey, a girl can dream, can't she? :-)

What are the biggest surprises you've encountered as a writer?
The unselfish generosity of fellow writers and fans.

How do you inspire yourself or what are your sources of creativity? I try to come up with something exciting or different for my character to do. Sources of creativity? Hmm, a multi-book contract that I've signed and the fact that I have to produce a book by a certain deadline always inspires me to be creative. :-)

What is your proudest writer moment?
One of my proudest moments as a writer was when I received a letter from a reader who told me that reading my book RACHEL'S WAR had changed her life, and now she was able to forgive things in her past, whereas before, she wasn't able to do so.

What's the best advice you were given about writing?
Just do it--sit yourself in the chair and do it.

What have you learned about yourself in this writing process?
I like to "have written" rather than "have to write." Also, I'm a creature of habit, and I have to follow my routine each day to get anything done.

What business challenges have you faced as a writer?
One of the biggest business challenges I've faced yet as a writer was trying to decide whether to risk ending my series by holding out for a larger advance. At the last minute, I caved and accepted the smaller advance.

What kind of support staff do you have? Not the secretary or publicist or research assistant we'd all love to have, but the family, the crit partners, the prayer team, or whoever helps prop you up when you're in need of some props ?
I have a wonderfully supportive husband, grown children, and grandchildren, all of which are there to encourage me and cheer me on. I'm also blessed with several Christian friends who are also writers and who understand the process of writing and publishing. In addition, I have two totally professional critique partners who have been with me for the past nine books.

What is your writer life philosophy?
We must endeavor to persevere.

What was the last book you read and why did you read it?
The last book that I completed was a book that was one of six that I was given to read as a judge for the RWA RITA contest.

What's your best advice for new writers?You must endeavor to persevere, and never, never burn bridges in this business. Be nice!

WRAP-UP: Tell us what's coming up next.
My latest book, available this month, is WASH AND DIE, book number seven in my Charlotte LaRue mystery series. In case you're unfamiliar with this series, its a cozy mystery that features a sixty-something year-old maid named Charlotte who works exclusively in the New Orleans Garden District and also happens to solve murders.

Jo Ann Vicarel with Library Journal says, "There is something so engaging, so charming about Charlotte LaRue..."

In the meantime, as Charlotte would say, "Keep it Clean!"

Watch for WASH AND DIE, available February, 2008
SCRUB-A-DUB DEAD, now available in paperback

To see Barbara's very original book trailer and get titles of her other books, check out her website.


Christa said...

The Times-Pic had a write-up on Barbara recently. I didn't realize you two were BFFs! I was impressed with her after the article, and even more so now. Thanks for this, and such a clever blog idea.

Farrah Rochon said...

Great interview! Thanks for spotlighting some of the fabulous writers we have here in Louisiana, Jess!

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Erica Vetsch said...

Very nice interview! Great questions and interesting answers. I think I'm going to like this new feature. It makes me want to dance to a band from the Looseeann tonight.